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Digital Cinema Contest

February 7 - March 8




National standards for Digital Cinema Production will be followed for the state contest as closely as possible. Those standards include: clothing requirement and eligibility, team of two entrants, two teams per registered SkillsUSA Maine school. No content-specific test will be administered.


Contest Committee Chair:

James Harmon, Sanford Regional Technical Center

Email: jharmon2@sanford.org

Cell: 207.205.6066


Chief Judge:

Shawn Sullivan

Sixth-year judge of the Sanford International Film Festival, writer, film critic


Scope of the Contest and Criteria

The contest will be divided into multiple components:

1. An original video with a duration between three and five minutes (3:00 to 5:00), which will be created and completed entirely between 8 a.m. on Thursday, February 7 when the cinema prompt (video theme) will be released, and Thursday, February 14 when the final project must be uploaded to YouTube and the link shared with the contest chair by 5 p.m. All required supporting documents (plans) must be shared with the contest chair via email by 5 p.m., Feb. 14 (jharmon2@sanford.org).

Entrants should plan their submission schedule. In line with national contest standards, late entries will not be eligible for competition; try to plan for potential snow days.

Entrants should double check any shared documents to make sure they are the right file, and that they work. Last year we received a Premiere Pro custom layout preset file along with a team’s planning documents; judges want to reward hard work and planning, but If they receive the wrong document, they can’t award credit for it.

Note: There are a number of industry-accepted ways to plan a short film, including scripts, storyboards, shot lists, and more. Students can use any method that best illustrates the direction of the film. Judges will look for evidence of planning, not a specific style.

2. A one-page resume (per contestant) submitted to the Contest Committee Chair on March 8, at the beginning of the competition at United Technologies Center. At that time, SkillsUSA attire will also be judged.

Digital Cinema is a short cinema (fictional) film competition. The submission is to be a creative cinematic video as defined by SkillsUSA. It is not to be a form of PSA, news story or promotional or advertising piece, or a piece based on another work.

Any media included in, and plans made for, the project (video, sound, music, pictures, effects etc.) must be the original work of the submitter, created after the contest prompt is released, in the public domain, or properly obtained, used, and credited under a “creative commons” license (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons). Furthermore, links to every piece of non-original media (public domain or creative commons picture, video, sound, music, effects, etc.) used in a project must be submitted to the contest chair via email (jharmon2@sanford.org).

There is no restriction on equipment used in the production of this film.

Important Note

In line with national standards, the entry should be original work, produced entirely by the students entering the competition. Projects found to be non-original works, adaptations of other works, or works produced by anyone other than the registered competitors are subject to disqualification from award consideration. Students may meet with their instructor once during the preproduction phase to share plans and seek final feedback. After this single, optional meeting, instructors should not be involved in their students’ production or entry as advisors, coaches, or actors. Instructors may act as an intermediary to email student planning documents, public domain/creative commons media links, and final youtube links to the contest chair.

A simple five second slate with team number (provided from the Contest Committee Chair) must be placed at the beginning of the video. No contestant names or school names should appear on the slate. This five seconds does not count as part of video time requirement. Missing this slate will be a deduction.

However, any trailing credits or other titles are included in the 5-minute maximum length. In the event of snow days: The contest will continue along the same schedule regardless of snow days. Over 5 minutes, or under three minutes will be a deduction.

Contestants should review the Digital Cinema Production Scorecard. It will provide key aspects that should be addressed in the team’s project. Although creativity and composition is the goal, be cognizant that this is a school related project. Please be aware of socially acceptable image and language norms for the general viewing public.

Video must be exported as a rendered, complete video file to YouTube for submission. Submit the highest resolution video you are able to upload. Be certain to share the link and any required supporting documents with the Contest Chair at jharmon2@sanford.org by 5 p.m. Feb. 14.

Outside Media

• If used, outside media must be properly licensed for use. Media can be obtained from a number of Public Domain, Creative Commons or share-alike sites, or obtained from any number of royalty free sites. Students must provide proof of license in an email to committee chair. We encourage students to create their own media, only use outside media sparingly, and only as a last resort.

• NOTE: Music, video, sounds, and graphics downloaded from iTunes, YouTube, Vimeo, Google Image Search, (without proof of permission for use) or other media generated from private, non-sharing use should not be used and its use will incur a penalty.

• Media obtained either under a Creative Commons, Public Domain, or other share-alike license must be credited in the video. Any media not created originally by the competitors should be both credited within the work (credits will be included in the 5-minute maximum duration), and declared in an email to the contest chair by 5:00pm. on February 16th.

If a student, or a team for any reason cannot attend the SkillsUSA State Conference, their advisor may submit their resume to avoid the resume penalty, and they may submit a “statement from the creator video” in the form of a YouTube link, due March 7th, 5PM to avoid the SkillsUSA Clothing Penalty. The video should be two minutes or less, and feature a wide shot of any team leaders who won’t be at the conference (we should be able to tell they are dressed according to SkillsUSA specifications:

  • White dress shirt/ collarless or small-collared blouse or white turtleneck
  • Plain solid black tie
  • Black dress slacks/ Black dress skirt (knee-length)
  • Black dress shoes

And the team leaders who aren’t attending should answering questions about their video to the camera. A list of sample questions will be provided on February 15th.

Competition Schedule/Location:

Feb. 7: Contestant Team and School Names to Contest Chair

Feb. 7: Official prompt released by 8am via State SkillsUSA website “Contest Updates” if the site is functioning and by email to participating educators.

Feb. 14: Video uploaded to YouTube and link shared with Contest Chair along with any required supporting documents via email to jharmon2@sanford.org by 5:00pm.

March 7: SkillsUSA Registration

**March 8: United Technologies Center: Resume, SkillsUSA clothing judged, 8:30am. Critique, public viewing of entries

**8:45am was the 2018 time. That time might change, depending on the master schedule of SkillsUSA contests. Any changes will be communicated to teams and advisors as soon as possible.


February 7
March 8
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