Updated December 29, 2019

30 Day Film Challenge Rules

The following rules apply to each participating group/production team:

A. Times: The 30 Day Film Challenge (TDFC) will occur at different times and dates.

Film Challenges – will commence film production, between LAUNCH DAY at 7:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time)
and submissions must be completely delivered at the designated drop-off location and time (11:59 pm EST.)

B. DELIVER your film to us.



a. LABEL your full HD, 1920×1080, film file, in this format: “team-name-film-title”.

b. Upload your theater-ready, final video to either Dropbox or Google Drive

c. Share the film file with our email address, 30dayfilmchallenge@gmail.com

C. Submitting Your Film The participating group/team must complete its film/video work in time to be received by SUBMISSION DEADLINE DAY, at 11:59 pm.

You must complete the Submission Form, which includes all the information about your film, including credits for cast and crew. This form will be sent directly to all the judges to review and score. *Make sure all the information is correct, especially the link to your film!

D. All creativity must take place during the “Official 30 day Time Period”. Any creativity work in advance of the competition time period is prohibited. Creative work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Writing the script
  • Rehearsing
  • Costume/Set Design
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Sound Design
  • Rendering

Only works that meet the deadline will be officially part of the competition. All short films received after the deadline will be screened, (if there is time), but not judged.

E. The only work to begin prior to the “Official 30 day Time Period” is:

  • Organizing Crew
  • Organizing Cast
  • Securing Equipment
  • Scouting/Securing Locations
  • Creating a story idea

F. All footage must be shot within the 30 day time period of the project. Stock footage or footage shot or created at another time may be used if it does not include any of the film’s actors in it and used only as an establishing type shot. You may not use more than a total of 1 minute of stock footage. Animation and special effects are permitted but must be created during the 30 day time period. (Note: Stock footage as part of a special effect in a third party special effects program is permissible.) Photographs are permitted, provided that the team has the rights to them. The photos do not need to be created during the 30 day time period.

G. At the official Kickoff time of the 30 Day Film Challenge, there will be a post on the website, with required unique elements to be in your film. Each group must submit the Team Leader’s Agreement, signed by its team leader. (This form is part of the 30 Day Film Challenge registration process.) A team may not participate without submitting this agreement.

H. Each group will choose it’s own storyline of their film, as long as it includes, the Required Elements, shown on-screen, before the end credits.

I. Each participating group will be assigned required elements that must appear in its film, such as a character, a prop and/or a line of dialogue, situation, etc.

  1. The required Character and Prop must be seen on-screen. (Character must be a real character, not a photo, or voiceovers during the film. Not before or after the credits. )
  2. The required Line of Dialogue must be used verbatim. It may be spoken, sung and/or written. It must be in English.
  3. To qualify as an “Official 30 Day Film Challenge Film,” each group’s film must contain all required elements within the official time limit and prior to the credits.

J. Any type of video or film camera may be used. Sound recorders are allowed.

K. Participating groups are encouraged to work with a local composer and/or musicians to write and record music for the films. It is permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music; however, the participating group must have the rights to any music used in its film and must provide releases for all music used. As with music, pre-recorded sound effects are allowed, but you must have rights to use them. Note: Song parodies (i.e., use of identifiable pre-existing compositions with new or altered lyrics or music) may not be included in the film without a signed release from the composition’s rights holder. This rule applies without regard to whether the song parody arguably constitutes “fair use” under US or international copyright law.

L. The finished short film must be a minimum of 10 minutes in duration, and a maximum of 15 minutes in duration— including credits.

M. Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 60 seconds. The 60 seconds is considered part of the length of the film, as stated in Rule L. (That is, a film may be 15 minutes long, including up to 60 seconds of credits, for a total running time of 15 minutes.) (*Note – Sponsor logos and other pre-film requirements, do not count toward your 15 minutes.)

N. For all countries, the finished film/video must be submitted in NTSC.

Your film must be submitted in the following format:

a self-contained, NTSC, Full HD (1920×1080p) file in .mp4 format:  As defined in steps B & C

O. All films submitted by the deadline will be screened, presuming they are eligible according to Rule T. To ensure the best screening of your film, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Films must be submitted as full HD (High-definition), defined as 1920 x 1080 resolution file, in .mp4 NTSC format.
  2. Your film can be any aspect-ratio, with black-bars to crop for your desired aspect ratio.
  3. Sound levels should be relatively even throughout the film. (If your film has uneven sound or sound that peaks, it may be modified to protect the playback equipment.)
  4. Note: Projection specs vary from theater to theater and are beyond the control of the 30 Day Film Challenge. If your film is very dark, it may be difficult to see in the theater. (Projected films can lose up to 1 stop of light, depending on the projector.)
  5. Any other size or shape of film, and it may stretch or otherwise distort, when presented on screen.
  6. TDFC assumes no responsibility to correct any errors in your film’s format, sound, or other issues.

P. Before the finished film begins, it should have:

  1. 5 seconds of black
  2. A title card with: team name, city, title (3 Seconds)
  3. 30 Day Film Challenge Logo (3 seconds)
  4. 2 seconds of black
  5. Your film
  6. The banners / title cards DO NOT COUNT against your 15 minute time limit.

Q. Each team must secure releases for talent, crew, music and locations (and any other applicable releases). (The release forms can be found on the 30 Day Film Challenge website.) The film/video will not be screened before the 30 Day Film Challenge Organizers receive the signed releases. TDFC will not accept paper copies of any forms.

  1. Materials Release Form – Materials Release is used for obtaining permission to use photographs, video, film or other media which may be copyrighted or owned by others.
  2. Music Release Form – Music Release is used for obtaining permission to use every whole or partial bit of copyrighted music, from the musician, the royalty-free licensing company, etc.
  3. Standard Waiver and Release Form – The Standard Waiver and Release Form is for ALL cast & crew that perform or work on your set.
  4. Location Release form – This form is completed by the OWNER of the location, where you are shooting. It is used to give the filmmaker permission to use their location in their film, and show their location in your film.

R. The Entrant must submit the Certification Statement form, during the submission process, certifying adherence to all Official Rules.

S. To be eligible for the Project, Entries must be the original work of the Entrant; must not infringe third-party’s rights; must be suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent); must not contain obscene or pornographic material; may not contain defamatory statements about any person, race, religion, company, organization or entity; may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, company or entity; may not in any other way violate applicable laws and regulations; and may not contain any copyrighted elements (other than as owned by the Entrant). Entries containing prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by the 30 Day Film Challenge, in its sole discretion, to be inappropriate will be disqualified. The 30 Day Film Challenge reserves the right to make the final determination as to which Entries are eligible. See the Film Rating and Profanity rules.

T. To be certified as an “Official 30 Day Film Challenge Film,” each participating group’s film/video production must follow all rules herein. The 30 Day Film Challenge Organizers reserve the right to screen only certified “Official 30 Day Film Challenge Films.”

U. No Entries (media or documents) will be returned.

V. The 30 Day Film Challenge may, in their sole discretion, disqualify Entries deemed to be inappropriate or otherwise non-compliant.

W. All certified “Official 30 Day Film Challenge Films” are eligible to compete for the 30 Day Film Challenge awards.

X. Panels of independent judges will determine the winners.

Y. The 30 Day Film Challenge Organizers may add to or amend these rules at any time.

Z. There are no refunds for any reason, whatsoever. For instance: non-compliant films, teams that drop out, films that do not make the deadline, snow, rain, tornado, hurricane, typhoons, earthquake, or any other catastrophic event, including a zombie apocalypse.