We all rely upon the spoken word, both in our daily lives and in our films. But what if there were no words? How would we get an idea across? How would we tell a story? This is the concept behind a new competition that I call "Films Without Words". Sound intriguing? Well, here's how it works:
1. Movies must be 5-8 minutes long -- NO EXCEPTIONS!
2. Movies can be made in any animation format, or live action if you prefer. They can be any genre but must be ORIGINAL films created for this competition.
3. The story must be conveyed through mood, music (without lyrics), actions and sound effects. If you feel your actors must communicate with each other verbally, it must be in gibberish -- no words, no foreign languages, NO SUBTITLES.
4. Movies must be submitted no later than Midnight GMT on March 31, 2016. Movies must be posted on the TMUnderground site with a link to the movie posted in the official TMU contest thread using the following format:
If you are not a member of TMU, you can join for free.
5. DO NOT POST A DESCRIPTION OF THE PLOT -- either in this thread or in any other thread, nor should there be a plot description on the movie's post. The idea is that viewers must be able to follow the plot without any external help.
6. Thebiz, Macweemys and myself will be the judges, grading the films on a point system. The movies with the top three scores will win prizes. In the event of a tie, the judges will determine which movie will win. ALL DECISIONS BY THE JUDGES ARE FINAL.
7. PRIZES: Prizes will consist of gift certificates for online vendors and services who offer them. Winners will decide which site they want a gift certificate for. Prizes will be as follows:
First Place -- $50
Second Place -- $25
Third Place -- $10
8. Movies and judges' comments will be aired in a Live Stream broadcast on April 17th (time to be announced) at which time the winners will be announced.
9. ELIGIBILITY: Contestants must be members of the TMU community no younger than 15 years of age. If you are not yet a member you can join the community for free. Winners must provide their e-mail addresses, as well as a link to the site they want their gift certificate from.
10. All movies remain the property of the film-makers but may not be posted elsewhere until after the winners are announced.
So tape up your mouths and get crackin' out there. Remember: The deadline for all entries is Midnight GMT on March 31, 2016. Get those virtual (or real) cameras rolling!
- Do I have to use a particular animation software? No, any kind of machinima or animation software can be used.
- Can I make a live-action film? Yes, as long as it meets the requirements listed above.
- Can I use signs in my movie? All signs must either be gibberish or symbolic (e.g. a symbol of a man on a public bathroom door).
- Can I make a music video? No, there will be a separate competition for that later.
- Why do I have to post my movie on TMUnderground? Part of the purpose of this competition is to bring attention to everything TMU has to offer for the machinamist film-maker.
- Can I use Voice Actors? You are welcome to use Voice Actors, provided they speak only gibberish with no discernible words.
- Are you wanting something very simple just focusing on story? Yes, it's all about getting a story across without language. You should think in terms of a film that is plot-driven rather than character-driven.
- A month is hardly time enough. Maybe 6? Part of any competition is finding a way to meet the deadline, and if you think of other competitions I have run you know I don't believe in making things easy as that's not how people learn. The tools for animation have gotten so complicated, maybe it's time to start thinking of ways to produce them faster while sacrificing the minimum in terms of quality. I have heard any number of people say it's too hard to produce films these days because Machinima evolves so quickly. Maybe we need to start evolving more quickly as well. Think of that as a part of this challenge.
- I'm assuming normal titles and credits can be used and those can contribute to the run time? You raise an interesting point here. First off: Yes, of course you can have credits because I firmly believe that you owe it to anyone who helps you to put their name in the film. A title for your movie is a little trickier, since a title could give us a notion of what you are trying to convey. I hadn't even thought about that until you raised the question. New rule: All movies must be titled "Without Words By" and the filmmaker's name. So, in my case it would be called "Without Words By RPoshard". And yes, all credits are included in the time limit of the movie.
Other questions? Post them in this thread and I will answer them ASAP.