Speed Filmmaking Competition Frequently Asked Questions

We've had lots of questions so as you scroll down, you'll find lots of answers. But if you can't find your answer here, there are more ways to get them:

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How do I enter?

There are six steps to a Team Registration

  1. Visit the 168 Store or Click Here to purchase your team registration.
  2. Use your member ID and password if you're already a member, or create a new username and password. (One entry per member ID).
  3. Your receipt will contain your TEAM NUMBER. You will use this number to identify your information throughout the process.
  4. From the link on your purchase confirmation (also item #1 on the Producer Dashboard), download, and print and sign the 168 Entry Agreement Package and return it to the 168 office within 5 days. If the form is not returned, you will not receive a verse and your team will be disqualified with no refund.
  5. Also review the other details found in the Producer Dashboard.

Basic Questions

Q: DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO HAVE A COMPLETE PRODUCTION CREW BEFORE I SIGN UP?  
A: No. You do not have to have it all together to sign up. In fact, many teams come together at the last moment. Since you will not know your assignment until you get the verse (unless you're not making a Signature Speed Film), you need to get out there and sell yourself and the kind of project you wish to make.

Q: HOW DO I FIND CREW MEMBERS?
168 facilitates introductions through our Facebook and Twitter Communities. Some producers prefer to cast a wider net by offering the experience on Craig's List or their local acting/film communitites' bulletin boards or forums. Many aspiring crew members are willing to work just for the experience.

Q: HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN BE ON A TEAM?
A: Include as many on your team as you wish. You can even go solo if you like wearing many hats. All team members must sign a release form. Sample forms are provided once you sign up.

Q: WHAT RIGHTS DOES 168 CLAIM ON MY FILM?
Producers are required to sign an entry and licensing contract. This contract gives the 168 limited license to your film. The contract document is included with the Application Agreement.

Q: DO I HAVE TO BE IN CALIFORNIA TO COMPETE?
A: No! We have entries made on location all over the world, including Israel, Kenya, and Ohio!

Q: DO I HAVE TO MAKE A PREACHY MOVIE?
A: No.  Most of the 168 films are just good stories with a Judeo-Christian worldview, which can be summed up as "Love God and Treat Others as You Wanna be Treated."  See our  CONTENT RULES. You are free to communicate the Gospel of Jesus if you like, but this is not required.

Q:  WHAT DOES IT COST TO ENTER & TEAM & HOW DO I PAY?
A:  The team registration fees are listed Here.  Pay by check or use a credit card. Fees go up as production week draws near, so hurry! The fee is per TEAM, NOT per individual. 

Q: WHAT KIND OF FILM CAN I PRODUCE?
A: When you sign up you can declare what type of film you intend to produce.  This can be changed if your circumstances change. The types are listed on the Film Project page. The different types have varying timelines and criteria by which they are judged. Within the type you can choose any genre you choose, comedy, drama, mocumentary, etc., as long as you abide by the Rules. Write of Passage Spotlight Films are the only type that allows a pre-written script. Remember you must "bid" on a Write of Passage script and receive license prior to production.

Q:  WHAT IS THE PROCESS IN A NUTSHELL?
A: The season starts with education and mixers to aid in team formation.  For Signature Speed Films, teams get a randomly-selected Bible verse which serves as the foundation for their story. No writing may occur before the verse is given. Verse Assignment marks the start of a 10-day pre-production period (writing, casting, locations and schedules). Cameras roll at a specific hour and final films are due 168 hours later. For films other than Unlimited Documentary, verse assignment is the same but production start times vary. All films must be submitted by the same turn-in time.  See Rules for details. All films are judged by our programming committee and then invitations to submit physical copies are given to official selections.

Q: I HEARD I CAN USE A WRITE OF PASSAGE SCRIPT.  HOW DOES THAT WORK?
A: Details on making a Write of Passage Spotlight Film are found in the WOP FAQ page

Q: CAN I MAKE MORE THAN ONE FILM THIS SEASON?
A: Yes. Sometimes producers wish to enter a Non-Speed category (such as Write of Passage Spotlight or Documentary) and also do a timed Signature Film. We have seen one producer manage two separate Speed Film teams as well. You must purchase separate entries for each film and use different site login usernames under separate email addresses for each film.

Q: I CAN'T DO THE COMPETITION BECAUSE THE DATES DON'T WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE. ARE THE DATES FLEXIBLE?
A: Only if  you are a student who has a documented exam week conflict. Otherwise no the dates are NOT flexible. Remember,Student Films do not compete with the other Signature films and are ineligible for Best Film honors.

Q:  WHAT IS THE REFUND POLICY?
A:  Refunds will be pro-rated on the following schedule: More than 90 days out (from Verse Assignment) 100% will be refunded. 60 days out 50%, 30 days out or less, no refund. Team fees are not transferable. 

Q:  WHAT ARE THE DATES OF THE COMPETITION?
A: See the Film Project page.

Q:  WHAT DOES IT COST TO MAKE A FILM?
A: Production budgets vary greatly (that's like asking, "How much does a house cost?"). Teams spend from $250 to $15,000 with the average being around $1500 - $2000. All teams are responsible for their own budget, cast and crew.

Q: HOW DO I FINANCE MY FILM?
A: Beg, borrow and squeal, starting with your friends and family. Kickstarter or other crowd funding sources are options. If you can affiliate (or are affiliated) with a church or other nonprofit, you may be able to offer tax benefits to donors. All producers are responsible for financing their own films.

Q: WHAT DO I GET FOR MY ENTRY FEE?
A:  Entry Fees include 2 All Festival Tickets, passes to the VIP Mixers, and a chance to be seen by our VIP Jury and to exhibit before thousands from the Hollywood Community. You also get: Team Promotion, Verse Assignment Night admission (if in LA), and 6 months free access to the Media Hub. Your team members can have 3 months free access to the Media Hub by using a special code.

Q: HOW DO I GET ON A TEAM
A: Find a 168 producer and ask! You are welcome to join our Facebook and Twitter communities. See if there is a team in your area (Remember, you can compete from anywhere). If there is not, you can start one or see where the closest one is located. If you are new to this and just want to see what it's like, great. Very few teams will refuse your excellent, free help. You can also come to mixers in L.A. or to events in your town if available.

Q: I'M AN ACTOR, HOW DO I GET TO ACT IN A FILM?
A: All casting decisions are up to the producers/directors on the teams. We may facilitate a casting day in L.A. Teams in other locales often hold open auditions. These are sometimes announced on Facebook, Twitter, Craig's List, local acting publications, or local newspapers. 

Q: CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR 168?
A: Yes, we love our volunteers!  Inquire about positions. If you're simply curious about us, register at our free level and receive our email newsletter. This is our primary mode of communication.  You can also purchase an advanced registration and have access to our library of films. We use the most volunteers at the 168 Festival for everything from usher to stage tech. Contact us if you are want to help at this red carpet, gala affair.

Q: MAY I SUBMIT MY FILM TO OTHER FESTIVALS, PROMOTE AND SCREEN MY FILM BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE 168 FILM FESTIVAL?
A: 168 reserves the right to premiere your film. If your film is selected for Festival screening you must wait to release it publically in any form (screening, YouTube, Facebook, other festivals, etc.) until after the Festival premiere. If your film is NOT selected for festival screening, you may release the film for public view or to other festivals after the screening schedule is announced.

Q: IS IT HARD TO START A TEAM?
A: That depends on you. Are you willing to talk to everyone you know to get help, finances and prayers? Editors, Directors of Photography, Gaffers, and other technical positions are always in great demand, so hug an editor today-you'll be glad later.

Q: CAN I ENTER MY COMPLETED SCREENPLAY?
A: No. This is an original production competition and so pre-existing screenplays cannot enter. All 168 Signature Speed Films are to be created during the same time period. No, writing will occur before the Verse Assignment or the team is disqualified. Prior to verse assignment you may formulate ideas about genre and characters based on your available resources, but no writing may commence until you have received your verse. The only exception is if you wrote a Write of Passage script, in which case you may bid for the opportunity to produce it as a Write of Passage Spotlight Film.

Q: WHAT IF I WANT TO BASE MY STORY ON AN EXISTING WORK (BOOK, MOVIE, TV SHOW, OR EVEN WRITE OF PASSAGE SCRIPT)?
Almost every high concept has been done and so as the Good Book says, there is nothing new under the sun. All works are derivative of something, so what can you write on? Are spoofs/parodies ok? Yes! Is taking a script that is already written ok? No. When does one cross the line? The first year we had a film that was basically "Groundhog Day" with a homeless guy. While the idea was not original, the script and the implementation was original, and so it was ok. So for a Signature Film, as long as you are not using a previously existing script (including Write of Passage) or doing another episode (a serial) of an older 168 Film, you should be fine. Docs and, of course Write of Passage Spotlight films, are exempt from this rule.

We’ve added an “origin” field in the Film Information Database for you to disclose the inspiration for your film – a pre-existing book, story film or TV show, or an original idea. Please note if you are doing a parody or spoof. Remember if it is an exact copy of a pre-existing storyline, you are out of bounds.

If your story is based on a real life individual, you must obtain and submit a "Life Rights" document from that individual or his/her estate/heirs.

Q: WHAT IS OUR PHILOSOPHY ON THE COMPETITION?
A: The 168 Film Project primarily about process and individual growth. Secondarily, it is about awards and competition. You are expected to abide by the rules and to conduct yourself in a way that is honoring to God and to your peers. The spirit of this competition is that you would trust that inspiration for the story will be provided based on your theme and verse. Scriptural Integration (how well your film expresses the original meaning and intent of the verse) is weighted heavier than any other judging category, so you would do well to study and understand your verse. A"spiritual advisor" is a good idea to help with the verse. Prayer is encouraged.

Q: HOW CAN I PREPARE IF I CANNOT WRITE UNTIL I GET THE VERSE?
A: Think of your production as an artist's palette. Your assets (or colors) are people and places and things you have access to: gear, set pieces, locations, actors, and crew members. Use these raw materials as colors to apply to your canvas once you receive the foundational verse. You are free to brainstorm story and genre, but no writing of script may occur before the verse is randomly selected.

Q: WHAT BUDGET LIMITATIONS ARE THERE?
A: There are no restrictions on budget. We are all learning and it is an honor for newcomers to work and compete with pros, and vice versa. Creativity and an excellent story will hold up very well, even against a big budget. Good producers are known for budgeting according to their resources and being frugal. A smaller budget will naturally expand your creativity and skills to become a better producer. The playing field is never level, and the bar should be high.

Q: WHAT ABOUT MUSIC?
A: You can use production libraries, buy-out music or even commercially-available music IF you can get clearance to use it (see below).  Rule of thumb: no rights, no use. To be eligible for Best Song or Best Original Score, your composer will sign a certificate stating that the music was not composed before Verse Assignment, and that music production (recording or digital audio construction) was not performed before the start of Production Week.

Q: WHO IS THE "SIGNING PRODUCER?"
The "Signing Producer" is the person who logged in and purchased the entry in the Store.  You may have multiple producers on your team, but only one login will access the Producer Dashboard for the sensitive information.  You may share your login with those you delegate to fill in the forms, but guard that login so no one changes any details without your authorization. (We recommend changing your password after data entry if you delegate that task.)

How do I Manage My Entry?

Q: LIKE THE TITLE SAYS, HOW DO I MANAGE MY ENTRY?
A: Producers manage their entries through the Producer Dashboard, which is accessed by the "Manage My Entry" button that appears on the home page and elsewhere when you sign in with your credentials. ("Manage My Entry" is always available by clicking your user name in the menu bar, above, after signing in.) There are 10 steps to entry management in the Producer Dashboard:

    1. Return the Entry/License Agreement and Safety Certificate. No verse will be assigned without receipt of those documents.
    2. Download Production Forms. Templates for releases, writer's contract, etc. are offered for your convenience. Teams are responsible for their own legal counsel.
    3. Study the Film Specifications. A complete listing of all the technical parameters for the required upload and physical copies, along with a way to test your Internet upload speed and estimate the time it will take to upload your film.
    4. Review the Mandatory Content. Specifications on pre-roll slate, credits, and post-roll verse insertion.
    5. Download your Verse Assets - a graphic and audio file that must be placed at the end of your film
    6. Enter your Film's Details - The Film Information Database with all information required for judging
    7. Upload your Completed Film - the upload portal where your film will be uploaded before the deadline
    8. Complete and Submit your Physical Copy and Turn-In Forms - Specifications on what and how to send your physical copy
    9. Upload your "Making Of" documentary (optional) - The Making Of documentary is due one week following Turn-In.
    10. Register your Teaser or Trailer (Optional) - If you upload a teaser or trailer to YouTube, we can help you publicize it.

Q: WHAT IS THE DEADLINE AND HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN A FILM IS SUBMITTED?
A: Your "upload" version must begin uploading prior to the time specified in the Official Schedule on Turn-In Day. We receive notifications every time a film is submitted.

Q: I'M WORRIED ABOUT MEETING THE DEADLINE. WHAT DO I DO?
A: PLAN! Before Verse Assignment, get with your post production team. Assemble 10 minutes of random footage and test rendering with the settings listed in Film Specifications in the Producer Dashboard. Time how long it will take to render your competition entry. Make sure the file size is within limits and that you're satisfied with picture quality. Then test your Internet upload speed and determine how long it will take to upload the film. Try test uploads to YouTube or Vimeo so you can gage the reliability of your Internet connection.

Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE UPLOAD FAILS AT THE LAST MINUTE?
A: Don't you just hate when that happens? So do we. So start your upload early. If you start the upload on time and it fails, we have a procedure to follow for an upload extension.

Q: MY INTERNET IS VERY SLOW OR NON-EXISTANT, HOW CAN I SUBMIT MY FILM?
A: You will need to find an high speed Internet portal and arrange for the upload on turn-in day. If that is not available, with prior approval based on your circumstances, we have alternatives in the Producer Dashboard.

Q: I'M IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS?
A: Yes.  You can participate in the VERSE ASSIGNMENT NIGHT live event. It is held from 7-9PM on Verse Assignment day, where you can choose the verse for your team in a special ceremony.

Q: CAN I SUBMIT MY FILM IN PERSON?
A: Not for the competition deadline (the turn-in event has been discontinued). The upload version (used for judging) must begin uploading by the deadline. SoCal producers may hand deliver the Screening version and paperwork to the 168 office during business hours up to one week after Turn-In Day in lieu of shipping.

Q: CAN I KEEP EDITING AFTER THE DEADLINE?
A: This might surprise you, but yes! While your Judging Version submittal will be used to determine nominations and awards, we encourage producers to continue to refine their films for Festival screening. Before making your high-bitrate Screening Version, you may continue to edit to sweeten audio, finish color grading, correct credits, etc. The only restriction is that the overall length must be the same, and the shipment must be postmarked by the specified time one week later. The original, unaltered Judging Version must also be included on the physical media shipped to 168.

Format and Length Questions

Q: HOW LONG CAN FINAL PROJECTS BE?
A: Projects are a max of 10 minutes including credits and any head/tail logos. Your short can be any length up to 10 min, excluding the bars/tone and ID slate and verse insertion at the end.

Q: SHOULD I INCLUDE THE VERSE IN MY FILM
A: No, however you will add it to the end of your film as a post-roll tag.  You must also include your verse in the preroll slate. Full details are in the Producer Dashboard after you purchase your entry.

Q: HOW DO I KNOW HOW LONG MY STORY IS
A: You should time the script by reading it aloud. Generally, one page is equal to one minute of screen time in Courier 12 point font on a standard-formatted page. Any screenwriting program will handle this for you.

Q: CAN I SHOOT FILM?
A: Yes. Shoot in any format you like, but you must deliver a standardized digital file to our upload portal.

Q: WHAT FORMAT IS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY?
A: You will be submitting two formats. The "Judging" version is h.264, uploaded via the Producer Dashboard. The "Screening" version may contain adjustments to audio, color and credits, and shipment must be postmarked no later than 1 week after the turn-in. The Screening version is in a professional codec, Apple ProRes 4.2.2, Avid DNxHD, or very high bitrate h.264.

Q: I PREFER TO SHOOT WIDER THAN 16:9. CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE 2.35:1?
A: If you prefer to edit in the wider aspects, please letterbox your project and deliver in a 16:9 square pixel raster, maximum 1920x1080.

Paperwork and Clearance Questions

Q: The performers I want to use are SAG/AFTRA Members. What are the requirements?
A: 168 has negotiated a rider to the SAG/AFTRA contract to provide exemption for 168 films. Please see the Production Forms in the Producer Dashboard for the needed forms. Forms must be submitted to 168 with the other required paperwork along with the Screening Version submittal.

Q: I've noticed T-shirt designs, logos and other things blurred out on TV.  Is all that necessary?
A: Yes, unless you get permission from the copyright/trademark owner. Be aware of your shooting environment. Plan your shots to not include any registered logos or designs, including signs, billboards or other trademarks. Create original, substitute graphics where necessary. But if you can work out a product placement deal to help finance your film, great! Just make sure to include a copy of the letter granting you and 168 permission to display the mark with your paperwork.

Q: How do releases work for semi-public areas - i.e. the lobby, elevators, etc. of my apartment building? Do I need a release from my landlord, or is my release enough?
A: You should get releases whenever you can. All 168 releases are provided as examples.  You are responsible for your own legal work.

Q: What about releases for people in public spaces: street, public parks, etc.? What if someone happens to walk through the shot in the back ground, for example?
A: If you can recognize someone, you should try to get a release. Technically in a public place, people forfeit the "right to privacy." But we know of a videographer who was sued as a result of an inadvertent shot of someone having an affair that aired on a TV spot.  In the PRODUCTION FORMS section of the Producer Dashboard (accessible to registered producers) you will find a sample "General Public Release" sign you can print and post prominently around any area you plan to shoot.

Q: Where do we get the release forms?
A: Example forms are available to registered producers in the Producer Dashboard. The link "Manage My Entry" appears beneath the menu when you are logged in as a Signing Producer. Remember, you are responsible for your own legal work.

Q: How/When do we submit the release forms?
A: You keep the release forms and send copies to 168 in the same shipment as the "Screening Version" physical media and all other required forms. Details are in the Producer Dashboard

Q: Do we need releases for music?
A: Yes, see the website for forms for original music.  If using library music, include a license from the library for the usage, with "168 Project" listed as an end user (client). 

Q: Can we use pre-recorded music or must it be created in the 168 Hours?
A: If you would like your Signature Film to be considered for Best Song or Best Original Score, music must be composed during pre-production week and performed during production week to be awards-eligible.  Otherwise, you may use prerecorded music--but you must have the rights. It's easiest to recruit a composer and acquire the rights to his/her music. Many composers and musicians are just waiting to be asked to participate just for the experience. Royalty free buy-out music is acceptable, as is music from a needle-drop or blanket licensed music library. You will need to provide proof of license to make a minimum of 3,000 copies for library music. Using commercially-available "popular" (Christian or secular) songs, re-recordings of popular music, or even having an actor hum a few bars of a copyrighted song or picking up a radio in the background is not allowed unless special licenses from copyright owners are obtained. For more details on the required documents, cost and lead time for using copyrighted music, please see http://bzrights.com/101.htm.

Q: How will the films be judged?
A: See the Judging Criteria/Jury page.

Q: Can I enter from another state or another country?
A: Yes, However you must follow all the rules. Be aware that cities/states/countries have laws governing film production safety. Our Safety Guidelines reflect the law in California. Your state may differ. Check with your local film commission for rules regarding film safety in your community.

Q: Do we need to attend Verse Assignment night?
A: Verse Assignment Night is a special event well worth attending, but if you cannot make it your verse will be delivered via email. We will also post the verses on the website following Verse Assignment Night.

Q: What is the Safety Meeting?
A:
You must conduct a daily safety meeting or have a safety briefing with your team on set daily. This is to help you avoid legal liability in production and protect your cast and crew.

Q: What about children on the set? What about Student Films with team members under 18?
A: Teams must obey laws covering obligations to report suspected child abuse, covering child labor, and covering child labor on film sets if children are cast as characters or are allowed on set as crew. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES shall children unsupervised by responsible adults (parent/guardian) be allowed on film sets. For STUDENT FILMS with cast or crew under age 18, we highly recommend teams form under the auspices of a church or school, and that supervising adults be vetted through that organization’s qualified Child Sexual Abuse prevention program.  TEAMS ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR SAFETY OF CHILDREN ON THEIR SET.

Questions on Specific Film Types

Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PURE ANIMATION AND HYBRID PROJECTS?
A: Basically, Hybrid Projects are Signature Speed Films with CGI or other effects, and are eligible for all awards. Pure Animation is in its own category and those films only compete with other Pure Animation films. See the Official Rules for details.

Q: WHAT ARE THE DETAILS ON STUDENT SPEED FILMS?
A: These are films in which key personnel (producer, director, DP, editor) are active college or high school students who perform the work.  One or more adult advisors may assist. All Signature Speed Film rules apply, but because we want student entries, their start and deadline can flex for conflicts such as exams. Student films compete within their own category.

Q: What is meant by "adult advisors?"
A: The biggest problem we have in doing a student category is that often the film is not made by students.  So, we have rules to ensure that it is in fact a student film.  Whether they are high school or college doesn't matter, but all of the key positions (i.e. producer, director, DP, editor) must be filled by students, who will perform the work. Since students are typically learning and in need of help, they may be managed and mentored by adult advisors, who will have more experience and may be professionals.  If the student producer is under 18, an adult MUST serve as the Signing Producer, who is the primary responsible party. (The student producer would be listed as an additional Producer in the Team Information/Film Information database.)

Q: How many student films are typically submitted? 
A: We do not get a lot of student films, so the category is winnable for a good team.

Q: What is the procedure for extending deadlines or start times?
A: After purchasing a team entry, student film producers will email 168 management with proof of schedule conflict sent as an attachment, or as a link to the school calendar.  Students will be contacted and schedules arranged similar to all other Signature Speed Films.

Q: Are the same competition categories used (best film, best director, etc)?  What awards are given for student films?
A: Student films compete for Best Student Film among themselves. Student films may also be nominated for the Evangelista Award, and at the Festival, audiences may vote for them as part of the Audience Favorite awards. Students can also produce a "Making-Of" Behind The Scenes Documentary which may be nominated for Best Of in that category.