Lovecraft Under the Gun

Lovecraft Under the Gun: A 72 Hour Film Project

Make a Lovecraftian Short Film in 72 hours!

Creating Lovecraftian Cinema can be challenging, but it often results in the most interesting and creative films. Our goal is to encourage student and local filmmakers to participate in a tradition that has been hosted in Portland for the past 20 years: the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon! Every year, we receive excellent submissions from filmmakers all over the world, including some right here in Portland. What we’d like to do this year is showcase our local talent. This is your chance to make a movie instead of just talking about making one!

How does it work?

Get a crew together and write, film, edit, and score a short Lovecraftian film in 72 hours! Qualified entries to the Lovecraft Under the Gun contest will be shown together in a shorts block at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon on Sunday afternoon. The audience and a select group of judges (to be picked from our esteemed guests) will decide on the winner. Winners are announced at the evening showings. Prize includes a waived entry fee for one film submission for the next Portland H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon™, and awesome award statuette, and your film will be considered for the Best of the HPLFF 2015 DVD! The 72 hour deadline puts the focus on the filmmaking. You’ll have to write, film, edit, and score a short film in just 3 days!

Registration Information:

There is a $20 entry fee for each team. Only entries that are in by the deadline will be shown at the screening and be eligible for the prize. This year's competition dates are TBD. Registration Location: TBD. Teams will need to register in person during the registration period. To be eligible for screening, your film must be turned in by deadline. You can pre-register here and let us know you're coming!

Rules and Regulations

If your film is in violation of any of the following rules and regulations, your film will be disqualified.

  • Your film must be Lovecraftian in theme, subject matter, or storyline. We prefer it if your film is an adaptation of a Lovecraft story, but it is not a requirement. However, the film does have to fall into the cosmic horror/weird tale genre.
  • To keep everyone honest, and ensure that all filming is done within the contest time frame, there will be a prop and a line of dialogue that you must use in your film. When you register, you will find out what these are.
  • All films are required to use the prop - it must be plainly visible and you must note the time stamps for when the prop and line of dialogue appear. Any entries that fail to use the prop or line of dialogue will be disqualified.
  • All teams and team members must complete all the required forms, releases, and agreements. Any films that do not have the necessary completed paperwork will be disqualified. See list of forms below.
  • Films must be at least 2 minutes, but less than 8 minutes. Closing credits don’t count towards the total running time, but the narrative has to be finished before the closing credits start.
  • All films must include Prize Sponsor’s company name and/or logo in the closing credits (if there is one).
  • No SAG performers. We do not have an agreement with the Screen Actor’s Guild to allow you to use SAG performers.
  • Make sure you have the rights to any music or materials you use in your movie (a signed music release form is required), or use materials that are in the public domain.
  • Get a signed location release form if you’re shooting on private property. If you’re shooting on public property, make sure you obtain any permits you need to film there.
  • You can not adapt any existing film. All filming, editing, sound recording must be done in the 72 hour contest timeframe.
  • No films may be posted on YouTube, Vimeo, or other publicly viewable media sharing site until AFTER the official screening at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.
  • All films should be submitted as a playable data file such as quicktime, either on a thumb drive or on a disc. (see the complete rules and guidelines for a more complete list of acceptable data formats.)

Each team will receive 2 complimentary tickets for Sunday’s showing. Additional tickets may be purchased at the box office. Remember, the audience has a hand in deciding the winner, so it’s in your best interest to pack the house with your own fans! Films will be scored in three categories:

  • Artistic Merit: story, creativity, originality, entertainment value
  • Technical Merit: cinematography, sound, editing
  • How well did you stick to the Assignment

Tips for keeping your filming manageable

"You can make a movie without money. What you must have is an idea worth filming." Don't overreach; keep your script simple and to the point. Remember that you won't have time for a lot of special effects in post-production. Good picture and good sound will go a long way towards making your film enjoyable to watch. Keep it relatively simple and keep the atmosphere moody. We encourage you to create original scripts that fit in the Weird Tale genre or the Lovecraft genre. You may adapt a Lovecraft story, but keep in mind some Lovecraft stories are easier to adapt to Film than others. Stories like Hypnos, Polaris, The Hound, Memory, In the Vault, are all stories focused on ideas rather than monsters, and will be a lot easier to film. Set your story in modern day. Unless you have access to lots and lots of period props, sticking to present day will allow you to focus more on the filming. Keep shooting locations to a minimum. Remember it takes time to drive across town, set up and shoot. Time you probably don't have. Don't make anything in your script dependent on the weather. You have a very limited amount of time! The last thing you want to do is stand around and wait for the sun to come out (or go away). A shooting location where you can easily control the lighting will make your shooting less of a hassle. i.e. indoors Cast size will have an impact, again, keep it simple! Crew size will have an impact. Recruit all your friends and family to help out! Making a film can be a big job, so the more people you have helping, the more you may be able to get done. Your film should have a beginning middle and end. It’s a short film, but the usual narrative framework still applies! Creativecommons.org is a great resource if you need to use licensed materials. You may use Creative Commons music or materials that are Attribution Only. If the Creative Commons license is either Non-Commercial or Sharealike, it is not compatible with the LUTG’s Team Leader's Agreement and therefore cannot be used.

Important documents:

It is each Team's responsibility to make sure all required forms are filled out and turned in with the final film.

(Pro Tip: Team Leaders in past years have found it helpful to delegate this task to one of their crew members.)

Team Leader’s Agreement The Team Leader must sign this form to indicate agreement with LUTG’s rules and requirements, and bring to registration. *REQUIRED

Team Roster List of people on your team, what they did, and their email address. *REQUIRED

Certification Statement Team Leader must sign this to certify that all creative work on the film took place during the 72 hour competition timeframe. *REQUIRED

Waiver and Release Form This is a combined Talent Release and Liability Waiver. All cast and crew must sign a separate form. This protects you, the team leader, as well as LUTG. *EACH TEAM MEMBER NEEDS TO FILL OUT AND SIGN ONE.

Music Release Form This form is used for any music that you put in your soundtrack.

Materials Release Form This form is used for photographic or other materials that appear in your film.

Location Release Form This form is used for location release. Any private property you film on, you’ll need to have the property owner sign one of these.

Complete Rules and Guidelines This is a copy of the complete rules and guidelines.