How to Suceed at a Timed Film Competition

As a veteran of five film competitions in two years, there’s quite a few things that I have learned in this time. Some things from success, some from failures. Here’s numbers 1-5 of a million.

Prepare as much as you can in advance. Leading up to the event, you should have some time to acquire your team members and just talk. Chat about some of the movies that you’ve seen lately and have a sense of camaraderie. Also, see what everyone’s specialty is before you start production. Assign some tasks, agree to a certain genre, or just enjoy some company.

Bring food. This is a good way to delegate the task of acquiring food to everybody. Have everybody bring one dish that they enjoy the most. If your competition spans multiple days, plan out the meals for each day. Before long, you’ll have a potluck fit for a king. Just beware of allergies.

Sleep-deprive smartly. Chances are, you most likely aren’t going to spend a third of the competition sleeping, so you’ll be sleep deprived unless you do the following:

  1. Do tasks in shifts.
  2. Rest periodically.
  3. Don’t have someone double up on a major job.
  4. Wait to consume stimulants until after you’ve been up for 12 hours.

With this, you can stay up late and work efficiently. Zombies may make good cast members, but not good crew.

Plan out the whole day. Once you have a rough script, you should have someone make a schedule, planning out which scenes you’ll be filming on each day. Make sure you allow enough time for reshoots and editing. Remember that the schedule is not ironclad; it is a guide to let you know how you are doing.

Work as a team. This has to be the most important advice anyone can give. You all signed up to make a great work of art in a limited amount of time, and you have to do it without being at everyone’s throats. Leave your ego at the door, and work together with everyone. If not, all you have left is a movie that you all hate, and a loathing for the team. Above all, remember that this is supposed to be FUN!

Evil Overlord List

Time for a fun link!

Okay, this is a list almost as old as I am. It is a list of all the things that Evil Overlords/Bond Villans/Overall bad guys do in EVERY movie. Most are pretty funny.

The moral: If you want your story to be taken seriously, don’t let the villain do these ridiculously stupid acts.

The Evil Overlord List

Film Racing

Film Racing is the act of creating a film from inception to completion in a very limited time span. In essence, you have to write, cast, film, render, and deliver a finished film in about 24-48 hours. Expect no sleep.

However, these contests are a huge challenge that gives you valuable experience. Sometimes, you will have to make a video in a very short time span, and you want to know that you can do it. You will gain that confidence with one of these contests.

Below are some of the videos that I have completed during these film challenges within Unrendered Productions. Here, we completed the following videos:

First Dates

The Portal



And here are some links to the competitions:

The 48-Hour Film Project is an international project that tours around and gives filmmakers in different cities a chance to participate for a weekend.

The 24-Hour Film Race is a yearly race in several cities in the US. Additionally, they have a national race called the 100-Hour Film Racing Grand Prix, where you compete for 100 hours against several films within the nation.

The Mocksides 72-Hour Film Challenge is an event that is sponsored locally, where you compete for 72 hours. In 2012, they will be expanding to other cities within the US.