Filmmaking Rules

Read it or not, it’s still gonna count


These rules are more about the creative part of the 10dfc. Need something else? Check out the Competition Rules!

The 10 day film contest Organizers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the Official Time Period.


The 10 day film contest will occur within a 10 day period starting on a Friday at 6 pm (PST) and ending on one the second Monday at 6pm (PST). Only works that meet the deadline will be officially part of the competition. Late films will not be considered in the judging process.

Creative Process

All creativity must take place during the Official Time Period.  Any creative work in advance of the competition weekend is prohibited. Creative work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Writing the script
  • Casting (of roles)
  • Rehearsing
  • Costume/Set Design
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Sound Design
  • Rendering
  • Outputting to USB drive or other media


The only work to begin prior to the Official Time Period is:

  • Organizing Crew
  • Organizing Cast
  • Securing Equipment
  • Scouting/Securing Locations

Official Footage

Every single frame of your film must showcase footage captured or produced within the Official Time Period. This is the essence of “core footage.” It forms the foundation of your storytelling and captures the spirit of the contest.

Enhancing Footage

“Enhancing footage,” on the other hand, refers to footage shot or created prior to the Official Time Period. This could include pre-existing stock footage utilized in special effects. While you’re free to overlay or intertwine supporting footage with core footage, the vital rule is that each frame of your film must contain a portion of official footage. Additionally, the melding of core and supporting footage must occur during the Official Time Period.

Animation, Titles, and Special Effects as official Footage

Don’t underestimate the power of creativity. During the Official Time Period, any animation, titles, or special effects you create become part of your official footage. This is your opportunity to infuse artistic elements into your film. (footage generated using Artificial Intelligence is a different beast, check below for more information.)

Limits on Enhancing Footage Involving People

While enhancing footage can significantly enrich your narrative, it’s important to note that people or performers featured in supporting footage must have been captured in the 10dfc Official Time Period. This rule maintains fairness and ensures that the core storytelling remains firmly rooted within the contest’s time frame.


Still photos are an acceptable form of official footage, offering a unique perspective. Interestingly, these stills don’t necessarily have to be taken within the Official Time Period. However, bear in mind that employing still photos outside the Official Time Period to simulate motion and create a sequence isn’t deemed acceptable as official footage. Such usage, though, is allowed as supporting footage.

Securing the Rights – A Must

As a responsible filmmaker, it’s crucial to obtain the necessary rights for any footage or photos, official or enhancing, featured in your creation. If your film includes materials, photos, or footage not produced during the Official Time Period, a 10dfc Materials Release is mandatory.

Day Zero

Each team leader will receive their unique elements the day the contest begins.

Sub Genres and Wildcard

Each team will receive 2 sub genres and a wildcard. These Subgenres will be related to the contest entered.

One wildcard will be assigned as well, this is a modifier that can be used in addition to the subgenre(s) you choose. This is a bonus element that unlocks bonus points during the judging process.

Main Character Traits

You will be assigned traits that your main character must embody. 

  • A masculine and feminine name
    • pick one.
  • An occupation.
    • your character may be seen at work or not, however, there must be some implication of their work through dialogue or props.
  • A key prop
    • Your main character must interact with the selected prop.

The more naturally you incorporate these elements into your story, the more likely you will receive higher points.


All cast and crew must be volunteers.

Animal Safety

Ensuring the welfare of animals is as vital as safeguarding the well-being of the cast and crew during the 10dfc. Any film that leads to harm or injury to an animal, whether fatal or otherwise, may lead to disqualification.


Any type of video or film camera may be used. There is no limit to the number of cameras.

Music Rights

Participating teams are encouraged to collaborate with composers and musicians to create original music for their films. While the use of pre-recorded music is permitted, teams must possess the necessary rights for all music featured in their film and provide appropriate releases. Similar to music, the inclusion of pre-recorded sound effects is acceptable, but rightful usage must be ensured.

Kindly take note: Incorporating song parodies (utilizing recognizable existing compositions with modified lyrics or music) necessitates a signed release from the original composition’s rights holder. This requirement stands, regardless of whether the song parody could potentially be argued as fair use under US or international copyright law.

Total Running Time

The completed film should span a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 22 minutes, exclusive of end credits. Put simply, the official runtime commences following the necessary 10dfc slates and concludes before the end credits. It’s important to note that the obligatory slates and end credits are not considered in the calculation of the 15-minute minimum. The narrative of the film itself must not surpass 20 minutes. Please be aware that 10dfc retains the authority to edit films that surpass the maximum duration, specifically for screening reasons.


Pre-film Required Slates
Before the finished film begins, the media should have…

  • 5 seconds of black
  • The official 10dfc animated opening
  • 2 seconds of black
  • Your film follows this.

Opening Credits

Following the initial 2 seconds of black, certain films commence with their opening credits. It’s crucial to acknowledge that these opening credits are integrated into the film and consequently contribute to the twenty-minute maximum runtime.

End Credits
The closing credits for each film must not exceed 90 seconds. This duration of 60 seconds is deemed supplementary to the film’s length, as outlined previously. In essence, a film that spans 20 minutes can incorporate an extra 60 seconds for credits, resulting in a total runtime of 21.5 minutes.

Required Media Formats

Maximum File Size for initial submission: 5GB.

Production Documents

Each team must secure releases for talent, crew, music and locations (and any other applicable releases), which must be turned in to the project organizers with the finished film/video. The film/video will not be screened before the 10 day film contest Organizers receive the signed releases.

  • Release forms can be found on the 10dfc website.
  • Completed release forms shall be uploaded to 10dfc.
  • Both written and electronic signatures are allowed.

Certification Statement

The Entrant must submit a Certification Statement with his/her completed Entry, certifying adherence to all Official Rules.


For an Entry to qualify for the Project, it must originate from the Entrant’s original creation, devoid of any infringement on third-party rights. The content must align with publishable standards, excluding obscenity or indecency. Additionally, it must refrain from incorporating explicit or pornographic material, defamatory statements about individuals, entities, or organizations, or infringing upon privacy and other rights. Furthermore, the Entry must conform to prevailing laws and regulations, avoiding any breach thereof, and should not comprise copyrighted elements, unless they belong to the Entrant and/or 10dfc.

Entries discovered to encompass forbidden or unsuitable content, at the sole discretion of 10dfc, will be disqualified. The conclusive determination regarding the eligibility of Entries rests with 10dfc. Furthermore, 10dfc holds the prerogative to decline the screening of a film or issue an announcement during screening regarding the content. In cases where content is found to be offensive or defamatory, 10dfc retains the authority to modify a film by removing or erasing such material.

No Distribution

The Entrant is advised against sharing their entry/video through any means. This encompasses refraining from uploading the video on any website or exhibiting the film to audiences beyond the team’s members.

Official Film Entry

For a film/video production to attain Official Film Entry status, it must adhere to all the rules outlined herein. The organizers of the 10 Day Film Contest retain the authority to exclusively screen certified Official Film Entries.

Entries Not Returned

No Entries (media or documents) will be returned.


At the discretion of 10dfc and the Project Parties, Entries that are considered unsuitable or fail to meet compliance standards may be subject to disqualification.

Using AI (Artificial Intelligence) in Your Entry

You may use AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the creation of your film, subject to the following guidelines:

AI-generated components cannot be employed in the creation of your entry prior to the Official Time Period.

It is imperative that you possess rights to all content, including material generated by AI. In essence, any AI-generated content that incorporates copyrighted material without proper authorization from the filmmaker is prohibited. For instance, using a frame from the movie “Pulp Fiction” to craft a new image is disallowed.

Footage generated through AI must satisfy copyright stipulations pertaining to footage (outlined above). This entails not only ensuring the filmmaker’s rights to the footage but also abiding by the usage specifications for footage shot before the competition weekend.

Asset Buyout

Selected films will be eligible for an asset buyout, offer is contingent upon receiving all official and enhancing footage, photos, audio, et al. When buyouts offers in excess of $600 are offered, Team Leads will have to fill out a w9 to accept their payment.  


Share This