Entry Process


Entry Process

The following provides a step by step overview of the entry process. Adult advisors, we recommend that you download the Getting Started Guide with useful tips to help your participants submit winning entries!

1. “Like” Directing Change on Facebook. This way you will receive notifications, tips, and announcements about the contest, and you can post questions to the Directing Change Team.

2. Read the Contest Rules and FAQ!

3. Identify an adult advisor at your school or organization. All participants that are associated with either a  middle school, high school, college, university, community-based organization, program, club, or other entity must select an adult advisor for their team. The adult advisor is someone who is not on the film submission team. This is required so we can connect your school, club, or organization with free prevention programs and resources, and they also qualify for cash prizes. The adult advisor does not need to have knowledge of or expertise in film making or the subject matter (suicide prevention and mental health).

4. Select a submission category and review the content guidelines carefully. There are seven submission categories.

  • Suicide Prevention (60-second PSA): This category asks for a 60-second film that educates young people about the warning signs for suicide and how to offer support to a friend.
  • Animated Short (30-second PSA): This category asks for a 30-second animated film about suicide prevention.
  • Mental Health Matters (60-second PSA): This category asks for a 60-second film that encourages young people to get help and support friends with mental health challenges.
  • Through the Lens of Culture (60-second PSA): This category still requires participants to choose mental health or suicide prevention as a focus, with additional requirements including adding captioning and exploring these topics through the lens of different cultures.
  • Walk In Our Shoes (60-second PSA): This category asks for a 60-second film that encourages the viewer to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and learn more about mental health or suicide prevention. This category is only open to middle school students.
  • Hope & Justice (accepts submissions in all art forms): This category is an opportunity for youth living through history to express their feelings and to inspire others through art. Hope & Justice will be accepting submissions monthly, in any art form. 

5. Submit an Intent to Direct Form to let us know that you are planning to submit a film. Submitting the form does not obligate you to submit an entry, just as not submitting the form does not disqualify entries, but it helps us with the planning process. Only one per film team, please!

6. Create your film or art! We have developed several resources to assist with content such as educational films and fact sheets. See our tips below and visit the For Youth or For Schools pages for assistance.

Here are a few other resources:

Also, be sure to check out the Submission Toolbox for each category which includes tools (such as the logo end slate and the title slide template) that are required with your film submission, and resources to help you with the content of your film or art.

7. Sign Release Forms and provide them to the adult advisor. The advisor must secure a signed release form for every person that worked on the film crew or art piece, acted in the film, or whose voice appears in the film. The release form includes release of intellectual, image, and voice rights. All cast and crew must agree to the terms and conditions listed in the entry form and must sign a release form. Youth under age 18 also must have the form signed by their parent or legal guardian. Youth filmmakers and participants are honor-bound to acquire all necessary permissions and signatures.

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.

The Directing Change team will request release forms from the winning film teams and any other films that we anticipate may be used to support local awareness efforts. If release forms cannot be provided upon request, the entry may be disqualified. Review the Forms and Copyrights page for more information and other requirements.

8. Upload your Entry Form by the deadline – midnight PST on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 – for every submission category EXCEPT non-60 second film submissions in the Hope & Justice category.

For the Hope & Justice category: 60-second films in the Hope & Justice category must be submitted by midnight on March 1, 2022 in order to be eligible to compete with all other statewide submissions in that category. However, any other non-60 second film submissions (poem, drawing, animation, TikTok, etc.) can be submitted by midnight on the last day of each month to be eligible for a prize. There is a separate Entry Form for the Hope & Justice category.

You will be asked to upload your film file as part of the entry form. Films are automatically uploaded to the Directing Change Vimeo channel. Vimeo is our video services partner and all technical specifications need to be in line with their requirements. Remember – you can save this form for 30 days but please be sure to click “Submit” once you are ready or we will not receive your completed Entry Form! Your lead participant and advisor should receive a confirmation email upon submission of your entry form.

Troubleshooting tips:

  • Try a different browser (e.g. if you are using Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer).
  • Try uploading the film from a different computer (e.g. instead of your school’s computer, try your home computer).
  • If you are on a school’s Wi-Fi and are having trouble accessing Vimeo, it is likely that your school has blocked access to the site. Try another source of internet (mobile Wi-Fi, personal hotspot, internet from the library or home) to upload the films.
  • Films must be under 512 MB to upload successfully to the entry form; please make sure your film is smaller than 512 MB in size if you are having trouble uploading.
  • For more information on exporting your video to meet upload requirements, please view a tutorial on your particular editing software.
  • If submitting to Hope & Justice, visit the Entry Format page for tips to format your file.
  • Check out these Vimeo guides: Video and Audio Compression Guidelines and Troubleshooting Upload Problems
  • Contact us – we have never disqualified a film because of technical problems! Please include your internet browser and a description of the problem you are experiencing.

8. Sit back, relax, and think about what you will wear when you walk down the red carpet! Check out the last virtual Award Ceremony to get inspired!

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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