•  Follow the script – with one exception…
    •  You can write your own ending. What does Donnie Ray see in the journal that gives him hope?
    •  The ending must be: Meaningful, Inspiring and Uplifting. 
    •  We do strongly suggest you follow the “after the credits” ending in the script.
  •  The ending must also be approved by our team in advance. 
  •  Use the song “What Can I Do?” in the closing credits. (Sheet music provided). You can arrange it any way you want – use any instruments, vocals, etc. For more FAQs on the song, click here.
  •  No blood or violence. (Again – follow the script).
  •  Length: The rule of thumb in filmmaking is “one page per minute” which means expect to have one minute of film for each page of the script. Ideally, keep it under 15 minutes in order to be eligibile compete in short film competitions.
  •  Budget: You are NOT allowed to spend any money making your film. We will provide you with the necessary kit to shoot and edit the film. Beyond that, if you want to spend money on anything, you will need to have it (or the product/service) donated or raise the money yourself. 
  •  Getting outside help: You may get outside help. In fact, we encourage it! We just want to remind you that you can’t pay for this help. If you want someone’s assistance, whether it’s an actor/actress, singer, film editor or some other mentor, he or she must donate their time or you must raise the funds to pay for his/her time, travel or expenses.
  •  Legalities: There are some “legalities” in this kind of undertaking, which means releases and stuff like that. Goes with the territory. So please remember that you can’t participate unless all the paperwork is completed and you follow the rules outlined. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Where is there flexibility?

  •  Casting – the physical characteristics of the characters are intentionally left out so you can have flexibility in casting. We do strongly recommend you select as diverse a cast as possible, which means a mix of male and female, nationalities and other physical characteristics.
  •  Arrangement of the music – instruments, vocals, pacing. 
  •  Sets
  •  Lighting
  •  Camera direction

How big a cast and crew will I need?

  •  That’s up to you! We will provide you a list of the possible roles needed, and we’ll also provide a list for casting. 

How can my involvement in this project help me for the future?

  •  College applications, job opportunities in the film industry, lessons in leadership, project management and teamwork and more!

What if my crew doesn’t want to make the “making of” film?

  •  You have a few options. Either forego that part of the project or find another team to do it. A third option would be to offer a “commentary” version of the film where the cast and crew discusses the film as they watch it.

Can I change the music? Maybe write my own “ending credits” song or use another song?

  •  We want you to use the song provided.
  •  You cannot use another artist’s song because of rights and protections (and expense!) 
  •  However, if you want to write another song to be used in conjunction with the promotion of this film, we’re open. Contact us to discuss. 

While we’re on the subject of music, what other rules and guidelines are there? Do you have sheet music? Can I add a rap?

  •  Click here for more info on the song/music.
  •  Brownell has written a rap to go with the song, also available on the song/music page.

Why can’t we spend any money making the film?

  •  We want as level a playing field as possible. And we also think it’s a good learning experience to find ways to be resourceful. Believe it or not, constraints help creativity – not limit it! Want a famous person to act or perform in the film or song? Great! You just just can’t “buy” them. Any expenses, i.e. travel, hotel, meals, must be either donated or raised. 

Can we change the movies that are referenced in the film? How about the movie posters?

  •  Maybe. Since there are legalities to consider, we need to make sure that’s covered, so let’s discuss.

Can I ask for help?

  •  Of course! We hope you will! You can ask us or find a mentor. Up to you!

My group is having problems. Can you help there, too?

  •  Yes! 


Decisions You’ll Need to Make

  •  Wardrobe
  •  Casting
  •  Lighting
  •  Ending
  •  Mood
  •  Music Score
  •  Sets and Location