All applicants must submit:
- A short work sample of the project with which they’re applying;
- A long work sample of the film with which they’re applying; and
- A prior work sample of a film that the applicant either directed or on which she held a prominent role.
See below for details about these different kinds of work samples.
Short work samples should run between 5-10 minutes. The sample may consist of a trailer, a couple of select scenes, a quick character study, or any 5-10 minute excerpt from what you’ve edited of the film so far.
Long work samples should run between at least 7-30 minutes. The sample may consist of a longer trailer; a more cohesive group of selects; an in-depth character strand; any 7-30 minute consecutively edited portion of the film; or a combination thereof. No more than 30 minutes total is permitted. (See below for more definitions of these types of samples.)
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Since we’ll be looking at your ability to construct a story, we encourage first-time filmmakers to ensure that their long work samples primarily consists of long constructed scene selects/excerpts.
Prior work samples can run between 5-100 minutes. The purpose of a prior work sample is to give us a sense of the director’s visual style, storytelling ability, ambition, and ability to follow through. Prior work samples may be documentary or fiction, in the form of a short film, web series, commercial, music video, animation, experimental video, or feature film.
- First-time filmmakers must submit a prior work sample from a film that they’ve directed, or a separate project in which they held a prominent role in the production, such as producer, A.D., cinematographer, editor, sound recordist, or outreach/engagement coordinator. Please be sure to describe your role in the creation of the completed work submitted.
- Second-time filmmakers must submit a prior work sample of a completed film on which they served as director or co-director.
- Co-directing teams that consist of a first-time/second-time filmmaker and a veteran filmmaker must submit a prior work sample from the first-time/second-time filmmaker.
All work samples must be in English or have accurate English subtitles onscreen.
Here are a few important technical notes to keep in mind when submitting your work samples:
- All work samples must be accessible via a downloadable URL (Vimeo, YouTube, or private hosting site). You must provide us with a link and password to review the sample. Please ensure the links are downloadable.
- Please test your links and passwords and make sure they play all the way through the samples. Please also make sure your links will stay live and be accessible through December 2015.
- We prefer that you submit using a link and password, but if you are absolutely unable to submit online, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org, with DVD submission request” and your project title in the subject line to request permission.
Some notes on trailers, character strands, scene selects, and raw footage:
- Trailers: Trailers can often be slick, fast, and energetic, and may not give us an accurate sense of your film’s tone, character development, or story structure. If you’re submitting a trailer, we encourage you to also attach a couple of additional scenes to give us more of a chance to experience your style and get a feel for your characters, access, relationship to the material, and narrative arc.
- Character strands: If you’ve been following a character over time and want to show their evolution or development, you might want to string together scenes that show the character’s progression. A character strand doesn’t require formal transitions or the scenes to be interwoven with others, but it should demonstrate a character’s story arc, what makes them unique, and your depth of access to them. Please do this only if the character is your lead and a major part of the story.
- Selected Scenes/Excerpts: If you are a bit further along, you can send us a selection of edited scenes or an excerpt of an early assembly of the film. These can be edited together consecutively to tell us a part of your story (with transitions), or they can be intercut with black in between (no transitions), to show us the range of your story. Scene selects or excerpts should provide us with a feel for how your story will play out in real time; they should also offer a sense of your tone, pacing, and cinematic language.
- Raw (Unedited) Footage: If you haven’t started editing or have only just started shooting, you may send us up to five minutes of select raw footage. Choose selects of raw footage that contain the heart, soul, and spark of your character or issue — the part that shows us why you’re pursuing the story. Remember that, since we’ll be looking at your ability to construct a story, we encourage everyone, and especially first-time filmmakers, to ensure that their samples primarily consist of scene selects or excerpts and to only use raw (unedited) footage as supplementary material.
If you haven’t started production yet, we encourage you to take a leap and do a small shoot capturing a simple part of your story that could give us a sense of what you plan to make. This can be as simple as a single interview you filmed yourself on a digital camera, or even on an iPhone. Be bold!