Planning your Film Competition entry? ‘Keep it simple’ says BFI's Mark Reid

Posted on 29 April 2021

With just over a month remaining to submit your Childnet Film Competition 2021 short films and storyboard entries, Mark Reid provides his advice for filmmakers.

As Head of Education at the British Film Institute (BFI) and one of the Film Competition judging panel, Mark understands what makes a great short film.

So if you’re planning your entry ahead of the June 1st closing date, take a look at some of Mark’s top tips below…

  1. Hi Mark, what do you do at the BFI and what do you enjoy most about your job?
    I've been at the BFI for a long time, more than 20 years. Before that I was a teacher. I've always wanted to work in education somehow, and this is a great job. I love the variety - I might be working with international partners or writing courses for adults or teaching trainee teachers. Every day is different!
  2. What are your top three things to remember when making a film?
    Remember what film does best - it uses time, light, pictures and sounds; it doesn't need lots of dialogue.  Try and tell your story using those elements, rather than have characters ‘tell us the story’.
  3. What do you think makes a film stand out?
    Strong images every time; different angles or perspectives on things we think we know or understand. Film is immediate, it can show things directly and it builds empathy.
  4. What advice do you have about how to make a short film?
    Keep it simple, few locations, maybe only one, a single timeframe, don't jump about too much and show more than tell. Try not to use too much dialogue.
  5. Can you describe the first time you saw a film at the cinema?
    I saw Jungle Book when I was five with two younger sisters and my dad. It was the only time I ever went to the cinema with my dad. Come to think of it, I've never been with my mum!
  • first
  • prev