Official Contest Rules

  • Participants must be enrolled in a U.S. high school. This includes public, private, and charter schools as well as homeschooling. For the purposes of this contest, high school is defined as grades 9-12. U.S. citizenship is not required.

  • Participants may seek advice from teachers or other adults. Adults may also be interviewed in the video or serve as “extras.” However, adults may not write the script, provide editing services, or assume any other production roles. Participants may not seek out professional production assistance.

  • Participants may submit videos as individuals or as groups. Group submissions can name up to 5 contributors; however, one participant must be designated as the “primary contact.”

  • Participants are limited to one submission per category, whether submitted as an individual or group project.

  • If a winning video is a group submission, the award money will be sent to the primary contact, who may choose to distribute it among the group.

Videos must fit one of the following categories:

  1. A 60-second “Public Service Announcement” (PSA). Total running times of PSA must not exceed 60 seconds, including credits.

  2. 2) A 5-7 minute documentary. Total running times of documentaries must be at least 5 minutes and no greater than 7 minutes, including credits.

Videos that do not meet the abovementioned time constraints are subject to disqualification.

At a minimum, video submissions must:

  1. Address the risks from hazardous chemical facilities.

  2. Provide at least one solution for addressing the problem.

Students can choose to talk about the issue generally or highlight specific facilities in their community or surrounding communities. Videos can take a variety of forms including animation.

Awards will be granted to both categories (PSA and documentary), for the following amounts:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $250

All winning videos will be featured on the Center for Effective Government website and will also be uploaded to YouTube. Additionally, student videos may be shared with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and used in the Center’s efforts to promote chemical safety.  

Participants retain the underlying intellectual property of their submissions. However, by submitting a video to the contest, you are giving the Center for Effective Government full access to share, reproduce, and/or exhibit the videos without restriction, and without notification or compensation. Uses include but are not limited to: sharing with partner organizations, including in future projects and reports, sharing with federal, state, and local governments, promoting future contests, media outreach, and including in funding proposals.

Participants must sign and return the Media Wavier Form giving the Center for Effective Government the right to use the producers’ names, photographs, and quotes from interviews without restriction, including but not limited to: display on the Center for Effective Government website; inclusion in reports, blogs, and other materials; inclusion in funding proposals and other outreach; and media outreach.

Submissions must cite all outside sources used in the video. These must be included as end credits to the video, as well as a “works cited” list submitted along with the video.

All participants must sign and return the Parental Permission Form, which must also be signed by a parent or guardian. Group submissions require one form for each participants. Participants who are at least 18 years of age must also sign this form, although they do not require a parent’s signature. This form confirms participants’ full responsibility for any costs, injuries, or legal burdens obtained during contest participation, and waives participants’ and their parents’ rights to hold the Center for Effective Government responsible for any costs, injuries, or legal burdens.

Additionally, participants must also submit consent forms for any non-producers who are interviewed in the video or serve as an actor/extra. If any of these non-producers are under the age of 18, their consent form must also be signed by a parent or guardian. If filming occurs in a public area (i.e., public park, shopping center), you do not need a consent form for each individual who is indirectly captured in the background. 

Plagiarism is strictly prohibited and will result in immediate disqualification.

There is no fee to participate.

Videos must not include the following: 1) Racist, sexist, or other offensive remarks, 2) Nudity or sexual content, 3) Promotion of drug use, underage drinking, or other illegal behavior, 4) Violation of privacy laws of individuals or companies, 5) Any other offensive or inappropriate content as determined by the Center for Effective Government. Violation of these parameters will result in immediate disqualification.

Entries must be submitted online between October 27, 2015 and 11:59pm EST on March 18, 2016.

Videos may not use any copyrighted music or images, unless the producer owns the copyright or obtains a license. The Center for Effective Government obtains the right to ask for written proof of ownership or license. Violation of this policy is grounds for disqualification.

Participation is voluntary and participants are responsible for ensuring that the production of their video does not violate any state, local, or national laws. This includes trespassing on private property and harassment. The Center for Effective Government will not be held responsible for any illegal activity that students undertake during video production. 

To submit a video, you must first upload it to either Dropbox or Google Drive. (Note that both platforms require users to be at least 13 years of age; if the lead producer is not at least 13, s/he must have a parent submit the video from the parent’s account.) Copy and paste the link into our online submission form. Fill out all required fields and then upload the Works Cited list. Once you have submitted you video, you will receive a confirmation email. If you don’t receive a confirmation email in three business days, please contact

Videos must be one of the following formats: AVI, FLV, SMV, MOV, or MP4.

Participants are responsible for retaining at least one copy of the video in the event of a damaged or lost file. The Center for Effective Government is not responsible for any videos that are lost or damaged.

Ready to go?

Download the Actor Release Form.

Download the Parental Permission Form.

Then, proceed to the Entry Form.

back to Blog