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Getting Started


Many people say that the most important phase in the creation of a film is pre-production. Pre-production covers everything from the first production ideas through to preparing for the actual shoot. An engaging film is the direct result of strong ideas, effective planning and organised preparation.

Developing the idea

Filmmakers need creative inspiration to help spark their ideas. Some filmmakers work through a variety of brainstorming activities to motivate and challenge their creative thinking process.

With a strong idea or purpose in mind, filmmakers can begin to think about the creative possibilities and style for their production. A strong idea provides the necessary motivation to follow the project through to completion.

Target audience

Audience members observe, listen and respond in different ways. Contemporary audiences are generally more media savvy. They are experienced at interacting with the range of available media forms in new ways, spaces and locations.

Whether a production is mainstream, niche or subcultural, its success relies upon initial in-depth research and understanding of the target audience. Consider the diversity of the intended viewer, including:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Geographic location
  • Cultural background
  • Education
  • Religion

Selecting the medium

The next stage is to select the appropriate media form to tell the story. The most obvious choice for many filmmakers may be digital video. Other media forms, including photography, print and multimedia, may also be appropriate or provide greater room for innovative production ideas – particularly when one or more are fused together. The possibilities for communicating the intended message are endless.

Compare and contrast the limitations of the equipment and technology available. This will often reveal what media form best suits the purpose of the work.  It will highlight how that media form might shape the overall look, feel and content of the final product. Again, consider audience expectations and the viewing context.

Selecting the genre

Films, both narrative and non-narrative, can be classified by their genre. Genre is based on shared or recognisable codes and conventions, such as structure, content, pattern or style.

Some well-known genres are:

  • horror
  • science fiction
  • romance
  • western
  • musical
  • war
  • fantasy
  • action

Genres change over time. A new genre can emerge when a filmmaker borrows or experiments with the conventions of other genres. The popularity and reshaping of different genres often highlights the values and attitudes deemed important by society at the time.