21-Day Rules & Film Guidelines

Competition Rules (scroll down for Film Guidelines)

1. Project Twenty1’s 21-Day Filmmaking Competition is a filmmaking contest where teams have 21 days to make a film from scratch—for details on how the film is to be made, read the Film Guidelines below.

2. Each time the competition occurs, Project Twenty1 will recognize a single winner—the team that creates the Best Film—as determined by an independent panel of judges.

3. Each winner shall receive the designation “Best 21-Day Competition Film” for that contest, and all prizes and accolades that go along with that designation.

4. The Competition is open to all filmmakers/animators and/or other creative people who wish to participate.

5. All entrants (Team Leaders and their cast/crew) must be at least eighteen (18) years of age or must have a parent or legal guardian sign the Participant’s Agreement and/or other Releases for them.

6. Some of the Competition Events (e.g., Launch Event, Drop Event, PFAF After-Parties) may be held in locations that require patrons to be 21 years of age or older. Every effort will be made to ensure that any Teams whose Leaders are under 21 will not be affected adversely. Teams may wish to consider having at least one member of its team be at least 21 years of age.

7. The Early Registration fee to participate is $100 U.S. per team until June 29, 2014. Between June 30 and July 29, 2014, the entry fee will be $135. Between July 30 and August 29, 2014, late registration is $175.

8. If a Team must withdraw from the contest, no refunds can be administered.

9. Assignment: Project Twenty1 shall have the right to assign its rights or delegate its duties hereunder, in whole or in part.

10. By registering to be a Participant and signing the required agreement, the entrant agrees to abide by all provisions of this document and the decisions of Project Twenty1 and any panel of judges, whose decisions are final and binding in all respects.

11. Project Twenty1 reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who fails to comply with the provisions of this document in its sole discretion.

12. The 21-Day Filmmaking Competition is produced and administered by Project Twenty1, a Pennsylvania not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

13. Producers and Employees of Project Twenty1 and their families are not eligible. Employees of any partners or commercial sponsors and their families are not eligible.

14. The Producers of Project Twenty1 may amend these rules at any time. Project Twenty1 shall attempt to post any changes to the Project Rules on the Project Twenty1 website (www.projecttwenty1.com) as soon as practical.

15. Void where prohibited by law.

Film Guidelines

The following guidelines apply to each participating Team and their films:

1. Times:

• Project Twenty1’s 21-Day Filmmaking Competition 2014 will Launch on August 30th at 4:00 pm US EDT. The Element will be revealed at 4:00pm (local time, or U.S. Eastern Daylight Time) during the Launch Event, both at a live Philadelphia-based location AND simultaneously online.
• The participating team must complete its movie in time to deliver it to the Drop Event, the Saturday twenty-one days after Launch, by 4:00 p.m. US EDT on September 20th. If not attending the Drop Event, the film must be mailed and postmarked and timestamped prior to the Deadline.
• The Drop Event will open at 2:00 p.m. All films received (or postmarked) on the Saturday of the Drop Event (on-time and late) will be screened, but ONLY films that arrive in person or are postmarked prior to the 4:00 p.m. deadline will be officially part of the competition, and eligible for Awards. Only the top films chosen by judges will be released on DVD.

2. In that 21 day period, all creative endeavors are to take place, including but not limited to:
• Writing the script
• Rehearsing
• Costume/Set Design
• Shooting
• Animation
• Editing
• Sound Design
• Scoring
• Special Effects

3. The only work to begin prior to the “Official 21-Day Competition Time Period” is:
• Securing Crew
• Securing Cast (or character design, if animating)
• Securing Equipment
• Securing Locations (or location design, if animating)
• Securing Pre-Recorded Music/SFX Rights
• Securing Photograph Rights

4. All footage must be shot and all animations created within the 21 day time period of the project. No stock footage or footage created at another time may be used as the entire shot. For example, existing footage may be acquired as a “material” to work as a prop or set piece in a scene (i.e. being viewed by your characters on a TV screen, if you use our Material Release Form), but not as an entire shot of your film on its own.

5. Each participating team may wish to have at least one representative at the official Launch Event of the 21-Day Filmmaking Competition. At the event, each team will be given the official requirements (“The Element”) of the Project. Those teams who are unable to send a representative to the Launch Event will be emailed with the Element at approximately the same time as the Teams receive it who are present at the Event.
• The required Element (which may be one or more of the following: a theme or concept, a genre, a character, a prop, a type of location, a line of dialog, an action performed by a character) must appear in the film. To qualify as an “Official 21-Day Competition Film,” each group’s film must contain all required elements.

6. The finished film may be as short as you wish, but must be a maximum of 10:00 minutes in duration. This includes opening and closing credits. This is to ensure quality over quantity – after all, you only have three weeks!

7. Films do NOT have to be in English, although if you choose to make a film in another language, it must contain English subtitles.

8. Any type and number of video or film camera or cameras may be used for filming. Animation and computer work is also permitted, and you may combine techniques as you see fit.

9. Cast and crew, as well as musicians, locations, and any other involved parties may be paid or volunteer at the Team’s Discretion. (CLICK HERE for information on working with SAG/AFTRA signatories and talent!) Project Twenty1 is not responsible for reimbursing any fiscal outlay by any of the teams during the filming or editing of their projects, nor will Team be reimbursed for any expenses at any point in the future.

10. The finished film/video may be NTSC or PAL, any frame rate/resolution, standard definition or HD, and submitted on one or more of the following:

• PREFERRED METHOD: video file (.avi, .mov, .wmv, .mpg or .mp4) on flash drive, memory card, Mac or PC-formatted hard drive, DVD-Rom (see below for Digital Submission information), or video DVD.

We recommend that each team submit two copies of the final film in DIFFERENT FORMATS. If we cannot view any copy of your film on our equipment, it may be disqualified.


For you digital people, this IS 2014… easiest ways to get us your films pre-deadline:

1) Send via WeTransfer.com – or any other file-sharing servicethat allows for large files. Dropbox delivery will NOT be accepted, as exact transfer time of files cannot be confirmed.

2) Send files to projecttwenty1@gmail.com

We just need to have proof that it was FINISHED UPLOADING pre-deadline (email should be received with an immediately downloadable file pre-deadline).

The above methods limit your file size to 2GB or so (dropbox depends on your account), but really, it’s only a 10 minute film, it shouldn’t need to be any bigger than that. Try encoding MP4 H.264 at 6-8MBps for example. It should end up looking awesome and be approximately 1GB for a 10-minute film.

11. If submitting on tape format (as opposed to digital file), before the finished film begins, the tape should have:

• 30 seconds of bars and tone
• 5 seconds of black
• Your film (up to 10:00 minutes long)

12. Please submit the film in its native resolution & aspect ratio and indicate on your Promotional Forms the appropriate parameters. All attempts will be made to screen films in their native aspect ratio and at highest-possible quality. (Ex. in 2013, 21-Day Film Screenings were rendered at 1080p or 720p resolution and screened from a 2K projector.)

13. The Team Leader for each group is responsible for obtaining and submitting one signed paper copy of the Participants Agreement for each Team Member (“producer” or owner of the film) by mail, email, or fax prior to or by the Drop Event, or in person upon a member of his/her team attending the Drop Event. If they are sent via mail, they must be postmarked by the Drop Event date (and trackable – send us the tracking number as confirmation!) or teams will be disqualified. Without these documents, we cannot promote your film after the festival screening OR make them available for DVD or digital distribution, and isn’t exposure the reason you’re all here?

14. Each team must secure talent, crew, music releases and location releases, and must own the rights to everything that appears in his or her film, no exceptions. Project Twenty1 must receive a Cast, Crew, Location, or Music Release for EVERY individual on your Team in order to promote/submit/distribute your film for you!

15. The Team Leader must submit a Certification Form and a Promotional Form with his/her completed film, certifying adherence to all rules and allowing Project Twenty1 to help market their Film to other venues and festivals.
16. Content of the movie/film/video is at the discretion of the participating teams. The Project Twenty1 Producers reserve the right to not screen any film that can be considered racist, bigoted, pornographic, or that depicts hard core or graphic sex. Anything that would be above an “R” rating in general is not recommended.

17. Music: Participating groups are allowed and encouraged to work with composers and/or musicians in order to score the films during the twenty-one days. However, it is also permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music, provided the participating group possesses or acquires the Master and Sync rights to any music used in its film before the Drop Event. Use of music without permission by any Team will result in that Team’s disqualification. Check our Forms section to Download a recommended form for this purpose.

18. Sound recordings and Sound Effects: Sound recorders are allowed. As with music, pre-recorded sound effects are allowed, but you must have rights to use them.

19. Films must include the following credit:

“This film made for the 21-Day Filmmaking Competition.”

They may also include Project Twenty1 or 21-Day Competition logos (emailed to Team during Registration) if desired.

20. To be certified as an “Official 21-Day Competition Film,” each participating group’s film/video production must follow all rules herein. Project Twenty1 Producers reserve the right to screen only certified “Official 21-Day Competition Films.”

21. All certified “Official 21-Day Competition Films” are eligible to compete for the title of “The Best 21-Day Competition Film” in its specific competition. A panel of independent judges will determine the winners.

22. The Project Twenty1 Producers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the 21-day time period.

Some final words of advice:

  • Don’t be afraid to use union talent (SAG/AFTRA). We have an explanation of how to work with union actors here.
  • Incorporate music and SFX into your films! When used subtly and appropriately, they accentuate the mood or emotional impact and lift your film to the next level.
  • Talk to strangers! Find actors, musicians, artists, and general talent in advance to build your team – don’t just force your mom, best friend, and little brother to be your entire crew.
  • Utilize the resources that we provide to you on this website (Forum, Web Links, Sponsors, and Susie Filmmaker, among others). The people and organizations we work with can help you during those long tiring nights, and the release forms and waivers provided will save you a lot of production time (and avert potential legal troubles in the future).
  • Put your heart into it. It will show in your film.
  • Don’t forget to have fun! We want to see your smiling faces at the Festival Screenings, Events, and Wrap Party!

Ready to go? SIGN UP HERE!

Still have questions? Check out the 21-Day Competition FAQ.