Resources & Tips


Need access to free camera equipment, editing software, and want to connect with other media makers in your area? Vermont Access Network (VAN) has information about how you can locate and connect with your local station.
 Learn more about Public Access and locate a station near to you!



Check out Ira Glass’ videos about storytelling! Another resource for young filmmakers is Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie, which shows many cinematic ways to tell stories about Vermont. Send us a request and we will send you access to the film either online or as a loan (DVD). 



Watch Vermont filmmakers lead workshops for previous years contests in brainstorming, film planning, production, and post-productionNeed some help with getting good video images? Download this tutorial created by Michael Sacca, one of our filmmakers and workshop leaders.



Conducting research for historical topics! Need old photographs or old movie footage for your movie? Photographs from past eras, old home movies and other footage, original diaries, and newspaper headlines can add authenticity to your film. Try your local historical society! Make an appointment at the Vermont Historical Society! Open Tuesday through Friday, 9-4 pm; Wednesdays 9-8 pm; and the second Saturday of each month, 9-4 pm. At most college libraries there are “special collections” sections where they keep old newspapers, photographs, and original manuscripts. Send us an email if you have special requests. Because of our work making The Vermont Movie we can put you in touch with reference librarians who have access to particular collections of images & old movies! Also, here’s another great resource on the Smithsonian website!


Music! Each year, VT PBS selects Freedom & Unity contest films to air on their channel. In order to be considered for public broadcast, your film must not include copyrighted music. Want some Vermont music for your Vermont movie? Do you have friends who play music? Sometimes all you need to bring your film alive are a few guitar strums, or a couple of bells. Plus judges will add extra points to entries containing original music composed specifically for your film. If original music is unavailable, here’s a cool link to an amazing assortment of Vermont music: Big Heavy World keeps track of Vermont music and musicians. Of course you will need their permission to use their music. Here is a link to a source of Royalty Free MusicAs an additional resource, contestants are welcome to use the Free Sound Effects Library!


Compression guidelines to upload your video! A 15 minute video can be a very large file. You will need to compress it to upload it to Vimeo or Youtube. Here are some useful web pages:  Vimeo Support,  YouTube Support,  Larry Jordan Compressor 4 Support,  WikiHow SupportIf you need help, please contact us.



Coming soon! Links with downloadable PDF versions of the Poster and Postcard to use in your classrooms, or school hallways, etc!




These are some of the criteria that judges will consider when they watch your film. You will be given points from 1-5 (5 is the highest). Entries containing original music composed specifically for your film will receive extra points. Make sure your use of music is deliberate. Wall to wall music can be distracting. Make sure the music doesn’t overwhlem the dialogue.

  • Storyline Do you have an interesting and original storyline or concept? Does your story have a beginning, middle, and end?
  • Visual Storytelling Is your film interesting visually? Does it use visuals to support your story?
  • Vermont Connection What is your film’s connection to Vermont? What does it tell us about Vermont and its people, including you?
  • Camera Work Are shots in focus? Is the lighting appropriate to each scene? Is the camera work interesting?
  • Audio Is the sound clear and even from beginning to end (We don’t want to have to turn the level up or down as we watch!)
  • Music Make sure your use of music is deliberate. Wall to wall music can be distracting. Make sure the music doesn’t overwhelm the dialogue.
  • Credits Have you credited everyone who contributed to the film?