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Do you want to make short movies? Not sure where to start?

Making your first short movie can seem like a big challenge. What equipment should you buy? How do you tell stories with film? How can you make sure your movie makes sense?

My new book Start Making Movies takes you step-by-step through what you need to know.

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Start Making Movies is a visual guide. It’s packed with illustrations and clear explanations. (Click on the images above to see larger screenshots.)

In the book I explain how to tell stories with film. You’ll learn about what you need to think about when you’re planning your shots; how to put them together in ways that make sense; and the different kinds of sound you can use in your movie.

I’ll explain equipment:  the different kinds of camera you could use, and why you should (or shouldn’t) use your phone. I’ll help you decide what else you need: things like microphones, lights and tripods, and which editing program or app to use.

Then I’ll take you through the filmmaking process. You’ll learn about different ways to plan a movie, and how to get ready to film. I’ll give you tips on how to film interviews, drama scenes, presentations, journeys and demos. And I’ll take you step by step through the editing process, from planning your edit to finalising your movie and getting it ready to share.

What’s in the book

Film storytelling

  • Shot size
  • Camera position and angle
  • Composition
  • Using the lens
  • Movement
  • Light and colour
  • Continuity: how to film shots that make sense together
  • Coverage: getting the shots you need
  • Montage
  • Showing time
  • Using sound to tell your story
  • Music
  • Voiceover
  • Recording live sound


  • Story structure
  • Short movie story tips
  • How to start your movie
  • Ideas for movie stories


  • Choosing a camera
  • Using your phone
  • Camera support
  • Microphones
  • Lights
  • Accessories
  • Editing programs and apps

Planning your movie

  • Ideas
  • Script
  • Storyboard
  • Locations
  • Getting ready to film
  • Planning factual movies


  • Camera settings
  • Getting the picture right
  • Working as a team
  • Pieces to camera
  • Interviews
  • Dialogue scenes
  • Demonstrations
  • Journeys

Editing your movie

  • Getting organised and managing media
  • Making a rough cut
  • Adjusting your edit
  • Putting together the soundtrack
  • Sound and image: cutaways, split edits, editing to soundtrack
  • Adding transitions, effects and titles
  • Correcting colour
  • Finalising your movie

Start Making Movies will be out later this year. Subscribe for updates.

About the author


I’ve been teaching filmmaking for over twenty years, and I provide filmmaking training for individuals, organisations and businesses. I run the popular filmmaking website

“Tom Barrance understands how to take the mystique out of film making and make it accessible to all”
Chris Whitney, Literacy and Film Education Consultant

“Tom is a really good teacher and is able to convey a lot of technical detail without baffling his audience”
Gillian Southgate, NHS R&D Northwest

“One of the most experienced film and media educators in the UK”
Mark Reid, British Film Institute

Tom Barrance

Tom Barrance I teach all kinds of people to make films. I provide training for businesses, arts organisations, nonprofits and education. I’ve worked on film education projects with Apple Education, the British Film Institute, Film Education, Film: 21st Century Literacy and many more. My publications include Making Movies Make Sense and EditClass