Movie Making Manual/How you can help

Think of this as a manual. It is intended as a practical guide to filmmaking. The Movie Making Manual is also a wiki which means that anyone can edit it. This is considered a Good Idea™ because every reader effectively becomes an editor so the content matures and improves over time. As more people read and edit, the content becomes more accurate, more up-to-date and more balanced.

What is this thing you call a "Movie Making Manual WikiBook"? edit

In addition, you will find definitions and lists to supplement the information in the Movie Making Manual here at The Wikipedia Film page.

Join the discussion space for this wikibook here.

It's a Wiki! edit

You can fully edit this book. Please feel free to remove mistakes, flesh out existing pages or even to start entire new pages. If you've never used a Wiki before then take a look at the Help:Contents page to get started and the MediaWiki users' guide for more detailed information. Also have a look at the To Do page.

OK... sell it to me... why should I spend my time contributing? edit

  • It's fun showing off how clever you are.
  • It's a pleasure to contribute to a wiki because it's a collaborative process. What does that mean? Well... you add a little bit and then you come back the next day to find that someone has added a little bit more and so on. Remember those cress-growing kits kids used to get before Play Stations were developed? Contributing to a wiki is a little like growing cress... you lay the seeds, let it grow a bit, then take some for your sandwhich, then let it grow some more (OK, crap analogy but you get the idea). You get to participate in and nurture a growing document.
  • As a filmmaker, you'll spend a lot of your time doing your own independent research (e.g. "What tax breaks can I get in Prague? Should I shoot my next short film on High Def? What are the guidelines for submitting a music video to a broadcaster?"). Before you do your next bit of research, take a look at the Movie Making Manual to see if we already some answers to your questions. If not, start a new page and use it to make your research notes on (you were gonna make notes anyway, right?). Now you're killing two birds with one stone: not only are you doing yourself a favour by taking organised notes but you're also setting the foundations for a full-fleshed-out page that will help others. Don't worry... you don't have to leave the page in a pristeen condition... just do what you can and others will add to it later.
  • If you're a manufacturer then you might like to educate people about your product. Explicit advertising is not allowed but there's nothing to stop you writing an informative article on how to use your particular tool.
  • You get to feel like you're doing something useful with those hours spent in front of the computer!

Yes, I want to contribute! How do I get started? edit

There are no concrete regulations but the following could be considered "best practice":

  1. Register at WikiBooks (click the "Create account" link at the top right). This is free and they wont spam you. Registering will mean that your edits will be signed with your username.
  2. If you haven't done so yet then read up on how to edit WikiBooks on this help page and this users' guide for more detailed information.
  3. Sign up to the Movie Making Manual discussion forum. Please discuss any large changes before doing them.
  4. Take a look at the "to do" items for this book.
  5. Add your name to the list of contributors.
  6. Before contributing, make sure the Movie Making Manual doesn't already contain the information you're planning to write about.
  7. Have a quick look over the formatting guide below...

Formatting Guide edit

The Movie Making Manual and WikiPedia edit

Before editing or writing an article, check to see if WikiPedia has an article on what you're about to write about. If it does then your job is to integrate the WikiPedia content into the Movie Making Manual. First, link from the Movie Making Manual to WikiPedia (this is easy using interwiki links, you just write a link like this: [[w:Interesting WikiPedia page|Interesting WikiPedia page]]). Then, if appropriate, link back from WikiPedia to the Movie Making Manual. Useful WikiPedia categories include:

It's very important that we don't try to duplicate what's already on WikiPedia. The Movie Making Manual is focussed on the practical aspects of filmmaking. For example, WikiPedia has some excellent articles on 16mm film but doesn't even begin to tell you how to shoot on 16mm film.

If you have found (or if you have added) a Movie Making Manual page that contains content that isn't covered in WikiPedia then it may be appropriate to start a WikiPedia stub article containing a brief, "encyclopaedic" introduction to the subject and then add a link to the MMM page. For example, the Movie Making Manual has a page on the Panavision Genesis HD camera which is way too technical for WikiPedia but we have added a WikiPedia stub article on the Genesis which points the curious reader to the Movie Making Manual.

Tone edit

One of the fears with a collaborative book effort is that it loses any sense of "voice". Here are a few guidelines for this.

  • Be direct. Don't be afraid to give it to the reader straight.
  • Use a natural tone. Pretend you are explaining the topic to your best friend.
  • Be positive - encourage, encourage, encourage. There are enough naysayers in this industry, keep it outrageously upbeat.

Style edit

  • Use the present tense.
  • Use the active voice. "Take the lights", not "The lights should be taken by you"

Practical versus theoretical edit

This book is a manual so please keep the emphasis on the practical. That said, some topics will require a brief discussion of what you could call "practical theory". That's fine. All the theory in this book should directly inform decisions taken on set and in the edit suite. Please don't discuss film criticism theory or film history in the Movie Making Manual - there is a separate book for film history here.

Personal opinions and experiences edit

The main narrative of this book should be impartial. But don't shy away from expressing your own opinion. Just make sure it's perfectly clear to the reader which sections are impartial and which bits are personal opinions. For example, you might want to put your opinions or brief case studies in Side Note Boxes.

Pictures edit

  1. Upload your pictures to Creative Commons
  2. Name your picture MMM_picturename
  3. Link to your photo like this:
 [[Image:Circular_track.jpg|left|thumb|300px|Curved track]]
Curved track

For more details, have a look at this help page and this one

Registered trade mark edit

Whenever you mention a copyrighted trade mark then you should put an ® by the name and add a footnote to say to whome the trade mark is registered. The code to insert this symbol is:


When to use WikiBooks edit

For some reason, wikibooks seems to be fastest in the morning (GMT). It slows down considerably as the evening wears on. Hopefully things will get better as the MediaWiki Foundation get more funding.

I want to do more than just edit... I want to start new pages and modify the structure of the book... what do I need to know? edit

Page naming conventions edit

At the moment, we're using a slightly outdated naming convention of

Movie Making Manual-Page name

But apparently this is outdated and may be made illegal. See the WikiBooks Naming Policy for more info. We'll probably use the following page naming in the future:

MMM/Chapter Name/Module Page


MMM/Cinematography/Capture Mediums and Recording Formats
MMM/Cinematography/Capture Mediums and Recording Formats/Electronic Capture and Storage

Chapter names edit


Chapter name (examples of pages they contain)
Preface (contributers, how you can help, how to navigate this book)
Intro (basics of filmmaking)
Funding and Budgetting
Contracts and Law
Sales and Exhibition
Short Films
Music Videos
Local Resources
Film Festivals
You the Filmmaker
Tools and Equipment
Case Studies

Structure of the book edit

The MMM has both a flat and a hierachical structure! The naming is flat (i.e. out names are all of the form Movie Making Manual:Writing) but we also make good use of the MediaWiki categorization system to provide a hierarchical structure (see below for more information on the Movie Making Manual's categorization implementation).

(This will soon change... we'll soon be using a hierarchical naming convention)

Headers edit

Please put a link to one of our page header templates at the top of each new page created. Just put one of these at the top of your new page:

PLEASE DO NOT USE THESE YET - THEY ARE BEING ACTIVELY DISCUSSED IN THE STAFF LOUNGE and in Wikibooks_talk:Naming_policy#Template_naming_conventions


Categories edit

The MediaWiki Category feature is a powerfull way to... well.. categorise pages! There are several great things about this feature:

  • Category indexes are generated automatically
  • Each page can be in as many categories as you want. Take "Telecine" Should that be in the "cinematography" or the "post-production" category? Easy! Just put it in both!
  • Categories allow the wiki to become more "booklike" whilst inheriting all the coolness that databases and hyperlinking provide.

Please put the correct category at the bottom of each page. The availabe categories are (please note that they are all lowercase and that MediaWiki is case sensitive!:


[[Category:MMM:funding and budgetting]]
[[Category:MMM:contracts and law]]




[[Category:MMM:sales and exhibition]]

[[Category:MMM:training for filmmakers]]

[[Category:MMM:short films]]
[[Category:MMM:music videos]]
[[Category:MMM:low budget filmmaking]]
[[Category:MMM:tools and equipment]]
[[Category:MMM:you the filmmaker]]

[[Category:MMM:case studies]]
[[Category:MMM:local resources]]
[[Category:MMM:film festivals]]

You also have to put the name of the page into the category sort field like this (note that you have to use a capital letter at the start):

[[Category:MMM:tools and equipment|Build your own editing computer]]

Putting each page into a category means that MediaWiki can automatically make an index page for these categories. Each page can be in several different categories, for example, the page on writing low budget would be put in both the "writing" and the "low budget" categories like this:

[[Category:MMM:writing|Writing low budget]]
[[Category:MMM:low budget filmmaking|Writing low budget]]

If you start a new category then please put the following on the new category page:


A description of my new category

[[category:The super-category(ies) my new category lives in]]

For more info on categories, see this help page.

Promoting The Movie Making Manual edit

We are actively looking for new contributors to the Movie Making Manual. If we can get enough contributors this manual could be THE definitive independent filmmaking resource.

If you wish to promote the MMM to users/contributors then you can use the following outline to Promote the MMM

Before you promote the MMM check out the MMM Promotion Tracking Page to ensure someone else has not very recently publicised it where you were going to. 1 per month per forum should be plenty of promotion :-)!