Guest Post: Three Lessons from the first time filmmaker - Raindance

Burn The Tapes  is a short film co-written and co-directed by first-time filmmakers Brit Kewin and Nick Kewin, and produced by Jillian Gora. The film tells the story of a young woman whose new life is threatened when a stack of cassette tapes reveals the haunting truth about her husband.


We started out knowing nothing about how to make a film – we were just 3 friends looking for a creative outlet. What began as a fun, after work project, quickly turned into a real production with professional actors and crew members. Having never made a film before, we had to get pretty resourceful to pull it all together. Somehow we managed to create a festival-friendly film that we could all be proud of (read more about how we did it, here ). 

We did some things right, and some things wrong, but overall we came away from the experience knowing a lot more than we did before. If you’re about to get started on your first film, check out our videos for some helpful hints.



A lot goes into a successful production, but it can be hard to keep track of all the details. While everything is important, there were a few key aspects that jumped out as being really crucial. We were lucky to have created a bulletproof shot list; this was the single most important tool on set because it created structure for the entire process. But, we did encounter some roadblocks that might have been easier to navigate if we had had a better understanding of how to communicate with technical language, and if we’d brought along an experienced and dedicated script supervisor.



Having never made a film before, we got pretty caught up in the minutiae leading up to production and didn’t give much thought to what we wanted to do with the film once it was done. All we knew was that we wanted to submit it to festivals, but we didn’t anticipate how complex that process would be. Submitting to festivals can get pretty pricey, so you want to make sure you pick the right ones. Not only that, but you need to be ready to promote your film! We had no promotional materials and no strategy. We managed to scrape the details together, but the process would have been way more effective if we’d thought of the end at the beginning.



Not only is it important to have a goal in mind at the outset, but you need to make sure that your entire team is onboard and working in the same direction. Deadlines and expectations need to be clearly communicated, especially during post production, or you’ll lose momentum and end up never finishing your film.


Burn The Tapes will be screening with the Toronto Short Film Festival on March 17th, 6.15pm at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto, and with the Canadian Film Fest on March 26, 9.30pm at the Royal Cinema in Toronto. Tickets for both go on sale in early March – check the festival sites for details! To read more, check out their collection of tips and articles!




This is the Toronto hub of the Raindance Film festival - Europe's oldest and largest independent film festival. We have one aim, and one aim only: To help GTA area filmmakers make movies. Call us if you have any questions. Or email Lets make movies.