FAQ

THE RULES
*If you or someone from your team breaks one or more rules mentioned above, your team is subject to disqualification.

How many people can be on my Registered Team?

We only allow one (1) to ten (10) people to register per team. This includes your Producer and Director (who can be the same person).

Feel free to use your six-minute film to create end credits and thank everyone else who helped make your film during the 24-hour time frame.

Can I SECURE LOCATIONS before the 24-hour timeline?

Yes. We understand finding and securing locations with the owner’s signature can take time.

Once you register your team, we will send you all the required filmmaker documents needed!

DOES EVERYONE HAVE TO FILL OUT A MODEL RELEASE FORM?

YES. Anyone who is recognizable in your film or has a speaking part – This includes someone from your team. Otherwise, the person must be blurred out.

How & what will my film be judged on?

The preliminary judging will be done by the Down To The Wire advisory board who looks for the following: The use of the Required Elements in your storyline, adherence to the rules, story, picture, acting, editing and sound. The DTTW Board will select the top 10 films for the screening. At the festival screening, the judges will preview the films, and rank them to award prizes. They will be judging on; story, picture, acting, editing. sound, and how the required elements are creatively woven into the story.

  • Adherence to the rules
  • The use of the Required Elements in your storyline
  • Originality
  • Storytelling
  • Cinematography
  • Acting
  • Editing / Sequencing
  • Sound Design

Judging is based on a rubric scoring system. The VIP Judges will preview the films, and rank them to award prizes at the Top 10 Showcase.

Can disqualification happen after judging?

Yes. If the judges and/or the DTTW Board within one week of the festival screening discover that the film fits the criteria for disqualification, the producer will immediately be notified and the film removed from the competition. If an award has been given, the award will be returned and the film will be stripped of any titles awarded.

WHAT FORMAT AND EQUIPMENT CAN I USE?

Use anything to your heart’s content. Any great filmmaker knows that it’s the story that counts not the gearhead game of equipment usage. -BUT- You and your team are responsible for all equipment used for lighting, camera, audio to editing software during the film race. So don’t leave your equipment laying around!

Can I use Soundtrack, Garageband, or other computer-based music programs to produce music?

Yes, computer-based music programs are tools. Therefore, they may be used as such to create original content.

CAN I USE ORIGINAL (ie friend's band) RECORDED MUSIC?

Yes – Please get written permission within the 24-hour time frame and you have a completed music release. 

Invite your musician friends or find a local band to score your film! Any music in the film, including lyrics, melodies, scores, or arrangements must be created within the 24-hour time frame.

How do we document public domain or royalty-free sound effects?

Have the person who has the rights to the music or materials sign the release form. In the case of royalty-free materials, this is the person who purchased them. In the case of public domain materials, this could be anyone on the team. Please also include documentation that shows your rights to the music or materials, such as a license, a purchase receipt, or a statement by the author.

Is music or materials from Creative Commons allowed?

You may use Creative Commons music or materials that are Attribution Only. If the Creative Commons license is either Non-Commercial or Sharealike, it is not compatible with our rules for DTTW.

A single element including sound effects and/or music must be combined to create original content. Therefore, they may be used to create original sounds, effects, or music to create original content. 

MAY I USE OR ADAPT AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN?

 No. All scripts, dialogue, scenes, storylines, characters, ideas, or anything else that would be included in a screenplay must be original and created within the 24-hour time frame. 

CAN I USE PRE-EXISTING ORIGINAL MATERIAL W/ PERMISSION?

No. This includes movie quotes, music, books, magazines, television program, web media, material based on characters, speeches, or printed material. All content, dialogue, story, and/or titles must be original and created within the 24-hour time frame.

CAN I USE A SIGN IN MY FILM?

Public signs (i.e., Stop Signs, Construction Signs, or Street signs) may be used in the film. Any private signs (i.e., churches, local business, grocery, or schools) may be used if only you get signed permission from the owner of proper authorities. Any corporate copyrighted signs (i.e., McDonald’s, Dillons, Walmart, etc) may be used with permission from national headquarters only.

Can my film be an animation? What about special effects? What's allowed?

No. At this time we do not currently run a festival for animated films.

You may use special effects that involve any of the allowed elements that you have right to: any footage shot within the 24 hours. Stock footage is not allowed unless it is part of a post-production effect that becomes original content.

CAN MY TEAM HAVE MORE THAN ONE PRODUCER?

Yes, but only ONE Producer can represent the registered team throughout the race.

I'M THE PRODUCER FOR MY TEAM, BUT CANNOT GO TO THE PRODUCERS MEETING. CAN I SEND A REPRESENTATIVE?

No.  The name of the person on the Team Registration must fulfil the responsibilities of the DTTW Producer.

Can I participate with more than one team or submit more than one film?

No. Each person participating in the race can only work with one team. Teams may not assist, aid, help or contribute in any way to another team’s film.

If you have that much time to have edited multiple films and abide by all the terms and rules, pay the entry fee for each one your team enters, and we will consider each film. This is a ridiculous task, we wouldn’t recommend it…

Who qualifies to win the Student Award?

A [Student] Team can register if their group is made of 50% of students.

For DTTW purposes the term “Student” refers to any male or female under the age of 21 years and must provide valid and current student identification for all registering team members.

How much does it cost to register for Down to the Wire?

Earlybird registration is $200 per team, $175 for student teams.

The price will rise the week of the race to $250 per team – so register early!

Where can I find the DTTW participation agreement?

You can find the participation agreement here.

Using friends music- Can it be pre recorded or does all music need to be written within the 24 hour timeframe?

We ask that all music and sound effects are original but we understand that this community doesn’t have all the resources necessary. You can acquire pre-recorded music (such as a friend’s band) with the Music Release form signed and dated from the composer, label, or management for said music. 

Do we need a music release per song or per artist?

Per Artist listing which songs are being used in the film. 

Does artwork (paintings/ created logos) need a release? Does it have to be created within the 24 hour timeframe?

Artwork does not need a release. You need a location release form no matter the place you are at. If you are filming at a gallery or a museum then you need permission from the owner or director in charge. Logos need releases from the owner or creator.

How many people can be on a team? There are 10 registered but the rules state we can Special Thanks others that assist. Is there functionally no team member limit, then?

Any people or crew helping to produce your team, outside of your registered 10, has no limit. Special thanks or any extra crew, we ask that you provide your film credits on your Film Submission / Weekend Feedback form. 

Do we need a location release for buildings in a shot that don't have a business logo, if we're not filming on their property they're just visible in the shot?

You do not need a location release form for buildings that don’t have a logo. If the logo or a specific piece architecture design to the company (such as McDonald’s arches) are not allowed or must be blurred out.