Frequently Asked Questions

As each challenge gets bigger and better, we update our procedures to reflect any changes. Please take a moment to review the FAQ page even if you have participated before.

Applying for the challenge

What is your vetting process?


Along with recommendations from our panels of screenwriting, directing and cinematography judges and our casting director, we personally review every single application. We look at applicants' websites, reels, and answers to application questions as we make our decisions. We are looking for talent and experience as we fill the key positions on a crew. As much as we’d love to give everyone an opportunity to learn a new job, we need to make sure that everyone on the crew can carry their weight and manage under tight deadlines. When you are placed on a team, you can rest assured that your fellow crewmates are talented and experienced!




Can I request certain people are placed on my team?


One aspect of our challenge that participants enjoy the most is meeting a team of complete strangers. This is the quickest way to expand your professional connection and really get a chance to prove yourself to working professionals in every field of production. So no, you cannot choose your crewmates, but trust the process and see where it takes you!




I’m in film school. Can I still apply?


Yes, you should definitely apply, however priority is given to professionals with a record of excellence. When someone invests their time into this challenge, we want to make sure they’re surrounded by people who can hire and refer them for more jobs. But we also want to give students a chance to build their network for when they graduate. You are far more likely be placed on a crew if you apply for roles such as a PA, assistant editor (if you have experience in that field) or boom operator if you are still a student.




I don’t identify as a woman. Can I still apply?


We welcome anyone who wants to tell women’s stories.




Is this a SAG-AFTRA production?


No, not at this time. We would love to work with SAG-AFTRA actors in the future, but currently, team leaders are allowed to ask every member of their team for $30 toward food and transportation, which would conflict with union guidelines.




What are the chances of getting accepted?


It depends on what role(s) you’re applying for! We always have a high number of applicants for director, writer, actor and producer positions, so there’s a greater chance that you’ll be placed on the waitlist if you apply for these roles, even if you’re super talented. If you’re placed on the waitlist, please apply again next time. We tend to get fewer applications for roles such as production sound, post sound, gaffers, assistant editors, DITs, post-production supervisors and assistant cameras. If you have experience in these positions, there’s a higher chance that we will be able to place you on a team. On the application, you will be able to choose up to four roles that you’d like to be placed in, from your first-choice role to your fourth-choice role. If you would be happy to be placed in multiple different roles and have experience in these positions, there is a greater chance we will be able to accept you.




Should I apply for roles I don’t want just to up my chances of being placed on a team?


No. If you’d only be happy participating as an actor, for example, don’t fill out second- and third-choice roles on your application. If someone applies for multiple different roles, that means that they would be happy to be placed in those roles AND that they are qualified for those positions. However, if your main goal is to network and you'd be happy to help out on set, we recommend you apply for any role you can fulfill.




What happens if I apply and then I get a job the conflicts with the challenge?


We know it can be difficult to commit to an unpaid opportunity when your livelihood depends on you being available. While we’ve seen our past participants get career-changing jobs based on referrals from fellow participants, it can be hard to balance that uncertainty against a known paycheck. We love when our participants are working; the whole point of this challenge is to get underrepresented filmmakers more jobs. If you need to drop out because you got another job, let us know right away. If you’ve already been placed on a crew, make sure your team leader knows as well. We would really appreciate if you helped to find a replacement for yourself, but it’s not required.




I messed up my application. What should I do?


Please resubmit an application. Where it asks for why you want to do this challenge, add that you are resubmitting due to a clerical error. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to follow up with applicants if a link doesn't work or a field is left empty, so please make sure to fill out the application as thoroughly as possible.




What are some of the reasons I might be placed on the waitlist?


Common reasons for being placed on the waitlist include:

  • Not being available for the ENTIRE challenge weekend.
  • Insufficient materials for us to judge (i.e. lack of website or reel, broken links), especially if you applied to be a director, actor, writer or cinematographer.
  • You got assigned to your first choice role for a past challenge, and there was too much demand for your first choice this time around.
  • You applied as an actor but your website indicated you were SAG (this is a non-union production).
  • Only selecting one role you were interested in filling. (We very much appreciate that you did not select any roles you were not interested in! However, if you only selected “director” and we had already filled the director slots, this meant that we were unable to get you on any of the teams in another capacity.)
  • Simply not enough slots available for everyone who participated. There were director reels we LOVED that we wanted to say yes to, but didn't have enough slots. There were actors that our casting director said great things about who we just didn't have space for. And there were many writers who got high scores from our screenwriting judges who we weren't able to place. It's a blessing and a curse to have SO MANY talented applicants!




I was placed on the waitlist. Is there a chance that I might still be placed on a team?


People's schedule's change and there's a high likelihood that we will be filling some last-minute openings from the waitlist. If you were placed on the waitlist, keep an eye out for emails from Women’s Weekend Film Challenge. Waitlisted actors might even be offered a role during the challenge weekend itself. We release the contact information of waitlisted actors to the team leaders so that if any speaking roles or background opportunities arise in the writing process, they may contact you to fill these roles. Waitlisted actors are under no obligation to keep this weekend free, but there is a very real possibility that you may be offered a small role on one of the productions.




Am I on the waitlist for every role I applied for?


Yes. If you were notified that you've been placed on the waitlist, we'll let you know if a spot opens up for you for any position that you applied for.




I participated before but was placed on the waitlist this time around. Does that mean that you didn't like my work?


Not at all! We have so many talented applicants that sometimes we prioritize those who haven't had a chance to participate yet. We've waitlisted many past participants whose work we adored. Definitely apply again next time!





General

When will you be coming to my city?


The best way to stay updated on developments is to sign up for our mailing list.




I want to book you for a speaking engagement. How do I do that?


Contact us to inquire about speaking engagements.




How is the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge different from other film challenges?


With most challenges, one person pays a fee to sign up and then gathers his or her own crew, equipment, location, funds, production insurance, etc. The participant submits a completed film based on a given prompt for a chance to win a prize. For the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge, you apply (for free!) as an individual. If accepted, we place you on a complete crew with equipment, production insurance, a cast, training, film festival submission waivers, a small production stipend, a free screening and after-party, and more, all provided by the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge. Our goal is to introduce our participants to a professional network that will hire and refer them for future gigs.




How does the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge work?


You can view the detailed breakdown of the weekend here.




How much does it cost to apply and participate in the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge?


It’s absolutely FREE to apply and FREE to participate in the challenge! Teams may request for up to $30 from each team member to cover miscellaneous expenses like food or transportation if necessary. You are not required to pay this if it is a financial burden. The post-challenge film screening is also free to participants. Plus-ones can purchase a ticket to the screening.




What does the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge provide?


  • Your crew: We vet all of the applicants and place accepted individuals onto complete crews of 25-30 filmmakers, covering all roles of production (from actors to composers to cinematographers to post sound mixers)
  • Equipment: We've secured several generous sponsors for all of our crews so that each crew has top-of-the-line gear to work with.
  • Software: Writers and directors will receive a license of FinalDraft and editors will have access to EndCrawl.
  • Production insurance: Our production insurance covers all Women’s Weekend Film Challenge productions.
  • Stipend: A small stipend for each team to cover costs like food and transportation.
  • Screening & after-party: A screening of all of the completed films at a major venue with industry insiders in the audience.
  • Film festival stipend: each crew has a few hundred dollars to apply to festivals.
  • Training & Workshops: Although all of our participants are professional filmmakers, a weekend-long challenge is a new process for many and so we provide the following training: An orientation meeting for team leaders, as well as a 40-page guide for leading a team through the challenge; a workshop for directors, screenwriters and team leaders to meet and collaborate; a pre-production meeting for all teams; opportunities for participants to learn how to use the provided gear in advance of the challenge weekend; a written IMDb tutorial to help all teams get their films on IMDb; a film festival submission tutorial event where we train participants on how to use FilmFreeway, how to find the right festivals for each short and how to write a great cover letter




I already have a great script or an idea for a short film. Can I bring that idea to my team so that we can produce it during the challenge?


DO NOT bring your pre-existing script ideas into this challenge! The scripts are supposed to be written on the Thursday night of the challenge and based on the genre and the required object that we assign to each team. Since this is a collaborative process with limited resources, the script can, and most likely will, be altered. Plus, you may have to drop out for some kind of emergency and we don’t want the teams to have to start all over if you’re not comfortable with them running with your idea (one of the reasons why any material created during the challenge belongs to the challenge). Save your pre-existing script ideas for a project where you have more control over the finished product. This challenge is more for people who want to have fun pushing themselves and meeting incredible collaborators.




So if you guys don’t charge an application fee or a participation fee, how is the Women's Weekend Film Challenge funded?


Our funding comes from grants, donations, sponsorships and speaking engagements. If you would like to make a personal donation (tax deductible) click here. Contact us if you’d like to bring us to your school, college, company or other organization for a speaking engagement and/or workshop, or if you know someone who would like to sponsor the challenge.




Is this paid?


No. This is not a paid gig; it’s a free networking opportunity. Think of it as time invested in your career.




Who owns the rights to the films?


Women’s Weekend Film Challenge retains the rights to all films made during the challenge. This allows us to provide insurance and equipment to the teams; it prevents any legal conflicts between team members; and it helps keep the emphasis of the challenge on networking and collaboration.




I don’t think I’m comfortable with the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge retaining the rights to the films. Should I still participate?


We want every single participant to be comfortable with the official rules of the challenge. If you’re not comfortable with any aspect, including the issue of rights, we encourage you to seek other opportunities that you’re more comfortable with.




Is the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge a competition?


No; it’s a challenge rather than a competition. That’s because we want to lift everybody up. Our team leaders have been known to create a group chat and ask each other for advice during pre-production. At the post-challenge film screening, we encourage participants to watch the other teams’ films with an eye toward who they might want to hire or collaborate with in the future. A rising tide lifts all boats!




If I donate to the Women's Weekend Film Challenge, what will my money go toward?


Your donation will go toward the following expenses:

  • Providing production insurance
  • Providing stipends to the teams to cover costs such as food and transportation during production
  • Venue rentals for our screenings and networking events
  • General operational and programming costs
  • Bringing the film challenge to other cities to offer this opportunity to more filmmakers





After the challenge

What can I do with the finished films?


Every participant may add excerpts of the film to their reels. Team leaders are in charge of submitting the films to festivals (we give them stipends so the financial burden isn’t on them).




What happens if the film wins a cash prize or a distribution deal?


The vast majority of short films make no money at all. However, there are one-in-a-million cases in which cash prizes or distribution deals are offered for short films. Because any potential prize or deal would be unique, we would assess these on a case-by-case basis, in communication with the team that created the film and our lawyer.




Are there any prizes for participating?


This is a challenge rather than a competition, so there are no prizes for “best film,” “best director,” etc. We provide free festival submission waivers for all films that complete the challenge. Plus, at our screening, we provide all participants with various discount codes from partner and sponsor organizations, and certain prizes are raffled off.




What should I hope to get out of doing the challenge?


Here are some of the tangible things you’ll get out of this experience:

  • An IMDb credit
  • A highly professional film to use for your reel
  • Behind-the-scenes photos of you in action
  • A screening of your work in an amazing venue
And here are some the benefits that our past participants have loved:
  • Gaining an instant professional network that has hired or referred them for paying jobs.
  • Gaining confidence in their ability to perform under high pressure.
  • Continuing education.
  • A chance to participate in parts of production they're not normally involved in. For instance, our editors have mentioned how much they loved being involved with the pre-production meeting. Our writers who took on additional roles such as behind-the-scenes photographer loved being on set. We try to make this as collaborative and egalitarian as possible.




Is there a screening of the completed films?


Yes! Shortly after each challenge, we host a screening of all completed films, along with a networking after-party. Teams can begin submitting the films to festivals after the film festival submission workshop in order to bring the film to an even larger audience.




How much does it cost to attend the post-challenge screening?


It's free for participants to attend the post-challenge screening. After the challenge weekend is over, we send out an email with a feedback form. Just fill out the survey to get your code for a free screening ticket! After giving participants a chance to reserve their tickets, we allow plus-ones to purchase tickets.




Will there be an after-party?


Yes! We host an after-party directly after the screening so that our participants can network with each other over a drink, celebrate and take pictures in front of our step-and-repeat.




What if I can't attend the screening but want to see the films?


Unfortunately we can't make the films available online or they would no longer be eligible for film festivals. Ask your team leader for the private Vimeo link to see your team's completed film. To see the other films, keep a look out on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for announcements about upcoming film festivals and screenings.





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