how to start learning filmmaking for beginners

Wondering how to start learning filmmaking? Keep reading for our 8 tips on how to get started in filmmaking for beginners.

how to start learning filmmaking for beginners

By: Kennedy Randall

There is no single place to start learning filmmaking. Learning the craft is a long journey where you will discover what role you want on set and what stories you want to tell. How to get started in filmmaking comes down to you and the effort you can put in gaining experience. Whether that’s on set, in school, or in your area, seize the day and start learn filmmaking. 


Below, we have six starting points to start learning filmmaking. Everyone start’s somewhere, even the greatest directors. Hard work, creativity, and passion will be your guides, but keep reading for our guide on how to begin your journey in the film industry.

InFocus Film School Film Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

1. Watch and Study Movies

Likely, watching movies is what drew you to filmmaking in the first place. Watching films is a great place to start on your filmmaking journey. When you are enjoying movies with friends or family, think about what you think made this film a great one. Notice how they organise their shots and scenes. As well, think about how they have used the camera to develop the plot. By taking the time to really see what makes a great film, you will develop a critical eye that will help you develop your own films.

Take the time to watch the classics as well as new movies coming out today. Director Steven Spielberg has said that he still learns from films that came out 50 years ago and tells aspiring filmmakers to watch the classics. Whether that’s Citizen Kane or Man with a Movie Camera, these are resources that are integral to filmmaking for beginners. 

how to start learning filmmaking

2. Pick Up A Camera

Obviously, eventually, you will need some professional equipment. But this is your first film, not your oscar winning feature! There is nothing stopping you from shooting something on the phone in your back pocket. As a beginner, the best way to learn is to experiment with short videos and shots on your phone. You don’t need to invest in expensive gear, have a massive budget to start learning filmmaking.

Your best assets are your creativity and what you have on hand. Grab a couple friends and shoot a short film. All you need is an idea, script, cast, and location. Practice making storyboards and getting your friends to act out different stories while you discover what your filmmaking style will be.

how to start learning filmmaking

3. Start Learning Filmmaking from Experts

There are no better people to learn filmmaking from than the people currently in the industry. Jumping into filmmaking school is a comprehensive place to start. After 12 months at this film and television course, you will learn directing, screenwriting, cinematography, and editing under the mentorship of working industry professionals. You will also leave film school with 12 films under your belt. This is not only extremely useful experience but one of these 12 films could be something you market to streaming services or production companies. By diving right into a video production course you get on set experience with top of the line equipment, room for your creativity to flourish, and prepares you for the professional film industry. 

Along with this, attending seminars or masterclasses led by industry professionals is a great place to start learning filmmaking. If you are a parks and recreation fan or curious about screenwriting in general, check out this online master class on How to Develop a Comedy Series with Norm Hiscock, a comedy screenwriter for Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Saturday Night Live. Learning from people who are involved in the industry you want to be in is a great place to start filmmaking for beginners. 


4. Volunteer on Set

Any experience you can get on set is a learning experience. When looking at how to start learning filmmaking, volunteering on set is a great choice as not only do you learn best by doing, but you also meet people involved in the industry. Being an eager and hard working volunteer may one day lead to a paid gig or other filmmaking opportunities.

Looking on reddit or other online forums about filmmaking in your area is a great place to find work. As well, you could ask your instructors from film school if they know anyone who is looking for a helping hand on set. Gaining hands-on experience is one of the best ways to figure out what you like to do. Whether that be sound, directing, or post-production, the only way to know if it is for you is to try it!

how to start learning filmmaking

5. Participate in Filmmaking Challenges

There are various filmmaking challenges out there designed for beginners to get some practice and recognition for their hard work. Importantly, many of them are short film competitions, making them easily accessible for beginners. You can find some of these competitions on FilmFreeway, which also has film festival resources that you can check out. Otherwise, just quickly google search for some short film competitions that are either online or in your area.

6. Network

These previous five starting points can offer you experience and a chance to network. Connect with local aspiring filmmakers to make your first film, watch movies together, and compete in challenges. As well, your instructors and peers at film school are an incredibly valuable resource. The person sitting next to you in your class could be your future business partner! Further, your instructors may pass along news of job opportunities and internships that could be of interest to their students. Never estimate the power of word of mouth!

how to get started in filmmaking

Overall, we hope that these six tips will be the push you need to start learning filmmaking. All famous filmmakers were sitting where you once were, deciding how to get started. The path to becoming an award-winning filmmaker and seeing your dreams come alive on screen is not a clear cut one. However, with creativity and drive to succeed, there is nothing that can stop you.

Related Articles:

InFocus Film Production Program

How to Become a Filmmaker After Film School: An Interview with Film Director David Michán

Five Benefits of Film Production Training

Eight Filmmakers Who Went to Film School


Five of our talent students have been featured in the Graphis New Talent Annual 2022! Check out their imaginative and creative designs below. 


For new graduates or people new to the graphic design industry can attest it is daunting getting your start. Five of our alumni from our Graphic and Digital Design program, however, have proved that hard work pays off. These five talented graphic designers have been honoured in this year’s Graphis New Talent Annual.

Graphis Gold Award new talent annual

Graphis New Talent Annual awards students who, with help from their esteemed professors, produced polished works during their Graphic Design program. After selection, it is compiled in a book which is available for purchase digitally or in hard copy. The competition is steep – over 1000 submissions from international esteemed art schools. 

InFocus Film School Graphic and Digital Design Program | Learn More


InFocus is proud of Adrienne Noble, who’s work was awarded gold in the annual. “Finding out that I won GOLD in Graphis Annual’s 2022 New Talent Division was like a huge warm hug from the multiverse!” she said. Her stunning logo will appear in both the hardcover print copies and the digital copy of the annual. 


Her logo, shown below, was made in our Adobe Illustrator class with professor Lelia Singleton. “Lelia trusted me and helped to squash my new designer insecurities and imposter syndrome! The InFocus instructors are passionate and caring. They provide a real working knowledge of the tools that are required to succeed as a graphic designer” she said. 

graphis new talent annual

After InFocus, Adrienne settled into her own freelance graphic design business called Honey Wolf Creative. “The accelerated program provides students with all the skills they need to leave feeling confident and prepared to start working in the industry upon graduation.”


Four of our other talented alumni received honourable mentions for their work done at InFocus. Renée Bouche created beverage labels called “Respectfull Pints” that call attention to women’s safety and sexual assault. Her “better-believe-her bitter” and “contest-is-sexy stout” boasts 100% of your daily nutritional value of respect! It is no surprise this imaginative and advocative design received an honourable mention. 

graphis new talent annual

“This program is designed for the determined and has likely tested you, challenged you and pushed you to your limits. While, you may want to put down the mouse, trackpad, or stylus, have no fear! It won’t be long until your hard work is recognized outside of the classroom.” Renee added. Indeed, her hard work has paid off being recongized this year in the Graphis New Talent Annual!

graphis new talent annual

Another honourable mention came in for Jill Chao-sheng Li who designed a logo for the Van Gogh Museum in Lelia Singleton’s Adobe Illustrator class. “I love how all the instructors just want the best out of us. They are committed and want to teach us everything they know just to see us succeed,” Jill added.


Like many of our other graduates, she has already made a splash in the graphic design industry. She landed a full-time graphic design job 3 months after graduating from the program.


“The class schedule was intense and took real effort to put everything we learned into practice. However, this was an investment I made for myself. It led me to being part of the new talent annual, winning the Indigo Design award, and landing my first full-time graphic design job. I want to attribute it all to InFocus, the instructors and my wonderful classmates. None of this would happen if I didn’t join this program” she said. 

graphis new talent annual


Bruno Cunha made a fantastic poster designed in Lelia’s Adobe Illustrator class that would warm any pet lover’s heart! Seeing the creativity intertwine between image, text, and meaning in all the designs that have been chosen is astounding. Calling for more pet-friendly housing in British Columbia, Bruno makes a stance through his design. 

graphis new talent annual

Finally, Ángela Núñez Cadenas’s stunning poster and whimsical stationary system designed in Lelia’s Adobe Illustrator class was selected by Graphis. Her poster brings to the forefront sustainability in fashion. As well, her stationary system for the underwater museum make nature and animals come alive on the page.

graphis new talent annual

“Firstly, I learned so much while studying at InFocus film school. I also want to say thank you to Leila because she helped us a lot and pushed us to take part in this competition. The things she taught us and the way she supported us is the reason why we got these awards” Angela said.

graphis new talent annual

Not only does eco-friendly fashion endure, but our students do too! The hard work that our 6 month program expects has paid off with their awards at Graphis New Talent Annual. “It’s encouraging to see this young group entering the real world with the professional skills needed to be successful,” said co-founder and creative director Travis Tatum, of Tatum Designs. After six months, are students are set up for success in the industry.

If you want to learn more about our graphic design program, click here for more information. 


Related Articles:

InFocus Graphic and Digital Design Program

10 Ways to Get Started in Graphic Design

7 Types of High Paying Graphic Design Jobs

5 Key Graphic Design Projects for Your Portfolio

how to become a professional screenwriter

Wondering how to become a professional screenwriter? Keep reading for nine tips on how to get your start in the screenwriting industry. 

how to become a professional screenwriter

By: Rachel Kim

So we hear you dream of becoming a professional screenwriter. You’re vibrating with ideas and you ardently long to see your stories come to moving, breathing, audio-visual life. You want your screenplays to join the annals of Oscar winners like Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network and Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite or like Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds (which didn’t win Best Original Screenplay but was so popular, it was sold as a paperback in bookstores!).

But where do you begin? How do you become a professional screenwriter?

The short answer is with a lot of work and perseverance. But you already knew that. Besides, you have enough passion and coffee to fuel you through it.

If you’re serious about a career in screenwriting, keep reading for the long answer in our guide on how to become a professional screenwriter.

InFocus Film School Writing Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Writing for Film and Television Program!

Amateur VS. Professional Screenwriters

All professional screenwriters were once amateurs. In fact, the very best professionals still carry the spark—the love of storytelling and the craft—that they had when they first began. Everything else they learned and developed on the way.

To become a professional screenwriter, it requires certain skills, knowledge, and perception that hobbyists don’t necessarily need. Professionals know how to analyze their own work, see what worked and what didn’t, and adjust their processes to produce better writing. They also know how to accept, evaluate, and use feedback as well as provide constructive feedback for others.

The ability to work collaboratively with others is especially crucial for TV writers who spend most of their time hashing it out as a group in the writer’s room. Get a sneak peak of what happens in a TV writers room here.

How to Become a Professional Screenwriter

how to become a professional screenwriter

1. Master Standard Formatting

If you read the Inglourious Basterds screenplay, you’ll notice interesting quirks and breaks from screenplay conventions. But that’s only allowed because it was written by Quentin Tarantino. Since you aren’t Tarantino, such deviations are only going to hurt your script’s chances of even getting read. It’s best to make standard formatting second nature to you, at least until you hit it big.

2. Sign Up for Masterclasses

Attending a masterclass is a great way to get a taste of structured instruction as well as inspiration from highly-experienced and successful screenwriters in the industry. Many masterclasses (like the upcoming “How to Develop a Comedy Series” masterclass with Emmy-Award winning screenwriter Norm Hiscock) are held online, making them more affordable and accessible for all.

Click here for more information!

3. Join a Writer’s Group

As already said above, a professional writer needs to be able to work with others, whether that means exchanging feedback or working collaboratively on a single project. Writers aren’t exactly known for their social prowess but, like working out a muscle, repeated practice will take you a long way. Joining a group of writers to share your work, give and receive critique, and even offer support in each other’s creative journeys will prepare you for a professional screenwriter’s life.

how to become a professional screenwriter

4. Use Specialized Screenwriting Software

The tool doesn’t make the artist but it can sure make your life easier. Professional screenwriters do create their work in specialized screenwriting software because it makes formatting easier and provides a clean space to write without distractions.

The industry standard software is Final Draft, used by 95% of studios including Netflix, Paramount, ABC, Pixar, and more. Though it is fairly pricey, it only requires a one-time payment and a provides 30-day trial.

Alternate options include:

  • One-time payment: Fade In, Movie Magic Screenwriter
  • Subscription: Celtex, WriterDuet, Scrivener
  • Freemium: Arc Studio Pro, KitScenarist.
  • Free/Open-source: Trelby

Maybe your word processor of choice is good enough for you now, but it’s worth learning how to use Final Draft at least so you can confidently integrate into the industry’s practices.

5. Read Screenplays

All writers need to read other works by better writers. As a screenwriter who loves film, it isn’t enough to watch movies. You have to read the screenplays to understand your craft or else you run into the pitfall of writing screenplays that feel off.

For example: dialogue. Dialogue that works too hard to mimic real life, or to mimic the way an actor might deliver it onscreen, doesn’t flow well on the page. Reading and writing have their own conventions and you need a good grasp of them to properly and skillfully engage the reader.

Moreover, it’s important to also read scripts by people who aren’t idiosyncratic auteurs. Get a good feel for the standard screenplay so you aren’t unwittingly copying someone else’s quirk. Remember: if they don’t know you, they won’t know if it’s intentional or a mistake.


6. Write & Rewrite & Rewrite & Rewrite

Okay, so this one is a no-brainer. You’ll get nowhere if you don’t actually write. Write an original pilot, write a screenplay for film, write spec scripts. Write log lines and treatments for your scripts. Don’t stop writing.

But don’t just write first drafts. Rewrite, and then rewrite again, and then rewrite it again. Knowing where to look and how to polish your drafts is crucial to become a professional screenwriter. Plus, with practice, you’ll build up the stamina you need to do those countless rewrites without breaking a sweat.

7. Create a Professional Portfolio

Alright, you’ve written and rewritten and now you’ve got a good pile of completed scripts. It’s time to put together a professional screenwriting portfolio.

Pick out a balanced variety of your BEST original and spec scripts or feature film screenplays. Add in your resume, cover letter, and—if you’re lucky enough to have industry contacts—recommendation letters. Make sure your digital portfolio is easy to navigate and your files are labeled and presented neatly.


8. Submit to Screenwriting Fellowships, Grants, & Competitions

Getting started in the competitive screenwriting field can be hard, especially without connections. However, submitting to programs like the Academy Nicholl Fellowships or the Sundance Screenwriters Lab gives you a chance to get your work produced, secure an agent, receive mentorship, and/or built a network. Check out some screenwriting contests that can launch you career here.

9. Commit to Your Screenwriting Career

Committing to your career means putting your time, energy, and money where your mouth is. Invest in yourself by taking courses, meeting and workshopping with other writers, seeking resources, attending events, or enrolling in a professional screenwriting program. Take your dreams seriously so others will take you seriously too.

dream big

Advantages of Attending a Professional Screenwriting Program

Enroling in a film school or a screenwriting course is a big but highly valuable investment. The difference is like journeying down a uneven dirt road versus a paved street. Schools provide the infrastructure in which you can focus on your writing while maintaining a clear understanding of where you need to go.

A proper professional screenwriting education provides:

  • Mentorship from industry professionals
  • Opportunities to network
  • Organized education in creative theory and industry standards
  • A springboard into the industry
  • A diverse portfolio
  • Experience working in a collaborative writing environment
  • and more…

how to become a professional screenwriter

It’s also worth looking for a screenwriting course like InFocus’ Writing For Film + Television Program that emphasizes a writer’s room environment so students are familiar and comfortable collaborating with other writers and know what to expect before even entering the industry.

Another top asset found in school is your fellow classmates. Your peers will be your first network of screenwriting professionals as you enter the industry together. Creating connections with industry mentors and classmates alike is an invaluable advantage unique to the educational space.

how to become a professional screenwriter

Hopefully you now have a clearer idea of the path to become a professional screenwriter. If you’re considering attending a screenwriting program or even just have questions, our admissions advisors are always happy to chat.

The greatest screenwriters of our time started where you are now, so trust in your passion and invest in yourself. We can’t wait to see you become the next screenwriting superstar!


Related Articles:

InFocus Screenwriting Program

Parks and Recreation Writer Norm Hiscock Talks About Becoming a Comedy Screenwriter

6 Famous Screenwriters Who Went to Film School

How to Pick the Best Screenwriting School

3D animation training for beginners

Considering 3D Animation training? Look no further – we have six steps to help you make your way in the 3D animation industry!

3D animation training for beginners

By: Sophia Lin

The 3D animation industry is booming with the rise of visual effects, the popularity of video games, and advancements like interactive and virtual reality 3D. These developments are all to thank for its recent and projected growth. Across the board, there’s no doubt that 3D animation is the future. But if, like many, you’re looking to get into this lucrative industry, there’s likely one key question you have. How do you start?


Well, that’s what we’re here to tackle. 3D animation is a complex, multi-faceted industry, but getting a start in it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be a smooth, clear path to employment


So, if you’re hunting for an all-around guide to breaking in and getting the 3D animation training you need, look no further. We’ve broken it all down into 6 compact steps, so you can take that first leap with no hesitation.

Learn more about InFocus Film School's 3D Animation and Visual Effects Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s 3D Animation and Visual Effects Program


1. Getting Acquainted with the Industry

The first step is to get familiarized with the industry itself. Knowing about its present outlook and its future advancements is very important. This encompasses a thorough knowledge of 3D animation, such as its applications in animated feature films, video games, and live-action films. Not to mention, it’s worthwhile to get a feel for the general daily tasks of a 3D animator. This involves substantial initial research, blocking out poses, and refining character movements.


Beyond that, you should aim for a cursory understanding of the animating process. It’s quite a technically rigorous procedure, with many steps requiring various types of 3D animation training. Many specialists are involved — first to model the character, then rig it with bones, skin weights, and constraints, and finally animate it.

3d animation training

2. Know the Job Market

The second course of action is to gain an understanding of the current job market and what’s in store. For instance, 3D animation jobs are, at the moment, more abundant than ever. This sector is predicted to continue a promising upward trend in the decades to come. It’s key to understand the underlying drivers as well. In this case, the aforementioned considerations like video games and VFX contribute, with digital streaming acting as a foremost factor.


Equally crucial is building a knowledge of the expanding uses of 3D animation. Today, 3D animation is used in many Hollywood films and live-action movies. When it comes to live-action films, the work of a 3D animator can appear in many forms. 3D animators can create something as small animated animal and others the size of buildings — think Godzilla.

3. Get A Hold of Software

To begin any sort of 3D animation training, having software is a must. Thankfully, an assortment of possibilities is out there, for a variety of aims and interests. The industry-standard software is Autodesk Maya, commonly just called Maya. It features a powerful toolset and top-of-the-line animation tools. For those aiming to do animation professionally, this is the best choice. It is excellent for anything from motion graphics to environments to character creation.


In terms of the costs, Maya has a monthly fee, but students can access it for free. Another well-known and versatile software is Blender, a free, open-source program that features its fair share of functionalities as well. Yet another option is Autodesk 3ds Max, which is designed for creating professional 3D animations and design visualizations. Like Maya, the software requires a paid subscription, however, it is also free for students.

3d animation training

4. Take Relevant 3D Animation Training Courses

Like any fast-paced industry, effective learning and up-to-date knowledge are fundamental components of a successful career. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the successful, working 3D animators today are funnelled in from some type of relevant course, most typically through film school connections. 


Some courses specializing in 3D animation can be taken online or purchased via various platforms — they are often taken on your own time, with no live professors. Another option is a formal 3D animation training program at a film school. These courses provide you with an array of animation resources, as well as mentorship and networking opportunities. For a highly technical field like animation, working with industry-experienced professionals gives aspiring 3D animators a leg up. Not only do they have a wide array of connections, but also a mastery of current industry standards in 3D animation. Because many of them work while being instructors, they have a wide breath of knowledge in the industry. And don’t be daunted by the commitment — some schools have one-year programs, designed for students to enter the industry right away.

3d animation training

5. Understand Different 3D Animation Roles

Part of what makes the world of animation so diverse and multi-disciplinary is the substantial assortment of positions that 3D animators can take on. As someone looking to find their place in the industry, it’s essential to get a grasp of what’s out there before you dive in. Starting with more entry-level jobs, there are junior concept artists, who experiment with ideas and create the first sketches of a project. A more popular one is a junior animator. They brainstorm ideas, research a character’s motion, and refine the quality of overall animations.


Moving up in the ranks, you have jobs like character animators and props animators. These are the people who develop characters and render props assets, respectively. Other top jobs consist of character riggers, 3D modellers, effects animators, render wrangler, and the list goes on and on. These positions, however, require higher levels of 3D animation training, coupled with reliable experience in the specific field.

3d animation training

6. Build A Network

When you are first getting started, it is important to make contacts in the industry. This can happen anywhere and anytime, so long as you reach out, stay proactive, and keep in touch. To begin, this can look like hopping on relevant online groups and forums. You could also join learning groups, or try tutorials. One route that works for both your network and your craft is sharing your work online and asking for feedback. You will not only grow and learn, but you will make yourself known to your fellow animators.


It may not be duly evident, but the people you offer some help to or strike up a conversation with will be the collaborators, supporters, and mentors helping you down the line. As a beginner, those in your local animation scene will be glad to guide you, having been in the very same place themselves. So, go to events, screenings, and festivals, ask all your questions, and put yourself out there!


Related Articles:

InFocus 3D Animation Program

5 Tips on How to Get Hired at a 3d Animation Studio

Top 10 Entry Level 3D Animation Jobs

Top 10 3d Animation and VFX Studios in Vancouver


Applying or planning to apply to film festivals? Read on to find out 6 key ways to make your film festival submission stand out.

By: Sophia Lin

Every year, thousands apply to film festivals. From film students to aspiring filmmakers to industry veterans it’s a rapidly growing number. The festival circuit remains the premier way to get your film out there. It is a chance to secure distribution, and reach awards consideration, serving as the ideal fast track to a successful and illustrious career in the film industry.


However, it can seem like a daunting task to make your film festival submission stand out. While there’s no perfect recipe for a winning submission, there are several critical ways to make your film — be it anything from a micro-short to a feature — win the hearts of festival programmers. Well-informed considerations regarding festival strategy, technical proficiency, submission descriptions, and more can make all the difference when it comes down to the fine line between rejection and selection.


Below, we’ve detailed 6 ways to make your film festival submission stand out, tailored specifically to film students looking to catch their first big break.

InFocus Film School Film Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

1. Be Yourself and Be Unique to Make Your Film Festival Submission Stand Out

Perhaps deceptively simple, the first goal you can undertake is to remain authentic and pursue the stories that you truly believe are worth telling. Hone in on what makes you different and idiosyncratic; focus on what you have to say. If you eschew making the film that you think festivals want and instead make the film you want, it leads to one crucial quality: a unique vision.


An untold number of applicants either consciously or subconsciously create within a common mold, with the intention of replicating what a good film appears to be. When you think outside of the box and create in a way that only you can create, it leaves a lasting impression on festival programmers. They are looking for new voices, untold stories, and risk-takers who advance the craft of filmmaking.

6 ways to make your film festival submission stand out

2. Demonstrate Proficiency in Sound

All too often, applicants tend to focus solely on a few aspects: the story, the cinematography, the acting, and the editing. And while these certainly serve as the backbone of a film, there is one equally important factor that is left mostly forgotten and quickly thrown together: the sound.


Technical proficiency when it comes to sound mixing and sound editing can separate the good and the great. Excellent sound design, if paired with an otherwise well-executed film, is more than likely to shoot your submission to the top in the eyes of festival directors. These days, believe it or not, sound is the pivotal secret ingredient at times overlooked by even the best of rising filmmakers.

3. Research Festivals Carefully

It may seem obvious, but conducting research on film festivals is not as easy as it sounds. For one, the sheer amount of festivals has compounded in the last decade, with as many as 10,000 festivals on FilmFreeway. So how do you sort through the mix?


The first step is to look into the festival’s past programming. Use this to examine if they’re looking for your particular type of film. Festivals can have different themes, such as experimental, documentary, or conventional narrative. Next, understand the level of the festival: is it A-list and international, regional, or a smaller local one? Ensure that this makes sense with your submission. Especially for new filmmakers, informed festival choices will greatly maximize your chances of selection. From there, you can then start to work up the ladder!

6 ways to make your film festival submission stand out

4. Reach Out to Festival Programmers

The old adage is to network, network, network. We’re here to break that idea down a bit. Rather than attempting to mass connect with as many industry insiders as you can, it can be much more productive to conduct directed efforts to reach only the programmers for the film festivals you’re interested in.


The individual goals of festivals are meant to be distinctly separate from one another. Therefore, festival directors and programmers tend to differ hugely in terms of what they look for. For instance, you would rarely catch overlaps between the films at Sundance vs. at the Cannes Film Festival. For that reason, reach out to specific people and apply their advice on a festival-to-festival basis. This is also an excellent way to get your name out there, even before your film is considered.

5. Consider Model Festival Strategies

Creating your own developed festival circuit strategy — the precise timing, order, and selection of festivals — can take years of experience, not to mention precarious amounts of trial and error. If you’re just starting out, am alternative is to research the festival strategies of successful films you admire.


When in the year did they begin submissions? How spread out were their submissions? What was their endgame in the circuit? Then, once you’ve pinpointed the strong and weak points, model your own film’s festival strategy after it. Remember that a submission shouldn’t be the end of your efforts. You should also seek to build your network in a way that meshes with your festival strategy.

6 ways to make your film festival submission stand out

6. Polish Title, Synopsis, and Descriptions

A common trait of standout film festival submissions is that no detail is left unpolished. This could not be more true for one of the smallest yet most crucial details out there: the text that is paired with your film. Every festival will ask for a title and a synopsis, with many leaving room for additional descriptions.


At the very least, perfect your title. Countless films are submitted with generic, overused titles, which unnecessarily and disastrously harm even the most exceptional works. The title is how you make your first impression and make your film festival submission stand out, so use it to your full advantage. Following that same logic, any other text descriptions should be just as thoughtfully written. You’ve poured all the hard work into your film, now, just put your best foot forward.

6 ways to make your film festival submission stand out

These six steps are a great start in making your film festival submission stand out against the competition. Most importantly, stick to the stories you want to tell through filmmaking and share them with the world.


Related Articles:

InFocus Film Production Program

Film Festival Tips for New Filmmakers

4 Film Festivals to Check Out While You Attend Film School in Vancouver

InFocus Film Festival Survival Guide