Directing Change

RSVP for the Directing Change
Award Ceremony on May 11th, 2017
in Escondido, CA.

For Youth

This page has 3 sections: 1) Support and Crisis Resources, 2) Educational Information and Resources about suicide prevention and mental health, and 3) technical resources for creating your film.

Support and Crisis Resources 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

The Trevor Project Project: The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24

Educational Information and Resources

Kognito Friend2Friend introduces the concept of mental health, warning signs of psychological distress, and strategies for improving mental wellness through a 25-minute interactive, online learning activity. This suicide prevention tool was developed for students ages thirteen and over and is available at no cost.

Educational Videos: The educational videos are films produced by some of the Directing Change Team that discuss various mental health and suicide prevention topics. Its purpose is to provide more information to students and teachers that will help inspire the filmmaking process.

Suicide Prevention 101 Prezi PresentationThis suicide prevention 101 presentation is intended to cover the basics of suicide prevention and provide background for films entered into the suicide prevention category.

Bring Change 2 Mind: Bring Change 2 Mind is a national anti-stigma campaign aimed at removing misconceptions about mental illness. For more information visit:

ReachOut USA: ReachOut seeks to help teens and young adults who struggle with feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of suicide. By harnessing the power and accessibility of online and mobile platforms, ReachOut meets them where they are to provide vital peer-to-peer support and mental health information. Check out resources and support here:

Steps and Resources for Creating your Film!

The following is a list of resources covering various components of film production. Many of these resources have been adapted from other media festival websites.

Online Film School Boot Camp

A FREE membership to “Online Film School Boot Camp” is available to all students who submit an “Intent to Direct” form and plan to participate in the Directing Change film contest. Created by Military Veteran and Filmmaker Trent Duncan, the Online Film School Boot Camp is a complete educational resource for aspiring filmmakers looking to begin a career in the Film and Video industry. It is a great tool to help you to as you develop your film!

Visit to submit an Intent to Direct form and receive your access code for FREE membership to Boot Camp. For more information about Online Film School Boot Camp visit

Step One: Get an idea

Review the submission categories and guidelines for content. To get inspired you can also check out some examples of existing films. Some of these examples have been produced by professional advertising agencies, and some are winners from other student film contests. Be aware that although the following films may be well made, the content and criteria may not be applicable to the “Directing Change: Student Film Contest”.

Check out the “Get Started” Prezi for a step by step overview of the contest and resources for creating your film.

Professional Examples:

Bring Change to Mind

Star Wars Anti‐Smoking

It’s Up To Us Eliminating Stigma and Suicide Prevention Spots

Student Examples (topic related):

Check out the winners from last year’s contest.

ReachOut USA: Need some inspiration as you begin thinking about creating your film? Check out ReachOut USA. ReachOut seeks to help teens and young adults who struggle with feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of suicide. By harnessing the power and accessibility of online and mobile platforms, ReachOut meets them where they are to provide vital peer-to-peer support and mental health information. Check out resources and support here:

Step Two: Script and Storyboard

Once you have your idea you will need to write a script and storyboard for your film. The script gives you a roadmap to your production and all the content that you will cover. In addition to a script, the storyboard allows you to visually plan your film on paper.

Storyboard Resources

Plan out your Film with a Successful Storyboard” by Don Goble

Storyboard Pro Software

Storyboard Pro is a free program that offers tools to help you plan ahead when creating your film. The software is available for free and is intended for use by students, and teachers.

Step Three: Permissions and Releases

Before filming your film, be sure you have all appropriate forms and releases signed. For more information and useful links, visit the Forms and Copyright section.

    • Location Contract: The location contract protects both the property owner and the film production team. Getting permission is also a courtesy that can prevent you from being ejected from a location.
  • Copyrights: When creating a film youth should be aware of intellectual property and copyright rules especially if they plan on using elements that someone else has created. See Songs and Sounds Effects Resources for link to free music and sounds.

Step Four: Shooting your Film

Before you start filming you will want to plan each of the shots. If possible, you may want to use two cameras to provide different angles for the same scene when editing. Take time to look at the area you in which you will be filming, paying attention to the background. Also, it is very important to make sure you keep your video tapes or video files in a safe place so it doesn’t get lost. The following sections offer links to the various aspects of video production.


Shots and Framing

  • This link contains information about the basics of “shot types” and offers insight to consider when filming.

Rules of Thirds

  • This article explains “the rule of thirds”, an important principle in photography.

Lighting Tutorials – Media College

  • This site offers various information sheets about lighting in film production.


How To Use Microphones

  • This tutorial offers information about the use of microphones.

Songs and Sound Effects Resources

Unfortunately you can’t just go to iTunes and download your favorite song. The following resources offer free music and sound effects that you can use in your film! Although some sites offer “free” music, note that you may still have to request licensing for permission to use it in your film. You can also create all the music and sounds yourself, or obtain written permission from the copyright holder for copyrighted songs and materials you would like to use in your film. For more information about how to obtain permission, visit the “Copyright Requirements” section on this page.


  • Offers free ‘film music’, and is intended for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.


  • A community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want

Free Sound

  • A collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, and recordings released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse.

Step 5: Editing your Film

Editing is important to the film making process. You may spend more time editing than filming. These links will help guide you in editing your film. There are various programs for editing that you may have on your computer at home, or ones that may be available through your school, or local library. Tutorials specific to the program you use should also be available online. Remember, entries are limited to 60 seconds in length.

Video Editing Tutorials-Media College

  • This side offers tutorials on various aspects of editing.

Top 10 Rules for Video Editing

  • This article offers tips to consider when editing your film.

Step 6: Compressing and Submitting Your Film

Entries are limited to 60 seconds in length. YouTube is our video services partner and all technical specifications need to be in line with their requirements: YouTube accepts the following file types: MOV, MPEG4, AVI, WMV, MPEGPS, FLV, 3GPP AND WebM. Although not required, we recommend that you compress your video before uploading the file.

Many video editing programs (such as Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro) and encoding software (such as Compressor or Adobe Media Encoder) may include a preset for encoding H.264 files that match the YouTube format requirements. If yours does, we recommend using that preset when encoding your finished film. For more information on exporting your film to meet these requirements, please click on this link and view YouTube’s audio/Video settings –

Remember each film must be uploaded as an “unlisted” video to YouTube.
Privacy settings:

Academy of Motion Pictures-Teachers Guide

Cyber College

Screenwriting U

Other Film Festivals

Entries can be submitted to other film festivals after the March 1, 2016 submission deadline. Special note to students in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties Directing Change is partnering with the SlickRock Student Film Festival. We strongly encourage you to also submit to this festival if your entry is in the suicide prevention category. The entry description and judging guidelines for both contests are aligned. If you are in San Diego County we also encourage you to submit your entry to the iVIE film festival. Students throughout the state of California are encouraged to also submit their films to Art With Impact, and enter into their monthly video contest.

California Student Media Festival

Innovative Video in Education (iVIE )

Student Educational Video Awards (SEVA)

Art with Impact

Thank you!

Much of the information found on this page was adapted from the Student Educational Video Awards video and many of the resources and links were adapted from the other film festival websites listed here.


If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
The contest is part of Each Mind Matters: California's Mental Health Movement and statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. The program is implemented by Your Social Marketer, Inc.
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