Types of Film Styles To Explore as a Filmmaker

Filmmaking opens many doors for exploring creativity. It encourages you to consider a multitude of little details all at once, from your subject and shot angle to lighting, location, and wardrobe. There are also multiple film styles that allow you to play around with different production techniques and hone new skills and specialties within the craft. Here are four types of film styles to explore as a filmmaker that expand and challenge your artistry.

Documentary Films

Documentaries capture and tell the stories of real-life events. They include reenacted scenes, interviews, and multi-location shooting destinations. This style tests you as a filmmaker to work with people and locations that already exist and spend more time on storytelling rather than world-building.

Documentaries allow you to tell societal, historical, and cultural stories through a lens. Invest in the proper video production equipment for documentaries and challenge yourself to tell a story that relates to a true event of the past or present.

Classic Film Noir

Film noir is a cradle between film genre and style. It features a specific formula of characters and storyline—like the use of cynical heroes or detective protagonists—philosophical undertones and messages, and flashback storytelling.

As a film style, film noirs consist of dim lighting and monochromatic or gray, white, and black color schemes. Popular movies shot in film noir include Citizen Kane and Sunset Boulevard. Shoot and produce a film noir to experience the undertakings of creating pieces akin to classics.

Avant-Garde Cinema

Avant-garde cinema puts your directorial, cinematography, and production skills to the test. It’s an experimental film style that removes traditional narratives from the equation, forcing you to explore storytelling through visual effects, lighting, editing, and other artistic and filmmaking concepts. The more experimental, the better. Play around with cinematography and postproduction to curate an avant-garde piece that’ll demonstrate your filmmaking versatility in your portfolio.

German Expressionism

German expressionism became popular in the 1920s. It’s a film style that incorporates stark contrasts of light and dark, distorted sets and subjects, and visuals that encapsulate moods and inner expressions. Like avant-garde cinema, German expressionism forces you to explore more creative and experimental means of filmmaking. Experiment with distortion, invest in different lighting mechanics, and bring emotion to life through captured visuals.

Try your hand at these four types of film styles to explore as a filmmaker and enhance your skill in the craft of filmmaking. These different styles offer many ways to challenge your lighting setup, cinematography, storytelling, set designs, and postproduction creativity. They expand your filmmaking portfolio as they broaden how you use multiple types of production techniques.

By Dianne Pajo

Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.