top of page

21 Filmmaking Essentials for 2021

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

You want to write, direct, shoot, and edit your own films, but not quite sure where to begin. Let me save you some time on the research and guesswork. Take a browse through Diversity in Cinema Academy's "21 Filmmaking Essentials list for 2021." I did all of the legwork to help fast track your success. The tools on this list will help make the filmmaking process flow with a little more ease and efficiency.

Confession: I used to be stuck in the mindset of wanting to do everything by myself and being very hesitant to invest in tools that I know will help me with my filmmaking career.

Today, I trust in my abilities to make smart decisions for myself. Invest in the necessary tools that will propel me forward and save me time.

In this blog, I'll recommend some tools that I’ve found to be extremely useful. My life has been transformed by these tools, and I want the same for you!

The best way to get started with your filmmaking journey is to roll up your sleeves and start creating content. But, you're not quite sure what's the best first steps. It may seem like you're just groping around in the dark without knowing what you're sometimes doing...

“You don’t know-- what you don’t know.”

So, some of the information you’re finding may not be the most effective way to run a film production. The list of books I culled together should help point you in the right direction.

Elevate your filmmaking craft with the following books:

PS: Some of these are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission for recommending the product to you.

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the business of entertainment and learn to successfully engage in all aspects of global production. Learn the latest opportunities presented by changing technology and their impact on the producer’s ability to brand, monetize, finance and globally release content. Also included is new information on audience, earning, distribution and funding opportunities created by the explosive growth of VR, AR, 360 and gaming, as well as the rapid conversion to OTT.

This book considers diversity in the mass media in three main settings: Audiences, Content, and Production.

It provides a multifaceted and often intersectional look at how race, gender, and class relate to the creation and use of media content as well as the media texts themselves.

"If you know better, you do better."

Writing Screenplays That Sell outlines in great detail the FIVE essential components every GREAT screenplay should contain. Without them, your script will have a much more difficult time getting sold, getting made, or reaching your intended audience. This book walks the reader through the process step by step--

1. Each one had a HERO, a main character we rooted for.

2. We IDENTIFIED with the heroes; we put ourselves inside their psychologically.

3. The heroes each pursued at least one clear, visible DESIRE.

4. They faced seemingly insurmountable OBSTACLES in pursuing their goals.

5. In facing those obstacles, they had to find more courage than they'd ever had.


Written for independent filmmakers and film students who want a solid grounding in the tools, techniques, and processes of narrative film, this comprehensive manual covers all of the essentials while keeping artistic vision front and center. This book walks the reader through every step of the process―from the transformation of an idea into a cinematic story, to the intricacies of promotion and distribution.

Voice & Vision focuses on learning to work successfully with available resources (time, equipment, budget, personnel, etc.) in order to turn limitations into opportunities.

A filmmaker's most precious assets - not just for directing actors, but also for making all the storytelling decision - are his instincts, imagination, and intuition. The author reveals the secrets that can keep an imagination alive and free a director's intuition, so everyone on the set can function at full creativity. You will learn about: sources of imagination, goals of  script analysis, tools of the storyteller, the lost art of rehearsal and the director's authority.

New technology, new tools and new methods have revolutionized the art and craft of telling stories visually. While some aspects of visual language, lighting and color are eternal, shooting methods, workflow and cameras have changed radically. Even experienced film artists have a need to update and review new methods and equipment. These  changes  affect not only the director of photographybut also the director, the camera assistants, gaffers, and digital imaging technicians.

Lighting is at the heart of filmmaking. The image, the mood, and the visual impact of a film are, to a great extent, determined by the skill and sensitivity of the director of photography in using lighting. Motion Picture and Video Lighting explores technical, aesthetic, and practical aspects of lighting for film and video. It covers not only how to light, but also why.

Motion Picture and Video Lighting is the indispensable guide to film and video lighting. This comprehensive book explores light and color theory, equipment, and techniques to make every scene look its best.

This book teaches editors, artists and students how to use DaVinci Resolve 16, the only film and video post production solution that brings editing, color correction, audio post and visual effects together in the same software application! This guide will teach you how to use the revolutionary new cut page, which is designed specifically for editors that need to work quickly and on tight deadlines. It also covers DaVinci Resolve's advanced color correction, powerful editing options on the traditional edit page, Fairlight digital audio tools and fast 2D visual effects compositing on the Fusion page.

Best of all, the DaVinci Resolve 16 software is absolutely free! So you can start learning today! The free version of DaVinci Resolve actually has more features than any paid editing system.


Now that you found the best book to help guide you along your filmmaking journey, let's take a look at some of these handy tools that every filmmaker and content creator should have in their toolkits.

One of the best ways to save time, money, and energy is to use the right tools to jumpstart your filmmaking career.

Handy tools every filmmaker could use!

Write movie and TV scripts, stage plays, and new media with Final Draft - the number-one selling entertainment industry-standard application that combines powerful word processing with professional script formatting.  Final Draft automatically formats your script to industry standards as you write so you can focus on what's important - story and character.

The Cavision VFTW-11x Next-Gen 11x Micro Director's Viewfinder provides a portable means of conceptualizing and framing your shots prior to setting up your camera. The frame can be composed using a variety of formats including full-frame DSLR, APS-C and digital S35. I

The Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is revolutionizing the camera industry with a Four Thirds sensor, 13-stops of dynamic range and dual native ISO up to 25600.

  • 24mm Cine Lens features industry standard geared focus and iris rings.

  • 35mm Cine Lens offers fast T1.5 maximum aperture benefits working in low-light conditions.

  • 50mm Cine Lens provides a very fast maximum aperture of T1.5 for effective low light capture and shallow depth of field control.

  • 85mm Cine DS Lens features industry standard geared focus and iris rings.

  • Heavy Duty Tripod with Fluid Head Kit

  • 1/4" screw is compatible for most brands of the cameras and camcorders.

  • It is a heavy duty tripod and its max load is 13.2lbs.

  • Fluid head with handle and level bubble provide pan and tilt drag.

  • There is a safety button on the mounting platform which avoids the camere falling down.

  • Flip lock enables fast setup.The mid-level spreader keep the legs from collapsing on uneven ground and add stability with rubber mats.

The GVM lighting kit comes with a LCD digital display, multiple control modes, stability system and 360° rotating U-bracket to improve your lighting settings (3 Packs Led Light Panel, 3200K-5600K, 8 Kinds of The Scene Lights). The step-less adjustment is used to control the brightness/color temperature which brings great convenience to your shooting.

  • The Zoom H6 is great for live recording as well as studio-quality music production

  • Includes both XY and mid-side microphone modules

  • Record up to 6 Simultaneous Channels at up to 24-bit/96kHz Audio

  • Bundle includes Studio Headphones for an optimal playback experience

  • Accessory bundle contains 16GB memory card, studio headphones, 4 AA rechargeable Batteries with compatible charger, auxiliary cable, and table tripod

The Rode NTG2 is a condenser shotgun microphone designed for professional audio capturing in the field or indoors. It comes with a Rode Dead Cat Wind Muff is a zip-on furry cover with deep artificial fur that fits snugly over the Rode VideoMic. Plus a Micro Boompole from Rode is a convenient and portable, 3-piece boom pole. Lightweight and precision balanced, the anodized aluminium pole features intuitive twist locks for smooth extension. And a 20' XLR Cable that offers high quality XLR male and female connectors and is compatible with any XLR connection-microphones.

2021 Newest HP OMEN Gaming Laptop, 15.6" FHD 300Hz 3ms Display,

Intel 6-Core i7-10750H(Up to 5GHz),

32GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, RGB Keyboard, Wi-Fi 6, HDMI,w/ GM Gaming Mouse

This UHD monitor gives you 64 times more color than conventional monitors--an incredible 1 billion colors. That means that movies, games, and other multimedia content appear detailed, natural looking, and extremely realistic. More colors also ensure a smoother transition between different tones for a richer, more accurate picture.

DaVinci Resolve includes everything professional editors need to cut blockbuster films, television shows, and commercials. It’s perfect for both offline and online editing. The high performance playback engine makes editing and trimming incredibly fast, even for processor intensive formats such as H.264 and RAW.

Avid Pro Tools redefined the music, film, and TV industry, providing everything you need to compose, record, edit, and mix music and audio. And now Avid Pro Tools 12 sets the stage for Avid Cloud Collaboration, the upcoming Avid Marketplace, and flexible options, so you can access the industry standard in more affordable ways than ever.

Search the world's largest video collection plus millions of music tracks, sound effects, motion graphics and images.


Of course, I use quite a number of other resources and love them as well, but I wanted to keep this list concise.

If I had to pick five resources I couldn't live without, it would be these five tools.

Aside from the tools above, I also use many other resources to help me achieve a finished film. Some of them are FREE and some are paid.

You can checkout some of the other resources that I love using on Diversity in Cinema Academy's resources page. You can view all of the resources for Filmmakers, Content Creators and Screenwriters from the links provided.

From filmmaking tools, to content creation tools, to screenwriting tools... they all can be found in the tools section of Diversity in Cinema Academy's website. I highly recommend that you check out our tools store! :)

If you like it, please help me to share the resources link with a friend. I would really appreciate it!

Okay, that's all for now. I hope that you have found the information I provided helpful!

Enough information, let’s get you moving!



Diversity in Cinema Academy is an online digital media company that primarily uses web-based applications, such as an interactive website and social media platforms, to offer aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters an entertaining and educational place to interact with each other and professional filmmakers.


FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM: @diversityincinemaacademy

"LIKE" US ON FACEBOOK: /dicacademy1


For more information, visit


bottom of page