30 Ways to Put the Community Into Film ...

A Checklist of 30 Questions to support the community film-making process - from first ideas to mass distribution.

1. Is your film defined by the collective engagement of all participants?

2. Is it a group narrative with multiple visions and voices?

3. Are there elements which are collaborative and improvisatory?

4. Are its questions and answers unpredictable and undetermined at the outset?

5. Is there a dialogue between creativity and critical analysis (making and reflecting)?

6. Is there a process or product that contributes to social change, empowerment and social justice?

7. Does you film build the social capital of the community?

8. Is there an opportunity for reflection and dialogue with other communities?

9. Have you fully employed the skills of community agents and artists in a supportive and empowering environment?

10. Are you prepared to take risks?

11. Does your film challenge traditions or expectations within and outside the community?

12. Have you negotiated aspects of its methodology/approach/plan of action?

13. Have you been  prepared to reconsider your methodology or ideology?

14. Is you film sensitive and responsive to ethical, ethnographic and postcolonial issues?

15. How much of your film was produced and led by volunteers, social actors, community participants and their supporters?

16. Have you been economical with resources and sustainable in your approach?

17. Is there an educational dimension that builds skills and confidence for individuals and the group?

18. Is your film designed to showcase democratic and inclusive processes and their outcomes?

19 Does your film create a product worthy of its participants’ efforts?

20. Have you captured the passion of the people involved or represented?

21. Is your film the conclusion and/or the commencement of a community enquiry process?

22. Is your film equipped to provide a body of evidence that counts as research?

23. Are you committed to finding new ways of engagement and interactivity through Web 2.0?

24. Is 'You' Singular or Plural?

25 Does your film work alongside other modes of activism and forms of communication?

26. Is your film a form of advocacy for social causes?

27. Does your film embrace spontaneity, acting, volunteering, gaps, wigs, rapping, sound worlds, technique, sweat, manners, scripting, youth, humour, risk, evolution, rebellion, make-up, repetition, costumes, tripods, outdoors, lights, cities, colour, panoramas, poetry, age, trains, dollies, butterflies … ?

28. Have you created a personal narrative of public value?

29. Is you work an act of faith and a form of communion with the other?

30. Have you considered any insights not listed ABOVE ?

Good luck!
© Dr Ian McCormick. But please do contact me if you want to use the TEXT of this article as a guest post on your blog. With attribution offered I seldom refuse!

For further information on the International Community Film Forum, please visit www.icff.info


  1. Did you find this information heplful?
    Did the ideas make sense?
    How would you improve it?
    Your opinions are highly valued and will assist me to improve my work - for the benefit of others too. Thanks.

  2. thanks for your post, it has helped shape my thoughts. I am hoping to do a series of short videos of the olderandbolder folk in our rural community. any advice appreciated!

  3. let me know how you get on! / how we can help?

  4. Hi Ian,
    Yes this post makes great sense and shows awesome insight. Great timing too as a friend rang me this morning for some assistance with structuring a multimedia/video project with Indigenous youth in Northern NSW, Australia. I am interested in participatory video and a the democratisation of media. Learning by doing.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. thanks Ian for the post! hope you don't mind if I republish on my site in our filmmakers help forum, I will only post the 1st 10 and link back here for the rest(-:


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