Secrets of movie-making resource

Welcome to the resource page for the Secrets of movie-making virtual lesson.

Pre-lesson activities

Discuss what the most important part of film making is. Get students into small groups and give each group a different element of films and filmmaking:

- Story

- Characters

- Filming

- Sound

- Editing 

Each group should brainstorm and write down their ideas as to why their assigned element if important to films and filmmaking.

Students can also discuss what they know about the 'how' of their film element. Here are some guiding questions for each group, or these could be discussed as a class instead after students present:

Story: what does a film story look like? Is it the same as a book, or different? (Teachers: alluding here to scripts and how they're different to books)

Characters: how are characters developed? Is it one person's job, or are a number of people involved? (Teacher clues: screenwriter, actors, director)

Filming: what do you know about filming a movie? What equipment might be used?

Sound: how is sound recorded for a film? What kinds of sounds are added later?

Editing: what kinds of things does an editor do to a film? What kinds of things are added to a film during the edit?

Student then present to the rest to talk about their findings.

Preparing for your Virtual Lesson

Students will need a pencil and paper for the VC.

Please join one of our test videoconferences by yourself prior to the lesson. You will have received information about this when you got the link to this page!

We encourage student participation and sharing of ideas, so prep your students to know this might involve them having to come closer to the microphone being used in the session.

Some situations might require you the teacher to relay student's thoughts and responses to ACMI presenters yourself. 

Acknowledgement of country

At the start of each lesson, ACMI Educators acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we're on.

We also encourage participating schools to acknowledge the land they are on. Find out more about acknowledgements and view the Traditional Owners map on the Aboriginal Victoria website.

Post-lesson activities

Script to storyboard

Create a storyboard for the script example below.  Download our Storyboard template below. As you plan the storyboard panels, think carefully about the shot type you're using, what you need to show in that shot, including action and dialogue.

To find out more about all the different shot types, go through the examples on our shot-list page.

Script example.png

Jumpcut magic: the disappear

This use of the jump cut will create the illusion that your actor or an object has disappeared. You may like to use an event in your scene to signify the moment that your actor disappears (or reappears), such as clapping, clicking your fingers, making a bang or another whacky sound. You can add a sound in during the editing stage, but making the sound live when you record can make it easier to create the effect when you edit.

To do these activity students will need access to a video recording device, tripod and video editing software. A smartphone or tablet will work just fine, and don't forget iMovie is free for iPads and Macs. 

Follow the steps below to film stage and then create your very own disappearing act in your film.


  1. Compose your shot. Think carefully about what's in the frame.
  2. Position your actor(s), ready to begin recording
  3. Begin recording
  4. Call 'action'
  5. Act
  6. Signifying event
  7. Everybody freeze
  8. Remove or add an actor or object to or from the camera frame. Important: nothing else in the frame should move, if it does, it can ruin the illusion.
  9. Continue acting out the scene
  10. Call 'cut'
  11. Stop recording.

Remember, don't stop recording during the scene, even when the actor/object is appearing or disappearing, all of this will be removed in the post-production stage. 


  1. Import your footage to your editing software
  2. Bring your clip to the timeline
  3. Use the appropriate tool for your editing software to cut just after the signifying event, and just before you continue acting.
  4. Remove the footage in between the two cuts
  5. Join the before and after together to create the disappearing illusion
  6. If you're adding a sound effect, add it to your timeline. Position it just where your event happens.

It's a good idea to record the location you're filming in for a ten seconds or so without your actor. That way you can show the location for a little while before your actor appears or after they've disappeared.

Below is a video tutorial on how to edit your jump cut. We've used Final Cut Pro editing software but no matter what device or software you are using, the editing principles remain the same.