All applicants must submit:
- A sample of the project with which they’re applying;
- A prior work sample is obligatory for second-time filmmakers and optional for first-time filmmakers. Second-time filmmakers must submit a sample from their first feature-length film.
See below for details about these different kinds of work samples.
Current Project Samples should run between 7-20 minutes and can consist of a trailer, 2 or 3 scene selects or excerpts, or a combination of a trailer and scene selects.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Since we’ll be looking at your ability to construct a story, we encourage first-time filmmakers to ensure that their work samples include constructed scene selects/excerpts.
Prior Work Samples (no length limit) of a film that the applicant either previously directed or in which they played a prominent role, if applicable for first-time filmmakers and mandatory for second-time filmmakers. 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 sample must be documentary, hybrid of fiction and nonfiction, or other forms of nonfiction. The sample can be a feature-length film or in short format, including web series, animation, or experimental. Fiction work, music videos, commercial work, and PSAs are not accepted as prior work sample. We understand the creative value of this work but, because of its nature, it does not allow us to see your author’s voice and vision as a documentary filmmaker. First-time filmmakers may submit previously directed work that is not a feature-length film but this must still be documentary, hybrid, or other form of nonfiction, such as web series, animation, or experimental. If none of this is available, you may submit a work sample from a separate project in which you held a prominent creative role in the production, such as producer, A.D., cinematographer, or editor. Please be sure to describe your role in the creation of the completed work submitted. Note that samples of work directed by you are strongly preferred over samples of work where you held a prominent role but did not participate as director or co-director.
- 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 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 2020.
- 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.