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Teens of L.A. Film Festival 2019: Submission Guidelines


Technical Requirements

  • Resolution: HD 1080p or 720p (1280x720 or 1920x1080)–projects in 4k resolution should export as HD to achieve a manageable file size.
  • file format: .mp4 or quicktime (.mov)
  • maximum file size: 1GB
  • Naming your file: use the following format to name your file:
    • [firstname]_[lastname]_[title]_[category].extention
    • for example:

General guidelines


  • Try to keep audio levels consistent and balanced.
  • Dialog and interviews should be audible, understandable and free of excessive background noise or interference.
  • When recording interviews or dialog, use an external microphone placed as close to the subject as possible to improve the quality of the recording.
  • How to record better audio on a cell phone or tablet:


  • When recording video, try to avoid excessively bright or dark scenes unless used for intentional effect.
  • Use artificial lights or sunlight to help illuminate your subject--lights bounced off a wall or ceiling, or sunlight on an overcast day provide the most even, soft light. Subjects should be in focus - if your camera or device offers it, manual focus is preferred.
  • Smartphone video tips:
  • Shooting video on an ipad: ​

Category Descriptions

Short Film

  • Length: 1-5 minutes
  • A film of any genre which tells a fictional story
  • Uses any combination of actors, dialogue, voice over, or other narrative techniques to tell a story.
  • Example: ​

Book Trailer


  • Length: 2-8 minutes
  • A film that highlights cultural, artistic, historical, social, scientific, economic, or other nonfiction topics in a creative way.
  • Uses a combination of observational footage, interviews, voice overs, and other material like photographs to tell a true story.
  • Example:

Oral History

  • Length: 2-8 minutes
  • The films in this category collect a person’s memories and personal commentaries using interviews to share a story of familial, community and/or historical significance.
  • Can generally explore a person’s life, but often focuses on a specific aspect of their experience to which they bring a unique perspective; for example, living through an important historical event, or their memories of a neighborhood or community.


  • Length: 1-5 minutes
  • Does not fit the traditional mold of the other categories.
  • Experimental Films can be films without dialogue and/or traditional story lines.
  • Music Videos are accepted in this category as well as non-linear and abstract entries.
  • Example: ​

Content Restrictions

All films submitted should be the equivalent of a G or PG-rated movie and be suitable for a teen audience. The films should not contain nudity, profanity, or excessive violence.

Copyright and Permissions

By submitting your film, you agree that you are the sole owner and producer of the work and that you have permission to use any copyrighted materials which appear in the film including music and still and moving images.

Important​: Make sure the music you use is cleared for legal use on your short film!

One way to make sure you use music that you have permission to use for your short film is to create it yourself. With the following you can create your own music or use music that is the public domain and doesn’t require permission:

  • GarageBand: Allows you to create your own music from samples. This sampling/composing app allows you to create music that has pre-cleared licensing rights for your video production. Garage Band comes pre-loaded on iphones, ipads and all mac computers.
  • Audacity: Free, downloadable music creation and sound editing software for PCs:
  • Musopen​ has a catalog of music that is in the public domain. Their site provides recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions.

Getting permission or licensing​ to use recordings (copyrighted music) from a known artist can be difficult, time consuming and expensive. If you happen to know a musician or composer, it might be easier to ask them to give you permission to use their music or record their performance for your video project, but make sure you get written/signed permission from them first.

Supplemental Information

List of potentially helpful tutorials ( is free with your library card)