• • • film

For the past week your kitchen has been full of pie tin flying saucers and ketchup blood, and you forced your own mother to hold up the Super-8 camera while you dragged your G.I. Joes across the linoleum floor. There’s a little more to it than that. The New School’s “Independent Filmmaking from A to Z” ( gives you the ins and outs of everything you need to know, from directing to producing, and yes, even how to make a masterpiece with a low budget. Course begins September 18. Cost: $425.

If you're serious about breaking into the biz, get it all through the Digital Film Academy's 14-week course (333-4013). They're the only school that starts you off writing your own screenplay, which they'll copyright. Then you'll move into directing, complete with live talent. On top of that you'll get 24-7 unlimited lab time and master three editing forms; when your movie's complete, they'll teach you Web streaming and DVD authoring.

TV sucks, but you can change that. DV Dojo (477-2299; favors revolutionizing video. Whether you're ready to dive into a career in digital video, or want to start with night classes, this Lower East Side school has a variety of workshops to fit your schedule, as well as regular screenings. You'll make several beginning projects in the five-week, full-time course, which begins on September 3 or October 7. Get the lowdown on shooting and editing as well as broadcasting and film festivals in the eight-week evening course, which begins on September 2. —Ariston Anderson

• • • finance

Get started in the sizzling-hot creative bookkeeping field <@Italic>now<@$> with “Fundamentals of Accounting” at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (998-7080;, Monday evenings from September 23 to November 25. Tighten your belt, though, ‘cause this prerequisite for more advanced courses costs $655—shredder not included.

The six-hour “One-Day MBA Workshop: Practical Knowledge It Takes Years to Learn in Biz School” at the <@Bold>Learning Annex<@$> (; 371-0280) on August 24 runs $124. Learning good business planning from a CEO who’s made good by. . . teaching folks good business planning sounds. . . good, but the circularity’s distracting; Dale Carnegie, eat your heart out.

Leave it to Borough of Manhattan Community College (220-8350; to give it to you under budget during these grizzly-market times: "The ABC's of Investing" has two-day sections for $50—that's four AOL shares plus change—beginning in October, surveying basic investment outlets plus education and retirement finance. —E. McMurtrie

• • • international study

If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. So why not try Vietnam, South Africa, or Nicaragua? The School for International Training (888-272-7881; specializes in semester-long study-abroad programs like "Revolution, Transformation, and Civil Society in Nicaragua."

International studies heavyweight Columbia University gives select non-degree students the opportunity to take such courses as “Politics and Society of Pakistan’’ and “Human Rights in Post-Soviet Eurasia’’ through its Continuing Education and Special Programs division. (854-9699;

If you aren't the type who could spend a semester unravelling the intricacies of Uzbek monetary policy, try the smorgasbord at the 92nd Street Y (415-5500; "Great Decisions 2002," a foreign affairs colloquium that shifts its focus for each of eight weekly sessions. —Danial Adkison

• • • language

Voulez-vous parler avec moi? At the French Institute/Alliance Française (355-6100;, serious classes at several levels of difficulty and intensity will have you pronouncing the wine list in no time. Registration for the fall term begins September 17. (Cost: $400)

NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (998-7080; offers three-week intensives for $995 in standard Arabic, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish; you study in the classroom and practice on field trips to ethnic neighborhoods. They teach over 25 languages, in a broad range of schedules and formats.

The Lexington School for the Deaf/Center for the Deaf in Queens (718-899-8800; teaches American Sign Language classes, two hours a week, to the general public as well as staff and parents of Lexington students. Register early for the $120 nine-week session. —Anya Kamenetz

• • • music

Picking up where 1970s matchbook covers left off, Hunter College (772-4490) will help you turn your poems into songs. Their lyric-writing course, through the Music Department, promises to help hone your heartfelt verse into commercial product and to help composers learn to work with lyricists.

The New School (229-5600) doesn’t just offer instrument instruction and appreciation courses (Al Jolson, Bob Dylan, and a reggae primer), but will make you an audio engineer as well. A five-course sequence covers the nuts and bolts of engineering, using Pro Tools, producing pop and hip-hop, and an internship.

If a percussion orchestra at your fingertips is what you're after, tabla master Samir Chatterjee offers classes at Lotus Music & Dance (718-335-3465) in the small Indian drums that can make you sound like you're hearing a trumpet here, a cat there—the high-speed patterns behind traditional ragas. —Kurt Gottschalk

• • • nature

If you think New York would be the worst place to study botany, than you’ve never been to the New York Botanical Garden. Offering over 750 courses, the garden has been teaching the ways of plants for over 70 years. With “Great Women in the Garden” (September 8, $35) you’ll learn the secrets of the world’s greatest female horticulturists. In “Plants That Changed History” (September 14, $35) you’ll discover how plants have radically altered commerce, medicine, and even stories of love and war. Visit or call 718-817-8747.

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