21st Annual

Dances With Films



Deadlines & Entry Fees

All fees will be charged in U.S. Dollar

Online Services Offered
Entry Form
Fee Payment
Submission Copy
Regular Deadline
April 18, 2016
Regular Discounted
Non DWF Alumni 25.00 *
DWF Alumni 15.00 *
Late Deadline
May 1, 2016
Regular Discounted
Non DWF Alumni 35.00 30.00
DWF Alumni 25.00 *

Discounted fees apply to projects with pre-purchased Discount Packs, on entry fees greater than 30.00.

Category Details

Approximately May 15, 2016

Submission & Exhibition Format Requirements

Text Files
  Paper (Printed Hard Copy)
  PDF (.pdf)
  Microsoft Word (.doc)

Prizes & Awards

This category is a competition.

Special Jury Award
Right at the moment our awards package is being developed. In the past we have given away: Canon 7D SLR Cameras, Canon 5D SLR cameras * FilmTracker from Studio System * Movie Magic Budgeting & Scheduling * Final Draft
Sponsor:No Sponsor

Category Rules

Rule #1: This contest is to be done in the spirit of fun, friendly filmmaking. All participants are required to have a sense of humor, not get bent out of shape, nor say bad things about us in the Indy community if they disagree with us. In return, we promise to do the best we can, and be as fair as possible.


1] Films will be chosen based on the quality of the screenplay submitted. Suggestions and guidelines for your screenplay submission are:

A] No longer than two pages - less is more for this contest.
The script doesn't have to be a complete, polished screenplay. A one-sentence log line will do, but the better you can make us see your vision, the better your chances of being chosen.

B] Scripts should be light on props - since you're going to have to provide them yourself.

C] The setting is an "empty space" - which you can dress or play as any kind of space you like, but remember, if you write it, you have to bring it.

D] Scripts will be judged not only on their quality, but also the practicality of being shot and edited in 4 hours. Simple, Simple, Simple!

Please see our website for examples.


2] All creative teams must be in Los Angeles and available from May 28-June 7, 2015.

Idea: Say you're a screenwriter from Kansas, or working in an advertising agency in Idaho and would like to show off your writing skills, but can't afford a trip to Hollywood...Find a director in Los Angeles... If you don't know anyone, look through the DWF Archives for alumni and start tracking down e-mail addresses. If that doesn't work, get on the net... There are tons of filmmaker-networking sites.

If selected and unable to provide a production team, DWF will try to accommodate staffing for you via our alumni.

Lights, Camera, Action!:

4] Running time: Each film will not be longer than 2 minutes.
Dances With Films may, at their discretion, grant a 59 second grace to this time, but the filmmakers might have to buy someone a mocha frappachino to get such preferential treatment. (Hey we are trying to reflect what Hollywood is really like). Under no circumstances will a film be allowed to run over two minutes, 59-seconds from opening credits to last credits, and judges will be instructed to take into consideration demerits for the usage of grace.

5] Production Time: Each filmmaker will have 4 hours to shoot and edit their films. We encourage filmmakers to do any prep they can outside of the space, such as: Rehearsing the cast, making costumes, building props, having everyone show up camera ready, etc. but they will only have 4 hours in the space to shoot and edit their film. At the end of the 4 hours, they will hand DWF the hard drive (provided by DWF) of their finished movie.

Grace: Just like on a real set, the director may call for grace at the end of the 4 hours. The crew - which by that time had better be just the editor - has the option to allow a 15-minute grace period or not.
Grace is not automatic or guaranteed. This might not seem fair, but it very much reflects the industry. If you've been a good little filmmaker, and the people helping you feel you deserve a few extra minutes to finish that one last thing, then you'll have earned it as a bonus. The final decision on grace will be with the Dances With Films producer on set, and under no circumstances will it go beyond 15 minutes.

6] Space: The films will be shot in an "empty space" to which the filmmakers may bring whatever props, furniture, drops, etc. that may fit through the door. This space will most likely be the corner of a big empty room, with the filmmaker's lounge at the other end. Keep this in mind when thinking about your story and shot selections – you might be able to pull off a cool 360 degree shot using a truckload of flats and drapes… But can you do that and finish your film in 4 hours?
Certain use of exteriors might be achievable, but don't count on it. Boundaries of the space will be defined by DWF and may not be exceeded.

Note: Dances With Films sponsors may, or may not, make available certain items like backdrops, furniture, wardrobe, etc. We will do our best to notify everyone as this type of sponsor-supplied material becomes available via our website and/or our Facebook page, but it is ultimately up to the contestants to: 1) Keep up with these changes, and 2) Be responsible for their own materials. Phrases like, "You didn't tell me that!" and "How was I supposed to know?" may be considered a violation of Rule #1.

Editing: DWF will provide an editing suite that filmmakers will be required to use. Take special note of #7 below.

7] Audience: As you might have gleaned from the space, there will be people watching you work. We will have volunteers there to make sure they are quiet when you're rolling, and they stay out of the your shots, etc. But you will be making a film in a fishbowl. This is part of the fun of the project, so invite your friends and family to buy a day pass and have a look!

8] Equipment: Dances With Films and our sponsors will provide all of the equipment necessary to make a standard "Talking Heads" movie. If you want to bring in practical special effects, such as blood, makeup (special and otherwise), swords, mechanical effects, etc. then that's your responsibility. However, things like gunshots, explosions, fire, etc. (In other words, anything that will require special permits from city officials, fire marshals, police, etc. or might be deemed as dangerous by the DWF producer on set), will not be permitted… So don't put it in your script. If you're in doubt, cut it out!

9] Cast & Crew: The more key personnel you can bring the better, but don't be afraid to ask for help! Once your script is chosen, we'll meet with you to find out what personnel you have, and who you might need. We're not going to make your film for you, but we'll do our best to make sure you have who and what you need to make the best film possible.

10] Outside Elements: If you want to use a green screen, or you have some logo for your production company, or something small like that, you're welcome to include it in your edit, but it can not be a stand-alone element or scene of the movie. It has to support what you shoot in the space, not the other way around.

11] Ownership and Some Legal Stuff: The film that you hand us at the end of the 4 hours is your submission to the competition. However if you'd like to polish up the edit, finish the sound, or do any other editing to your submission for your own use, that is permissible. Bring your own hard drive and we'll download the edited version and raw footage for you when we can (this will be done outside of your 4-hour time limit).

You will have complete ownership of the final film that you create – However Dances With Films will have full worldwide rights to use all footage, the final film, and all behind-the-scenes footage in all media now known or hereafter devised for promotional purposes in perpetuity.

12] Errors and Omissions Insurance: It is the responsibility of the screenwriter to provide a script that is original and not derived from copyrighted material in such a way that would violate copyright laws in spirit or letter. DWF will be held harmless – Blah, Blah, Blah – Again… see the release for details.

13] The 500lbs gorilla: The buck stops with Dances With Films. There will be a DWF representative on set at all times. This person's decisions are final…Period, end of discussion.

14] The Rules are Subject to Change: Change is inevitable, so don't complain if these rules adapt and change at any time. DWF reserves the right to make changes at our discretion. Notification of changes will be communicated in the most efficient and effective manner depending on the state of the contest at the time of the changes – meaning: If you're scheduled to shoot in 2 hours and we change a rule, we'll call you. If we change a rule a month before the festival, we'll just post it on the website and/or our Facebook page.

15] Questions: Email your questions and comments to info@danceswithfilms.com

Thanks and Good Luck!