Film research and cinema studies guide

Ways of researching film at the State Library Victoria

Resources about working in the film industry

Working in the film industry

This page looks at the resources at the State Library Victoria and elsewhere that are about working in the film industry.

There are a huge range of roles within the film industry, be it on the set of a film, off the film set organising film funding, or being the star of the film itself.

Most of the books listed in the pages below are guide books that provide some help and information on how to work in the film industry.

Filmmaking training and courses

There are numerous educational facilities that offer filmmaking (including documentary) and film crew related courses in Melbourne, and some in regional Victoria as well. Some of these are short courses, whilst others, on completion, will give students higher education qualification such as a Certificate, Diploma, or a Degree in a filmmaking course.

When searching for a filmmaking related course on your preferred educational institution try any of these keywords: film, media, screen.

Short courses on filmmaking are run by many of Melbourne's TAFE and tertiary institutions, as well as Melbourne's Centre for Adult Education. No experience is required to attend the Summer School in Filmmaking at the University of Melbourne, which is held in early January each year. The Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) hold occasional filmmaking short courses in Melbourne

Certificate, Diploma and Degrees level courses for screen related training are held by most of Melbourne's tertiary institutions and several TAFE's. The Footscray City Films school (located in Footscray City College) offers these qualifications and has produced several successful filmmakers.

Australian film industry directories

  • Screenhub - Australia's film industry news site and bulletin board for new jobs and training opportunites.
  • The production book - listings for a wide range of crew members in the Australian film/tv industry.
  • Showcast - Details for Australian actors. Onsite only - password available at State Library Victoria information desk.
  • The black book - listings for Indigenous Australian cast and crew.

Finding resources about people who have worked in the film industry

There are hundreds of biographies and other material available on the State Library Victoria catalogue about people who are working or have worked in the film industry. For example: "Alfred Hitchcock", "Jane Campion", "Nora Ephron"

If you are interesting in filmmaking, a common method of learning is to watch the films of the filmmaker, actor, or other crew person you are interested in and research them. Interviews by filmmakers can provide excellent insight into the filmmaking process.

An interesting overview of the filmmaking process is The guerilla film makers pocketbook / by Chris Jones, Andrew Zinnes, and Genevieve Jolliffe.

The pages below list searches and resources for various different roles in the film industry.

Working in film

Short and beginner filmmaking tips

Filmmaking tips: Websites

There are many articles online that discuss some key tips when making a film for the first time.

Filmmaking tips: books

Entering film festivals

For many filmmakers, getting their film accepted into a film festival is a major achievement.

Film Festivals: Websites and books

Learning about film producing: search and key books

Searching for general and instructional materials about producers and or directors can be tricky as these terms are often placed within the subject heading (and often together) for many different types of film related material.

Search term for film producers - motion picture* producer*

Below is a list of useful items for producers that discuss and offer advice for those roles.

Producer biography and autobiography: some key books

There are many biographical and autobiographical works on various producers on the catalogue.

Film directors and film direction: search and some key books

Searching for general and instructional materials about producers and or directors can be tricky as these terms are often placed within the subject heading (and often together) for many different types of film related material.

Search for film director - motion picture* director*

Below is a list of useful items that discuss and offer advice for directors.

There are many biographical and autobiographical works on directors in the Library catalogue.

Acting: search and key books

Search term for acting -  motion picture* acting

There are plenty of biographical and autobiographical works in the library for actors.


Screenwriting: searches and key books

Search terms for screenwriting - screenwriting, motion picture authorship

There are many guide books available for screenwriting. A small selection is listed below.


Film scripts: search and key magazines

Using the search term "Motion picture plays" reveals a number of film scripts to view.

There are many websites online that have film scripts to download, but it is worth checking that the items are actual film scripts (with correct formatting spacing etc) or just transcripts of the movie dialogue.

Screenwriting magazines

Cinematography: search and key resources

NOTE: The cinematographer for a film is often called the 'director of photography' or D.O.P., but on library catalogues the term cinematographer or cinematography is the best way to find resources on this role.

Search term for Cinematography - motion picture* cinematographer*

The below journals have detailed information about techniques and equipment used when making particular films.

Editing: search and key books

Search term for editing - motion picture* editing

Art direction, set design and costuming

Art direction and set design: search and key books


Search terms for Set design - motion picture* setting scenery, motion picture* "art direction"


Costume design: searches and key books

Search term for Costume design - motion picture* costum*

A related search term is - fashion in motion pictures

Documentary filmmaking: resources

Documentary filmmaking: search terms

Documentary filmmaking requires some different skills compared to making a fiction film. Much of what is listed in the other categories on the 'Working in film' page will be relevant, but here are some resources especially for the documentary filmmaker.

Search terms for documentary filmmaking - documentary films production direction

A search on documentary film* will list many more resources, but these will mainly be materials about the films themselves rather then tips for documentary filmmaking.


Documentary filmmaking: website and key books

Website - Documentary Australia Foundation - a non for profit agency that assists filmmakers to bring their documentary films to life.

Websites about filmmaking

Filmmaking websites

DP/30 - video series of in-depth interviews with key actors and crew on a wide selection of films and documentary.

Audio visual essays on film can be excellent guides for filmmaking and the techniques and decisons made and used by cast and crew. Some examples of these are - Every Frame a Painting, Audiovisualcy.

List of various filmmaking related blogs

No Film School

[Tim Burstall with cameraman and one other crew member on train station platform during filming of

[Tim Burstall with cameraman and one other crew member on train station platform during filming of "Partners"] [picture] / Rennie Ellis H2011.2/3273

Government assistance for filmmakers

Filmmaking and government assistance

The Screen Australia website has a page about starting a career in the industry. Read their guide titled Getting started: film, tv, online & interactive for very useful links to many resources regarding education (courses to take), funding, copyright, professional assistance.

The site  has other content including Making it in Hollywood, sample budgets and paperwork to assist with monitoring costs, and filmmaking grants to apply for to secure funding.

Film Victoria has many resources on its website, including a details to obtain funding for film projects and an early career resources page, which links to various educational and on the job training and crewing opportunities.

State Library Victoria


In line with the stage 3 restrictions announced by the Premier, State Library Victoria closed on Thursday 9 July.

We will advise when there is any update to this situation.

Our Ask A Librarian  reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.