21-Day Filmmaking Competition
Organized by Project Twenty1 since 2006, The 21-Day Filmmaking Competition gives teams of filmmakers and animators from around the world the opportunity to make films and animations up to 10 minutes long in just 21 days. It has grown to become the largest filmmaking contest in Philadelphia, involving up to 65 Teams in a single year. We provide inspiration (“The Element”), motivation (a competition!), a World Premiere theatrical screening, free submission to the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival, and worldwide promotion after the screenings end. For more information, go here: http://www.projecttwenty1.com/festival/21daycompetition/
The Awards are generally for the typical, expected Oscar-style categories: "Best Film," "Best Animation," "Best Directing," "Best Writing," "Best Music," "Best Effects," etc. but we also have a couple of oddballs. "Best Use of Element" is the team that most effectively incorporates the Element into their story. and "Best Marketing" is awarded to the team that puts together the most compelling marketing blitz for their film before, during, and after production.
Marketing is NOT a required component of the Competition, and all teams are free to hand in their films with no marketing whatsoever. Why does this award exist? Marketing is an important part of any filmmaking team's arsenal if you want to make a career out of this, so what better place to practice your promotional skills than here and now? The Marketing Award is based on your campaign as a whole, and can include flyers, posters, websites, trailers, podcasts, and any other sort of traditional or viral web-based advertising you can think of! Best Marketing is the only award that is determined based on your work both inside AND outside the 21 Days of production - from the time you sign up as a Team up until the moment of the Awards Show, in fact. It is also the only category judged by the Festival organizers as opposed to an impartial panel, because they are the only ones who can see your entire plan unfold throught the competition. (Hint: posting posters and trailers on your Facebook page or profile is not generally very effective marketing.)
Yes! Join as many Teams as you want! Just don't overcommit yourself, and you should probably let the team leaders know to avoid hard feelings later. This is a friendly competition. The point is to produce good work, build resumes, and try new things, so everybody does better and gets farther if they help each other out. If you are a writer and think you can write two scripts in a week, or an actor and think you can juggle your schedule to act in four different films over 21 days, find the teams and go for it! Just be honest about your schedules and other obligations and there shouldn't be any issues. We've even had Team Leaders sign up as two different teams before, so they could create and enter two different films that year. (Of course, no team has yet finished both... but maybe you'll be the first?)
Our legal team would answer "No." So our official answer is no. The easiest answer to this is: try not to. Will it disqualify you from winning awards? Probably not. We may even probably be able to screen your film in a theater, since you are not strictly using their logos to turn a profit, and it's unlikely that these companies - even if they saw it happen - would care about appearing inoccuously in the background of an idea film. But it's been known to happen that they do. Sports teams/companies and movie/music studios are notoriously letigious. And above all, it will limit the film's promotion. It will be much more difficult for us to get your film out to other festivals, or represent it on your behalf AFTER your World Premiere screening. So will it kill you? Probably not. But you ARE legally responsible if the unauthorized company in question notices, so it's easier to just avoid copyrighted and trademarked brands and logos. Make up logos, invent parody posters, or keep your depth-of-field nice and tight. Your life will be a lot easier for it in all your filmmaking endeavors. And your film will feel a little more "pro" in the process!
Sure! Here are all the prior years' Elements, in order. 2006: "21". 2008: "Light". 2009: "Key". 2010: "Between the Lines". 2011: "Start with a Crash". 2012: "Jump". 2013: "Cell". As you can see, the Element could be anything, but it's never anything that will limit your creativity. The point is to spark inspiration, and yet still allow you to make a film you've always wanted to make. Or one you just thought of. Either way!
Nope! Delivery is a part of the 21 Days. One could argue, the most important part! All films must be in our hands (or in the mail or other certified delivery service with detailed tracking information), by the official clock count of 4:00pm EDT. Other Teams will be standing around watching the countdown and rooting for you to get there, but you have to get there! At least three teams participating this year have experienced, in prior years, the bitter heartbreak associated with our tough love, but in the end, everybody understands. We even sometimes get heartfelt 6-page-long pleas to reconsider. But we can't. It's just not fair. If you're worried about traffic, or live far away, put it in the mail! You can always bring a backup copy to the Drop Event! Don't be that poor, poor guy or girl this year! No matter your time zone, it must translate to 4:00pm EDT on the dot or earlier, or it will not be eligible for Awards. Team Shochu Cat from Hong Kong regularly has their film IN OUR OFFICES before the deadline. If they can do it, so can you!!
Pay your team, or recruit volunteers, it's up to you! Our forms are written inferring that everybody is working volunteer (because 90% of teams do). But beyond what's written in the Cast/Crew Releases, you are welcome to throw your cast and crew some money if you're just that kinda guy/gal. Past 21-Day Films have cost their teams up to $12,000 to produce.
We want our cast and crew to be able to see the final cut of our film prior to its official World Premiere screening. Is it okay to put up a privately-accessible video online, or hold a cast/crew screening in somebody's house?
Yes, private cast/crew parties and private-access online links are fine. This includes Private and Unlisted YouTube links, and password-protected Vimeo uploads. As long as WE cannot find or view it and it doesn't appear on search engines, you're safe. As for in-person events, they must be just that: PRIVATE. Do not go to a bar and screen it up on their projector or plasma screens for the world to see prior to your World Premiere 21-Day Screenings in October. That's a public event, and is now technically your World Premiere. Unless you've actually reserved the whole bar and only your cast and crew are present. (You get the point.)
Yes! Since there are many follow-up questions to this question, please check out our blog post, "SAG: Can you use it for the Competition and HOW?" right here: http://www.projecttwenty1.com/sag-can-you-use-it-for-the-competition-and-how.html/
Yes! We've had Teams compete from as far as the UK, Greece, Japan, and Hong Kong. We email all teams "The Element" at the same time so nobody has an unfair advantage. If we start at 4:00pm Eastern Daylight Time, YOU would start at 1:00pm Pacific Daylight Time, or 3:00am the next morning, or whatever based on your current time zone. BUT, you must also finish and submit your film by 1:00pm PDT. So everybody has the same three weeks. All films get processed, judged, and screened at the same time. It's always great to be able to show up in person to the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival and see your work on the big screen personally, but attendance at the festival does not affect your eligibility for or likelihood of winning Awards. We're always available by phone or email to answer your questions throughout or beyond the 21-Days - no matter where you live!
That's not a question. Nevertheless, ALL creative work, starting with putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, is to occur within the 21 Days of the competition. So although there is no easy way for us to formally police this, if we happen to observe evidence of pre-writing having happened, it would be a disqualification. Beyond that, our judges are instructed to judge all the films with the criteria that they feel the film WAS made in 21 Days and DID include the Element in some essential manner. We've had many judges in the past give lower marks to perfectly good - even excellent - films because they did not sufficiently include the Element to their satisfaction, and/or raised some element of doubt that the script was freshly written. That said, conceptualizing ahead of time is fair game. You may have a story brewing in your brain that you simply MUST tell. By all means, learn the element and start writing your opus, being sure to include the element. Just be aware if it's thrown in in the background on somebody's T-shirt, your final score may suffer. How much it suffers depends from judge to judge and is totally subjective.
We would like to list a person in the Special Thanks or other section of the credits, even though they were not involved in the actual production in any way, nor on set at any time. Are they required to sign the forms?
The 21-Day forms are to ensure you have the rights to a participant's likeness, location, or artistic contribution to your film. Special Thanks and other mentions in the credits should not require waivers, unless you are extremely concerned that they will attempt to prevent exhibition or distribution of your film. In which case, they should sign one.
I know my 21-Day Film shouldn't be screened publicly before its World Premiere Screening, but what's a respectable time frame for uploading my short to vimeo, youtube and other venues after the premiere?
That one's entirely up to you. You CAN upload it the instant your World Premiere ends if you wish. But some filmmakers prefer to do a festival tour, or to take advantage of other potential additional screenings of their film on the theatrical circuit - or look for online distributors that might be interested, Often, once you upload a film to a public website like YouTube, it loses that "exclusivity" that many festivals covet. So you may find yourself getting more rejection letters if your film's publicly available already - which means less chance for it to win awards or garner any of the glamour that makes it a nice resume or reel piece when fundraising your next project. (Note: If you are a habitual festival submitter, call the festivals you're interested in and see if they require exclusivity, or whether having a short online affects your chances of becoming an Official Selection. Any good festival will give you that information.) On the other hand, if your goal is just to get as many eyeballs as possible on it, then upload away in whatever time frame fits your promotional and online goals! It is totally up to you and your marketing and distribution goals for your project.
In 2014, the 21-Day Competition Screenings and PFAF are two separate events. I see that the 21-Day Films get submitted to The Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival as entries. Thanks and all, but... do we have to wait until after the 2015 PFAF to submit our 21-Day Film to other festivals?
Nope! After the 21-Day World Premiere Screenings on October 6th and 7th, 2014, you are free to send your films wherever you wish! The submission of your film to the 2015 PFAF is a bonus prize for our Competitors, but we do not expect that to be the next time it is seen by the public. More like a film festival victory lap! That said, our screeners WILL be reviewing all films as normal submissions, so just because your film is in contention does not mean all 21-Day Films will become Official Selections. The only 21-Day Film GUARANTEED to screen as a part of PFAF is the Winner of "Best Film".