Making your first film by Wayne Sables 

You’ve decided to start making films? The problem is where do you begin? There is so much information out there It can become quite overwhelming. 

You already have everything you already need to make a film or rather multiple films. In this day and age, you don’t need an expensive camera or a crazy expensive editing machine, although I must mention that as you progress in your film career you will quickly outgrow your existing kit and its capabilities (more on that later).

There is no end of filmmaking courses out there. I have some filmmaking courses myself There is a lot of great information that can be leant from good courses. You can be a great filmmaker by making films and learning as you go. 

The best filmmakers are ever better storytellers. Find a great story you want to tell and the rest is just the way you want to communicate to your audience.

Telling your story 

I am a big believer in creating films that you want to watch. Doing this will help you when it becomes a challenging project. If you bring commitment, passion and probably your own money to the project you’re more likely to finish it. People need to see and experience your stories. It can be tough making films, there are a lot of things that need to happen, finding a story, researching, financing, script writing (or treatments if its a documentary), finding a crew (unless you’re doing it alone), casting, location scouting and securing permissions, rehearsals, shooting, ensuring continuity, editing, sound mixing, colouring, mastering, distributing (Film Festivals, YouTube/Vimeo, streaming platforms etc). Don’t be put off by the amount of work you’re about to do, it is thrilling. You’re going to love it. Worst case you will 100% learn something along the way that you will take into your next film project. 

Let’s start at the beginning 

The first thing you’re going to need to figure out is what’s the story. Is it based on something that’s happened? Is it fictional? Once you have a story you need to start formulating that into a narrative. Break it down into story arcs, plot lines, character journeys etc. this can become overwhelming from the beginning, stick with it. The more you invest in this part of the process the stronger your story will be and the easier the rest of the process will become. The process is different depending on whether you are working on a narrative or a documentary. If you’re making a documentary you don’t need to write scripts, write character journeys etc, as you research your subject you may find themes emerge that you want to follow and strong characters become clear. As the story is unfolding in real-time in a documentary you have to be responsive and capture it. You will end up with a lot more footage making a documentary that an equivalent-length narrative. The documentary film is mainly made in the editing process. 

Here are a few resources that may help you in your writing journey (I switch between my iPad and laptop a lot when I am working so will identify if it’s an iOS app or a laptop app).


Final draft – iOS/Android/Mac/Windows – cost £9.99 iOS, £140.62 Mac/Windows (it is on sale at the time of writing this)

Celtx script – iOS/Android/Mac/Windows £11-£44 a month depending on the plan you take out.

Word/pages – iOS/Android/Mac/Windows £free comes with Mac/PC

Celtx shots – iOS/Android great for planning your shots once you have a script/idea§

Storyboard – iOS is great for storyboarding your film after you’ve created a script. £free

Shortlister – iOS/Android/Mac/Windows £52.99 a year iOS. £xxx a year Mac, shotlister helps break your script into a shot list to speed up and smooth the filming process.


Now you’ve planned your film or created a treatment for your film it’s time to get it a shot. I love this part of the filmmaking process where you bring all your ideas to life. You see what works, and what doesn’t. You get to be in the moment, respond to challenges and make a film. 

When on set everyone must stick to their designated roles (if you have a team of course), in all honesty, I make lots of films where it’s either just myself or two of us. These are usually smaller shots where it doesn’t require lots of people or you can easily double up on roles. 

There are lots to discuss around types of cameras, lens choices, colour pallets, shooting styles, shot types etc that’s probably another blog, this one aims to get you shooting. As I mentioned earlier you already have everything you need in your pocket to make a film – a smartphone and every film you make will teach you lots and with each new film, you make you will instinctively upskill yourself and new kit comes with those improvements. All you need is something you can film off.

Smartphone camera – iOS/Windows £free

Filmic pro – iOS £52.99 a year/Android

Mark II Artist viewfinder – iOS £25.99/Artemis Directors viewfinder £29.99. This app helps you find optimal places to put your camera, it simulates real camera and lens combinations (and mucky much more). It’s probably something to look into more as you progress in your filmmaking journey. 

Pro camera app iOS/Android is one of my favourite camera apps. You have manual controls for things such as iso/shutter/fps etc. Moment also sell lenses and filters you can connect to your phone to enhance your shot and creativity. Check them out at


Once you’ve shot your film you then need to cut it together to make a film. You probably have a good idea of how your story fits together. If it’s a narrative you have your script/shot list plus any additional material you’ve shot during the shooting phase. If it’s a documentary you may have found the story whilst filming. Either way, it’s time to move on to the editing phase. 

In this phase, you get to recut the film, test out different shot combinations, re-cut the narrative and re-look at the character arcs s you build the funk story. There are some comprehensive editing programmes available on both mac and windows. Below is a list of editing apps that you can edit using your smartphone. In a later blog I will look at different professional editing softwares, for now let’s stick to mobile devices. 

iMovie – iOS £free – if you’ve shot your footage on an Apple phone you will be able to download iMovie for free. It’s a basic editing programme that will enable you to cut your film as well as create trailers for a set of pre created templates.

Quick ( by GoPro) – iOS/Android £ free. Most mobile editing apps are virtually the same with few quirks. This one from the makers of GoPro is a great app to get you editing tumour film fast.

Notable: If you’re further on in your editing journey and are using an editing programme called DaVinci Resolve, blackmagic have just announced a full version for the iPad. It is only available on the M chip version so you’ll need one of the newer models. The initial findings look very promising, it feels like a game changer for filmmakers/editors. If you have an iPad with usbc charging you can plug in a usbc hard drive and edit your footage. This is a great way to have your footage on an external device meaning you can edit both on a mobile device and a laptop/desktop.

What now?

You have written, shot and edited your film, so what next? You probably want people to see it. There are a few options for you. is a popular choice for uploading your film. There are a few challenges in using this approach, YouTube is over saturated with content and it can be difficult getting eyes on your film. If you have a good social media following it’s worth promoting it on your channels directing people to the film. bills itself as the filmmakers channel. It has a much smaller subscriber base so it’s easier to get ‘found’ you can also pay for a pro account and use their VOD (Vimeo on demand) sub-site where you can set a price for your work and people can buy it. Another Avenue you could explore is film festivals. is a great site where you upload your film once and can submit to multiple film festivals as simply as clicking the submit button.  

I hope this blog has helped you in deciding whether to make your first of next film. I’d love it if your could share this blog, getting more people to see it ups my numbers on google and really helps with getting this block ranked. I would love to see what your create and connect with you on social media I’m at @waynesables.

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