top of page



Filmmaking for beginners

All you need is a mobile phone or camera and something to say and you can get started!


Filmmaking has 3 stages:

  • Planning  (pre-production)

  • Filming  (production)

  • Editing and sharing (post-production)


1. Planning (pre-production)

In this first stage you work out your filmmaking idea and how you will tell your story. Is it a documentary? Is it a drama? Is it animation? Is it something else?


Once you’ve got your idea, write your idea down in a simple script. In this script describe all the people and places in your film. This script will act as your guide for filming.


Then you need to prepare for filming.


Seek out permission for your locations. Visit it before the shoot. Check the light. Check that there won’t be any interruptions or distracting sounds. 


Make sure you have all of your participants in the filming prepared. Have all of the onscreen participants in your film sign release forms.  Remember to get permission from their parents or guardian if they are under the age of 18.


Get your gear ready. Borrow a camera, or use your own phone or tablet. If you can, borrow a tripod and a microphone. And finally charge your battery.... NOW YOU ARE READY TO FILM!


2. Filming (production)

Make sure you’re confident with your equipment before you start filming. Remember practice makes perfect, so the more you use the camera the better camera-person you will be. 


Set up for filming. Make sure all of the participants involved in your filming are clear about their role. Make sure the shooting location is quiet.


Shoot more than you need. For a one-minute drama film you might need to shoot between three and five minutes of video. For documentaries – where you can’t control what there is to film – you will need much more than this.


When you use the camera, hold it still and preferably use a tripod. If you are using your phone, you might want to sit it on a stable surface. Shoot long shots and let action take place uninterrupted.  Then watch what you’ve filmed and check it’s OK before you leave the location. Is the colour right? Is the framing right? Have you got all the shots you need?


If you’re recording live sound, pay attention to the sound quality and make sure you’ve recorded some background sound or ‘ambience’ which will help with the editing.


3. Editing and sharing (post-production)

To edit your film you will need a computer or a video editing app on your phone or tablet.


First load your footage onto your computer or phone/tablet. Open your editing program and create a project, and give it a name.


Now, using your script as your guide, arrange your video clips on the timeline. Keep reviewing as you go making sure your story makes sense and maintains interest.  Once you are happy with your film, check sound levels and add titles. Remeber to check that it lasts less than five minutes. And don't forget to save!


Finally, export a copy of the film at the highest quality. Then export any lower-quality copies to upload online.




Here are some other helpful resources for aspiring #WHYSTOP filmmakers:



If you already have some film-making experience, you might like to take a look at Lights Film School on their website or advanced level tutorials on their YouTube channel.


If you are successful in the #WhyStop competition, CARE International will show your short film at various events and types of media. It is important that everyone who appears in your film consents to their image being used in this way. It is best practice to ask anyone who appears in your film to sign a ‘release form’ which could read something like this:


“I give [filmmaker], CARE International, and sponsors and donors of the #WhyStop Short Film Competition permission to use my image in this film, along with photographs, video, audio recordings and likeness from this film in any medium, for the purpose of promotion, marketing, fundraising, documentation and public display.” [signed/thumbprint and dated]


You can also get these permissions through speaking. This is called an oral agreement – you could record it on your camera or your phone. If the judges select your film as a finalist, CARE will need you to certify that you have these permissions, so getting them before you start filming could save you time later on.


And remember there are special rules for when children appear in your film. Read about our Child Protection guidelines for filming here.

Talent release forms

The #WHYSTOP Short Film Competition is managed by GoodMorningBeautifulFilms for CARE Cambodia. This campaign is made possible with funding from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women and the Australian Government. #WHYSTOP is also sponsored by Major Cineplex by cellcard, Sabay News and Sony

Photo credits: CARE/GMBFilms

bottom of page