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72 Hour Short Film Challenge February 2017

New York, NY

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72 Hour Short Film Challenge is a new and exciting bi-coastal program open to both Union and Non-Union team members!  

Note to all SAG-AFTRA performers: This is considered "local hire" for wherever the team is based in -New York, Los Angeles or elsewhere.  No team producers are responsible for your airfare/accommodation if you choose to fly in from out of town to participate in Monthly Short Film Challenge. You are free to contact SAG-AFTRA for clarification.

After creating or joining a team of actors and crew, each team has 72 Hours to produce, shoot, edit, and actually complete a short film up to 15 minutes in length based on one specific theme.

The theme will be released exclusively to the Team Leaders (lead producer, writer, and director) exactly one week prior to the start of the Challenge and then released to everyone at the beginning of the 72 hour mark.  Production begins at the 72 hour mark and the finished film must be submitted at the end of the 72 hour period.

You may assemble your own team with friends or colleagues that you want to work with.  Don't worry, if you don't have a team, we'll find a place for you! Many people are returning from past Challenges.

Each team will be led by one Team Leader who will serve as lead producer for each team. We highly recommend leading a team at one point as you will learn a tremendous amount about all the other aspects of filmmaking. If you've never produced before and don't know anyone, we'll help you with all crew resources.

Team leaders should be available throughout the full 72 hours. Actors are typically only needed for the first 1-2 days.  Writers should be available one week prior to the start of the Challenge, so that they can start work on the script once the theme is released.

The completed films will then be shown at a private screening for participating teams and their guests.  All participants, crews and guests are invited to attend. Teams may then re-edit/re-shoot if they decide it's necessary and actors may also use the footage for reels, submit it to film festivals, or post it on the web.  

We also host "The Best of" every quarter to present your films in front of prominent industry professionals. "Best Of" films are chosen based on the combination of audience votes at the monthly screening and the votes from an independent committee comprised of those who have never participated in a Short Film Challenge in the past.

All new participants will be required to fill out a quick questionnaire that will be emailed upon registration.

Cancellation Policy
There are no cash refunds, but a credit for use towards a later Challenge will be issued for only the following reasons:
Paid Union Acting Work during the time of the Challenge (contract copy required & not applicable to background work.)
Illness (doctor's note required)
Team Leader/Producer cancels the project
The coordinator is unable to find a team for the actor

Credit request must be made by email


1. How do you match actors in each team?

This is why you fill out the questionnaire after you register so that we can match with the right team.  Drama/comedy, what you wish to do aside from acting for each film, etc.  That way, once you get together as a team, everything will go smoothly. Also after you register, you'll be invited into secret Facebook group exclusively for participants for the each month's challenge. You should post your pictures/resume/website link/reels to introduce yourself to the community so that Team Leaders/Producers can see your work so that they can make casting decisions based on it.  As the Monthly Challenge becomes bigger, the recent trend has been that many people come in with their own teams or each Team Leaders/Producers choose to cast their teams from the exclusive Facebook page, rather than us picking actors for them.  Which is understandable because Team Leaders/Producers are the ones who are putting up their own efforts to make their projects happen based on their vision.  This is not about being "popular", it's more about each Team Leader/Producer's vision.   $20 is simply to get you an access to this community each month.  If you want to ensure the participation in projects each month, we highly recommend creating your own team and it can be as small as you want (even just yourself, making a solo piece) or as large as you want.  We highly encourage you to attend monthly screening or Best Of screening even when your film is not shown.  Those screenings have become important networking functions and making yourself known to people who produce frequently (you will know who they are fairly easily) is the best way to increase your chance in landing yourself in high quality projects down the line.  Like anything in this business, networking is very important.  

Don't be discouraged if you don't get a team right away.  In many cases, actors often do get cast very much at the last minute and that happens frequently.  We will also help to ensure that you will get a "home".

2. I don't have any equipment, can I still join?

Of course!  You need to remember that filmmaking is a team effort.  Each team, like we explained to you, will be lead by one (or two in some cases) Team Leader who will serve as the producer of your project.  And the producer is responsible to make sure that the teams are fully equipped with what's needed to shoot.  And the producers are provided with list of crews such as AD, DP, PA, Location Sound, makeup artists, etc.  who are interested in working on 72 Hour Short Film Challenge in general.  Normally DPs would have access to camera and lighting equipment needed.  And the type of equipment needed depends on the type of story your team ends up choosing which you obviously wouldn't know now.  So unless you're looking to produce, don't worry about it.

3.OK, I'm actually looking to produce, but I've never done this before...

A majority of team leaders at the Challenge are first time producers.  In addition to above mentioned crew list, all team leaders will be a part of a secret Facebook page exclusively for present and past team leaders.  That's where you find everything you need to know/prepare when you produce so all you have to do is to read EVERYTHING that's been posted.  And ask questions there if you need to.  Nick or other past team leaders would be glad to answer any of these.

4. Well, doesn't it cost money to produce and how do I come up with that money and how much does it cost anyway?

Yes, it does cost money to produce.  The range of cost to produce are anywhere between $500- mid $1000s.  This includes food, transportation, sound equipment rental cost (something you really cannot get away with - anywhere from $200-$300) and location cost if needed.  In some cases, crew members might ask for transportation reimbursement, etc but that's subject to negotiation.  

There are several ways past team leaders handled the cost.   Some team leaders paid for everything himself/herself.  Others enlisted a couple of people, from within or outside of the team, bringing in as Associate Producer/Co-producer and have them help with the financials.  I have also seen some leaders charging actors in the cast anywhere from $50-$200/person, however, if you completely object to it, you can let us know on the questionnaire so that we won't match you with the leaders with such expectation.  Donations are strictly voluntary basis.  

The way each team leader handles finance varies greatly so we do not get involved in that part of decision.

4. So what is $15 for, isn't that to help with the production cost?

No, it's not.  $15 is to pay for all administrative costs.  Once you start, you will quickly realize how much work is involved even on our end to ensure that this shootout will be handled efficiently and professionally so that every actors is satisfied coming out of this.  We are there every step of the way - starting with ensuring that you will be matched with the right team, making sure that your team is handling everything professionally by being in constant communication with your leaders and to ensure the monthly private screening is handled smoothly without a hitch.  There is a huge amount of work involved in this.

Come to think of it, it would cost minimum of $500 (most likely more) to create your original, professional looking "reel scene" to put on your reel.  This way, you would get the same thing with far less cost.  Only $20 if your team leader doesn't charge you anything.  Even if he/she chose to charge you something, it would be nowhere close to what would cost to make your "reel scene".  Considering all that, we believe that $15/person is more than fair.  

5.Do crew members get charged $15 also?

No, they don't.  $15 is strictly for actors.  Most crew members are already providing camera equipment etc for free on top of their skillset for your leaders to be able to run the shoot professionally so charging them money on top of that would not be fair.

6.I'm a professional filmmaker, can I also produce/lead a team?

It is our position to keep the lead producer/team leader within the acting community since the whole point of this project is to give actors opportunities to create their own work.  That being said, we occasionally do need to add more leaders because simply there is not enough of them.  As you become known in this community, it is certainly possible for us to ask you to lead a team at one point and it has happened already.

7.Do industry professionals attend those monthly screenings?

Monthly private screening's main purpose is to celebrate what we accomplished so far within 72 hours so the production level of each film can vary greatly, some of them come out great, as in film festival quality, and others might not come out that well.  For that reason, the private screenings are strictly for actors, crews involved and their guests, not particularly for industry professionals since some team leaders might not feel simply ready to show their films to the whole outside world at that point.  We believe in keeping the monthly private screening in a safe environment.  

However, every couple of months, we do host Best Of Challenge screening (submission is by volunteer basis and chosen by a separate committee) from the past shootout films and for that, we do invite prominent industry professionals. (Separate fees apply - $30-$50/person.  Which is also significantly lower than the regular casting workshops)  By that time, such films entered for Best Of screening are expected to have done some post production work to get them closer to film festival quality.

8.Can I see any of those films from the Challenge online?

No, I'm sorry. The reason is explained at the above question.  If you personally know the filmmaker, you would have to ask him/her.  After the challenge, each film's lead producer/team leader will retain all the rights to the film, including exhibition.  We don't claim any rights to those films.  We are simply providing the space, nothing more.

  Nationwide, wherever location you choose
(maling address) 302A West 12th Street, #174
New York, NY 10014
United States

Start: Friday Feb 17, 2017 1:00 PM
End: Monday Feb 20, 2017 1:00 PM


Who: Seventy Hour Short Film Challenge
Phone: 212-875-7699


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