|Chicago Metro History Fair Documentary Rules|
Documentaries are visual and oral productions of students' historical research, analysis, and interpretation which have a narrative structure and are created and presented on videos, DVDs, or CD-ROMs. Websites are not accepted in the Documentary category.
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RULE 1: Individuals or groups of no more than five students may produce a documentary.
RULE 2: Documentaries are 10 minutes long. Time begins when first image or sound appears and concludes after credits.
RULE 3: Documentaries must be research, created, narrated, and produced by the students registered.
RULE 4: Documentaries conclude with a list of credits for major audio and visuals sources only. The simple credits do not replace an annotated bibliography. The bibliography and Summary Statement Form must be printed for the judges and do not appear on the documentary.
RULE 5: Documentaries should be self-running and students must operate all equipment. No live narration is allowed. Powerpoint projects are not documentaries.
RULE 6: Topics must be connected to the Chicago region-even when the national theme is being used. Junior HF participants may explore topics in Illinois history.
RULE 7: Plagiarism constitutes grounds for disqualification and report to the school.
PENALTY POINTS (High School only)
IMPORTANT COMPETITION NOTES:
Spend time watching and analyzing the types of documentaries available on PBS, History Channel, and public release. Pay attention to the elements, narrative, and structure of these documentaries to see how the professionals successfully communicate their ideas through this medium.
A documentary uses visual evidence such as photographs maps, film clips, interviews and other graphic images. Text should be used minimally--subtitles, quotes, and other highlights are appropriate. Narration is not. While technical and creative quality is important, it does not outweigh the need for solid historical knowledge and analysis.
The Fair Use Doctrine will allow use of materials in student productions shown at History Fair events (thus educational use), therefore, students need not seek formal permissions. However, if the documentary is shown in non-educational settings, then permissions should be sought.
Powerpoint presentations are not considered documentaries.
There are no penalties for being under 10 minutes in length, however, judges usually consider the abbreviated time as an indication that the knowledge and analysis needed further development.
See more Guidelines in Final Product.
For more insights, see the National History Day website.