Guide for New Filmmakers

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In this section, we have put together some tips and advice for scriptwriting, film production, distribution and marketing. 

You will also find links to websites and articles we find useful.   We will regularly update this section but if you find anything you would like to share, please send the link or PDF of an article to [email protected]

To get you started, we have compiled a list of things you can do to help start your filmmaking career. 

Be informed

Firstly, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter – this will keep you updated on what is happening in the New Zealand film industry, events you can attend, job opportunities and filmmakers/films being funded.  Most New Zealand film organisations and industry guilds will also have a newsletter you can subscribe to – a list of these organisations and links to their websites, can be found in Partner Organisations.  Be as well-informed as you can about the New Zealand film industry: that way, you will have a more realistic idea of where your film fits into it.

Skills and knowledge

There are plenty of filmmaking workshops and talks you can attend to broaden your filmmaking knowledge and skill-base.  Examples include Script to Screen and WIFT, both of which hold events regularly in Wellington and Auckland. Occasionally there will also be extra internship opportunities advertised through us or the guilds.

Industry contacts

Filmmaking is not a venture you can easily undertake alone.  The best way to make industry contacts is by attending networking events specifically designed to facilitate this – examples include our regular industry functions, and larger film conferences such as The Big Screen Symposium or the SPADA Conference.  Websites such as The Data Book or NZ Techos’ Guild can also be helpful in finding cast and crew members.

Body of work and filmmaking experience

The more filmmaking experience you can gain, the better.  This can be from working on someone else’s, or your own, film project.  Film competitions are a great way to get creative and try new ideas out – for example,  Rialto Channel 48HOURS, The Outlook for Someday, Tropfest.  Websites such as Screenhub or The Big Idea also list job opportunities in the film industry.

Professional feedback

Once you have a solid script that is ready for development, it’s a good idea to get feedback from an industry professional who can give you impartial advice.  The New Zealand Writers’ Guild offers a script assessment service which you will need to pay for, but you’ll find it's well worth it.

Know what will work, and what has worked

Take the time to do your research – watch films that we have funded in the past, or films that have had international success at festivals  – there are common elements we look for which make a film concept strong.