Tips for filmmaking: Leveraging Resources at School

Are you a current student with a passion for filmmaking? Did you know that your school may have free resources that you can access to help you make films? Keep reading to see how you can make the most of the resources available to you: 

Find out what equipment is available to you

For Dale (filmmaker behind A Film About Love, Don’t Blame Jack), his primary filming resources came from the very place he spent most of his days: “the resources available at my university enabled me to create exactly what I wanted to without having to concern myself with the cost of renting equipment, which would be extraordinarily higher than the annual university fees.” Another good tip? “Studying film and watching as many films as I could has taught me everything, including what not to do.”

As we covered in last week’s blog, good sound is critical. Check with your school’s music department, media arts department, or the person who manages AV needs to see what kind of sound equipment is available to borrow. Another creative way to enhance the sound quality of your film is to make your own sound effects 😉

Vicki Kisner’s film ‘Mia’s Story’ is an impactful short about a young girl struggling with depression and anxiety who learns – with support from a friend – that help is out there. Vicki says, “I made Mia’s Story while studying for my Master of Arts in Fiction Directing at the Met Film School in London. Fortunately we had access to lots of equipment and a fantastic crew of fellow students and we managed to make this film with a tiny budget.” View ‘Mia’s Story’ below to see how equipment from school can be used to create a beautifully filmed final project.


Improvising some materials can help you produce a film on a low budget. When awarded the November 2016 monthly film prize for ‘Core.’, Ashlen Harkness shared what helped make the film possible: “I have been very lucky to have access to my University’s technology and facilities, such as computers, the Final Cut Pro X software, good film cameras and studios. I improvised with a green sheet hung over a portable classroom whiteboard to make the green screen – as the studio with the green screen was way too expensive for me to rent and booked out long in advance.’ Check out last week’s blog on easy hacks for technical filmmaking components for some more tips on improvising recommended by OLIVE winners!

Engage with people who have similar interests

Joining a school club related to film or photography can also create new friendships with people who have similar interests. Ashlen says, ‘as this was a university project, I had ready access to friends who could act or dancejust as I was available if they needed assistance. At first, I experimented with the university camera and then the studio facilities. The camera and studio influenced the technical aspects of the film project.” Ashlen’s film focuses on dance to explore the internal experience and external display of anxiety and panic. Watch to see the final product in video below:

StudentFilms.Com also has an entire archive of short films filmed while attending various colleges or universities and lists all equipment used for each project. Remember to take full advantage of your learning experience at school by using the resources available! If you have any comments or questions about this blog, post in the section below or connect with us on social media. Tune in next time, where we will be discussing how to tap into the expertise of those around you!

Ready to submit your short film? Do so here!

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