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Film tips

How To guides

Take a look at these ten short films created by experts at Into Film. 

Each ‘short’ is only about two minutes long but packed with advice on how to make a great film:

  1. How to Structure a Film
  2. How to Storyboard
  3. How to Use a Camera
  4. How to Record Sound
  5. How to Light a Film
  6. How to Direct
  7. How to Edit
  8. How to Stay Safe
  9. How to Showcase a Film
  10. How to be Legal

Story is important

Our judge Daniel Smith, Filmmaking Manager at Into Smith, has these Top Tips: 

Story is very important

It can be very tempting to start filming as soon as you get your hands on a camera. However, taking your time with planning and developing your story will help you create a stronger film.

  • Make a film about something that you are interested in or passionate about
  • Brainstorm your ideas, share with friends and ask for their feedback
  • Create a storyboard to help visualize how the story will play out on film
  • Less is more. A simple story told well can be very effective. A complicated story with little focus could confuse your audience.



Who is your audience?

When developing your film ideas, you should consider who your intended audience is.

This will help with the planning and making sure the voice and tone of the film is appropriate for the intended audience.

  • If you want your film to have a wide appeal, make sure the content is appropriate for a family audience
  • Think about what will make your film appeal to other young people.

Appropriate content

Films entered into the Young Filmmaker Awards competition may be shared on the HMyfa website and on YouTube or Vimeo for everyone to enjoy.

Therefore it is important that the content is appropriate.

  • Avoid swearing and offensive language
  • Avoid showing risky behaviours such as drug taking, smoking and violence
  • If depicting risky behavior is part of your story, use your creativity to think about how to explore these behaviours in a responsible way.

You don’t need expensive equipment!

Filmmaking is now very accessible for most people.

You can use whatever equipment you have available to you.

At the very least, you need a camera (it may be on a smart phone or tablet), editing software and plenty of enthusiasm.

  • It is possible to make terrific films using mobile devices and lots of filmmaking apps are available with them too
  • You may be able to borrow equipment from family, friends, your school or youth group.


Good quality sound is as important as the quality of the video footage you capture for your film.

  • Try to use an external microphone as built in mics on cameras do not always produce quality sound
  • Use headphones to help identify any issues with sound recordings
  • Try to avoid busy or loud areas when filming, especially if you do not have a suitable microphone.

Use a tripod or keep the camera as still as possible

A tripod offers stability within a shot and, once set up, allows the filmmaker to ensure all takes are shot from the same position. A tripod also prevents shaky camera work, which can be off putting for the audience.

  • A good tripod will allow for smooth movements to produce pans (camera moving horizontally) and tilts (camera moving vertically)
  • If you don’t have a tripod, rest against a wall and keep your arms still during the shoot
  • You can rest your camera on a flat surface to ensure you achieve a steady shot.


When selecting the music for your film, it is important that you only use songs that you have permission to use.

This means you cannot use your favourite One Direction song or any other popular tracks that you like.

The process for obtaining permission for copyrighted songs is costly and can take a long time.

  • Use one of the many copyright free music libraries online (such as Incompetech or AudioMicro) that allow you to use a wide variety of music tracks in your film projects at no cost
  • Make the most of the musical talents in your film group and compose your own music

Logos and Branding

It is important that you do not include any obvious or deliberate branding or logos in your film.

  • Ask actors to wear neutral clothing, free of any branding or logos such as Nike
  • Do not include close ups of branding items such as mobile phones or computers
  • Avoid close ups of posters, paintings or newspapers/magazines in your film

Length of Film

You can enter films in the Young Filmmaker Awards that are up to five minutes in length (including titles and credits).

However, consider making shorter films as they can be more engaging if made well.

Don’t be scared to cut out parts of your film if you think they don’t work. If you are unsure, your audience probably will be too.