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Day One Challenge: 10 Tips for Young Filmmakers

Day One Hāpai te Haeata

Are you wondering if you are eligible to enter your film into the Day One Challenge? If you are 24 years old or under, likelihood is the answer will be a resounding YES!

We are committed to helping young people build sustainable careers so we’ve put together a wee list to help guide you through the entry process. You might want to do these tips in a different order Remember they are only a guide and your process can look however you want it to at the end of the day.


1. Decide what your filmmaking tools are going to be.

No, it doesn’t have to be filmed on an expensive camera. A mobile phone camera will do the trick. In fact, we have a category called Phone Shorts shot exclusively using your mobile phone. If you don’t have one, just borrow someone else’s. Heaps of cool movies were shot on a mobile phone camera.

Maybe you’re an animator and you’re working with a scanner and some editing software instead?

Maybe you’ll create a stop-motion!

Your community will be helpful in so many ways. Friends, family, schools, libraries, community hubs, there are resources everywhere.

2. Decide what your topic or theme is and create a story around it.

Write a brainstorm list about what is important to you. Maybe it’s mental health or maybe it’s sharing a recipe from your culture? This will change from person to person, don’t be shy!

If you’re having trouble thinking of an idea/s, watch our How To video on Idea Generation.

Start with a heap of ideas then refine your list.

3. Decide what category you are going to enter.

We have 5 to choose from!

You could actually leave this step until the end and see which one your film aligns with best. It’s about finding a process which works best for you!

  • Impact Shorts: Films under 10 min that are "Stories for a better tomorrow".
  • Short Shorts: Films under 1 min. Wrap up your message in 60 seconds (or less) in a vertical social media style reel.
  • Phone Shorts: Films under 5 min that are shot in a phone only.
  • "How To" Shorts: Films under 5 min that share the knowledge about something that matters to you!
  • Music Shorts: Music videos for a song you have permission to use.

4. Pick your Angle

Now that you have your topic or starting idea, you want to think about why this might matter to your audience. Get out that paper and pen and write out all the reasons you think your audience might care about this topic. Maybe they don’t care and that’s why you’re making it.

5. Who or what is the star of your film?

Is it a person? Is it your pet? Is it an object? Think about whose journey it is that we are following.


6. Plan your shot list

So, you’ve got your story idea and now you’ve gotta think about what that might look like as a short film.

We’ve got tips for story structure and storyboarding (drawing out your shot list) here if you’re having trouble!

If you’ve ever filmed a TikTok or an Instagram reel, you might already know what to do here.

7. Plan out some time to shoot your film

Maybe you’ve got a heap of time during the school holidays? Consider different lighting, time of day, and who might be able to help you (for Challenge, just make sure they’re all 24 years old or under).

8. Put time aside to edit your films.

Whether that’s done as you go, or after you’ve finished filming, sometimes this is where you can add some post-production magic! Read our handy guide on the importance of editing here -

9. Create a Vimeo or YouTube account so you can upload your film.

Get familiar with using these platforms so you can upload your film and send it to us when it’s ready to go.

10. Submit your film to us by 26th of July, 2024 for your chance to win prizes and bragging rights.

Past prizes have included gear from PhotoGear.

We are looking forward to seeing what your creative minds come up with! The most important thing is that you don’t limit yourself. If you’ve got a great idea and it’s not listed here, then just do it anyway! Day One Challenge encourages you to experiment.

We have a heap of resources to help guide you and we’re always happy to help so email us with any questions -

Happy Filmmaking!

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