February 21, 2016

Make Your Own 'Star Wars' Fan Film for Lucasfilm's 2016 Contest

Star Wars Fan Film Awards 2016 Logo 1

The 2016 Star Wars Fan Film Awards are now open. Here's a message from Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams about making your own 5 minute film for the contest:

There are a bunch of different categories to win, including Filmmaker Select, Best Animation, Best Non-Fiction, Spirit of Fandom, Best Comedy, Best Visual Effects, and Audience Choice. All of these come with a $250 prize. To give you a sense of films that have won in the past, here is a playlist with all of the winners from 2015:

It should be noted that The Lesser Evil was the correct 5 minute length for the contest, but was extended on YouTube to include the opening crawl, and the Star Wars main theme, which is not included in the sound pack. While the sound effects in the free sound pack are directly from the films, none of the music is. This means some of the options are slightly cheaper-sounding alternatives that might be more welcome in a video game than in a film. Unfortunately, you have to use what's in the sound pack, so nothing from the actual films or your own music is allowed.

Submitting to the Fan Film Awards

The submissions must be a maximum of 5 minutes and are open through 11:59 PM PST on April 24, 2016. Submitters who are 13+ in the US and Canada (except Quebec) are eligible, and you must be 18+ in the UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico to be eligible. The films must be in English, German, or Spanish, and have subtitles if they are not in English. You can submit one film per person. Here is the judging criteria (official rules are here):

  1. A clear grasp of animation and/or filmmaking as an art form (17%)
  2. Quality of storytelling (17%)
  3. Character development and character design (17%)
  4. Voiceover and acting talent (17%)
  5. Originality (17%)
  6. Overall entertainment value (15%)

Here are some of the things you should do:

  • Do be original. Feel free to put your own spin on the Star Wars franchise and make sure what you create is original and doesn’t contain third party materials protected by copyright or other intellectual property rights
  • Do use sound materials from the Pack. If you want to use music or soundclips in your Video, only use sound materials provided in the Pack on the Website. Please do not include any sound materials that are not from the Pack or you will be disqualified.

And some of the things you shouldn't do:

  • Don't show any brands or logos, famous landmarks, buildings, books, works of art etc. That means no visible/recognizable use anywhere in the Video of brands on clothes, sneakers, in the background, or other things which may be subject to third party intellectual property rights, such as (for example) famous landmarks, buildings or works of art. Please do not include any references to Star Trek®.
  • Don't include any names and/or likenesses of any person other than you in the Submission without first obtaining written permission (this includes not using images/voices of famous people). You will be responsible for getting written permission from any person included in your Video (or their parent/guardian in the case of minors).
  • Don't be rude or use profanity. Avoid bad language, rude gestures and other inappropriate stuff.
  • Don’t use any sound materials that are not from the Pack.

Even with all of the restrictions, it still looks like an interesting contest, especially if you love the Star Wars universe. Companies seem to have a love/hate relationship with fan films, but at least Lucasfilm and Disney are encouraging it here. To read more about the contest and enter your own film, head on over to the site here.       

Your Comment

22 Comments

All that money they made from The Force Awakens, and the thousands of dollars they make each day from Toy sales, and all they have to offer is $250 IF YOU WIN!

I feel there are way too many restrictions here, and that they are in place because they are going to do something to make them more money with the finalists.. while they enjoy $250.

Anyways I might enter this. Anyone else?

February 22, 2016 at 3:16AM, Edited February 22, 3:16AM

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Frogy
Director / Shooter / Cutter
123

Hehe... my first thought as well, that prize is cheap beyond reason, I don't care how much you love star wars. :)

Comes to mind:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/theoatmeal-img/comics/exposure/exposure.png

February 22, 2016 at 6:00AM, Edited February 22, 6:03AM

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Torben Greve
Cinematographer
258

LMAO, $250? And you can't even use the actual Star Wars theme? What a freaking joke.

February 22, 2016 at 6:01AM

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David West
Writer/Director/Cinematographer/Editor
836

Where do you see that you can't use the Star Wars theme? The Lesser Evil has it.

February 22, 2016 at 10:35AM

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Alex Everingham
Video Editor
476

From the article:

"Don’t use any sound materials that are not from the Pack."

"It should be noted that The Lesser Evil was the correct 5 minute length for the contest, but was extended on YouTube to include the opening crawl, and the Star Wars main theme, which is not included in the sound pack."

February 22, 2016 at 8:21PM

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David West
Writer/Director/Cinematographer/Editor
836

This seemed like a pretty cool idea for a 48 hour film challenge style thing with some mates, but the restriction on using your own sound/music has put me off totally.

Sound and music plays such an important part in shaping something atmospheric like this and having to use library effects is just going to make it sound totally amateur.

February 22, 2016 at 6:20AM

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Jake Gorton
Producer
227

I guess the prices are on the low, so the money will not be the reason to join in ;-)

BTW, UK and Germany as the only EU countries?
Why?

February 22, 2016 at 6:35AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
7345

Well 250 usd ... that's kinda very... very low
and... am I getting this right? The competition is open for just USA, UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico?

February 22, 2016 at 6:49AM

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why in the world is this restricted to certain countries?! stupid AF

February 22, 2016 at 7:57AM

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Indeed T.T

February 23, 2016 at 5:27AM

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Probably they want to save more money...

February 24, 2016 at 5:36AM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1317

Wish I had time for this! It's a bit bizarre though that the judging criteria considers "overall entertainment" as the least important contributing factor. Ha!

February 22, 2016 at 10:16AM

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So am I right in saying that footsteps and atmos (which are not in the sound pack) are something that you cannot add in? We are pretty restricted on sound then!

February 22, 2016 at 11:54AM, Edited February 22, 11:54AM

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I really don't know, that's what I'm trying to figure out. I don't want to add in footsteps and ambient noises, only to end up getting disqualified for using things outside the sound pack. And it really makes it tough for people animating, like me, because we have no sound to begin with unlike people doing live action.

February 29, 2016 at 4:45PM

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So tempted.

Also, ugh, I'm ashamed of all of you. Who cares about the $250 if you get an excuse to make something fun? Why would you make a Star Wars fan film if not for the love of Star Wars? ;P

February 22, 2016 at 2:54PM, Edited February 22, 2:54PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
975

I think that is why it is $250. If you love to do this, you don't care about the money :-)

February 22, 2016 at 7:03PM, Edited February 22, 7:03PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
7345

I'm not a huge Star Wars fan so I doubt I'd enter this no matter what the prize was, but I enter lots of video contests, and I would never EVER enter one with a prize that low. I always try to weigh the effort/payoff when determining whether or not I should enter something. For the kind of effort required to make a Star Wars fan film, I would expect the prize to be more like $5,000 to $10,000.

I don't know, I get that this is for Star Wars fans and not people trying to make serious money off of filmmaking competitions, but I've seen relatively small, obscure brands pony up tens of thousands of dollars for competitions. So it seems a bit insulting that the most powerful media company in the world is only giving out a lousy $250 for a labor-intensive contest promoting the biggest movie franchise of all time. Not letting people use the Star Wars theme is just insulting.

February 22, 2016 at 10:44PM

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David West
Writer/Director/Cinematographer/Editor
836

Your perfecly honest reply is probably their motivation for the prices.
They apparently only want real fans instead of pros who are in it for the money :-p
Btw, there is nothing wrong with your motivation to either enter or not: I totally understand it.

February 24, 2016 at 9:04AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
7345

can i use the original sound pack for a youtube video,but not for this content...Of course with the copyright text included???

February 22, 2016 at 3:01PM, Edited February 22, 3:00PM

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martin
11

February 23, 2016 at 3:47AM, Edited February 23, 3:47AM

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Mike
1

Not available for me because I live in Spain. Why, oh, why... T.T

February 23, 2016 at 5:25AM

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What a parody. I personally feel offended as a filmmaker. I will download next Star Wars. I won't spend a single penny on such greedy bastards. They got 3 billion $ & they give us 1750$ price pool. Pretty sure it's worth to be greedy to ruin their corporate image for few bucks...They're really retarded & greedy.

February 24, 2016 at 5:34AM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1317

Its fun competition aimed at fans and budding film makers, not professionals already making a living making films. I'm not doing it for the money, I'm doing it for the fun, to have a reason to make a Star Wars film and If it turns out any good, well the rewards could be more than you imagine!

February 25, 2016 at 4:53AM, Edited February 25, 5:08AM

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john
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