Detroit Horror Film Filmmaking Rules

These rules are for the Detroit 48 Hour Film Horror Project. To view the rules for the 48 Hour Film Project, please click here.

These are the Filmmaking Rules for the Detroit 48 Hour Film Horror Project. To view the complete Official Rules for the Detroit Horror Film Project, please click here.

Rules that have been added or updated in 2014 are highlighted.

The following rules apply to each participating group/production team:

A. Times

  • The Detroit 48 Hour Film Horror Project (Horror Film Project) will occur in cities around the world on different weekends throughout the year.
  • The 48 Hour Film Horror Project will occur between a Friday 7pm local time and the following Sunday 7pm local time. This is the "Official Time Period". (Days of competition may vary in some countries.)
  • The participating group/team must complete its work on the film in time to deliver it to a location to be announced, on Sunday by 7:30pm.
  • Only works that meet the deadline will be officially part of the competition. All films received on Sunday (on-time and late) will be screened.

B. Creative Process

All creativity in the development and creation of the film must take place during the "Official Time Period". Any creativity work in advance of the competition weekend is prohibited. Creative work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Writing the script
  • Rehearsing
  • Costume/Set Design
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Sound Design
  • Rendering
  • Outputting to Media

C. Preparation

The only work to begin prior to the "Official Time Period" is:

  • Organizing Crew
  • Organizing Cast
  • Securing Equipment
  • Scouting/Securing Locations

See Also: FootageMusic Rights

D. Footage

All footage must be shot within the "Official Time Period" of the project.

  • No stock footage or footage shot or created at another time may be used.
  • Animation and special effects are permitted, but must be created during the "Official Time Period". (Note: Stock footage as part of a special effect in a third party special effects program is permissible.)
  • Still photographs are permitted, provided that the team has the rights to them. The photos do not need to be created during the "Official Time Period"; however, stills created outside of the official "Official Time Period" may not be used in sequence to create the illusion of motion.

E. Kickoff Event

Each participating film team must have a representative at the official Kickoff Event of the Horror Film Project.

  • At the event, each Team Leader must submit a complete Horror Film Project Leader's Agreement, signed by its leader. (This form can be found on the 48 Hour Film Horror Project website.) A team may not participate without submitting this agreement.
  • Each group will choose the genre of its film in a random drawing.
  • Teams will be given the option of relinquishing the genre selected in the drawing for a Wild Card genre. If opting for the Wild Card, teams may not go back to their original genre.

F. Required Elements

Each participating group will be assigned required elements that must appear in its film, such as a genre, a character, prop and line of dialogue.

  • The required Character and Prop must be seen on-screen.
  • The required Line of Dialogue must be used verbatim. It may be spoken, sung and/or written. It may be in any language, though if it is unclear that it is the required Line, there must be a translation.
  • To qualify as an "Official 48 Hour Film", each group's film must be in the genre it selects and must contain all required elements within the official time limit and prior to the credits.

G. Volunteers

All cast and crew must be volunteers.

H. Cameras

Any type of video or film camera may be used. There is no limit to the number of cameras.

I. Music Rights

Participating groups are encouraged to work with a local composer and/or musicians to write and record music for the films. It is permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music; however the participating group must have the rights to any music used in its film and must provide releases for all music used. As with music, pre-recorded sound effects are allowed, but you must have rights to use them.

J. Song Parodies

Song parodies (i.e., use of identifiable pre-existing compositions with new or altered lyrics or music) may not be included in the video without a signed release from the composition's rights holder.

This rule applies without regard to whether the song parody arguably constitutes "fair use" under US or international copyright law.

K. Total Running Time

The finished film must be a minimum of 4 minutes in duration, and a maximum of 7 minutes in duration—not including end credits. In other words, the official running time begins after the required 48HFP slates and ends prior to the end credits. The required slates and the end credits do not count towards the minimum time of 4 minutes. The film story may not be longer than 7 minutes.

See Also: Credits

L. Film Structure

Before the finished film begins, the media should have...

  • 5 seconds of black
  • A title card with: team name, title, genre, city, and date
  • A title card with: "This film was made for the 48 Hour Film Horror Project 2014. www.48hourfilm.com/horror"
  • 2 seconds of black

Your film follows this. This is where the 7 minute time limit begins.

See Also: Credits

M. Credits

Opening Credits
After the 2 seconds of black, some films start with opening credits. These are not encouraged, but if you use them, opening credits are considered to be part of the film, and therefore count against the 7 minute maximum. Additionally, if your film has opening credits other than simply the film's title (for example, the names of directors, actors, etc.), you must include one of the following:

  • the text "[your team name] presents" immediately followed by "a 48 Hour Film Horror Project"
  • the text "a 48 Hour Film Horror Project" immediately following the title of your film

    Note: "a 48 Hour Film Horror Project" should not be in quotes and may be entirely lowercase (i.e., "a 48 hour film horror project").

End Credits
Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 60 seconds. The 60 seconds is considered additional to the length of the film, as stated in Rule K. (That is, a film may be 7 minutes long, with an additional 60 seconds of credits, for a total running time of 8 minutes.)

The end credits must include the words:
"This film was made for the 48 Hour Film Horror Project. www.48hourfilm.com/horror"

Slates & Credits After Horror
After the competition, films screening online should retain the pre-film title card that says: "This film was made for the 48 Hour Film Horror Project 2014. www.48hourfilm.com/horror". Information on where you can post and screen your film after the official screenings can be found here: What should I do with my film?

See Also: Film Structure

N. Required Media Formats

For the United States, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, South Korea, and Taiwan, the finished film must be in NTSC. For all other countries, it must be in PAL.

Unless otherwise instructed on your City webpage of the 48 Hour Film Project website, your film must be submitted on one of the following media:

  • (preferred) a self-contained SD Quicktime file with no proprietary codecs on either:
    - a data DVD, or
    - a USB flash drive
  • playable DVD

Please check your city page for complete submission requirements the week of your filmmaking. If your film does not conform to the submission requirements in your city, it may be disqualified. Also, if your film cannot be viewed on 48HFP equipment, it may be disqualified.

O. Submission Notes

  • We recommend that each team submit two copies of the final video.
  • We recommend that you make sound levels relatively even throughout your video. (If your video has uneven sound or sound that peaks, it may be modified to protect the playback equipment.)
  • Projection specs vary from theater to theater and are beyond the control of the 48HFP. If your video is very dark, it may be difficult to see in the theater.
  • All films received on the evening of the deadline (on-time and late) will be screened, presuming they are eligible.

    See Also: Eligibility

P. Production Documents

Each team must secure releases for talent, crew, music and locations (and any other applicable releases) for the film team, which must be turned in to the project organizers with the finished film. (The release forms can be found on the 48 Hour Film Horror Project website.) The film will not be screened before the 48 Hour Film Horror Project Organizers receive the signed releases.

Q. Certification Statement

The Team Leader must submit a Certification Statement with his/her completed Entry, certifying adherence to all Official Rules.

R. Eligibility

To be eligible for the Project, Entries must be the original work of the Entrant; must not infringe third-party's rights; must be suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent); must not contain obscene or pornographic material; may not contain defamatory statements about any person, company, organization or entity; may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, company or entity; may not in any other way violate applicable laws and regulations; and may not contain any copyrighted elements (other than as owned by the Entrant and/or 48HFP).

Entries containing prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by the 48HFP, in its sole discretion, to be inappropriate will be disqualified. 48HFP reserves the right to make the final determination as to which Entries are eligible. 48HFP also reserves the right to refuse to screen a video or to make an announcement at the screening regarding the content of the video.

S. No Distribution Before Screening

The Entrant should not distribute their video in any way before the premiere screenings. This includes uploading the video to any website or screening the film for groups of anyone other than the team. The Entrant is encouraged to make a trailer of their film and distribute that instead. This trailer should be no longer than 48 seconds.

T. Official 48 Hour Horror Film

To be certified as an "Official 48 Hour Horror Film", each participating group's film production must follow all rules herein. The 48 Hour Film Horror Project Organizers reserve the right to screen only certified "Official 48 Hour Horror Films."

U. No Returns

No Entries (media or documents) will be returned.

V. Disqualification

48HFP and Project Parties may, in their sole discretion, disqualify Entries deemed to be inappropriate or otherwise non-compliant.

W. Best 48 Hour Horror Film

All certified "Official 48 Hour Horror Films" are eligible to compete for the title of "Best 48 Hour Horror Film" in its city.

X. Ammendments

The 48 Hour Film Horror Project Organizers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the "Official Time Period".

Every second counts...
...when you have 48 hours to make a film!