How To...

First Light has commissioned Nice Monster to produce a series of ‘How To’ short films.

Each 90 second ‘How To’ film will provide top tips for budding filmmakers looking at areas such as film structure, storyboarding, direction, camera techniques, editing and sound and lighting.

The first in the series, ‘How To Structure Your Film’ looks at how to convert your story idea into a film, utilising some very basic rules. We then look at storyboarding and how to use a camera effectively. The ‘How To Light Your Film’ looks at a 3 point approach that will help set the mood and create an atmosphere for your film. Sound quality can make or break a film, so the ‘How To Record Audio’ film provides great advice for a variety of shooting locations.

You can download example Film Structure and Storyboard templates from the right hand side. These are perfect for using alongside the videos above. There are also some useful links below.

Useful resources

The above short animations are aimed at young filmmakers just starting out. For more advanced tips, check out the range of downloadable resources on the right hand side, which cover varying levels of experience.

Learn more about screenwriter career and training opportunities.


What does a storyboard artist do?

Here’s a link to example storyboards from Thor, Captain America, Where the Wild Things Are.

And here’s an interview with the storyboard artist on Fantastic Mr Fox.


Introductory resources for screenwriters; Screenwriting Info, Learning the basics and Film Scriptwriting.

SimplyScripts links to hundreds of free, downloadable screenplays. Search for and read scripts for your favourite films.

Scriptnotes Podcast Hollywood screenwriters John August (Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 3 & 4, The Hangover Part II) discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law.

Microsoft has enlisted Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright and Marvel and Lucasfilm illustrator Tommy Lee Edwards to create an interactive animated story called The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator. Visitors to will get a seven-minute video that explains the story, and then will be able to explore Brandon’s flat, a little like an adventure game. Clicking on different items will allow you to submit prose, sketches and voice that — once moderated — will appear in a gallery on the web. The best ideas will be used to continue the story from that point.

You can watch top tips from industry insiders here.

And there’s some great information on the uScreen website and also on the film street website.

About Nice Monster

NICE MONSTER is a film, animation & visual effects studio. Set up by Royal Television Society award winning animation director Steven Spencer. The company started with a vision to create highly original, character driven films with a unique concept and thought provoking theme behind them.

Since opening they have been commissioned by the UK Film Council to create multiple award winning short films, and have worked with high profile clients such as BBC, NOKIA, KELLOGGS, RAGDOLL and FIRSTLIGHT on projects ranging from title animations to character design.