Prepared for the Challenge


We've been getting a lot of questions from filmmakers about what they are allowed to work on before the clock starts ticking for the 36-Hour Challenge. So, here are a few helpful tips our team put together to get all the contestants off to a good start. 

It's extremely important that teams wait until the launch on January 26 to write their scripts. Do not work on any dialogue ahead of time. NONE. GRFF wants each team to thoughtfully design a script around our elements and instructions. 

Still, there are a few things you can work on before the launch. 

  1. Gather crew. Teams need to be made up of three or more people. Whether it's the director, or DP, lighting or sound, you'll need to pull together a group that works well together and assign roles. 
  2. Audition actors. Find a diverse group of talented actors, so that your script can go in many different directions. You never know what we're going to throw at you, but no matter what it is, you'll need versatile acting talent. Start looking for them now.  
  3. Location scout. It's late January in Michigan... burrr! You are going to need a couple of warm locations to work from. The city of Grand Rapids wanted us to pass on this application for a film permit. If you are going to film outside in downtown Grand Rapids, you should start working on this permit now. We don't recommend that you plan your entire script around an interesting location. In 2017, a team used a dry cleaner, which is a super interesting location. But, their script fell flat, and the judges wondered if they would've focused more on the dialogue had they had a less interesting location. 
  4. Concepts. Creative minds have no shortage of concepts rattling around in them. Get together with your team and share these concepts. Make a list; organize several directions that your short film could go. Then, when you receive the criteria at the launch, you'll be able to look at your list and pick the concept that works best with what we're requiring. 
  5. Gather props and costumes. Have your actors pull some items from their wardrobe that would work in different settings.  Don't forget the shoes and accessories. Think through each of your concepts and determine what props you may need. 
  6. Equipment. Clearly, you'll need a camera and various memory cards to capture your footage. Lighting and sound equipment are equally as important. Be thoughtful about all the items you'll need and make sure you have it all before the launch. WKTV and GRTV are good resources, but you should reserve your items early. 
  7. Music. Select a music that fits different moods and make sure you have the proper permissions to use it. Maybe contact your favorite local band to borrow one of their songs. Music is the perfect bridge in cinematic story. You know you'll need some, so gather several options now, so you don't waste time during the challenge. 
  8. Create a Film Freeway account. We ask you to up load your films to GRFF's 36-Hour Challenge Film Freeway account. In order to do this, you'll need to have your own account. Maybe practice uploading a 6 minute film, so you know how long the upload will take. 

If your team starts working on these items now, they'll be ready for a full sprint when the Challenge clock starts ticking.