www.group101films.com and another group called “Shorties” though I couldn’t say where exactly, both have monthly contests for six months. You forget to file your taxes, or pick the kids up from school, completely involving. They have a technical parameter that is either something useful to learn or an arbitrary element to prevent burning out on the possible, and a theme, like “supernatural” or “hand,” etc.

UCLA’s film school had a design class where three themes were picked, and the instructor was careful to prevent certain kinds of words from being included, though I don’t particularly recall the logic there. I think “Red” and Hate," stuff like that. One film for each word, ten weeks.

UCLA’s Animation Workshop had a once-a-year party called “Falling Lizard” where a group of (alum and) students would gather for three days and make something. The faculty had a hand in the structure. Once excerpts from Shakespeare were pulled from a hat, another year, everyone worked from the same 30 second clip of soundtrack, another year, we had to begin and end on the same image BECAUSE they were all edited together at the end, natch.

ANIJAM, I think, of the Animation Expo, and ANIMATION MARATHON from Animation Celebration/Animation Magazine, I haven’t participated in.

48 hour film festivals where you have to include an onion and a line from a poem and some such thing – I met a guy the other day who was VERY into winning this and knowing the scheduled date, arranged/begged-for studio space and all kinds of favors and had twelve extra’s, a composer and complete crew…

There are actually more of these 48 Hour film things – I include the animation ones, because I’m more familiar with them, and this is CGTalk. www.flashfilmworks.com I think started one of them.

Those of you who want to make a feature in a weekend I admire the most. 200 shots, 100 minutes, you use a script written by some madman like me that is my revenge on “Joan of Arcadia” and which is completely unverifiably TRUE TO EVERYTHING.

It’s possible because one camera can shoot a bad Shakespeare performance in about four hours with blocking or two hours real time. IT’S SO WRONG to be allowed to shoot someone else’s plays, I did it a bunch of times. “FILMMAKING FOR DUMMIES” (Wiley Books) is by a guy who would get a couple of aspiring actors together and shoot a 60 minute detective show in a fairly crazy time frame. I saw something he shot of a young Howie Mandel that was pretty good.

Of course, you gotta have a master list of “all the tricks” because ou’re going to need every one of them.

And it has to be true.


The Project Greenlight directors’ contest involved making a short film from the same script. Location and situation were unspecified, the director had to figure out how to shoot it, what the lines of dialogue (such as “Tell me what you think of that”) were talking about, etc. The entries were wildly different. Of the three finalist directors this season, one did a group of sorority girls torturing a frat guy, one did a guy plotting to kill his downstairs neighbor, and one did a dentist.

Personally I’d rather do it that way, since this would be a filmmaking contest and not a scriptwriting contest. I think it’s just as interesting, if not moreso, to see the different ideas people can come up with within the boundaries of the script. Creativity is about what you can do within limitations, not when you have carte blanche.

M. Scott


Thank you Drokman, I think you finally said what I tried to say previously.

Edit btw madmax, I feel some hostility coming from you, when none is needed. I was just trying to throw out an idea, I’m not forcing anyone to do it my way, its just one way I feel it would be interesting, but there are of course dozens of other ways to go. You don’t have to keep qouteing me and my idea and basically making it out like I’m a moron for even suggesting it. Lets brainstorm and decide the final structure of the contest later…


I don’t know much about how the project greenlight goes, but how could they start with the same script and end up with such different shorts?
If the script is written a certain way to allow creativity, we would need a good writer who could write that for us.
I think as Roberto proposed it at first, the goal was to focus on one scene of an imaginary film such as a car chase or a fight to use his own examples. That wouldn’t require any script at all and that would focus on the way you shoot. That could be interresting. As far as I am concerned, I prefer to write a script and direct it, but as the goal here is filmmaking, Roberto’s proposition would be a good choice, IMHO.


Thank all for the replies.
My idea is simple as hell.
A topic would be picked from a topic list posted by the group, for example:
“Air”, “The Fight”.

And you would have a month to do something with it.
My only requirement is that you need to post a storyboard (even a crude one)
and a shot list, BEFORE you film anything. If you want to add FX, no problem, go ahead.

The idea is to have fun and learn.



Could you explain a little bit what you mean, Roberto? Why would it be required? For those like me who never work with a storyboard, wouldn’t it be enough to post a detailed description of the shots?


Yes a detailed description would work. What I would like to see is some PRE PLANNING before shooting.



Using the www.group101films.com example, we were supposed to have the script done by the first week, though that’s a tall order somtimes.

If I understand you, Roberto, you’re saying if there isn’t a script by the first week deadline, you’re not in.

When the deadline came, we were all supposed to gather at a house with something, even if it fell flat or was left uneditied. AND it was expected to be a complete film with a beginning, middle and end: begins like a movie, goes somewhere, doesn’t just mysteriously stop, hopefully ending like a Shakespeare sonnet or punch line.

(I like non-narrative, but you can be non-narrative and still have a line of logic.)

One other note I would make: if you have a larger project you want to do, find some way of squeezing the “theme” to fit it. I had one theme “Reverse” where I had a car driving in reverse.

My other suggestion would be to buy a $20 electret mike from Radio Shack to plug into the camera for those shooting live action sound.

One other thing I’m wondering about is where you want to load these to? lwg3d? triggerstreet?


The way i see it, you all are adults.
There is only ONE dateline, you stick with it.
As long as you deliver the required materials by the dateline, you are kosher.



So, when are we starting! :eek: I’m so ready.


Give me some time, I wanted to first test the waters.



It’s not that hard. Like I said, the script looked like this:

CHARACTER ONE indicates something.
Tell me what you think of that.

What am I supposed to say?

It’s just an opinion.

I think [insert appropriate opinion].


That’s not verbatim but it’s basically it.

M. Scott


well this is just my opinion:

I think that this idea is really good. For the script i think that there is a “middle-point” between a script and a theme.
I don’t like both. Script: too tight; Theme: too loose.
I mean: with a script you can do little on the creative part (only select the cinematography and the point of view but not always) and with a theme you can do everything and then say that the short is concerning the theme but it’s “conceptual”:rolleyes: (i saw a lot of this type of short: nothing to say about them except that most of them are rubbish).

This point between a script and a theme in Italy is called “subject” (i don’t know if you call it the same). As I’m not able to write in good plain english :shrug:I make some examples, please be patient with me! :slight_smile:

- A boy and a girl are in love, but they must keep their relation secret.

Already heard? well it’s “Romeo and Juliet” but it can be a lot of other stories
- A criminal, behind the promise of the freedom, is instructed to recover a man who can save the world from the destruction.

It’s “Escape from New York” but if you say that the criminal must travel through time voilà you have [size=2]"[/size]Twelve Monkeys"

[i][b] - During a scientific mission a group of scientist enters in contact with an unknown alien race.

[/b][/i]John Carpenter’s “the thing” but if you decide to place it in space you have “Alien”

With a “subject” you have the general idea but you are still free to manipulate it (place, time, STYLE, dialogues, etc). More than a theme, less than a script.
With this solution Roberto (or who will do it) can still add to the given subject particulars like a specific line to say or a scenographic element (or nothing). Ppl can decide accordingly to make different styles (“I make it sci-fi” - “then i will make it spaghetti western style”) like Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style (well I love exercises in style but they have a more strict “subject”).

If I’ve made language mistakes please let me know it will help me.


I think that this is a fantastic idea Roberto, and I would be into doing it from time to time. I have to agree with bbKixx though stick with a concept like the daily sketches but don’t specify a script that must be followed by everyone.


If it were me, I would just have a theme.

EX: This month will be EARTHQUAKE theme. Each contestant makes a short film with their own portrayal of an earthquake. The next month would be Magic Carpet Ride.

Just my $.02



I’m really liking the direction that you suggested ZaKKoS, I like the fact that there is no hard script which means similar timings and the exact same story I also like the slightly tighter concept of your subject than the looseness of something like “alien attack”. The trick would be in keeping the subject loose enough to allow creativity though different tracks of thought and style.


Guys I really like the ideas I am reading from this thread…

But I have one question, how do you feel about a one month timeframe?



I think that one month is a good place to start; if everyone seems to have trouble with the deadline than maybe 45-60 days would be a better timeframe. I do think that as the time frame gets longer the amount of deliverables should also increase.

For me I’m estimating that a 1-2 minute piece will require 20-40 minutes of footage which will take 1-4 days to shoot. Add to that 7 days of pre-pro and 10 days for post/scoring and I come up with around 21 days worth of stuff. I’m pretty busy so these are not full production days by any stretch of the imagination.


I’m really liking the direction that you suggested ZaKKoS

Thanks Velk.

I agree that a month is enough as long as we accept compromises. I mean that we have to sacrifice certain aspect like, i don’t know… music, perfect editing or color correction, acting skills:twisted:, lights. Remember that is still a free time project (well not for everyone maybe), and that not everyone has the proper materials. But generally this is endemic in the spirit of a challenge, here in my town we have a “moviemaking race” you have to make a whole 5 minutes short in 50h. script, shoot, music and editing. obiouvsly the results are not “blockbuster movies” but who see and judge them knows the limits. In the end i say go for the one month deadline.
No one will put us in prison if we decide to lengthen the deadline right?


One thing that I would love to see, are all kind of entries.

I dont want to see this become a boring affair.

I would love to see entries of all kinds.
From a micro dramas, to an action pieces and even a scifi pieces.

the question is, should I push particular genere for a given topic, or leave it open?


PS And before people say that one month is too short to do an FX mini movie, check this short by masterZap done in TWO WEEKS.


or this one done by L’explorateur :

Divx - 640*480 -
http://airfantasia.free.fr/cgtalk/explorateur.avi (25 Mo)

Quicktime - 640*480 -
http://airfantasia.free.fr/cgtalk/explorateur2.mov (123 Mo)