For Youth


This page has 3 sections: 1) Support and Crisis Resources, 2) Educational Information and Resources about suicide prevention and mental health, and 3) Technical resources for creating your film.

Support and Crisis Resources 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Teen Line: Teen Line is a confidential hotline for teenagers which operates every evening from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm PST. If you have a problem or just want to talk with another teen who understands, then this is the right place for you! The Teen Line volunteers who answer the calls, emails, and texts are Southern California teenagers who have received specialized training. They won’t judge you or give advice – their job is to listen to your feelings and help you to clarify your concerns, define the options available to you, and help you make positive decisions. No problem is too small, too large, or too shocking for the Teen Line volunteers.

  • Call: 800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336) from 6-10 PM PST
  • Text “TEEN” to 839863
  • Talk via their app:
  • Teen Line also offers message boards, resources, and information.

The Trevor Project: The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. All services below are available 24/7.

  • The Trevor Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386
  • TrevorChat – Confidential online instant messaging
  • TrevorText – Text “START” to 678-678

Educational Information and Resources

Take some time for journaling, coloring and deep breathing activities with our Mental Health Thrival Kit. Share the journal electronically or download the individual pages! To request or purchase kits please contact us.

Educational Videos: The educational videos are films produced by some of the Directing Change Team that discuss various mental health and suicide prevention topics.

Bring Change to Mind: Bring Change to Mind High School is a national anti-stigma campaign aimed at removing misconceptions about mental illness. 

Learn how to save a life in 90 minutes. The California Dept. of Education, in collaboration with LivingWorks and the San Diego County Office of Education, is launching a free online suicide prevention training program, LivingWorks Start, to teachers, staff, and middle and high school students in the State.

LivingWorks Start is an easy, online, four-step program that teaches anyone, 13 years and older, how to recognize the signs of someone who is struggling and connect them to help. No prior training is necessary. LivingWorks is a global leader in suicide prevention training, with over 35 years of evidence-based programming to its credit.

If you are a middle and high school student, you can claim your free LivingWorks Start program here: This link is just for student access. Together, we can save lives from suicide. Start now!

Steps and Resources for Creating your Film!

The following is a list of resources covering various components of film production. Many of these resources have been adapted from other media festival websites.

Check out our PDF with a list of tips and resources about how you can create a film on your smartphone at home. 

Online Film School

Created by Military Veteran and Filmmaker Trent Duncan, the Online Film School is an educational resource for aspiring filmmakers looking to begin a career in the Film and Video industry. It’s a great overview of filmmaking to help you as you develop your film. Check out the video here.

Kids’ Guide to Making Movies

This webpage is a great resource for those who have never created a film before. It comes with tutorials about storyboarding, tips for editing films, and even talks about stop motion animation!

Step One: Get an idea

Review the submission categories and guidelines for content. To get inspired you can also check out some examples of existing films. Some of these examples have been produced by professional advertising agencies, and some are winners from other student film contests. Be aware that although the following films may be well made, the content and criteria may not be applicable to the Directing Change Program and Film Contest.

Professional Examples:

Bring Change to Mind High School 

Star Wars Anti‐Smoking

It’s Up To Us Eliminating Stigma and Suicide Prevention Spots

Student Examples:

Check out the winners from last year’s contest.

Step Two: Script and Storyboard

Once you have your idea you will need to write a script and storyboard for your film. The script gives you a roadmap to your production and all the content that you will cover. In addition to a script, the storyboard allows you to visually plan your film on paper.

Storyboard Resources

Plan out your Film with a Successful Storyboard” by Don Goble

Step Three: Permissions and Releases

Before filming your film, be sure you have all appropriate forms and releases signed. For more information and useful links, visit the Forms and Copyright section.

    • Release Form: Every person on the submitting team (cast and crew) must submit a release form. For students under age 18 the form needs to be signed by their parent or a legal guardian. As of this year, Directing Change requests that all release forms be completed electronically:

      If you or your team members are unable to sign an electronic version of the release form, please contact us and we will provide an alternative method of submitting release forms.

    • Location Contract: The location contract protects both the property owner and the film production team. Getting permission is also a courtesy that can prevent you from being ejected from a location.
  • Copyrights: When creating a film youth should be aware of intellectual property and copyright rules especially if they plan on using elements that someone else has created. See Songs and Sounds Effects Resources below for links to free music and sounds.

Step Four: Shooting your Film

Before you start filming you will want to plan each of the shots. If possible, you may want to use two cameras to provide different angles for the same scene when editing. Take time to look at the area you in which you will be filming, paying attention to the background. Also, it is very important to make sure you keep your video tapes or video files in a safe place so it doesn’t get lost. The following sections offer links to the various aspects of video production.


Shots and Framing

  • This link contains information about the basics of “shot types” and offers insight to consider when filming.

Rules of Thirds

  • This article explains “the rule of thirds”, an important principle in photography.

Lighting Tutorials – Media College

  • This site offers various information sheets about lighting in film production.


How To Use Microphones

  • This tutorial offers information about the use of microphones.

Songs and Sound Effects Resources

Unfortunately you can’t just go to iTunes and download your favorite song. The following resources offer free music and sound effects that you can use in your film! Although some sites offer “free” music, note that you may still have to request licensing for permission to use it in your film. You can also create all the music and sounds yourself, or obtain written permission from the copyright holder for copyrighted songs and materials you would like to use in your film. For more information about how to obtain permission, visit the “Copyright Requirements” section on this page. Note: We have added some new resources this year – be sure to check them out for new possible tracks!

Ben Sound (this is a popular one!)

  • A database of downloadable, copyright-free music and sounds that can be used in your film. You will still need to credit Ben Sound. For instructions on how to give credit in your film check out the site’s FAQ.


  • Free tracks, searchable by mood and instrument. You will need to credit the artist – the specific credit needed is shown when you download the track. The artist has a handy page that creates the exact credit to use based on which track you decide to incorporate in your film.

  • This link will lead you to a page of music, organized by keywords (emotion, genre, lead instrument, etc.). Any of the songs listed as “FREE” can be used for your film, provided that you include a credit at the end of your film. Info on the credits process can be accessed here.


  • A composer who has a range of his tracks posted, free for use under Creative Commons. Make sure to credit the creator and the track name at the end of your film!

  • Similar to the above links; you can download and use these songs for free as long as you include this credit at the end of your film: “Music by”


  • A community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.


  • Offers free ‘film music’, and is intended for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.

Free Sound

  • A collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, and recordings released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse.

Purple Planet

  • Free tracks to use for your film. Make sure to credit as written on this page.


  • This is a non-profit organization that has classical and other (mostly instrumental) pieces available for free download and use. You have to sign up as a member (do the “Lite” membership for free downloads), and then navigate to the “Recordings” link for a given piece in order to download the song. Just like many of the other resources shown here, you will need to include a credit at the end of your film if you use a track from this website.

Step 5: Editing your Film

Editing is important to the film making process. You may spend more time editing than filming. These links will help guide you in editing your film. There are various programs for editing that you may have on your computer at home, or ones that may be available through your school, or local library. Tutorials specific to the program you use should also be available online. Remember, entries are limited to 60 seconds in length.

Video Editing Tutorials-Media College

  • This side offers tutorials on various aspects of editing.

Top 10 Rules for Video Editing

  • This article offers tips to consider when editing your film.

Media Composer First

  • Recommnended by advisor Sara Hills from Claremont High School, this website offers a free version of video editing software that can be run on a Mac or PC.

Step 6: Submitting Your Film

Entries must be either 30-seconds or 60-seconds in length depending on the submission category.  Vimeo is our video services partner and all technical specifications need to be in line with their requirements. You will be asked to upload your film as part of the entry form. By uploading your film to Vimeo you will automatically agree to their terms and conditions. Vimeo recommends that when preparing your video for upload, it’s best to maintain the video’s native frame rate when compressing your video. If your footage exceeds 60 FPS, they will automatically reduce the frame rate. Vimeo recommends a constant frame rate throughout your entire video. Always choose “constant” frame rate instead of “variable” frame rate. A codec is the format in which your video is encoded. Vimeo accept most major codecs, but for best results they recommend H.264 or Apple ProRes 422.

Academy of Motion Pictures-Teachers Guide

Cyber College

Screenwriting U

Other Film Festivals

Entries can be submitted to other film festivals after the March 1, 2022 submission deadline. Special note to students in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties – Directing Change is partnering with the SlickRock Student Film Festival. We strongly encourage you to also submit to this festival if your entry is in the Suicide Prevention category, as the entry description and judging guidelines for both contests are aligned. If you are in San Diego County, we also suggest you submit your entry to the iVIE film festival. Students throughout the state of California are encouraged to also submit their films to Art With Impact’s monthly video contest. Here are a few other film festivals we encourage you to enter as well:

California Student Media Festival

Student Educational Video Awards (SEVA) 

48 Hour Film Project 

Picture the Valley – Fresno County contest open to Juniors and Seniors

Thank you!

Much of the information found on this page was adapted from the Student Educational Video Awards video and many of the resources and links were adapted from the other film festival websites listed here.

If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
Directing Change is part of statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
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