Directing Change

Rules and FAQ

Contest Rules

2016 Program and Contest Rules

To enter the contest you must agree to these official rules. Submission of an entry constitutes an agreement to these rules. We made some changes to the rules this year, so if you submitted last year, please review them carefully! And don’t forget to read the FAQ and Entry Process sections.

Eligibility – This is a student and young adult film contest; only student and youth or young adult produced films are eligible. To participate one of the following must apply to you:

  • To enter as a High School Student you must be associated with a high school located in California and in grades 9-12. Any high school in California is eligible, including but not limited to: public, private, charter, alternative and home schools.  Student films must be reviewed and approved by an adult advisor at the student’s school (such as but not limited to: the principal, a teacher or a counselor) for content that is suitable for schools and a general public viewing audience. Students can, but do not have to, produce the movie as a school or after school activity.  Students can submit as a team from different schools, but since the school is eligible to win a cash prize and to receive prevention programs, the team needs to identify one adult advisor from one of their schools.  This is the school that will go on record and receive prizes and recognitions should the film win.  The film can also be submitted as part of a youth program or after school activity.  In this case, the lead student needs to be a high school student and an adult advisor from one high school needs to be identified. If you decide to enter as a high school student, you will compete against other students in your region. Regional winners then move onto a second round of judging to compete against other regional winners.
  • To enter as a Youth or Young Adult you must be between the ages of 16 and 25 and associated with a college, university, club, community-based organization (e.g. a local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or the National Alliance on Mental Illness), or other agency or program.  You don’t need to have a prior relationship with this organization and please feel free to contact us for assistance with helping you find one to partner with.  This school, club, program or organization will go on record and is eligible to win prizes, recognitions and prevention programs.  You must also identify an adult advisor representing that organization (someone that is not listed as working on your film team) to review your film.  If you enter as a youth or young adult, you will compete against all other submissions in your category.  There is only one round of judging.
  • Up to four students or youth can be listed on the entry form as the film team and only those four are eligible for award trophies.  There is no limit on the number of submissions one person can be part of and no limitation on the number of submissions from a single school or organization.
  • A film can only be entered into one category.

Notice of Intent to Direct: Submit the Intent to Direct Form to let us know that you are planning to submit a film and in which category. Submitting the form does not obligate you to submit an entry, just as not submitting the form does not disqualify entries, but it helps us with the planning process. In the form we will ask you to include:

  • Name of lead participant
  • Name of adult advisor
  • Name of school or organization
  • Name of county in which your school or the organization you are partnering with is located.

For every Intent to Direct Form we receive (and that turns into a submission), the film team will be entered to win a one-on-one skype mentoring session with a professional director.  Only one Intent to Direct form per team please!

 

Submission Deadline! (Midnight PST March 1, 2016) – Each film must be uploaded as a “unlisted” video to YouTube. An Entry Form including a link to the video on YouTube for EACH film must be completed and submitted by the deadline. Important new requirement:  You are now required to upload all release forms to your entry form before you can submit your film.

If you need to make arrangements to submit your submission via mail, please contact us. (Please note that mailed entries need to be postmarked by March 1, 2016.) If you are having technical problems please try the following:

  1. Try a different browser (e.g. if you are using Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer)
  2. Try uploading the film from a different computer (e.g. instead of your school’s computer, try your home computer.)

If technical problems persist, please contact us and include your internet browser and a description of the problem you are experiencing. Please be assured that we will not disqualify any entries that did make the deadline as a result of a technical problem with uploading the video.

Submission Format – Entries are limited to 60 seconds in length. Many of the films (even if they are not winning films) are used to support local awareness efforts and shown in local movie theaters and even on TV.  We are only able to use films that meet the 60-second requirement.  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 video. For more information on exporting your video to meet these requirements, please click on this link and view YouTube’s audio/Video settings –

Fix Upload Problems: https://support.google.com/youtube/settings

Remember each film must be uploaded as an “unlisted” video to YouTube.
Privacy settings: https://support.google.com/youtube/privacy

Submission Categories – There are two primary submission categories:  Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Matters.  In addition, we are now offering a third category called Through the Lens of Culture.  This category still requires participants to choose suicide prevention or mental health as a focus, but with additional requirements including creating a film in a language different than English and/or with focus on how this topics impact people from different cultures.

Submission Language – Films in other languages are encouraged and will be accepted as long as they have English subtitles.  They should be submitted in our new category:  Through the Lens of Culture.

Judging Process & Prizes (High School Students) –  1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be selected in each category from five regions within the state of California by a regional judging panel.  (If less than 15 entries are received from any given region it might be combined with another region at the discretion of the contest organizers.) To see which region your school falls into, click here.

Regional Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $500
  • 2nd place: $250
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools associated with the winning film in each category, in each region, are eligible to receive $1000 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school.  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • All regional first place winners will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website

The winning film from each region, in each category will move on to a a second, statewide round of judging.   A new judging panel will review and score the films and determine the first, second and third place statewide winners. The winners will be announced at the award ceremony at the end of the school year.   In addition, the Directing Change team will select up to 3 films in each category to move onto the statewide round of judging.

Judging Process & Prizes (Youth and Young Adults) –  1st, 2nd, 3rd,  4th and 5th place winners will be selected in each category by a judging panel and announced at the award ceremony.

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $500
  • 2nd place: $250
  • 3rd place: $250
  • 4th place:  $125
  • 5th place: $125
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the winning film in each category are eligible to receive $1000 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school or organization.  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • First, second and third place winners will be provided with travel stipends (for up to four people) to attend the award ceremony.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website

Judging Process & Prizes (Through the Lens of Culture) –  1st, 2nd, 3rd,  4th and 5th place winners will be selected in each category by a judging panel and announced at the award ceremony.

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $250
  • 4th place:  $125
  • 5th place: $125
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the winning film in each category are eligible to receive $1000 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school or organization.  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • First, second and third place winners will be provided with travel stipends (for up to four people) to attend the award ceremony.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website

Judging Panel – The judging panel is composed of suicide prevention and mental health subject matter experts, reporters, editors, community members and industry professionals with experience with the development of PSAs, production, editing or directing of films, script writing or acting.

  1. View the official contest judging form for the Suicide Prevention category
  2. View the official contest judging form for the Ending the Silence of Mental Illness category

Music and Copyrights: Entries must meet all copyright standards by obtaining releases for all copyrighted music and materials prior to submission. Entries that include copyrighted materials (such as images, supers or audiovisual materials) or music (such as music purchased from iTunes, on CD or other downloadable services) without the proper permission and signed release forms will be disqualified. Please review the forms and copyrights page for more information and to download the appropriate forms.  All applicable music and copyright forms need to be received for each film by the submission deadline.

Release Forms: Every person on the submitting team has to sign a release form. For students under the age of 18 the form also needs to be signed by their parent or a legal guardian. In addition, all individuals who appear (visually or voice) in the film need to sign the Image and Voice Release Form. Please review the forms and copyrights page for more information and other requirements. All applicable release forms need to be uploaded to the entry form before the film can be submitted.

Submission Requirements: All films need to meet certain submission requirements.  These vary by category.  Please review the Submission Toolbox for each category for details.  Requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Required logos and resources (grouped on one screen at the end of the film)
  • Every film has to begin with a beginning title slide (not counted in the 60-second limit) that needs to include: The Film Title, the Submission Category, County in which School or Organization is located, and Participant Name (s).

Safety: Teen and young adult producers – please avoid potentially dangerous production situations that could put crew, actors or the public at risk. Safety during the project is of highest priority. Directing Change staff and sponsors take no responsibility and assume no liability for any acts or damages that may result from preparing the materials to submit to this contest. Further, both of the submission categories are sensitive subjects that need to be addressed with respect and understanding for how they might impact those involved in the project. If at any time, you or someone working on the project experiences an emotional crisis let an adult know immediately or call the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free 24-hour hotline.

Elimination: Providing false information, not meeting the submission deadline, not obtaining the proper release forms and copyright permissions or any other violation of the contest rules can lead to the elimination of an entry. The Directing Change Team reserves the right to disqualify any entry that they believe at their sole discretion to violate the rights of any third party or that violates U.S. or applicable state or local law. Further, the advisor can refuse to submit an entry that is not suitable for schools and a general public viewing audience. Both categories have special content that must be included and specific content that must be avoided and can lead to disqualification. Entries should not be uploaded to YouTube for public viewing or other sites accessible to the public (other than the official contest website) until after winners have been announced on the website. (Video entries uploaded as “unlisted” to YouTube as part of the submission process will of course not be disqualified.) See “Submission to Other Film Festivals” as an exception. The Directing Change Team reserves the right to suggest entries be revised if they contain disqualifying content or other content not consistent with the official contest judging form or if the entry promotes incorrect data and statistics. If the revised entry is not submitted by the deadline or deadline identified by the Directing Change Team, and the original entry contains disqualifying content, the film will be disqualified.

Submission to Other Film Festivals: Entries submitted must be original work created by the individuals listed on the entry form. Entries can be submitted to other film festivals after the submission deadline. For a list of film festivals, visit the For Students page. Special note to students in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties. Directing Change is partnering with the SlickRock 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.

 

Entry Process

Entry Process

The following provides a step by step overview of the entry process.  School advisors, we recommend that you download the Getting Started tip sheet with useful tips to help your students submit winning entries!  High school and UC students check out our Directing Change Prezi- it provides an overview of the rules and tips to succeed!

1. Like Directing Change on Facebook and join the event page. This way you will receive notifications and announcements about the contest, and you can post questions to the Directing Change Team.

2. Read the contest rules and FAQ!

3. Submit Intent to Direct Form at any time prior to the submission deadline.  For every Intent to Direct Form we receive (and that turns into a submission), the lead student on the intent to direct form will be entered into a drawing for a GoPro HERO3 Camera.

4. Select a submission category and review the content guidelines carefully! Both categories have content that needs to be avoided to not be disqualified or lose significant points in the “Messaging” portion of the judge scoring form.

5. New this year:  We developed several resources to make the submission process easier.

  • Getting Started Tip Sheet for school advisors
  • Directing Change Prezi with tips for students
  • The Advocate Newsletter
  • Short educational videos about the topics

6. High school students:  Identify an adult advisor at your school (such as but not limited to the principal, a teacher or a counselor). The role of the advisor is to:

  • Review the film content to ensure the content is appropriate for schools and a general viewing audience. Violence, profanity, sex and drug activity are discouraged and content must be appropriate for school use and adhere to your school’s policies, rules, and guidelines.
  •  Submit the entry form, release forms and copyright forms for each film on behalf of the student(s) with the proper identification by the submission deadline.
  •  The advisor does not need to have knowledge of or expertise in film making or the subject matter (suicide prevention and mental health). Useful resources to prepare the school advisor and student for this contest have been mailed to each school and can be accessed on the For Schools page.

7. Make sure that all release and copyright forms and the film you are submitting have the same identification and include: Film Title, Submission Category, School Name, County in which School is Located, and Student Name (s).  High school students also need to include the name of their adult advisor.

  • Every film has to begin with a beginning title slide (not counted in the 60-second limit) that needs to include: the Film Title, the Submission Category, School Name, County in which School is Located, and Student Name(s). High school students also need to include the name of their adult advisor. Refer to the Submission Tool Box for a template.
  • The film file name must include the category initials (SP for Suicide Prevention), the school’s initials and the name of the county the school is located in. For example:
    • SP_MHS_Mono_nameoffilm (MHS for Mammoth High School)
    • ES_BSHS_SanDiego_nameoffilm (BSHS for Borrego Springs High School
    • SP_UCSB_nameoffilm
    • ES_UCLA_nameoffilm

8. Upload each film (titled as specified above) as an “unlisted” video to YouTube and send your advisor a link to the video to include on the Entry Form. By uploading an entry, the student(s) automatically accept(s) all rules of the contest.

9. Submit the online entry form for EACH entry, and scan and email all release forms and applicable copyright forms to forms@directingchange.org by the submission deadline.  (Forms can also be faxed to 858.408.7130.)

FAQ

1. Where can I turn for help if I am in a crisis or concerned about a friend?

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-TALK (8255). This is a free 24-hour hotline. You can also visit their website at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.com

2. Is my school eligible?

Any high school in California is eligible, including but not limited to: public, private, charter, alternative and home schools. Any UC campus student is eligible.

3. How many entries may a student submit?

There is no limit on student participation and they are encouraged to participate with as many teams as they would like.

4. How many entries may a school submit?

There is no limit on school submissions to the contest.

5. My school doesn’t even have a film or media class. Can I still enter?

Yes. Many students have embraced filmmaking even when their school does not offer a formal program. The only requirement for a student to enter is that the film must be submitted under a school’s authority. For high school students this means that the student must find an adult advisor (e.g.: teacher) to review the entry and deem it appropriate. Only the advisor may submit an entry form. UC students do not have to identify an advisor and can submit the entry form themselves.

6. What happens if my entry is longer than the specified time limit?

Films will be judged only on what is presented within the 60-second time specification of the category. Any films which run longer than 60 seconds will not be judged upon their full content and will be at a disadvantage.  (Note:  The title slide required at the beginning of each video does not count toward the 60-second limit.)

7. How many students can work on a video?

Successful films usually include a large number of dedicated, talented people to produce a video. However, for this contest, only 4 high school students may be listed on the entry form as the film team and only those four are eligible for award trophies. And only 2 University of California students may be listed on the entry form as the film team and only those two are eligible for award trophies.

8. How do I enter the contest?

High School Students: Easy… choose one of the two categories: 60-Second Film-Suicide Prevention or 60-Second Film-Ending the Silence of Mental Illness. Identify an adult advisor at your school. Submit the intent to direct form. Upload your video as “unlisted” to YouTube and send your advisor the link to your video to be included on the entry form. Have your advisor submit an entry form and all release and copyright forms by contest deadline. See Rules above for additional details.

UC Students: Easy… choose one of the two categories: 60-Second Film-Suicide Prevention or 60-Second Film-Ending the Silence of Mental Illness. Submit the intent to direct form. Upload your video as “unlisted” to YouTube and include the link on your entry form. Submit an entry form and all release and copyright forms by contest deadline. See Rules above for additional details.

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

9. What if I didn’t submit the intent to direct form?

No problem. Submitting the Intent to Direct Form does not obligate you or disqualify you from submitting an entry. It just helps us with our planning process.

10. What is the role of the advisor? (For High School Students Only)

The role of the adult advisor at your school is to:

1. Review the video to ensure the content is appropriate for schools and a general viewing audience. Violence, profanity, sex and drug activity are discouraged and content must be appropriate for school use and adhere to your school’s policies, rules, and guidelines.

2. Obtain signatures, scan and submit the entry form, release forms and all applicable copyright forms on behalf of the student(s) for EACH film produced/submitted by the student/school. (Include video link in advisor entry form.) Signed release forms and applicable copyright forms must be scanned and emailed to forms@directingchange.org, or may be faxed to 858.408.7130.

3. The advisor does not need to have knowledge of or expertise in film making or the subject matter (suicide prevention and mental health).

11. Do I really need to get all these forms signed?

Yes. Student film-making requires discipline and dedication to the craft. Students are honor bound to acquire all necessary permissions and signatures and accept the liabilities for copyright violations.

12. As a student, how much help can I get from parents, teachers, and other adults?

Teachers, parents, and support people are encouraged to be resources, and may participate as actors, but the project must be student work, this includes scripts, camera work, pre-post production. Outside help must be limited to showing students how to do a task while never actually performing the task for them and offering suggestions while allowing the students to make the final decision.

13. When and how do I know if I win?

High School Students: We will contact the advisor listed on the entry form. We anticipate announcing regional winners at the beginning of April 2015. Statewide winners will be announced at the award ceremony which will take place during Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Visit the award ceremony page for updates and details.

UC Students: We will contact the student(s) listed on the entry form. Winners will be announced at the statewide award ceremony in Sacramento in May.

14. What are the prizes for High School and University of California Students?

For High school students  1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be selected in each category from nine regions within the state of California by a regional judging panel.(If less than 15 entries are received from any given region it might be combined with another region at the discretion of the contest organizers.)  To see which region your school falls into, click here.

Regional Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $500
  • 2nd place: $250
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools associated with the winning film in each category, in each region receive $250
  • All regional first place winners will be provided with travel stipends to attend a legislative briefing at the Capitol and the award ceremony in Sacramento.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website

The winning film from each region, in each category will move on to a a second, statewide round of judging.   A new judging panel will review and score the films and determine the first, second and third place statewide winners. The winners will be announced at the award ceremony in Sacramento at the end of the school year.   In addition, the Directing Change team will select up to 3 films in each category to move onto the statewide round of judging.

For University of California Students  1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be selected in each category by a judging panel and announced at the award ceremony in Sacramento.

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $250
  • First, second and third place winners will be provided with travel stipends (for up to two students) to attend a legislative briefing at the Capitol and the award ceremony in Sacramento.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website

15. I don’t know that much about suicide prevention and mental illness.  Where can I learn more?

Here are a few resources to help you get familiar with these topics:

16. How do I know what region my high school falls under??

To see which region your school falls into, click here.

17. For high school students, what is the difference between the regional and the statewide contest?

The state has been divided into nine regions. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be selected from each of the nine regions in each category. (If less than 15 entries are received from any given region it might be combined with another region at the discretion of the contest organizers.) The 1st place winning film from each region in each category (finalists) will move on to a statewide judging round. A new judging panel will review and score the films and determine the first, second and third place statewide winners.  In addition, the Directing Change team will select up to 3 films in each category to move onto the statewide round of judging.

18. What if I don’t have access to film making equipment?

As a first step we encourage you to explore resources that might be available through your school or local library. Quality films can be developed utilizing basic digital cameras and video editing software available on most computers. However, if you are not able to access the technology you need, please contact us at stan@directingchange.org

19. I don’t know anything about film making, can I still enter?

Yes! This contest is about developing a public service announcement related to suicide prevention and reducing stigma about mental illness and we feel that everyone with a good dose of enthusiasm and creativity can come up with something amazing. Review these tips to get started.

20. How much violence can my film have? Can I use profanity?

This question addresses the topic of “appropriate content. This is a school-related contest and, as such, content, violence, profanity, sex and drug activity must be appropriate for school use and adhere to your school’s policies, rules, and guidelines.

A few tips: Do not glorify illegal, dangerous, or potentially harmful behavior. Instead, make your video about the decisions made, the relationships gained or lost, the life opportunities won or lost. In short … make the video about the people not about the act. The formula for most movies focuses on why the characters are going to do what they do, the internal struggle of the decision and a resolution. Focusing on the causes and effects allows you to work with serious topics in a realistic, mature way while adhering to school standards.

In particular, the suicide prevention category has special content that must be included and specific content that must be avoided. Check out the submission category page for more information.

21. Is there an award ceremony?

Yes, an award ceremony to honor the winners in each category and to reveal the winners of the statewide competition will take place in May 2015. The award ceremony promises to be an amazing evening and the program will include a screening of the winning entries. Visit the award ceremony page to stay up to date about the award event. View a video clip from last year’s event!

22. Can I use popular music in my video?

Original music or music that is in the public domain (royalty free) may be used in your film if the source is cited in the credits. You will need written permission from the copyright holder to use all copyrighted materials such as popular songs, so you will not be able to just download or purchase your favorite song on iTunes and include it in your video. For more information visit the Forms and Copyright page and for a list of websites that offer “free” music or tips to create your own visit the Links page.

23. I have limited internet access. Is there another way to download forms and submit my entry?

Yes, we can mail you copies of all forms and you can mail us a hard copy of your entry postmarked by the submission deadline. To make arrangements please email us at stan@directingchange.org.

24. Will my video be shown on TV?

The winning films will be compiled on a DVD and made available to schools and mental health agencies throughout California. In addition, the winning films will be integrated into the statewide mental illness stigma reduction and suicide prevention social marketing campaigns. In addition, the videos will be available for use by organizations throughout the state and may end up being shown on TV- you never know! To learn more about these efforts click here.

25. Who do I contact if I am interested in becoming a contest judge?

To learn more about becoming a judge, visit the Judge page for more information.

Note: High school and UC students and individuals who attend, work at, or are affiliated with a high school are not eligible to participate as judges. (If you work at, or are affiliated with a UC campus, you are eligible to be a judge).

26. Is it possible to make a submission made by students from multiple schools?

High school students can submit as a team from different schools, but since the school is eligible to win a cash prize and a suicide prevention program, the team needs to identify one adult advisor from one of the schools. That is the school that will go on record and receive the prize should the entry win. The team could always submit in each of the categories and submit one through one school and the other through another other school.

UC students have to submit under a specific campus.

27. Who is this contest funded by?

Directing Change is part of 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 the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA administers programs funded by the Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63) on a statewide, regional and local basis. For more information on CalMHSA visit: www.calmhsa.org.  In addition, we appreciate our many sponsors and supporters.

28. What if my school does not allow access to YouTube?

As a first step, upload your video outside of your school. If this is not an option, please contact us to discuss alternative submission options.

29. What if I have other questions not in this FAQ list?

Contact us via email or phone.  We promise to get back to you promptly.

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 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 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.
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