Creating a film

Congratulations, that decision is the first big step to making it happen.

Well, next you could just grab a camera and get going or better still you could start by planning what you want to do.

The first questions to ask are;

  • What is the story you want to tell?
  • Who are you telling this too?
  • How are you going to tell it?

These notes and resources are here to help you plan your film and have it ready to enter into the Te Tai Tokerau climate action film contest. 

All the best and make sure you have fun being creative!

Story and Script

A good story has a beginning, middle and an end – in whatever way you tell it, or whatever order you tell it.

Brainstorming the who, what, why, where and how is a great place to start.

Where is this going to be?

What is going to happen and when?

It helps to write your ideas down, or your lines of dialogue if you have actors/characters

Glenn Gers, a full-time professional writer of movies and television for 25 years, has some good tips for writing a good story:


If you’re telling a factual story, whatever genre, do your research so you know about your subject.

Know what your sources of information are, and that they are accurate and reputable/well known sources.

If you don’t know something, ask someone who knows the subject matter well. Check you have permission to tell a story if it belongs to someone else, and that you treat the subject and/or people involved respectfully.


Present your Story idea/script in drawn form, which helps you think about how you want the completed film to look like

Your storyboard doesn’t need to be complicated or even well-drawn. You can just use stick figures and rough drawings, as it’s just a guide for you to work out ideas and then to follow during filming and editing your final film

Check out this website and video for more story board info –

Permissions and Consents

If you’re making a Documentary, people you interview need to give you their written permission.

Locations that you may film at or of, need also to give permission before filming.

Likewise, do not film people without their consent. If they appear in the background, this can often just be a verbal consent, but a written one makes it more clear.

If you are filming in a public area, let people know what you are doing, and give them the option to not be in it if they do not want to be filmed

At the bottom of this page are templates for a Personal Consent form and a Locations Consent form to use, or as a guideline if you would rather create your own.

Theres also copyright laws about using other peoples films in your film, which is legal to an extent. It’s all to do with ‘Fair use’. Basically you can use clips from somewhere else and not have to ask permission from the maker if; the use of the work is transformative, it’s a short clip, your film won’t be affecting the commercial side of the work and your film is using it in an educational way, rather than trying to profit. This guy explains it well, using Rick and Morty – (the first 6 mins and 40 secs explains it all. The rest is more relevant to full-time youtubers.)


Use of music in films has many restrictions for replaying, and ideally you should use royalty free (fees free) music, music you have paid a fee to use or specially composed music you then own.

If you have paid to use music in your film then you need to fill out a Music Cue sheet with Apra/Amcos, who are the fee collection agency for Aotearoa/New Zealand –

There’s lots of royalty free music out there, where all you have to do is credit the artist. Check out this article “10 Websites To Get Royalty Free Music For Short Films & Documentaries” –

Health and Safety

Always be aware of and take care of the Health and Safety of those you are filming with and around, yourself and your crew/helpers while you make your Film. Be careful with equipment, locations, vehicles etc. Be aware of COVID restrictions related to Filming inside or outside locations; mask use and use of cleaning agents: hand sanitiser, soap etc. 


Who are you designing this story for?

Remember you are making the Film for people to watch and enjoy

This competition has a G rating, suitable for a general audience, meaning anyone of any age group can view.

Film entries that break this G rating cannot be considered as part of the competition, as winning entries will be screened before G audiences.

Technical info

We ask that you hand in your completed film in an MP4 format. You can email the file to us at using drop box or email us to sort out a pick up/drop of a memory stick. Also email if you are having technical issues too of course!

Most smart phones or tablets these days will be more than enough quality to film on. Its all about using what you have – don’t worry we aren’t expecting you to have high tech film cameras!

Heres some tips for filming on a phone –

Need some inspiration? Give these a google (or a youtube)… 

Helpful film making resources and climate info:

  • – another youth based climate change film competition. There’s a few helpful slide shows about film making down the bottom of this page. 
  • – An Aotearoa organisation who supports people in telling stories with the potential for positive social and environmental change. 
  • Have you heard of “Ethically Kate”? She’s an awesome kiwi on a mission to help us all become more sustainable. Heres her website
  • Check out Para Kore on Youtube or Facebook! they are a not-for-profit Māori organisation established to deliver waste minimisation education and training to marae and communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Personal Consent and Locations Consent form

Feel free to use ours as they are, or as a guide. There are many other templates online.

Photograph, Video or Audio Recording Consent Form

[Add a the title and short description of your film.] 

I, ______________________________________________ (recorded person’s full name), consent to the use by ________________________(your full name) of my image, video, voice, or all three of them, in the item described above.  

In addition, I waive any right to inspect or approve the finished video recording.

I agree that all such pictures, video or audio recordings and any reproduction thereof shall remain the property of the author [your name] and that the Te Tai Tokerau climate action film contest may use it as it sees fit, such as showing the finished film at competition viewings for a public audience.

I understand that these images/recordings may appear publicly as part of the Te Tai Tokerau climate action film contests website and/or other marketing materials. 

It is understood that this material will be used in a legitimate manner and is not intended to cause any harm or undue embarrassment to the parties involved.

Name: _________________________________________________

Date of Birth: _____ / _____/ __________


Signature (if under 18 a parent or guardians name and signature is required:


Locations Consent form

Property name:
Property address:
Property Manager/owner:
Production details: [Add a the title and short description of your film.] 

Film makers/producers name: (referred to the “producer” in the contract below)
Dates of occupancy:
Hours of occupancy:

Property Manager/owner hereby grants the permission to the Producer and their employees, agents, independent contractors and suppliers to enter their Property stated above, during the dates and times identified above.

The Producer will use the Property as a location for photographing, filming and/or making
sound recordings. In the event of a delay in schedule due to photographically unfavourable conditions, or reasons beyond their control, the Producer holds the right to reschedule at the agreed terms provided in this agreement.

The Producer may photograph, film and record sound on the Property and use the resulting materials in any way Producer chooses. The Property Manager grants the Producer permanent, worldwide, exclusive right to own all rights to all that the Producer records, films and photographs. The Property Manager agrees to have no right to inspect or approve recordings.

The Producer may bring into the property crews, actors and equipment. The Producer may construct temporary sets and, after completing filming and recording, will restore the property to its original condition as of the initial date of occupancy unless otherwise agreed to by both
parties in writing, to reasonable wear and tear excepted.

The Producer agrees to hold the Property Manager harmless from any liability and loss which may be caused by Producer’s employees or equipment. The Producer represents that they are covered by Public Liability and Property Damage Insurance.

The Property Manager understands the terms described in this contract. He/she is over 18 years of age and has the authority to sign this contract and grant the Producer the rights given under this contract.





Filming in a public space

New Zealand police website says: “It is generally lawful to take photographs of people in public places without their consent. However, you must not film or take photos of people if they are in a place where they can expect privacy (such as a public changing area or toilet) and that person:

  • is naked, in underclothes, showering, toileting etc
  • is unaware of being filmed or photographed
  • has not given consent to be filmed or photographed.

You should not take photos of people if:

  • they are in a place where they would expect reasonable privacy and publication would be highly offensive to an objective and reasonable person
  • it has potential to stop other people’s use and enjoyment of the same place
  • you have no legitimate reason for taking the film or photos.

However, you can take and/or publish photos or film of people where there is no expectation of privacy, such as a beach, shopping mall, park or other public place.”

The New Zealand Privacy Commission also has simular information on their website:

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are here to help 🙂

Reach out via email –

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