Filmmaking Tips for Students

Posted on November 14, 2017

1. Start Young

Steven Spielberg made his first film at the age of 12. Get the jump on your rivals by having a showreel of 4-5 films by the time youʼre 18. Start now!

2. Just DO it

Thereʼs no better way to learn filmmaking than getting out there and DOING it. And you donʼt need expensive equipment. A handycam, or even a mobile phone, plus free editing software available on Mac and PC computers – thatʼs all you need to get started.

Sound recording may not be great on these cameras but you could always start by making a silent film. Itʼs a little old-fashioned but itʼs the best way to learn. It challenges you to tell a story visually. Once youʼve mastered that you might want to invest in a separate microphone for sound recording.

3. The Script the Script the Script

You canʼt make a good film out of a bad story – itʼs impossible. The most important part of any story is for your characters to have clear goals – specific things they want or need to achieve. And the stakes must be high. They must achieve their goal or else something terrible will happen…

4. Acting Up

There is no need to hire actors – use your friends and family. Loads of your friends will want to be in your movie. Just ask.

5. Cutting it

The fun and excitement of filming is over and you have your raw footage (called Rushes). Now itʼs time for editing. This is where a lot of young people get stuck or give up. But stick with it and be patient – itʼll all be worth it in the end.

All you need is a basic domestic editing package like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, already built-in to most computers, or easily downloadable. Use YouTube tutorials on these softwares to get you started. Youʼll quickly get the hang of it.

6. Sounding off

Give your films a professional gloss by adding music and sound effects. If you want to enter your film for festivals it will be important to use copyright-free music. There are loads of sites offering this for free. Just type ʻcopyright-free musicʼ into your search engine.

7. Distribution

Upload your film to Youtube or Vimeo. The opportunities these platforms present are enormous. Theyʼre global, and free. If your film courses a stir on Youtube, producers may be banging on your door soon: Fede Alvarez and his short film Panic Attack became a internet sensation and was reportedly made for less than £400.

8. The Social Network, Network

Use social networking sites to spread the word about your film. Think of a new way to approach people. The young filmmakers behind are raising money for their film and getting lots of celebrity backers by selling end-credits in their film for £1.

9. University Challenge

Think twice before opting for a media studies course at university. It may be right for you, but the majority of people working in the film industry now didnʼt take a degree specifically in filmmaking or media. Consider carefully.

10. Learn from the Pros

There are loads of great websites full of information to help young people break into filmmaking. You donʼt have to wait until youʼre university age either – get started now. Young Film Academy specialise in helping 8-18 year olds make films. Linked directly to the film industry, we run handson filmmaking courses every Easter, Summer and Autumn in London and Italy.