Top tips for entering the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition

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Have you been thinking about entering the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition this year?
Are you having trouble getting started with your film?
Do you need help getting your creative juices flowing?

We recently spoke to some of our previous film competition winners about their filmmaking experiences and asked if they had any advice for law students thinking of submitting an entry in 2016. Here are their top tips:

Molly Clarke, University of Notre Dame Sydney
Connecting with Law Short Film Competition Winner 2015

Choose an area of law or case that you are passionate about. If you are passionate about it, it’ll make you want to work so much harder.

  • Utilize any technology that is available to you. We shot some of the film on an iPhone 6! Some things you already have, like your phone or your computer, will be nearly as good as professional equipment.
  • Take this opportunity to collaborate with students that study law with you. We had such a great time working on the film together and we are excited to get the group together to make another one again this year!

Watch Molly’s team entry, Chester v Waverly Council (1939) 62 CLR 1

Katy Milne, Monash University
Connecting with Law Short Film Competition Winner 2014

  • Choose an aspect of the topic that you are personally drawn to and explore this fully rather than trying to cover the whole field. I read a whole lot of different cases about lawyers doing naughty things (the topic was legal ethics) before I decided how to proceed. This was very entertaining in itself.
  • Be quite brutal with yourself. I wrote out a narrative before I started and then listened to how it sounded. Some bits just didn’t work so I removed or reworked them. There were parts of the story that I really quite liked but cut because I couldn’t get the story to flow well with them present.
  • Leave a good amount of time for the technical stuff. I used an iPhone and tripod to make my film however, the sound from the iPhone was not of sufficient quality. As a consequence, I recorded the voiced narration directly on to my computer. As someone with no film making experience, it took a fair bit of experimentation and time to work out the best combination of equipment to make the film.

Watch Katy’s entry, Ethics in Social Media: Advice for the legal hound-dog

Jason Allen, Deakin University
Connecting with Law Short Film Competition Joint winner 2013

  • Focus on sound.  Given the choice between working on your picture or your sound it seems most people focus on the video.  Think of your experiences with YouTube – most people will put up with less than cinema quality video, far fewer people stick through a video with annoying, poor quality sound.  If you have limited resources you’ll get more “bang for your buck” in terms of the quality of your overall end product by focusing more on your audio than you otherwise might.

    As a side note every camera going around works off of light.  Almost invariably adding more light will get you a better quality picture – grab some cheap Bunnings floodlights and use them to look a TON better.

  • Aim for humour. All things being equal funny but wrong probably wins over a boring yet scholarly lecture (think of your Uni lectures).  It doesn’t need to be a ROFL comedy but try and make your work at least funny enough so as not to be dry.  Not much worse than a boring educational video…
  • Take the road less travelled.  There’s probably going to be one or two fairly obvious angles you could take on whatever the topic is.  Spend the time to try and come up with something unique, a bit more creative – an idea that you don’t think anyone else will go with.  It’s far easier to stand out in a crowd of one than a crowd of dozens.

Watch Jason’s entry, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Law

Learn more about the competition, read our submission guidelines and download an entry form from the Connecting with Law Short Film Competition homepage.

Written by Stephanie Swain, Higher Education – Marketing and Product Specialist

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