Firstly, commit yourself and your students to making a short film. Then, get started.
Treat making a film like a small project; understand what you want to achieve and then break it down into manageable components. Then break those components down into smaller tasks and allocate responsibilities.
The MyState Student Film Festival has created film making guides especially for the students and teachers. The guides are included in the teacher’s toolkit and also available for download at mystatefilmfestival.com.au. The guides are step-by-step instructions on the six components of filmmaking, starting with the idea.
What sort of short-film do your students want to make? Depending on their area of study or interest, it might be a dramatic film, a comedy, a documentary (or mockumentary), an animation or a music video?
Work out how your students will work together on a film. As a class group, in small groups or if they are older students, working independently and collaborating with other students who have specific skills (such as music composition, IT skills etc) that will complement the film making experience.
Consider what areas of the school curriculum that a film making project will cover – English, Drama, Media and Visual Arts, Music, Humanities and Social Sciences and of course, Technologies. It may be possible to collaborate with teachers specialising in these areas of education that can offer advice and expertise, provide production assistance and support and get their students involved in the project.
The teachers resources page on the Festival’s website have some fantastic tips and suggestions on how to get started from professional filmmakers as well as some project management tools including checklists which can help you start.
Most importantly, remember filmmaking should be enjoyable (unless you’re filming in swampy marshland in two degree temperatures!). Don’t get bogged down with trying to do things perfectly; filmmaking will be trial and error so learn by experience and laugh-off the things that go wrong. As long as everyone has fun and learns something along the way, it is all worthwhile.