Rules and FAQ

Submission Rules


Genre: Any

Length: 500 words or less

Language: Written in or translated to English (if translated, word-count will apply to the original)

Content: Poems with content deemed inappropriate, racist or otherwise offensive will be disqualified.

Format: PDF or Word attached to submission

Short Film 

Genre: Any (e.g. animation, documentary, narrative, fiction, experimental)

Length: 120 seconds (2 minutes) or less. Those running over will be disqualified.

Language: English (or with English subtitles)

Content: Films with content deemed inappropriate, racist or otherwise offensive will be disqualified.

Include: Title and credits for any information, images, audio or video clips that are not your own.

Also: Written screenplay/audio narrative must be included with any film submission (Word or PDF format).

Format: Upload film in mov, f4v or other common format to Vimeo or YouTube. Make sure the privacy settings are set to public and that the video is embeddable on other web pages. Check that it uploaded correctly and can play in entirety. Then provide the public URL on the submission form.


Is there a fee?

No. The contest is free to enter.

Can we submit as a group (e.g. for a video)?

Entries can be submitted by individuals or groups. Groups must name each member involved, as well as one contact person. Prizes must be split among group members.

Can I submit more than one entry?

Students may submit only one entry per category (one poem or one film), but may submit to both film and poetry categories in their grade division.

What else do I need to submit?

All students MUST name an adult sponsor (e.g. a teacher) to confirm entries are their own work.

All participants under 18 must also upload a signed parent or legal guardian consent form (available on the submission page).

How do I know you got my submission?

You will receive a confirmation email within a week of submitting. If no email is received, please contact All submissions will receive a Round Table pizza coupon via their school (or parent, if homeschooled).

All finalists and winners will be notified by email before they are publically announced.

Who are the judges?

Our judges include past Tacoma poet laureates and film industry professionals. All judging decisions are final.

What are the judges looking for?

Imagination, depth of ideas, originality, good use of voice, effective communication of ideas, a cohesive and coherent theme, engaging writing, accuracy of ocean issues, adherence to competition theme, and highlighting Tacoma in some way

Plus in Poetry: Variety of literary techniques and word use, precision of words, good use of form and overall quality

And in Film: Variety of shots and angles, clean editing, use of audio to tell story, overall quality

Other important information?

  • All entries must be the applicant’s original work and may not infringe copyright, intellectual property, legal or moral rights of others. If existing material is used for inspiration and is in the public domain, please cite the source in notes or a credit slide. Suspected or determined plagiarism will result in disqualification.
  • Rights, licenses, consents and permissions must be obtained from third parties for any copyrighted material included in the submission (e.g. quotes, audio, footage, stills).
  • Tacoma Ocean Fest reserves the right to use students’ entries for promotional purposes for itself and affiliated groups, including but not limited to websites, blogs, social media, news media, public readings/screenings and other presentations.
  • Tacoma Ocean Fest will not return submissions. Please keep a copy of your work.
  • Tacoma Ocean Fest promises to run this contest fairly and ethically.