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!

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3 thoughts on “How to Suceed at a Timed Film Competition

  1. Good advice. What kind of stimulants would you recommend? Are there some that produce long lasting effects without the jittery-ness?

    • It really depends on the group, and what their preferences are. I like to go in this order: soda -> coffee -> energy drinks -> 5-hour energy -> NoDoz.

      But bringing a variety of stimulants is good. On the last 3, we brought a coffeepot, and it turned out that I was the only one out of 14 that was actually drinking it. Could have gone without it.

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