Our Backstory



What is the Unconventional Film School?

Unconventional Film School is a Charlotte, NC based organization that brings together working professionals to teach the adults who want to learn from them through short-duration classes.

Since 2017, we have served hundreds of adults through our in-person events and in late 2020 are turning toward additional online events. We are also creating some limited programming for people under 18 to pursue filmmaking skills late Fall 2020.

About The School

Thank you your interest in the Charlotte  Film School.

We bring together local film professionals who are down-to-earth and accessible & the adults who want to learn various filmmaking skills from them. For Winter and Spring 2020, most of our classes will be on Weeknights 6:15pm-9:00pm or Saturdays.

We asked 4 people why they signed up to take workshops with us.

“I would like to improve my craft. I think I understand the process but I need to learn to pay more attention to detail. I would like to know more about I need to think about.”

“Learning with others and any chance I would have to give back.”

“I have no experience with film making so I want to learn everything I can, especially when it comes to making something that can affect people in a positive way.”

“It’s an excellent opportunity to be part of a community of folks trying to improve their filmmaking skills.”

How It All Began…

Summer of 2017, started with informal meetups in parks and coffeeshops with the intention of gathering local men and women to talk about various filmmaking related topics.

Spring of 2018 was our first semester. Starting with a cohort of ten people, we had 12 classes with 12 different local film pros as teachers. We made four short films about local non-profits at the end of our semester. Many deep friendships were built during this time and many films have been made by folks who met through that semester. In addition to the cohort, each class was open to anyone to take “a la carte” A generous grant of $7000 from the Unconventional Pilgrim’s Fund gave us what we needed to run this first semester. Our name is a tribute and a nod to these people who first believed in this vision.

Fall of 2018 we offered an array of top quality classes, this time without a previously recruited cohort of students.

Spring of 2019 we partnered with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to offer 10 free classes on Saturdays, serving over 600 local Charlotte men and women.

Spring of 2019 we partnered with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to offer 10 Saturday Filmmaking workshops. More than 600 seats were filled at these 10 workshops. These were offered for free to the community.

Fall of 2019 we are partnering again with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to offer three types of classes this fall including two sessions of a four-week Documentary Filmmaking class, a one-day session on screenwriting and four small-group (only 15 people permitted) hands-on classes on four different Saturdays (can only attend one of the four) where we will film scenes. In addition to these, we are currently (August 2019) solidifying our schedule and will feature classes in Spanish and English plus ten various classes on Wednesdays. keep checking out our page on meetup which is the most up to date place where we put our info: https://www.meetup.com/Charlotte-Independent-Filmmaking-Meetup/

Engage with us!

You can find us on social media. We’re also about to announce our new schedule of workshops, classes and networking events and hope you’ll join us .

We are expanding, evolving and changing and constantly innovating. This website will be the h.q. for the many announcements we’ll be making soon.

A few Quick Highlights from our History

2016-After owning a camcorder for a year, I (Julie McElmurry) committed to make a documentary in 8 weeks (which started with having to google “how do you make a documentary?”). Made 1 more in 2016 and 2 in early 2017.

2017-I (Julie McElmurry) wanted to find motivated people like me who were learning filmmaking by actually making their own films (not waiting around to be “picked” by others) so I created a meetup group (I’d created my first meetup group in 2012 but that’s another story.)

I had run the logistics of a graduate school program for 4 summers + taught college students for 22 semesters + taught adults for 7 years, so I knew I could level up quickly from being merely a meetup group to actually organizing classes.

2018-Kicked off our first semester with 10 enrolled students and a series of 12 classes. Additional classes in Summer and Fall 2018.

2019-Through a partnership with the Charlottte Mecklenburg Library, we offered a series of 10 classes on Saturday afternoons, serving over 600 local adults in the Spring semester. Additional classes in Summer and Fall 2019.

2020-Offered 4 classes through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in January and a documentary filmmaking class in March-April (went online by April). Organizing virtual meet-and-greets via zoom to continue our focus on gathering people.

Please join us. Enjoy these shots from our parties, events and classes. We are adults who are actively curious and learning.