For Youth

This page has 3 sections: 1) Support and Crisis Resources, 2) Educational Information and Resources about suicide prevention and mental health, and 3) Technical resources for creating your film.

Support and Crisis Resources 

Kids Help Phone: Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national support service. They offer professional counselling, information, referrals, and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French

  • Text 686868
  • Call 1-800-668-6868

Trans Lifeline: Trans Lifeline is a trans-led organization that connects trans people to the community, support, and resources they need to survive and thrive. Need to talk? Call! Their peer support hotline is run by and for trans people. They’re available 7am-1am PST / 9am-3am CST / 10am-4am EST. Call 1-877-330-6366 for support.

Teen Line: Teen Line is a confidential hotline for teenagers which operates every evening from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm PST. If you have a problem or just want to talk with another teen who understands, then this is the right place for you! The Teen Line volunteers who answer the calls and emails are Southern California teenagers who have received specialized training. They won’t judge you or give advice – their job is to listen to your feelings and help you to clarify your concerns, define the options available to you, and help you make positive decisions. No problem is too small, too large, or too shocking for the Teen Line volunteers. They will take calls and emails from Canadian teens!

Educational Information and Resources

Educational Videos: The educational videos are films produced by some of the Directing Change Team that discuss various mental health and suicide prevention topics.

Steps and Resources for Creating your Film!

The following is a list of resources covering various components of film production. Many of these resources have been adapted from other media festival websites.

Online Film School Boot Camp

Created by Military Veteran and Filmmaker Trent Duncan, the Online Film School Boot Camp is a complete educational resource for aspiring filmmakers looking to begin a career in the Film and Video industry. It is a great tool to help you as you develop your film — and it is now free! For more information about Online Film School Boot Camp and to check out their videos, visit their webpage at:

Kids’ Guide to Making Movies

This webpage is a great resource for those who have never created a film before. It comes with tutorials about storyboarding, tips for editing films, and even talks about stop motion animation!

Review the submission category and guidelines for content. To get inspired you can also check out some examples of existing films. Some of these examples have been produced by professional advertising agencies, and some are winners from other student film contests. Be aware that although the following films may be well made, the content and criteria may not be applicable to the Directing Change Program and Film Contest.

Professional Examples:

Bring Change to Mind High School 

Star Wars Anti‐Smoking

Some examples from Canada:

Check out the winners from last year’s contest in California.

Once you have your idea you will need to write a script and storyboard for your film. The script gives you a roadmap to your production and all the content that you will cover. In addition to a script, the storyboard allows you to visually plan your film on paper.

Storyboard Resources

Plan out your Film with a Successful Storyboard by Don Goble

Before filming your film, be sure you have all of the appropriate forms and releases signed. For more information and useful links, visit the Forms and Copyright section.

  • Release Form: Every person on the submitting team (cast and crew) has to sign a release form. For students under the age of 18, the form needs to be signed by their parent or a legal guardian.
  • Copyrights: When creating a film youth should be aware of intellectual property and copyright rules especially if they plan on using elements that someone else has created. See Songs and Sounds Effects Resources below for links to free music and sounds.

Before you start filming you will want to plan each of the shots. If possible, you may want to use two cameras to provide different angles for the same scene when editing. Take time to look at the area you in which you will be filming, paying attention to the background. Also, it is very important to make sure you keep your video files in a safe place so they don’t get lost. The following sections offer links to the various aspects of video production.


Shots and Framing

  • This link contains information about the basics of “shot types” and offers insight to consider when filming.

Rules of Thirds

  • This article explains “the rule of thirds”, an important principle in photography.

Lighting Tutorials – Media College

  • This site offers various information sheets about lighting in film production.


How To Use Microphones

  • This tutorial offers information about the use of microphones.

Songs and Sound Effects Resources

Unfortunately, you can’t just go to iTunes and download your favorite song. The following resources offer free music and sound effects that you can use in your film! Although some sites offer “free” music, note that you may still have to request licensing for permission to use it in your film. You can also create all the music and sounds yourself, or obtain written permission from the copyright holder for copyrighted songs and materials you would like to use in your film. For more information about how to obtain permission, visit the “Copyright Requirements” section on this page. 


  • Free tracks, searchable by mood and instrument. You will need to credit the artist – the specific credit needed is shown when you download the track. The artist has a handy page that creates the exact credit to use based on which track you decide to incorporate in your film.

  • This link will lead you to a page of music, organized by keywords (emotion, genre, lead instrument, etc.). Any of the songs listed as “FREE” can be used for your film, provided that you include a credit at the end of your film. Info on the credits process can be accessed here.


  • Similar to the above links; you can download and use these songs for free as long as you credit the artist.

  • Similar to the above links; you can download and use these songs for free as long as you include this credit at the end of your film: “Music by”


  • A community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.


  • Offers free ‘film music’, and is intended for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.

Free Sound

  • A collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, and recordings released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse.

BenSound (this is a popular one!)

  • A database of downloadable, copyright-free music and sounds that can be used in your film. You will still need to credit Ben Sound. For instructions on how to give credit in your film check out the site’s FAQ.


  • This is a non-profit organization that has classical and other (mostly instrumental) pieces available for free download and use. You have to sign up as a member (do the “Lite” membership for free downloads), and then navigate to the “Recordings” link for a given piece in order to download the song. Just like many of the other resources shown here, you will need to include a credit at the end of your film if you use a track from this website.


Editing is important to the filmmaking process. You may spend more time editing than filming. These links will help guide you in editing your film. There are various programs for editing that you may have on your computer at home, or ones that may be available through your school, or local library. Tutorials specific to the program you use should also be available online. Remember, entries are limited to 60 seconds in length.

Video Editing Tutorials-Media College

  • This site offers tutorials on various aspects of editing.

Top 10 Rules for Video Editing

  • This article offers tips to consider when editing your film.

Media Composer First

  • Recommended by advisor Sara Hills from Claremont High School in Los Angeles, this website offers a free version of video editing software that can be run on a Mac or PC.


Entries must be either 60-seconds in length. Vimeo is our video services partner and all technical specifications need to be in line with their requirements. You will be asked to upload your film as part of the entry form. Please note: By uploading your film to Vimeo you will automatically agree to their terms and conditions. Vimeo recommends that when preparing your video for upload, it’s best to maintain the video’s native frame rate when compressing your video. If your footage exceeds 60 FPS, they will automatically reduce the frame rate. Vimeo recommends a constant frame rate throughout your entire video. Always choose a “constant” frame rate instead of a “variable” frame rate. A codec is the format in which your video is encoded. Vimeo accepts most major codecs, but for best results, they recommend H.264 or Apple ProRes 422.

Academy of Motion Pictures-Teachers Guide

Cyber College

Screenwriting U

Other Film Festivals

Entries can be submitted to other film festivals after the April 1, 2021 submission deadline. 

Thank you!

Much of the information found on this page was adapted from the Student Educational Video Awards video and many of the resources and links were adapted from the other film festival websites listed here.