top of page

Getting Started: Resources & Tips

Getting started on your filmmaking journey can be a daunting process. This page will provide helpful links to other websites to get you started on your journey.

Please note that these links are provided in good faith and neither Mill Hill School nor the London Schools' Film Competition is liable for any information provided on external websites. Some website links may feature films and scenes of a more mature nature; teacher/viewer discretion should be exercised. Please see the disclaimer for further information.

Useful resources: (Please note, some links are affiliate links, and the competition will earn a commission if you sign up)

  • Production Crate - A wide range of assets for use in your productions with a highly-competitive subscription rate

Script Writing

Before anything can happen, you need a script. If filming a documentary, you need a story. Whilst the vast majority of articles on this page will tend towards creative writing, many of the techniques are still important and valid for factual-based film.

It can be scary starring at a blank page, but the best methodology is to write your title and your name on the first page. Now you have started, you'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel.

Some writers prefer to start with something called a mood board, or a beat board. These are literary techniques whereby you can plot the narrative of your story scene by scene. A beat board helps you craft where different moments transition things such as emotions, locations, etc. Like all stories, movies and TV shows are made up of moments that build upon each other to create a cohesive whole. In any given scene, there are a number of individual “beats,” where one emotion shifts to another, and the dramatic action shifts in response. A mood board is used after a brain-storming session, where ideas are rationalised, given detail and organised. You can take the different characters you crafted, give them names, motives and a purpose. Locations also can be drawn out in the same way. One way to think of a mood board is like a sketchbook, which organises your ideas ready for a beat board.

There are specific ways to format scripts, screenplays, etc. Use of software such as Final Draft will help, but you can use any word processer and create your own templates. If you ever want your screenplay to be read by a professional, you need to know how to format it.

The resources below show various ways to craft, format and build your script.


You did it. You have written your play, screenplay, documentary concept, etc. What now? It's time to start your film's pre-production process.

First you need to acquire your key personnel. These consist of a director and later on a cinematographer (or director of photography). There are other key roles too, but you'll learn about these in the links below.

The director is the key person who determines how the film will look and feel. The director reports to one or more producers - whose job it is to fund, arrange and supervise the film's production. The director will first want to map out their vision for how the screenplay will translate to the screen and will sometimes make changes. Most of the time they will want to either commission or produce their own storyboard. A storyboard is not a fixed concept and some use it to map out and lockdown each scene in detail while others use it as an ideas board and are more flexible when it comes to filming. Following a storyboard is a shot list, whereby each scene is broken down into the camera shots you will need. A documentary can go through the same process if it is research-based, whereas interviews and exposés generally require detailed planning but the outcome is very dependent on the interviewee. 

You'll also need to audition a cast, budget for expenses, make risk assessments, contingency planning and set your shooting schedule.

The pre-production process can seem tedious, but like any worthwhile project, done well should mean the rest of the film goes smoothly. 


All your planning has resulted in the day of your first film shoot. You have your script, your set is built/dressed, your film crew is ready and waiting, you have assembled your cast and the details of what you'll be filming is in your shot list. Now what? Rehearsal. Blocking a shot under the lighting and from behind a camera will save much wasted time in re-shoots. Tell your actors where to start, where to finish and each key detail. Equally, your camera crew need to know how the realities of the storyboard and shortlist will pan out in reality. Did you forget any crucial details? Do you have somebody checking continuity? All important steps to getting your film from day 1 to a wrap.


|Post-production feels like the end of a long journey, but in reality, you're probably only halfway there. The editing process can take immense resources (time, personnel, etc) on top of the other work such as sound editing, Folley/sound effects (SFX), visual effects (VFX) and colouring. Of course, the nature of these very much depends on the facilities available at your school and the type of film you are making.  The judging categories are set up in such a way that with very basic equipment, you can still score highly.

The choice of editing software will be based on your budget, school facilities and operating system. Most editors fall under the umbrella of NLEs (non-linear editors) meaning that the chronological filming timeline does not have to be followed and edits are non-destructive. Popular choices are Adobe's PremierePro; Apple's Final Cut Pro;  Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve (the non-studio version is free to use);Avid Media Composer; HitFilm (the closest you'll come to PremierePro for free) and Vegas Pro.

British Board Film Classification (BBFC) Rules

An important part of the film competition is producing films that do not cause overt shock, disgust or outrage. We want you to be creative and let your creativity flow out onto the screen. However, we must all be mindful of our audience and given the senior category includes those under the age of 16, it must be appropriate to children of that age group. 

The two entry categories are junior and senior. Below are links to the BBFC website that gives more detail on what can and cannot be in a film of that age category.  Note, age ratings for theatre productions are generally more lenient than those for a cinematic


One of the quickest ways to breach a film's rating is profanity. Profanity is allowed in a 12A film, but context is key. It must not be used in an aggressive, abusive or sexual way. There are also some profanities that cannot be used. With the 15 rating, do watch the use of graphic violence, drugs and gore. While permitted, you cannot dwell on it, glorify it or show it in such a way that can be copied.

bottom of page