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Contest Rule Book

Section III D. Documentaries

A documentary should reflect your ability to use audiovisual equipment to communicate your topic's significance, much as professional documentaries do. The documentary category will help you develop skills in using photographs, film, video, audio tapes, computers, and graphic presentations. Your presentation should include primary materials but must also be an original production. To produce a documentary you must have access to equipment and be able to operate it.

Part II, Rules for all Categories applies to documentaries.

Rule 1: Time Requirements
Documentaries may not exceed 10 minutes in length. You will be allowed an additional 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to remove equipment. Timing will begin when the first visual image of the presentation appears and/or the first sound is heard. Color bars and other visual leads in a video will be counted in the time limit. Timing will end when the last visual image or sound of the presentation concludes (this includes credits).

NOTE: Use your set-up time to focus slides, adjust volume, etc.

Rule 2: Introduction
You must announce only the title of your presentation and names of participants. Live narration or comments prior to or during the presentation are prohibited.

Rule 3: Student Involvement
You are responsible for running all equipment and carrying out any special lighting effects.

Rule 4: Student Production
All entries must be student-produced. You must operate all equipment. You must provide the narration, voice-overs and dramatization. Only those students listed as entrants may participate in the production or appear on camera.

Rule 5: Entry Production
Your entry must be an original production. You may use professional photographs, film, slides, recorded music, etc. within your presentation. However, you must integrate such items into your presentation and give proper credit within the presentation as well as in your annotated bibliography. Slides may be professionally developed. You must operate all editing equipment used in the production of your presentation.

NOTE: Using objects created by others specifically for use in your entry violates this rule, but using photographs, video footage, etc., which already exist is acceptable.

Rule 6: Credits
At the conclusion of the documentary, you should provide a general list of acknowledgments and credits for any featured music, images, film/media clips, interviews, or other sources. These credits should be a brief list and not full bibliographic citations. All sources (music, images, film/media clips, interviews, books, Websites) used in the making of the documentary should be properly cited in the annotated bibliography.

Rule 7: Displays
Added exhibits of visual or written material are not allowed.

Rule 8: Computer Entries
A student-composed computer program is an acceptable entry. You must be able to run the program within the 10-minute time limit. Interactive computer programs and web pages in which the audience or judges are asked to participate are not acceptable; judges are not permitted to participate in your presentation by operating any equipment. Students must provide and be able to run their own computers and software. Internet access will not be available.

Category Checklist

Individual and Group (2-5 students)

  • 10-minute maximum for presentation
  • Maximum 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to take down
  • 3 copies (plus one for you) of written materials: title page with required information; 500 word description of the research methods used (a judging team may retain one copy for review)
  • Annotated bibliography, separated into primary and secondary sources
  • Documentary addresses the theme
  • Live student involvement limited to giving name and title and operating equipment
  • Names and addresses of all group participants listed on entry card
  • Entry card and fee mailed by deadline
  • Extra supplies and materials in case of emergency
  • Prepare to answer judges' questions at the contest (remember that formal narratives are not appropriate responses to questions.)

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