Who, When and Where

julieExecutive Director, Julie McElmurry, MS, MA

Hi. I’m Julie McElmurry, a self-taught documentary filmmaker. I  grew up near Cherokee, NC and am now a proud Charlottean by marriage.

I created Charlotte Unconventional Film School (in 2017) because:

  1. For 20 years, I’ve been creating spaces where strangers can come together, connect and then innovate with each other. I love doing this and I am good at it.
  2. I wanted to supplement all the learning I’ve done via youtube videos (in my quest to improve my movies) with real life, local, down to earth film professionals who could teach.
  3. I like demystifying things that seem out-of-reach for regular people like you and me. We can learn how to make great movies and tell our stories to the world.

Thanks to Charlotte Mecklenburg Library for partnering with us to offer TEN free Make-a-Movie Workshops between January and May 2019. We’re grateful for their support and for Charlotte is Creative who gave us a HUG Grant so we can get the word out about our work.

Click here to ask me or tell me anything you’d like. What questions do you have? We have an office in the Plaza Midwood area of Charlotte. Come on by for free coffee and good conversation!

Charlotte Unconventional Film School Teachers: 2019

Keema Mingo

Saturday, January 12th from 1:00pm-4:30pm at Hickory Grove Library

Secrets to Making a Successful Film

A leader in local independent filmmaking, multi-talented Director, Writer, Producer and Casting Director Keema Mingo has also also worked on everything from Hollywood productions. She will show you what it takes to put a movie together successfully, with and without a budget; which team members are most important to have on set; how to create local partnerships to get your projects done and how to transition your skills and expertise into a position that’s perfect for you.

Joshua Overbay

tr josh headshot

Saturday, January 19th from 1:00pm-4:30pm at Hickory Grove Library

Hands-on: Producing your Independent Film

Join Joshua Overbay, a professor of film at Western Carolina University and NY Times-awarded filmmaker, as he details everything you need to do to get your independent film made. You’ll get hands-on experience of running a set, and gain the confidence and know-how to gather the people and resources you need to start making your indie movie.

Joshua Overbay (MFA) is a director, producer, and writer of narrative feature films. In 2014, he released the award-winning feature film, As It Is in Heaven. After playing in theaters across the United States, The NY Times deemed it a “Critic’s Pick”, while The Hollywood Reporter described it as “ominous” and “quietly compelling.”

In 2015, his second feature film Hope Bridge was released, and is currently available for purchase at any WalMart, Target, or Best Buy.  His third feature film, Luke and Jo, is on the major film festival circuit and will be released near the end of 2018.

With Before As It Is in Heaven, Overbay garnered over 30 awards for his short films. His film Transposition was a 2009 National Finalist for the Student Academy Awards. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Film and Television at Western Carolina University where he teaches filmmaking, directing, editing, screenwriting, and visual effects. Find him here: http://solisfilms.com/our-work/

Michael Quigley

Michael Quigley
Saturday, February 2nd from 1:00pm-4:30pm at West Boulevard Library

Audio Production for Filmmakers

A lifelong learner and creative, Michael Quigley’s current explorations include the intersection of music, cinema and computer software. You’ll become more conversant in the importance of sound in filmmaking, basics of audio, equipment and software, audio capture, basic audio manipulation and mastering. You’ll cover a lot of material, learn how to keep learning and experimenting  on your own and be ready to help out on an indie movie.
“Michael Quigley is a lifelong creator. His work commonly evolves to be multimedia in nature. Current explorations include the intersection of music, cinema and computer software. For several decades, he has had an intense focus on music and audio production. Michael’s most recent work, “Nine Vectors of Entry”, was achieved through a combination of custom software development, unusual musical composition, and innovative techniques.
Michael is currently focusing on integrating film into his creative process, with the goal of providing a fresh, modern perspective on the concept of musical cinema.”

Joshua Thomas

Basic Techniques of Video Editing (on Adobe Premiere) Tuesdays 6:15pm-9:00pm February 12,19,26 at “The Classroom” at Advent Coworking (we will be adding an outline for this class soon). January sign up special: $149 for all three dates or $74 for one date.


Advanced Techniques of Video Editing  (on Adobe Premiere) Tuesdays 6:15pm-9pm March 12, 19, 26  at “The Classroom” at Advent Coworking (we will be adding a class-by-class outline for this class soon). January sign up special: $149 for all three dates or $74 for one date.


Buy Tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/basic-techniques-of-video-editing-on-adobe-premiere-tickets-54614406159


About Joshua: With 9 years of video editing under his belt, Joshua Thomas is well versed in the art and magic of the post-production process of filmmaking. He has always loved storytelling and started his
professional carrier with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre in 2009. From there he knew he wanted to translate that knowledge to filmmaking. He became a wedding cinematographer and editor and even during a deployment to Iraq in 2011 he carried a pocket camera around and filmed and edited when he had the chance. Upon his return he became a board member of the Carolina Film Community and got involved in the independent filmmaking scene. Since then He has worked on productions with shoe-string budgets and others with Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars to spend. He now has over 300 video edits under his belt, continues to hone his skills every day, and loves every minute he can spend in the creative process

Rodney Stringfellow

Rodney Stringfellow Bio

Saturday, February 16th from 1:00pm-4:30pm at West Boulevard Library

Telling Stories for the Screen

Rodney currently teaches courses in screenwriting, film history and video production at UNC Charlotte. An educator and screenwriter, he has written episodes for Nickelodeon, PBS, Disney Channel and more. The course is designed to help you craft stories expressly for the screen. The workshop teaches story structure, screenplay formatting, idea development and what happens after you’ve finished your script.

Rodney is an educator and screenwriter who has written episodes of children’s series for Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Disney Channel, PBS Kids, BBC, Peach Blossom Media – Singapore, and Sesame Workshop. He has also written three theatrical productions for Koba Entertainment (Canada). In 2012, he was honored with two Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing/Animation and Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series. Rodney also served as Director of Development for Dorado Entertainment, a NYC-based television production company.
Rodney currently teaches courses in screenwriting, film history and video production at UNC Charlotte. He received the College of Liberal Arts Part-time Lecturer Award for Teaching Excellence in 2014. Previously, Rodney taught screenwriting at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY. Rodney holds a BA in Visual Communications Design from Purdue University and a MS in Communications Design from Pratt Institute.  Find him on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2602775/

Chuck Bludsworth

Saturday, March 2nd from 1:00pm-4:30pm at Hickory Grove Library

Intro to Cinematography for Narrative Filmmaking

For over 30 years, Chuck has served as a crew member, cinematographer, director or writer on feature films, television shows, documentaries, commercials and corporate films. Feature highlights include Dances With Wolves and Cape Fear. Learn how to interpret and create the language of cinema, the vocabulary of shot structure, Basic lens theory, Basics of camera placement and movement.  You’ll be excited to keep learning more on your own about this fascinating art and craft.

Josh Overbay

(see bio and photo above under our January 19th class)

Saturday, March 16th from 1:00pm-4:30pm at West Boulevard Library


This master course will teach you everything you need to direct a small crew on a small budget to make an amazing film! You’ll learn how to direct actors, develop a visual language, and make hundreds of decisions before, during and after the filming. You will learn how to lead the cast and crew from pre-production through post-production, while creating a positive environment where everyone thrives.

Chip White

tr Chip White

Saturday, April 13th from 1:00pm-4:30pm at Hickory Grove Library

Casting and Location Scouting

Award-winning producer and writer Chip White is passionate about translating concepts from script to screen. He brings his 25+ years of experience to us as he teaches  about casting and location scouting. He’ll teach you how to see the whole picture, from concept to final product.You’ll be better prepared to make decisions for your indie movie about the people and places that will bring the story to life.

Co-Founder of Stack 3 Productions, Chip is originally from North Myrtle Beach, SC and is the younger brother of Wheel of Fortune’s famous letter turner, Vanna White. He has more than 30 years of experience in the film and
TV business. Chip moved to LA in the early 80’s and spent the next 20 years working for some of Hollywood’s biggest companies, including King World, Sony, MTV, Vh1, Nickelodeon, and Discovery. In 2005 he relocated back to the Carolinas where he produced for SPEED, Fox Sports, Wells Fargo, Coke, and Duke Energy. In 2016 he was a producer on INSP’s feature films Heritage Falls and County Line. He has also produced four of Shea Sizemore’s multi-award winning short film, A Chess Player, My Luchador, Crab Trap and the soon to be released Black Dispatch. Chip continues to produce and develop projects under the Stack 3 banner. Find Stack 3 here: http://www.stack3productions.com/

Reuben Bloom & Kathleen Bloom


27 April at 1:00pm-4:30pm at Plaza Midwood Library


Making a Short Documentary

Digital storytellers Reuben Bloom and Kathleen Bloom are Charlotte Filmmakers and founders of Basic Cable, creating content that connects people with their communities. They’ll be leading us through this highly interactive day on the outskirts of the Charlotte Boom! Festival in Plaza Midwood. Learn to make a short doc by making a short doc in this very hands-on workshop. After getting a taste of this, you’ll be ready to start capturing all those stories that fascinate you so you can share them through your own docs!

Ananda Mitra

May 11th at 1:00pm-4:30pm at Beatties Ford Road Regional Library

Brilliance of Bollywood Movies

Dr. Mitre teaches at Wake Forest University. One of his many areas of expertise is Indian culture and communication practices. You’ll enjoy excerpts from many classic and current Bollywood movies and see what they can teach you about communicating your ideas through your movies in a way that is entertaining and enjoyable for the audience.

Mike Collins & Tommy Tomlinson

Photo (c) Travis Dove

Saturday, May 18th from 2-3:15pm at Beatties Ford Road Regional Library

The Art of the Interview

Mike Collins is a veteran Charlotte broadcaster who is host of WFAE’s Charlotte Talks. Tommy Tomlinson spent 23 years as a columnist and local reporter for the Charlotte Observer and is current host of WFAE’s Southbound podcast. You’ll enjoy hearing stories about a handful of the thousands of people these acclaimed journalists have interviewed over the years. You’ll learn what goes into the making of a good interview and will be ready to conduct your own, capturing thoughtful answers to make interesting content for your own documentary or behind-the-scenes work.

Soon, we’ll announce our monthly showcase of local filmmakers we are organizing with…

Mia Davis

tr mia

Curates indie films & them 2-3 times monthly in a casual film festival atmosphere with Q&A

Mia Davis has watched thousands of movies (over 500 movies in 2018 so far as of mid-March, 2018) as she curates selections for her series of film screenings called Queen City Cinephiles. While many film festivals treat us to a handful of movies once a year, Mia Davis is tirelessly watching submissions from all over the world (and locally) and choosing the best of the best to show in themed screening nights around Charlotte. Best of all, each film is followed by a discussion so come on out to what is essentially an entire film festival several times a month! Oh, and she will be teaching a class for Charlotte Unconventional Film School from her unique perspective as a screener who has spent thousands of hours watching indie films.

Find her events here: https://www.facebook.com/QCCinephiles/


The tool we use for listing all of our events and receiving RSVPs is called meetup.com. It is free and easy to join, It contains the most comprehensive listing of our events.


For Spring, 2019, our classes are taking places around Charlotte at various Library branches and at Advent Coworking’s event space.