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Film races and how they challenge you.

Updated on September 29, 2015

What is a film race?

There are a few different kinds of film races. For example a 24 hour film race is a film that you create in 24 hours. Pretty simple right? Well there are few rules that some film races may have. The one film race I know of in Dallas has a few basic rules to entering it. The race usually starts at around midnight. Hopefully you are well rested and ready to put 24 hours into a short film. It is always good to cut back and have fun with these type of film races.

What you will need.

I want to list a few items that you will need in order to enter a film race.

  • Cameras or a smart phone with recording capabilities.
  • Actors
  • Computer to edit the film with. You can also use an ipad.
  • Transportation - this helps for filming at certain locations.

Sometimes I use a DSLR to shoot for my film races.
Sometimes I use a DSLR to shoot for my film races.

Rules of the Film Race

I have been to a few different film races before. A lot of times they will have rules for you to be able to submit the film. Depending on the type of film race you enter you may have a time limit. For instance entering a 24 hour film race means you have only 24 hours to make a complete short movie. Yes 24 hours seems like a long time and pretty doable. But you have to factor in the time to come up with a script, get the actors ready and edit the short film. I have also seen around 48 hour film competitions that seem doable too. The main thing is always to have fun.

Here is a list of a few rules I have come across with some film races I have been to.

Have to have one prop that they specify. For example, a ball. This would mean that your film must contain a ball in it. They want to make sure you did not make a film months ago and just submitted it saying, "Here ya go! I made this in 24 hours!" Yes that seems wrong but there are a few people out there that will cheat. I know you would think that we got past that phase in grade school. But hey some people never grow up. Plus this also puts an extra challenge to the film race too! The other rule I have seen is a specific location that needs to be included. For instance they request that you need to have a graveyard in your scene. Meaning that one of your shots will need to have a scene of a graveyard in it. This always put an extra challenge to the film making. But this gives you an extra challenge again. Another rule I have also seen is a line of dialog specified. For example ,"hastla vista baby." That means one of your actors will need to say this line of dialog in the short flim you create. Again this is another extra challenge added to making the film. Hey if everything was easy everyone would be doing it right? And we are not everyone! Last rule I can remember is that is has to be a certain length. For example your film has to be atleast 5 minutes long. 5 minutes may not seem like a long time but in the end you will see that it can seem like forever.

The Edit

After you have recoreded what you needed to make your film you will need to edit your footage. This means taking the video you have shot and put it in a video editing program so you can compose your short movie. I have even seen smart phones that can edit video. IPad and Iphone both have video editing software that is easy to use. When shooting your film race this is a major factor on how fast you can edit and getting it done in a reasonable time. Some people would be put off by this being more technical. But I feel this is the most important part of how your video turns out. This also gives you a chance to put different types of music to your movie too that will dramatically change the feel of the film.

Why do we do it?

You probably asking yourself why you would do such a thing as a film race? For starters we do it for the challenge. And we love what we do. For some of you out there that have tried to make a short film and be professional about it will see that a short deadline is tricky. You do not have a week to come up with a plot or script. If you entered the 24 hour film race you would only have that 24 hours. This makes you think on your feet and forces you to make decisions that you normally would not make if given more time. For the perfectionist this could be pure chaos in their mind. Yes there is a lack of control that you have. The other thing about these types of film races is that it gives you an opportunity to see what other people do with their 24 hours or 48 hours. One time around halloween they had a zombie film race that was pretty cool. The film race was for 24 hours and the theme was zombies. Yes that was a fun race but for me that one was a lot of lessons learned in a day. Pretty much what not to do. I still laugh at it today but thats part of doing these type of races.

Go create something.

I hope this gives you some inspiration for making your own short film. And you do not need some organization to say that they are having a film competition. Challenge yourself and some friends. Make some rules and have your friends shoot a short film with some of the rules mentioned above and see what you come up with. Wait a day and get together and see what everyone came up with over some popcorn. So get out your cameras and start filming!


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