Archive for the 'Short Film' Category

Short Screenplay Competitions

The post on the DC Shorts was quite informative and the statistics said you enjoyed it. Then i decided to seek through the entire Withoutabox for competition you may enter with your short film script. I might convert it into a page and update it constantly when i get back from a trip.

Here you’ll find the links for the festival rules and some of its rules. For a competition to be listed here it must have a limit of pages for your script as i’m dedicating this page to short scripts only. I hope this turns out to be a constant reference for you. Remember these aren’t all the competitions available worldwide, but those available on Withoutabox.

Also keep in mind that earlier you join the competition, cheaper you pay. Please read the rules of the competition carefully before submitting.

If you find any errors or have suggestions, please leave a comment.

ReelHeART International Film Festival
50 ~ 80 USD
! January 4, 2013
 under 15 pages
* none
@ a trophy or medallion.

Bloody Hero International Film Festival
20 ~ 50 USD
! January 5, 2013
 under 40 pages
* none.
@ a sculpture.

L.A.Comedy Shorts
25 ~ 70 USD
! January 10, 2013
 under 30 pages
* comedy.
@ 1000 USD. goods/services: 1250 USD.

A Night of Horror International Film Festival
16 ~ 58 USD
! January 15, 2013
 less than 45 pages
* horror.
@ none described.

FANTASTIC PLANET: Sydney International Sci-Fi & Fantasy Film Festival
16 ~ 53 USD
! January 15, 2013
 under 45 pages
* none.
@ to be adjusted.

Steeltown Film Factory
15 ~ 75 USD
! January 18, 2013
 under 12 pages
* none.
goods/services: 30000 USD.

Brooklyn Girl Film Festival
15 ~ 35 USD
! January 19, 2013
 up to 30 pages
* written (or co-written) by woman.
@ yet to be determined.

Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival
20 ~ 65 USD
! January 21, 2013
 under 40 pages
* none.
@ a medallion.

International Family Film Festival
20 ~ 35 USD
! January 25, 2013
 under 44 pages
* must be registered or copyright, drama, comedy, animation, sci-fi/fantasy, musical.
@ a certificate

Canadian Short Screenplay Competition
25 ~ 75 USD
! January 31, 2013
 under 15 pages
* screenplays must not be based on another piece of work unless public domain.
@ over $75,000 worth in prizes.

Kansas City FilmFest
25 ~ 55 USD
! February 1, 2013
 under 15 pages
* must be written (or co-written) by a woman
@ 1000 USD.

Sacramento International Film Festival
20 ~ 65 USD
! February 10, 2013
 under 20 pages
* none.
@ trophy and prize package.

Liverpool Lift-Off Film Festival
15 ~ 50 USD
! February 14, 2013
 under 45 pages
* none.
@ goods/services: 10000 USD.

United Film Festival
20 ~ 60 USD
! February 17, 2013
 under 45 pages
* dramacomedyhorror/thriller.
@ trophy and prize package.

deadCENTER Film Festival
20 ~ 40 USD
! February 25, 2013
 under 15 pages
* none.
@ live table read.

California International Shorts Festival
35 ~ 70 USD
! February 27, 2013
 under 50 pages
* none.
@ a title.

Hill Country Film Festival
15 ~ 40 USD
! March 6, 2013
 under 10 pages
* none
@ to be adjusted.

St. Tropez International Film Festival
137 ~ 226 USD
! March 14, 2013
 under 30 pages
* none.
@ you should read this one for yourself.

LA Comedy Film Festival
25 ~ 70 USD
! March 15, 2013
 under 32 pages
* comedy.
@ 250 USD. value of good/services: 500 USD.

London Independent Film Festival
49 ~ 89 USD
! March 15, 2013
 under 50 pages
* obscene, pornographic or illegal material is not allowed.
@ good/services: 500 United Kingdom Pounds.

Spirit Quest Film Festival
20 ~ 55 USD
! March 15, 2013
 under 49 pages
* none.
@ none described.

Nantucket Film Festival
20 ~ 55 USD
! March 26, 2013
 under 40 pages
* copyrighted or WGA registered.
@ 500 USD.

LAFF Vegas
25 ~ 60 USD
!  March 31, 2013
 under 49 pages
* comedy.
@ none described.

Woods Hole Film Festival
15 ~ 45 USD
! April 10, 2013
 under 30 pages
* hard copy required
@ yet to be determined.

Las Vegas Film Festival
35 ~ 55 USD
! April 15, 2013
 under 75 pages
* none.
@ over 10000 USD shared among the winners.

Snake Alley Festival of Film
20 ~ 60 USD
! April 15, 2013
 under 30 pages
* none.
@ wood sculpture.

Vegas Cinefest
20 ~ 65 USD
! April 25, 2013
 up to 25 pages
* none.
@ none described.

DC Shorts Screenwriting Competition
35~ 75 USD
! May 31, 2013
 up to 15 pages
* none.
@ 2000 USD.

Creative World Awards Screenwriting Competition
24 ~ 69 USD
! June 1, 2013
 less than 40 pages
* screenplays must not be based on another piece of work unless public domain, no more than two authors.
@ 250 USD. Goods/Services: 1000 USD.

Columbia Gorge International Film Festival
15 ~ 95 USD
! June 3, 2013
 less than 15 pages
* hard copies required, .
@ none described.

Denver Indie Fest
15 ~ 50 USD
! June 24, 2013
 under 50 pages
* none.
@ it’s not a competition, so no prizes.

Eddie Bauer Jr. Screenplay Competition Benefiting the National Childrens Cancer Society
20 ~ 65 USD
! July 1, 2013
 under 50 pages
* none.
@ value of good/services: 5000 USD.

2013 SF Shorts: San Francisco International Festival of Short Films
$ 25 ~ 55 USD
! July 7, 2013
under 10 pages
* live-action, narrative, non-period, non-effects based.
@ value of good/services: 1900 USD. Script produced under 5k budget.

Action On Film International Film Festival
30 ~ 55 USD
! July 20, 2013
 under 19 pages
* none
@ value of good/services: 100 ~ 2500 USD.

SoCal Independent Film Festival
15 ~ 55 USD
! July 26, 2013
 under 30 pages
* none.
@ none described.

Manhattan Short Film Festival
35 ~ 40 USD
! July 31, 2013
 under 20 pages
* none.
@ none described.

Hollywood Screenplay Contest
25 ~ 55 USD
! August 10, 2013
 under 75 pages
* none.
@ over 20000 USD  in cash, prizes and services shared among winners.

Silent River Film Festival
25 ~ 45 USD
! August 13, 2013
 under 50 pages
* none.
@ an award.

New York Screenplan Contest
25 ~ 50 USD
! August 20, 2013
 under 70 pages
* none.
@ none described.

Eerie Horror Film Festival
15 ~ 50 USD
! September 1, 2013
 under 69 pages
horrorscience fictionmysterysuspense of the supernatural.
@ sponsor prizes.

West Field Screenwriting Awards
30 ~ 50 USD
! September 30, 2013
 under 40 pages
* none.
@ an award.

WILDsound Feedback Film and Screenplan Festival
35 ~ 40 USD
! Rolling deadline
 under 50 pages
* none.
@ a read of your screenplay for the audience.

DC Shorts Screenplay Competition

The DC Shorts Film Festival and Screenplay Competition is the largest short film event on the East Coast. In our 10th year, we plan on showcasing 150 films from around the globe — including the largest collection of Russian short films to ever be screened in the U.S. Hundreds of filmmakers and thousands of audience members to mix, mingle and explore the art of short cinema.

That’s what they say. How i see it? An opportunity for you to send your short film script somewhere and see if it gets anything.

It awards up to $2000 to a winning script. It must be under 15 pages and not in production. Entering the competition before March 31 costs you $30 when submitted through DC Shorts and $40 when through Withoutabox.

You must read everything in this page before sending anything.

If you have a short film ready to visit international festivals, please read this page. If you send the film before January 30 the price is $25 through DC Comics ($30 through Withoutabox).

The awards are not so appealing and i hate this concept of “paying to screen” (it is bad for the festival overall, as you’re obligated to screen poor films as long as they paid). But if you think you got a shot for the prize, do it.

Writing a Short Film: Research

In the case you kept close track of this blog, you might be aware i’ve already commented on research. However, this is a new series which will follow my personal process while i work on my new short film script. This is meant to be a suggestion if you’re lost under the writing steps, yet feel welcome to share your own method.

I can’t reinforce properly how important a decent research is, because the opposite may put your film down instantly. Why? Plausibility. This is the reason why you should develop your research and your characters with the same effort as if you were writing a feature film. Have you seen The Dark Knight Rises? **SPOILER** Did you notice there was no freaking way for Bruce to return to Gotham from the pit? **END SPOILER** These details break the magic a little bit and in these internet days, all you need is a single viewer to spot it. Then they will post it everywhere because it is their chance to grab the attention his mom missed to give him and all the hipsters in town will criticize the plot and say they noticed the screw up. And then the experience after your film projection will be bad buzz. Even if you didn’t care about the TDKR screw ups *cof* Burning symbol in the bridge *cof*, you’re not Christopher Nolan. You’re just like me: a nobody.

My rule of thumb for research is: do it for everything that does.

What this means? You must study every element from the story that do something. Even if not a direct action, your scenario, for example, affects the story just for being. There’s no need to go really deep into most of the stuff you study. Most of the time researching is all about confirming what you already now.

Talking about my new story, it’s more like a challenge i have no idea if i’ll succeed and if you keep reading you’ll how nuts it is. I want to write a dramedy with a clear 4-act structure in 15 minutes tops. It’s about a young woman who has to take care of her grandmother, who collects cats. This is just a taste out of it and you’ll certainly learn more about the project as this series moves along. There’s a scene in which the woman goes to buy the largest pack of pet food. How much it weights? Calling my local pet store and asking is research, even if i had an idea it would be around 20kg (44 pounds). This is essentially for credibility, although some fact-finding might improve your story some other ways.

Out of nowhere, the woman finds out her grandma has Alzheimer’s. This is a crucial point for the craft because even though i’m interested, no one in my family had Alzheimer’s. I’m a complete stranger to this world. Several amateur writers i know would avoid this. Playing away from their backyard. Yet is this process of incorporation into someone else that attracts me into the writing world. Without the proper research you can’t get underneath the skin.

Dealing with Alzheimer’s puts me in a very tough position, because it is easy to go cliché or wrong, meanwhile the good path is narrow. Then i apply the deep research for my story. In this moment, research is my resource for effective plot points. I start working on the experiences of people whom took care of relatives with Alzheimer’s. Basing my twists into real situations beyond giving me solid ground to proceed, is also a respectful attitude towards those whom live in that world.

Most of the time, research is virtual and i need a place to store everything. I use Together for that. It’s an Evernote that works. Allows me to tag my files and organize them within folders. Plus making it superb to send information and don’t invade my workflow. In the image you may check the folder and some files i’ve stored so far.

Screenshot 12 21 12 4 49 AM

Using Safari Reader or Evernote Clearly, it is smooth to save a formatted web article within Together without much of that whole internet pollution. Works better than the Evernote Web Clipper, honestly. Together also keeps the files in a uncompressed folder, so i sync them in my Dropbox and can access my research pretty much from anywhere.

Screenshot 12 21 12 4 55 AM

Some quick comments on researching:

  • If you’re insecure about something in your story is because you didn’t study it enough. Research is backing it up.
  • Maintain your research notes stored and organized. You must have them at hand at any given moment.
  • Most of the time researching is confirming your suspicions.
  • Don’t be afraid to play journalist. Interviewing an expert is really good to clarify your thoughts.
  • Get what you need and fucking move on. It’s a thin line between research and procrastination.
  • Plausibility, plausibility, plausibility.
  • And most important: research everything that do anything in your story.

See you around (:

6 Steps into Successful Crowdfunding

If you’re writing a short film, often it means you’re accumulating several other functions in the later stages of the production. You might be directing, producing, casting, acting, editing, holding cables, all of them or even something else. That’s because it is hard to make a short film, specially due to the lack of cash. This means you have a small group, doing a lot, for little to none money at the end of the job.

Crowdfunding, is a collective effort by people who network and pool their money together, usually via the Internet, in order to invest in and support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.

This resource usually gives a sensation of excitement. an eureka feeling, however it is not that simple. Crowdfunding gives the viability for any project to place itself out there and as any of these, it most be carefully planned to make most of it. Crowdfunding is not a certain solution, it is as intricate as regular funding and doesn’t make your job any easier, just possible.

1. Have a damn nice concept

Concept, story, those are the things that sell. If you have no idea what pitching is, go out and learn. Practice the hell out of it. If you’re checking this blog for the first time because you googled “crowd funding short film”, check the previous posts for an insight in how to develop a great short film script. The first step for your project is having a great starting point, this is basic market: it’s easier to sell a good product, or in this case, a product with clear potential to be good. Stop listening to your family when they say you should film that script, put the critic/bastard mask and knock your project down. Would you put money on this? Regardless of how grumpy you are, your project must be THAT good.

2. Do your budget

I hate doing budgets, that’s why i got a girl whom loves executive production. If you’re not as lucky as i am, grab your spreadsheet software and get things going. Budgeting is getting EVERYTHING you need to make your project turn into reality. Collect prices from at least three different places per product, not only important to get the cheapest around town, but also to have the sense that you’re doing it the best way. Place everything into a gorgeous, organized table. Separate it under stages of development and departments. Expect to spend money on office material and all these little things. Keep in mind that well fed crowd works better. Gas costs money too. You gotta hold tight and keep everything under control from this point on.

After budgeting is done, do the sum. Don’t freak out. That was possibly your ideal budget, start cutting what you feel as not urgent. Total is going down. Save as a different spreadsheet. Now you have your ideal budget and your risky budget. The situation here is that you have the budget you’ll look for and the budget you may expect. Still, don’t make your project on kickstarter yet. Or you expect that crowd funding is giving the value you want and see what happens? Don’t hold your breath, it’s a long road.

3. Decide your rewards

Seems really soon to do so, but it is time to decide what rewards you’re given away for your investors. I recommend you to start with digital things, stuff you may offer and which won’t cost you anything. Start low as well, don’t expect people to back you up if you begin by asking them to give away $25 at first instance. $5 is a good number. Commonly the first thing to offer is a “special thanks” credit in your film. Digital download of the film for $10? Good call. This is also the moment in which you start recalling all you may get by yourself. Is there a friend of you a great designer? Ask him to make a cool movie poster. $20 perhaps? Is your brother a tour guide? Ask him if you may offer a limited number of free tours around town. The rewards don’t need to be specifically movie related, so don’t fight against it. Know what you may afford.

Physical copies of the DVD is a must. But there’s a cost relevant to the budgeting. So does printing. Everything you decide here must go to your spreadsheet. Invite your investor to a lunch, a visit to the set, send a post card. T-shirts? Damn nice. IMDB Credits? That’s something to look for as well. Be creative, offer something symbolic from your film, an object. Wildplume offered bullet cases; Fishbowl had a limited sale for the fishbowls used in the movie. As you raise the prices, you must remember to make things more intimate, exclusive or appealing. Create rewards that only your crowd funding donors will be able to get. Give yourself the work to write some nice things in a postcard. As in a movie set, everyone there is necessary and important to keep things going, so are your donations: don’t make your attention exclusive to top offers, this will break your legs as most projects receive by small amounts. Each backer is important for your project to go on.

There are infinite possibilities, so you must use your surroundings and skills to create cool stuff for your backers. Also remember to never be cheap, always fair. Check successful projects in order to see what worked previously. This will give you a marketing perspective. Include EVERYTHING on your budget.

4. Search for local sponsoring

If you’ve never done any kind of financing for an artistic project, this will be a great experience. You’ll hate it, of course, but you’ll carry it forever. This will be the first moment where you’ll realize how hard it is to sell something people aren’t looking for. It will also tell you the weaknesses of your pitching. Time to break your face. Check on your budget what can you get from local stores. Does your uncle have a restaurant? You may ask him to sponsor the meals for your short film. Did you decide to give away a movie poster of the film for your backers? You need a good quality paper and good printing, so it might be a great idea to see if a Printer company doesn’t want to help you out. Be aware that your film might need furniture, so it is a good time to prospect for stores which you could borrow from. The objective here is lowering down your financial needs, so you’ll demand only the essential for your crowd funding project. Always remember to offer something in exchange of the sponsoring, it often is a placement of the logo in the project. Major sponsors get a logo in the beginning of the film, minor in the ending credits. Don’t sell yourself so easily, you must talk to the manager with everything structured, but with the flexibility to change if requested and negotiate properly. You can’t clutter your film with logos in the beginning of it.

5. Prepare yourself for the project

It’s about time to start developing the content of your crowd funding presentation. Always keep in mind that you’re selling something. Call it pitching as it looks less capitalist until you lose your naivety. Usually the sites offer you plenty of space to include text, pictures and video, so it’s not time to be lazy. You must make people fall in love for your project and, much more important, make clear that you’re passionate about it. The first questions to answer are:

  • What is this all about?
  • How important is this to the world?
  • Why should i help you funding this project?
  • What makes this short film unique?

Crowdfunding is not about charity, is about making people believe that you have something great in hands. Is convincing them that YOUR project is what is missing on their lives. What you have right now? Is there a cool location you’ll shoot at? A storyboard? Some graphic design? Is it based on a real story? Is there a social influence on your project? Take the time to make a great video to introduce your idea, there are better odds people will watch the video instead of reading your description (doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put effort on the writing, don’t be lazy). Be creative, effective and simple. Sharp as a brand-new paper sheet. Make a micro-documentary of what inspired you to develop this story or a testimonial of your reasons. Remember that sincerity is the best call, ALWAYS. You must declare yourself, drag from the bottom of your careless heart, that this is something to commit for. Showing people what made you interested in this project is always the most effective way to make them interested too.

Cutting the emotional crap, you must also organize yourself. Based on your budget, you must draw your crowd funding goal. Thanks to your local sponsoring, your expenditures dropped, yet you’re never comfortable to ask for the full budget. Trace a value you’re cool with. Thinking about the midpoint between your minimal-budget and your maximum-budget is commonly the way to goal. Keep both feet on the ground.

Your backers will spread the word to their friends, whom might back you up and increase your network. So you must keep in check that they have the maximum amount of information available for them to sell your project. All the informations about it; Pictures, anything people may visualize; What’s your financial goal? How is your schedule? How will you spend the money? Everyone whom support your project must know these things. As Maxime Leroy says:

What crowdfunding offers is to see your project supported by individuals who really believe in it. Who are ready to pledge anywhere from a symbolic to a substantial amount of their own money to make your idea happen. They all have a reason to do it: they will get a nice example of your product, they will brag about it to their friends, you blackmailed them, or it is your mom. Their common goal is to get your project crowdfunded or their investment will have had no impact, even if they get their money back. So they are not just backers, they are ambassadors. They will talk about your project, share it through their networks, and in the end, convince their friends to support it too. What you should be working on is helping your first backers, giving them the tools and materials (information, visuals, goal, agenda) to efficiently convince their friends. They will reach them better than you will with your random, send-to-all tweets.

6. Develop your network

After making your crowd funding project, you must review your environment. You need a crowd to fund your project, anyway. It’s time to inspect your project and your connections to make the best of them into your project. Use your social network to spread the word, still, you need closer contact to get all the support you need and you may not manage to do all of that by yourself. Make your best friends aware of your idea, they can’t be short of information as they’ll be selling your project to their closer friends. Tell everything to your family, they’ll talk about your venture to their friends at the bar or yoga class. A network you possibly wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.

Improving your network is the work you must keep after releasing your project. Dedicate a few hours of your day to update your project with pre-production status. Keep your hypothetical supporters posted. This will make clear that you’re really dedicated to this project, as your crowd funding platform is the place where they’ll find you mostly. And don’t give up, as said here:

Many people, including in your close circle, will wait ‘till the end of your campaign to support your project. They will wait until you have reached 50%, or will only seize the opportunity to support you because there’s only 2 days left before the deadline…we continually see projects take off like a rocket, then enter into a slow phase, and then pick up again at the last minute, until finally reaching the target.

As shown by Leroy’s article, particularly using Kiss Kiss Bank Bank as subject, there’s no linear fundraising, this means that even if things are running low, you must not give up, because these tiny amount you get at midpoint will make the difference later.

Gap crowdfunding

Read other articles:

Crowdfunding sites:

Hope you enjoyed and best of luck with your projects. See you next time!



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