Hi everyone! The theme of our current competition is JOY. All entries must be 2 minutes or under, and address the theme of JOY.

If you don’t have a film about Joy, you’ll need to create one. Here are 12 tips to get you started:

  1. Lucky for you, the theme has already been decided. You are to make a film about Joy.  It’s open to your interpretation of joy, so you can explore things like:
    • What makes you joyous
    • A happy memory/experience
    • What the world would be like if everyone was joyful
    • How to bottle up joy
    • A character named Joy
    • Friend, family and/or sibling joy
    • Joy of a pet
    • Your favorite thing
    • Anything that you can possibly think of related to joy.
  2. Focus on the Story. Make sure there’s a beginning, middle, and end.
  3. Create a shot list, because you may not have someone there to remind you of the shots you need to get.
  4. Storyboard your shots by sketching the scenes and taking notes. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just good enough for you to understand.
  5. Safety is always the #1 priority on a film set, no matter what. In the age of COVID-19, we must increase safety precautions. Wash your hands, wear a mask, wear gloves, and practice social distancing.
  6. Great films have both dialogue (when two or more actors are speaking) and action (when we see a ball bouncing down the driveway). If you have limited access to people, use yourself, people in your household, and/or parent-approved friends who have been safely social distancing as crew and talent for your film.
  7. Remember, a movie is a collection of images that move in order to tell a story. You can make a movie with one actor or no actors. Here are some tips:
    • Use stuffed animals, pets, action figures, and/or objects and use voice overs for their dialogue.
    • Film yourself. 15-year old Liv McNeil’s short film, NUMB, is a great example.
    • Be creative and explore new ways to tell your story using only visual elements like in The film Switch Off.
  8. KIS – Keep. It. Simple  – no complicated setups. Instead:
      • Use well-composed static shots, pans, tilts & close-ups.
      • Rule out dolly shots, jib shots.
      • Use minimal dialogue for wide shots.
      • Experiment with different angles, and setups.
      • Explore the use of costumes and colors.
      • Start small – No actors, one actor (yourself) or two actors maximum in a scene.
      • Location – Use what you have, indoor, and out. Stick to one room.
      • Lighting – Work with as much natural light as possible.
  9. Focus on framing and composition of shots. Be unique, innovative, and take risks with angles.
  10. Audio is everything! Camera mics aren’t the best, so, if possible, use an external mic. Mounting a mic on top of a camera works well if you are less than 3-feet away from actors. Otherwise, you’ll need to record their lines later. No mic, no problem. Use your cell phone as a mic.
  11. Now that you are equipped with your script, storyboard, camera or phone, mic, tripod, actor and or objects, editing software, and an abundance of creativity and motivation, you are ready to go! Have Fun!
  12. When it’s complete, please submit.

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