Directing Change

Rules and FAQ

Contest Rules

2018 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 entry process this year, so if you submitted in previous years, 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 Middle or High School Student you must be associated with a middle school or high school located in California and in grades 7-12. Any middle and 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 qualify for 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.  If you decide to enter as a middle school or 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 14 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 in California.  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 10 students or youth may be listed on the entry form, however there is no limit on the number of people who can be on a film team. Only one trophy will be given per winning team.  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

Only one Intent to Direct Form  per team please!

Submission Categories – There are five submission categories.

  • Suicide Prevention (60-second PSA):  This category asks for a 60-second film that educates young people about the warning signs for suicide and how to offer support to a friend.
  • Animated Short (30-second PSA):  This category is new for 2018 and asks for a 30-second, animated, film about suicide prevention.
  • Mental Health Matters (60-second PSA):  This category asks for a 60-second film that encourages young people to get help and support friends with mental health challenges.
  • SanaMente (30-second PSA):  This category is also new for 2018.  Filmmakers are asked to create a 30-second film in Spanish (with English captioning) that promotes mental health and encourages people to visit the www.SanaMente.org website.
  • Through the Lens of Culture (60-second PSA): This category still requires participants to choose mental health or suicide prevention as a focus, with additional requirements including adding captioning and exploring these topics through the lens of different cultures.

Submission Deadline – (Midnight PST Thursday, March 1, 2018) –An entry form for every film submission must be received by the deadline. You will be asked to upload your film as part of the entry form.  Vimeo is our video services partner and all technical specifications need to be in line with their requirements.  The entry can be saved for up to 30 days at a time.

Trouble shooting tips:

  • Try a different browser (e.g. if you are using Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer)
  • Try uploading the film from a different computer (e.g. instead of your school’s computer, try your home computer.)
  • Contact us– we have never disqualified a film as a result of technical problems!

Important new requirement: You are no longer required to upload release forms to your entry form before you can submit your film. However, the advisor should keep a release form on file for every person that worked on the film (crew), is heard in the film or is acting in the film (cast).  Filmmaking requires discipline and dedication to the craft. Youth filmmakers and participants are honor-bound to acquire all necessary permissions and signatures, including parent/guardian signatures if they are under the age of 18, and accept the liabilities for copyright violations. If Directing Change staff ask for release forms and they cannot be provided, the film may be disqualified.

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.  It is best to provide original music!  (When obtaining permission, you are not just seeking to use permission for submission into the contest, but for all mediums that the film will be used in including online and broadcast.

Release Forms – As a result of all the feedback we received, we have simplified the release form requirements.   Every person involved in the creation of the film (this includes all cast and crew) must agree to the terms and conditions listed in the entry form and must sign a release form. Anyone under the age of 18 also needs to have the form signed by their parent or a legal guardian. However, the release forms no longer have to be uploaded as part of the entry form.

The release form is now available as one page, and includes release of intellectual rights, and image and voice rights. Please review the forms and copyrights page for more information and other requirements. All applicable release forms need to be kept on file by the adult advisor. The Directing Change team will request release forms from the winning film teams and any other films that we anticipate may be used to support local awareness efforts, therefore it is important to keep all forms on file. If release forms cannot be provided upon request, the film may be disqualified.

Submission Format – Entries must be either 30-seconds or 60-seconds in length depending on the submission category.  Vimeo is our video services partner and all technical specifications need to be in line with their requirements. You will be asked to upload your film as part of the entry form. By uploading your film to Vimeo you will automatically agree to their terms and conditions. Vimeo recommends that when preparing your video for upload, it’s best to maintain the video’s native frame rate when compressing your video. If your footage exceeds 60 FPS, they will automatically reduce the frame rate. Vimeo recommends a constant frame rate throughout your entire video. Always choose “constant” frame rate instead of “variable” frame rate. A codec is the format in which your video is encoded. Vimeo accept most major codecs, but for best results they recommend H.264 or Apple ProRes 422.

Submission Language – Films in languages other than English are encouraged and will be accepted as long as they have English captioning.  They should be submitted in the Through the Lens of Culture category or SanaMente category.

Judging Process & Prizes (Middle and High School Students) – All films will be pre-screened by the Directing Change Team.  The best films from every region will move on to a panel of regional judges, who will select the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category from five regions within the state of California. (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 first place winning film in each category, in each region, are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school).  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • Up to two participants from the first place regional film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Schools and organizations associated with the first place regional film in each category will receive a trophy.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.

The first place 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, and 3rd place winners will be selected in each category by a judging panel.  There is only one round of judging.

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $500
  • 2nd place: $250
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the first place winning film in each category are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school or organization (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school or organization).  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • 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,  and 3rd place winners will be selected in each category by a judging panel. There is only one round of judging.

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the first place winning film in each category are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school or organization (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school or organization).  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.

Judging Process & Prizes (SanaMente 30-second Mental Health) –  1st  to 5th  place winners will be selected by a SanaMente judging panel. There is only one round of judging.

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $500
  • 4th place: $250
  • 5th place: $250
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.
  • Films will be integrated into the statewide mental health awareness social marketing campaign and featured on the SanaMente website, as well as possibly shown on TV, online and in movie theaters.

Judging Process & Prizes (Animated Short – 30-second Suicide Prevention PSA) – 1st  to 5th place winners will be selected by a special judging panel. There is only one round of judging.

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $500
  • 4th place: $250
  • 5th place: $250
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.
  • Films will be integrated into the statewide suicide prevention awareness social marketing campaign and possibly shown on TV, online and in movie theaters.

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

  • Required logos and resources (now available as one end slate that can be added at the end of the film)
  • Every film has to begin with a beginning title slide (not counted in the 60-second or 30-second limit) that needs to include: The Film Title, Filmmakers Name(s), School/Organization Name, County in which School or Organization is located, Adult Advisor Name, Submission Category. A title slide template is available for download but youth are welcome to create their own.

Safety – Youth 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, all 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 safe messaging, 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. All 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 Vimeo, YouTube or any other video service sites accessible to the public (other than the official contest website as part of the entry form) until after winners have been announced on the website. See “Submission to Other Film Festivals” below 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 Youth 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.  Adult advisors, we recommend that you download the Getting Started Guide with useful tips to help your participants submit winning entries!  Youth participants, check out our Directing Change Prezi– it provides an overview of the rules and tips to succeed!

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

2. Read the contest rules and FAQ!

3. Identify an adult advisor at your school or organization. All participants that are associated with either a  middle school, high school, college, university, community-based organization, program, club or other entity must select an adult advisor for their team. The adult advisor is someone who is not on the film submission team. This is required so we can connect your school, club or organization with free prevention programs and resources and they also qualify for cash prizes. The adult advisor does not need to have knowledge of or expertise in film making or the subject matter (suicide prevention and mental health).

4. Select a submission category and review the content guidelines carefully. There are five submission categories.

  • Suicide Prevention (60-second PSA):  This category asks for a 60-second film that educates young people about the warning signs for suicide and how to offer support to a friend.
  • Animated Short (30-second PSA):  This category is new for 2018 and asks for a 30-second, animated, film about suicide prevention.
  • Mental Health Matters (60-second PSA):  This category asks for a 60-second film that encourages young people to get help and support friends with mental health challenges.
  • SanaMente (30-second PSA):  This category is also new for 2018.  Filmmakers are asked to create a 30-second film in Spanish (with English captioning) that promotes mental health and encourages people to visit the website sanamente.org.
  • Through the Lens of Culture (60-second PSA): This category still requires participants to choose mental health or suicide prevention as a focus, with additional requirements including adding captioning and exploring these topics through the lens of different cultures.

5. Submit an 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. Only one per film team please!

6. We have developed several resources to assist with content such as educational films, fact sheets, and a Prezi presentation. Visit the “For Youth” page or “For Schools” page for assistance. Here are a few resources:

Also, be sure to check out the Submission Toolbox for every category which includes tools (such as the logo end slate and the title slide template) that are required with your film submission, and resources to help you with the content of your film.

7. Sign Release Forms and provide them to the adult advisor.  Filmmaking requires discipline and dedication to the craft. Youth filmmakers and participants are honor-bound to acquire all necessary permissions and signatures, including parent/guardian signatures if they are under the age of 18, and accept the liabilities for copyright violations. Please review the forms and copyrights page for more information and to download the appropriate forms.  It is best to provide original music, art and images!  (When obtaining permission, you are not just seeking to use permission for submission into the contest, but for all mediums that the film will be used in including online and broadcast.

The release form is now available as one page, and includes release of intellectual rights, and image and voice rights. All applicable release forms need to be kept on file by the adult advisor. The Directing Change team will request release forms from the winning film teams and any other films that we anticipate may be used to support local awareness efforts, therefore it is important to keep all forms on file. If release forms cannot be provided upon request, the film may be disqualified.

8. Upload your Entry Form and Film. This entry form is due March 1, 2018. You can begin and save this form for up to 30 days.  At the bottom of the form you can click Save and Continue Later.  Once you click this you will be presented with a link that you need to bookmark and with an option to enter your email to receive the link via email.  We strongly recommend doing both, as there is no way for the Directing Change Team to provide you with your link. You will also need the Vimeo URL to your film.  Every person that worked on the film (crew) or acted in the film (cast) or whose voice can be heard in the film (cast) needs to provide contact information, their T-shirt size and accept the Directing Change Terms and Conditions.

As part of the entry form you will be asked to upload your film to the Directing Change Vimeo Channel. Upon successful upload you will cut and paste the Vimeo link into the entry form.  Your film is not automatically submitted just by uploading it to the Vimeo channel- you have to copy and paste the link into the entry form and submit the entry form.  Also don’t be concerned if the link doesn’t work for you. It is unlisted and the film can only be viewed by the Directing Change team.

You are no longer required to upload release forms to your entry form before you can submit your film. However, the advisor should keep a release form on file for every person that worked on the film (crew), is heard in the film or is acting in the film (cast).

Trouble shooting tips:

  • Try a different browser (e.g. if you are using Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer)
  • Try uploading the film from a different computer (e.g. instead of your school’s computer, try your home computer.)
  • Contact us– we have never disqualified a film as a result of technical problems!

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 film.

8. Sit back, relax and think about what you will wear when you walk down the red carpet!  Check out footage and pictures from past events here!

 

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 or organization eligible?

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

Youth and Young Adults between the ages of 14 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 can also participate.  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.

3. How many entries may a participant submit?

There is no limit on participation and they are encouraged to participate with as many teams as they would like. The same film can only be entered into the contest once.

4. How many entries may a school or organization submit?

There is no limit on school, club, university, or community-based organization submissions to the contest.

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

Yes. Many young people have embraced filmmaking even when their school, club, or organization does not offer a formal program. The only requirement for a young person to enter is that the film must be submitted under a school, club, university, or community-based organization’s authority. Each participant must find an adult advisor  (such as but not limited to: the principal, a teacher or a counselor) to review the entry and deem it appropriate.

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

For films submitted in the 60 second category (not SanaMente or Animated Short) only the first 60 seconds of a film will be judged. Although the film won’t lose points, 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 film does not count toward the 60-second limit.)

For SanaMente and Animated Short films, these must be 30 seconds in length. The end slate is included in the 30 second limit but the title slide is not.

7. How many participants can work on a film?

Successful films usually include a large number of dedicated, talented people to produce a video. Up to 10 students or youth may be listed on the entry form, however there is no limit on the number of students who can be on a film team. Only one trophy will be given per winning team.  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.

8. How do I enter the contest?

To enter as a Middle or High School Student you must be associated with a middle school or high school located in California and in grades 7-12. Any middle and 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 qualify for 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.  If you decide to enter as a middle school or 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 14 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 in California.  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.

Next, you will submit the Intent to Direct form.

The last step is to submit your Entry Form by the deadline (Midnight PST March 1, 2018) – Each film must be uploaded to the Directing Change Vimeo channel. An Entry Form including the Vimeo URL for EACH film must be completed and submitted by the deadline. Important new requirement:  Everyone on your cast and crew needs to fill out and keep on file a signed copy of the release form. (And if you are under the age of 18, the release form needs to be signed by a parent or legal guardian.) Signed release forms should be kept on file by the adult advisor and will need to be sent to the Directing Change Team upon request. We no longer require you to upload these as part of the entry form, but we strongly encourage you to fill these out now. The Directing Change Team requires hard copies of the release forms for films to move on to the statewide round of judging or before we make award announcements. Once requested, we ask that the adult advisor submits them within 5 days. This time frame may coincide with your spring break. Since it is likely your film is excellent; save yourself time and headache later and get the release forms signed now. To be clear, a signed release form will be required for every person that worked on the film (crew) and acted in the film (cast) or whose voice can be heard in the film (cast). If Directing Change staff ask for release forms and they cannot be provided, the film may be disqualified.

Check out the “Get Started” Prezi  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. You may still submit a film and Entry Form without submitting an Intent to Direct Form.

10. What is the role of the adult advisor?

We are asking that all participants are associated with either a high school, college, university, community-based organization, program, club or other entity and select an adult advisor for their team. The adult advisor is someone who is not on the film submission team. We are doing this so we can connect your school, club or organization with free prevention programs and resources and they also qualify for cash prizes.

The adult 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. Film-making requires discipline and dedication to the craft. Participants are honor bound to acquire all necessary permissions and signatures and accept the liabilities for copyright violations. Get the forms signed now and keep them on file so that you don’t have to worry about them later on when the Directing Change team requests them from you if your film is chosen as a winner.

12. As a participant, 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 youth or young adult’s work, this includes scripts, camera work, pre-post production. Outside help must be limited to showing participants how to do a task while never actually performing the task for them and offering suggestions while allowing the participants to make the final decision.

13. When and how do I know if I win?

We will contact the adult advisor listed on the entry form. We anticipate announcing regional winners at the beginning of April 2018. 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.

14. What are the prizes for each category?

Middle and High school students -All films will be pre-screened by the Directing Change Team.  The best films from every region will move on to a panel of regional judges, who will select the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category (mental health, suicide prevention) from five regions within the state of California. (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 first place winning film in each category, in each region, are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school).  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • Up to two participants from the first place regional film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Schools and organizations associated with the first place regional film in each category will receive a trophy.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.

The first place 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.

Youth and Young Adults –1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be selected in each category (mental health, suicide prevention) by a judging panel.  There is only one round of judging.

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $500
  • 2nd place: $250
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the first place winning film in each category are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school or organization (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school).  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website

Through the Lens of Culture – 1st, 2nd  and 3rd place winners will be selected in each category (mental health, suicide prevention) by a judging panel. There is only one round of judging.

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the first place winning film in each category are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school or organization (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school).  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.

SanaMente 30-second PSA – 1st  to 5th  place winners will be selected by a SanaMente judging panel.

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $500
  • 4th place: $250
  • 5th place: $250
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the first place winning film are eligible to receive a SanaMente mini grant to support mental health and suicide prevention awareness activities.  A short narrative and application will be required.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.

Animated Short – 30-second PSA – 1st  to 5th place winners will be selected by a special judging panel.

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $500
  • 4th place: $250
  • 5th place: $250
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.
  • Films will be integrated into the statewide suicide prevention awareness social marketing campaign and possibly shown on TV, online and in movie theaters.

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:

For more resources and assistance, visit the “For Youth” page.

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

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

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

The state has been divided into five regions. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be selected from each of the five 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.

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

Yes! This contest is about developing a film 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 2018. 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 the live Facebook feed 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 release forms and submit my entry?

Yes, we can mail you copies of all release forms and you can sign, scan and email to us or mail us a hard copy of your entry postmarked by the submission deadline. You can download and print the release form here. Questions? Please contact us.

24. Will my film 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 films will be available for use by organizations throughout the state and may end up being shown on TV or played before movies at your local movie theatre- 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.

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

Youth 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.

27. Who is the Directing Change Program and Contest funded by?

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. For more information on CalMHSA visit: www.calmhsa.org. For more information about Each Mind Matters visit: www.eachmindmatters.org.

In addition, we appreciate our many sponsors and supporters.

28. What if my school or organization does not allow access to Vimeo?

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

29. There are required logos and resources-  where do I find these?

Required logos, resources, and other tips for creating and submitting your film can be found in the Submission Toolbox for each category.

30. What if my film is longer than 60 seconds or 30 seconds?

Only the first 60 (30 seconds for SanaMente) seconds of a film will be judged. Although the film won’t lose points, any films which run longer than the maximum time (30/60 seconds) will not be judged upon their full content and will be at a disadvantage. The title slide does not count toward the time limit. If you have any questions about this please feel free to contact us.

Why this matters: 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 30 or 60 second time requirement.


31. Why does my Through the Lens of Culture and/or SanaMente film need to include captioning?

Films are encouraged to be submitted in languages other than English, but all films in this category are required to include captioning, even if the film is in English. If the film is in English, captioning is required to allow for wide dissemination of the films to all people including communities such as the Deaf, Hard of Hearing or English Language Learners.

These films will be used in a variety of settings, and evaluated by a panel of judges. To assist the judging process, knowing that it will be difficult to have a panel of judges for each language, films must have English subtitles to assist in fair scoring of films. We encourage films in all languages and are especially hopeful to receive submissions in sign language and appropriate for the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Visit the submission toolbox for tips and support if you are interested in this!

32. What is the difference between captioning and subtitles?

  • Captioning (also called closed captioning),  is commonly used as a service to aid deaf and hearing-impaired audiences. They usually appear as white text within a black box, appearing a second or two after being spoken.
  • Subtitling is most frequently used as a way of translating a medium into another language so that speakers of other languages can enjoy it.
  • You do not need to use closed captioning or subtitling software to include captioning in your film. What we are looking for is your film to include text in English that allows the viewer to fully comprehend your film, whether because of a linguistic barrier or hearing impairment.  The primary goal of captions and subtitles is expanding audiences and allowing everyone to enjoy your film!

For more information about captioning click here

33. Can I participate if I do not live in California?

At this time only middle and high school students and youth and young adults associated with a school, 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 in California are eligible to participate. There is currently a Directing Change Oklahoma program and you can find more information here. In the future, we hope to open up the program to more young people who live outside of the state of California and Oklahoma.

34. 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 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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