- Third Coast Festival
- Navy Pier
- 848 East Grand
- Chicago, Illinois
What do you mean by “the idea of appetite”? Does my story have to be about food?
You are free (and encouraged) to think of "appetite" broadly. This year's theme, inspired by the James Beard Foundation, is admittedly rooted in food culture. But we're open to any/every exploration of "appetite" and hope you'll pursue the theme from countless perspectives. Consider everything from issues of hunger and obesity, to reflections on consumer culture, to stories about extreme passions and proclivities. And all points inbetween.
Please elaborate on the "three courses" rule.
This rule is meant to guide the structure of your submission, and simply asks you to present your story in three discernible parts, courses, chapters, sections, acts, segments, pieces. And so on.
How are the submissions judged?
The submissions will be judged by Third Coast staff, with input from the James Beard Foundation and possibly the ShortDocs Chefs. First and foremost, we'll be looking for submissions that tell a good story. We’re also looking for interesting interpretations of the rules, and thoughtful and intentional use of sound (remember, this is AUDIO). Technical quality and originality will also be considered.
What's with this Peoples' ShortDoc Award?
We've been wanting to let the public choose a ShortDoc winner for years! And this year it's going to happen. We'll select eight finalists from the pool of submissions, and post these online in early July, then open it up for public voting. We'll inform the PSA winner in August (along with other winners) and publicly reveal the People's ShortDoc along with the other winners on October 19th, at the Third Coast Filmless Festival. The People’s ShortDoc Award will be presented in addition to the four winners chosen by TCF and JBF.
Are you only looking for documentary stories?
While the Third Coast is largely a documentary audio festival, the ShortDocs Challenge welcomes all stories, from documentary, to mockumentary, to radio drama, to asbtract sound art. And everything in between... as long as they follow the rules.
Remind me what I get if I win?
This year's winners get the ultimate reward of inspiring a unique food concoction from one of Chicago's top chefs. They'll also received free "special" passes to the Third Coast Filmless Festival, happening October 19-20 in Chicago. We'll feature all winners on Re:sound, and present them publicly in Chicago and far beyond.
Please note: Winners' travel and accommodation to/for the TCFF are not covered this year.
Can I submit a story that I co-produced with another person?
Co-productions are absolutely welcome.
I can't make it to the Third Coast Filmless Festival in October. Can I still participate?
Yes, but we’ll do everything we can to convince you to come, and participate in the presentation of the winners and the ShortDocs Chefs' special winner-inspired concoctions.
Who owns my story once I submit it?
Producers retain all rights to their work, but TCF retains permission to feature ShortDocs submissions on the radio, in our podcast, in public, and for promotional and programming purposes - including on Public Radio Remix. Any income generated through PRX will be paid to TCF (approx. $3 per licensed ShortDoc). Producers will always be credited and notified whenever TCF presents their work.
On the flip side, Third Coast respectfully requests that producers reference the "2013 Third Coast ShortDocs Challenge" with all additional distribution/publicizing of submissions.
I've never produced a radio story, but I'm game to try. What's my first step? What equipment should I buy?
Bravo! There are a ton of resources online to help you get going with recording, interviewing, thinking about your story. Besides listening to everything you can get your ears on, and thinking carefully about what you hear, we recommend checking out Transom.org (especially the Tools section), StoryCorps' guide to interviewing, and/or Radio Diaries' Teen Reporter Handbook (even if you're post-teen) for invaluable tips from the experts. You might also listen to some Third Coast Conference sessions from years past, especially Bring Extra Batteries from Rob Rosenthal, which is full of basic production tips.
I'm full of ideas! How many pieces can I submit?
Our limit is three submissions per producer. Pick your very best ideas to develop into stories. (See, you're already developing your editing skills.)
What's the deal with music rights in ShortDoc submissions?
While Third Coast is covered for most music rights, and so by extension you are, this is a very gray legal area, and since we're not experts we highly recommend you avoid this issue entirely by seeking out copyright-free music from online resources like WFMU's amazing Free Music Archive. Or invite a friend to score your ShortDoc!
I've already produced a story that just happens to fit your rules, or can be easily adapted to fit. Can I submit that?
We won't say no, but since the whole point of this Challenge is to inspire new stories and approaches to storytelling, we'd rather you submit new work.
Do you accept international submissions?
Absolutely! In fact, last year we heard from producers in 21 different countries. We're aiming for 25 this year, FYI.
Can I submit a piece that's not in English?
Yes! Other languages are welcome, but an English transcript (provided along with your one-sentence summary on the Google Form) would be helpful. Broadcasting non-English pieces is tricky, but if yours wins we'll figure out a way to at least play part of it on the air.
Still have questions? Send us an email or holler (nicely): 312-948-4682
Remember! Your 2-3 minute story must:
- be inspired by "appetite"
- be presented in 3 "courses"
- include one of the five tastes in the title: bitter, salty, sour, sweet or umami (what's umami?)
Looking for inspiration? Check out some past ShortDocs Challenges.
Still have questions? Ask away.
Thanks to our partner
And to Supporters
for offering free Pro accounts to all participants!