Frequently Asked Questions


What is Festivids?

Festivids is an annual anonymous vid exchange for rare and obscure fandoms, inspired by yuletide. Using a Secret Santa style format, participants sign up to make a vid for a rarely-vidded fandom to fulfill someone else's request, and in return receive a vid for one of their own requested fandoms.


Who runs Festivids?

The exchange is currently moderated by odessie and cosmic-llin. The website was built by lithium-doll/halcyon-shift and is now run by Garfield (Vidders Admin). You can contact us at festivids [at] gmail [dot] com


When is Festivids?

Festivids runs on an annual basis, generally around September through to January/February each year. The exact dates will depend on modly schedules and are usually announced in August. You can see the dates for the current exchange on the home page of this website (http://www.festivids.net) or at the community profile (http://festivids.dreamwidth.org/profile).


How do I participate?

You need to create an account on the Festivids website if you would like to take part in the exchange; see more details about using the website at the end of this FAQ.

To participate, you sign up during the sign up period, making 6-8 requests (fandoms you would like to receive a vid in) and at least 4 offers (fandoms you are willing to vid for someone else) from a list of nominated fandoms. You can also nominate eligible fandoms to be on this list during the nominations period (before sign ups), but this is not compulsory.

After sign ups close, you will receive an assignment, where you will be matched with another participant on at least one fandom that they requested and you offered.

If you sign up, you are committing to make one vid of at least 60 seconds, by the submission deadline, in one of the fandoms your assigned recipient requested.

The vids are posted anonymously for everyone to view at go live. Reveals then take place two weeks later, where the names of the vidders who made each vid are revealed.

You can find more details on how each of these stages works in the rest of this FAQ.


How do I keep up to date?

This exchange is still run mainly on Dreamwidth and Livejournal, with the giftvids being posted to those two sites. All 'official' announcements and mod posts are posted to the Dreamwidth and Livejournal communities and are also mirrored on Tumblr and Twitter. Please monitor at least one of those sites during the fest to keep up to date with each stage of the exchange and any information or changes you need to know about.

There is also an Imzy community; at the moment, this isn't being used for official posts and announcements, but can be used for posting about Festivids. (This may change depending on how the fannish/vidding/Festivids communities use Imzy in future.)

Additionally, a lot of Festividders chat on IRC in #vidding at irc.slashnet.org, particularly around golive and reveals; and a lot of vidders use the hashtag #festivids when talking about Festivids on Twitter.

Links:

Dreamwidth: http://festivids.dreamwidth.org/

Livejournal: http://festivids.livejournal.com/

Tumblr: http://festivids.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/festivids

Imzy: https://www.imzy.com/festivids

How to access IRC chat: http://festivids.livejournal.com/94300.html


How and when should I contact the mods?

You can contact the mods by emailing festivids at gmail dot com.

Please note, this is the only reliable way of contacting the mods; if you need to get in touch with us, please email us directly as the gmail account is always monitored. Comments on dreamwidth/livejournal posts, tweets or private messages may not be seen and will not get a guaranteed response.

You should email the mods urgently for any of the following:

*Bugs or issues with the website not working as it should

*Having received your assignment, you need to default or you don't think you can finish it by deadline

*You haven't received your assignment email (after the official announcement that they've all been sent out)

*Your assignment email doesn't contain any of the fandoms you offered

*Your assignment has been put out for pinch hit even though you didn't default or you've already submitted your vid

*Go live has taken place but the giftvid made for you is missing or can't be accessed

*A giftvid you submitted isn't on the masterlist or doesn't appear at all

You should also contact the mods if you:

*have any questions you can't find the answer to in this FAQ

*change your name on the OpenID site (tumblr, twitter etc.) you normally use on the Festivids website and can't log in – create a new account with the new ID and email the mods with the details, and we'll merge the accounts for you

*want to participate in this year's Festivids but have defaulted in the past

*didn't receive or have lost your assignment email

*didn't receive a confirmation email when you nominated fandoms, signed up or submitted a giftvid, and it doesn't show up on your dashboard either

*are having difficulties with your assignment and would like more information from the recipient (for instance, if they haven't provided any details in the request field and you're not comfortable making a vid without them; if the source contains potentially triggering or extreme content, they haven't specified if they're okay with you including it in the vid, and you want to check that it's okay; or if the request details don't seem to match the fandom you've offered and you're worried there's been a mix-up). We can't guarantee they will respond, but we're happy to contact the recipient on your behalf in those circumstances. As Festivids is an anonymous exchange, please don't contact your recipient directly.


How do nominations work?

Each vidder can nominate up to 10 fandoms to be included in this year's exchange during the nomination period in September.

You can nominate fandoms at this link: http://www.festivids.net/festivids/nominate during the nomination period. To nominate fandoms, you need to be logged into the site.

First, search through the drop-down list to see if your fandom has been nominated in past years or by someone else this year. Remember to search for alternative titles if the fandom has them, and note that titles beginning with a 'The' are sometimes listed under T – so to use a non-rare, non-eligible example, the 2012 Avengers movie could be listed under T as 'The Avengers', under A as its UK title of 'Avengers Assemble', or under M as 'Marvel's The Avengers'.

If your fandom doesn't appear in the list, feel free to nominate it as a new fandom. Please make sure to be precise and accurate as you can about the title of the source when nominating fandoms, and to include the year, country of origin or other identifying information if there's a chance that more than one source uses the same name.

Please also indicate on the form whether your fandom is a "safety" fandom, i.e., 180 minutes or shorter of source. (Still image, audio-only or video game sources cannot be designated safety fandoms, regardless of length.)

Fandoms nominated should be eligible for Festivids (see next question below). When nominating, please note on the nomination form why you believe the fandom is rare and therefore eligible – for example, you searched YouTube and found only a few vids.

You'll also see at the site a list of fandoms that have been disqualified in past years. You can still nominate them this year, but you will need to demonstrate why you believe they are now eligible this year or else they will be disqualified again. You can do this during the fandom review process after nominations close.

The site allows you to edit your nominations, so it's fine if you want to go back and change something (or add more fandoms if you haven't used up your full 10) before the nomination period ends. If you make a typo or minor error when nominating a fandom, please don't delete the nomination and start again - this creates duplicates on the database. Instead, let us know about the error during the fandom review period.

You don't have to nominate fandoms to participate in Festivids, but it's a good idea if there's particular fandoms you want to request. Please note that the fandom list starts afresh every year; if you don't nominate the fandom(s) you want to see, they won't be on the list unless someone else nominates them.

Please only nominate if you are seriously considering signing up to Festivids. You do not have to commit to participating in order to nominate fandoms – the mods don't monitor this and we understand people can change their minds about taking part. However, Festivids isn't intended to be a general prompt community but a gift exchange, so the list of nominated fandoms should be ones the active participants are interested in. The more fandoms on the list that no one actually requests, the harder both the matching process and the fandom review process become.


What kind of sources can I nominate?

Almost anything! In the past, Festividders have nominated sources as diverse as commercials, public information films, music videos, paintings, political movements and political scandals, as well as live action TV from all around the world, cartoons, anime, reality shows, news shows, film shorts, movies of all shapes and sizes, straight-to-DVD releases, video games, comic books, webcomics, theatre, live performances, web series, Youtube videos and all kinds of RPF.

Broadly speaking, any kind of moving, visual source is eligible to be nominated (provided it meets the other eligibility criteria below). You can also nominate still image visual source (such as comic books or graphic novels), books, or audio-only source (such as podcasts, radio series or audio dramas). At the moment, we ask you not to nominate musical audio-only sources (e.g. songs or albums) as this seems too much like requesting a song choice rather than a source, but we'd be willing to consider context.

If you're not sure how to categorise a source or whether it would be eligible, feel free to email the mods and ask in advance of nominating it. If it's a situation entirely new to us, we will ask the community for feedback during the fandom review process rather than making an decision directly.

You can nominate any source as long as it is available in some form to vidders no later than one week after the date that assignments are scheduled to be distributed. Generally, this means that movies that have had a theatrical release that aren't out on DVD by one week after assignments go out aren't eligible to be nominated unless you can demonstrate the source will be available in some form. TV shows that have aired at least one episode are eligible, but you cannot nominate TV shows that haven't aired any episodes at all by the one week cut off.


How do you define a rare fandom?

We define a "rare" fandom to mean one with, not counting vids made for Festivids: (a) 100 or fewer online vids for the fandom, or (b) 10 or fewer new vids posted online in the past four years, or (c) vids by 5 or fewer vidders available online.

A "vid" for these purposes is the same thing as a "vid" that would count as a giftvid submission by a vidder. For instance, each vid should be longer than 60 seconds as this is a requirement for your assignment vid.

Available online: Means that any interested viewer can actually obtain the vid online (streaming or download), with or without instructions available at the website or weblisting. A mere listing of the vid's existence without information about obtaining it online does not make it available.

A fandom: In general, we believe a fandom exists when there’s a single continuity with a single set of characters and actors - see the 'How do you define a fandom' question below for more details.

A new vid: Is a vid that has not been made available online before in any form. Thus, a VCR vid made in 1985 but first posted to the internet in 2010 is "new"; a VCR vid posted to the internet in 2006 but then remastered digitally and reposted in 2010 is not new.

We will assume a vid is "new" as of the date of posting, and not a repost of an older vid, unless there is affirmative evidence to the contrary (a statement by the vidder, etc). We will assume vids were made by different vidders if they have obviously distinct user names, in the absence of affirmative evidence to the contrary.

There is more guidance on how to tell if your fandom is rare and what kind of vids 'count' in the following question.


How do I find vids to tell if my fandom's rare?

Unfortunately, as there's no one easily-searchable-by-fandom site that all or most vidders use, at the moment the only practical way to tell if a fandom is a rare vidding fandom or not is to do a manual search for vids and make a list. We know this can take time and sometimes be a bit of a pain - but it can also be fun, finding new-to-you vids for your favourite fandoms!

Many people find or make their own youtube playlists for this; this isn't compulsory, but as youtube has far more vids than anywhere else, it's often the simplest way to check rarity (especially for Western live-action fandoms).

There is a very helpful post written by eruthos here: http://eruthros.dreamwidth.org/339084.html, with help and suggestions on where to start with a Youtube search and what kind of terms to search for. One big change since that post was written in 2014 is that youtube now doesn't allow duplicates in a playlist; this means you can make a playlist on youtube as you go along rather than having to make a separate spreadsheet, as any duplicates will be stripped out.

You can also search on other sites such as AO3, vidders.net, vimeo, sendvid, creative commons, zippcast etc.; but as these sites all tend to host fewer vids than youtube, you may need to do a youtube search as well to get a sense of how many vids there are out there, unless the fandom is so large you can already find >100 vids on other sites.

For anime, there may be more vids on other sites than Youtube, such as www.animemusicvideos.org. If you know of any other sites more relevant than Youtube, especially for non-Western fandoms, please let us know and we'll add it to the FAQ.

When counting vids or making a playlist to determine if a fandom is rare or not, the three following types of vids all count but shouldn't make up more than 50% of a playlist:

Still-image vids: Where the original canon is live-action/animated, vids that combine still images with moving footage should always be included. If the vid is a 'slideshow' or contains only still images (for an originally-moving source), it should be 'transformative' in order to count as a vid – i.e. the images should be deliberately edited together to the specific soundtrack. We know this can be subjective and sometimes hard to tell, so if you are not sure about a slideshow, we'd suggest you err on the side of not including it.

Fan-made trailers: these should usually be counted as vids, but as with the others shouldn't make up more than 50% of the list of vids.

Multi-fandom/crossover vids: these should be recognisably for the fandom in question and contain significant amounts of the relevant canon (i.e. >50%). For vids that contain footage from a spin-off/parent show or related canon, the footage usually only counts if it's related to the fandom in question. (i.e., to use a non-rare, non-eligible example; a Buffy the Vampire Slayer vid focusing on Buffy's relationship with Angel could include footage from Angel of those characters and still count as a BTVS vid; but if the vid contained footage focused on Angel characters who never appeared on BTVS, it would be a crossover vid and the 50% rule would apply.)

This can be a fuzzy area, particularly when it comes to AU or constructed reality vids or non-traditional sources etc., so may ultimately come down to modly judgement if there's a dispute.

Generally speaking, go with your gut; we don't expect you to watch every video in detail and count each second of footage! As a rule, if you – as someone familiar with the source – thinks a video counts as a vid for the relevant fandom, then include it..

The following usually don't count as vids for determining if a fandom is rare or not:

Supercuts or similar edits where someone has edited together parts of a source keeping the original dialogue/soundtrack; and constructed reality videos where two or more sources have been edited together, again with their original dialogue/soundtrack.


How do you define a fandom / what counts as a series vs a standalone fandom?

In general, we believe a fandom exists when there’s a single continuity with a single set of characters and actors. (Slightly different rules apply for non-traditional sources such as comics or RPF: see below.) Where it’s technically the same universe but there’s little overlap of characters/actors (like, say, a spinoff that focuses on a minor character from the previous fandom), it’s generally considered a different fandom. For borderline cases, factors such as cast changes, continuity, visual style, and understandings within the fandom tend to dominate. We do not consider live action, animation, or graphic novels to be part of the same fandom even where they're related to each other – each will be considered separately – but television and film may be part of the same fandom depending on the above considerations.

The mods prefer to err on the side of including canon within a series, not excluding it. The reason there can be tension is because incentives tend to run in opposite directions. Including various sources in a single fandom may give a vidder more freedom to make a video without multifandom restrictions, but also may cause the fandom to break the 100 video/4 year limit, or pull something out of the safety category.

Rather than declare a general rule on the subject, we will do a case by case inquiry when the issue comes up during the fandom review period, depending on the factors described above, with a particular emphasis on the understandings among the fans; e.g., if the community of Aladdin fans consider direct-to-video sequels to be part of the same fandom, so they shall be. If not, not.

RPF: Generally, RPF categories should err on the side of narrow rather than wide; for instance, an entire sport (e.g. 'tennis' or 'football') is too wide and should be narrowed down to a particular individual, team or tournament. If you nominate an RPF category that's too wide you will be asked to narrow it down. One of the biggest issues in the past has also been distinguishing between an RPF fandom and a preference for a particular pairing. Where a nomination falls depends on whether the actors are paired enough in media to consider them a unit for RPF purposes.

Comics/graphic novels: This is a particularly tricky area and very difficult to set guidelines on. Fandom understanding should dominate; if the fan community generally considers a specific creator arc or series to be its own fandom, we are happy to go with that. If in doubt, please nominate what seems reasonable and flag the fandom during the fandom review process for feedback.

We recognize there’s a lot of fuzziness here, but we hope that there’s enough guidance that when disagreements do come up, they can be resolved via discussion in a manner that seems reasonable to everyone.

Please note: from Festivids 2015-16 onwards, we are starting anew in our judgments as to what counts as a fandom. This means decisions about what counts as a “fandom” made in previous years are no longer considered precedential.


What is the fandom review period?

After nominations close, there will be a two-week period before sign ups open. During this period, volunteers will check over the nominated fandoms to verify they are correct and check their eligibility. Participants in the exchange are very much encouraged to also participate in this process, and are asked to keep an eye on the process to address any queries about their own fandoms. This page (http://www.festivids.net/festivids/dispute) will display all nominated fandoms, and anyone is welcome to identify errors (e.g. duplicate fandoms, misspelled titles) or note which fandoms do not meet the definition of small. The issues we are looking for during the first stage of this process are:

*Fandoms that are part of a series and should be listed as such.

*Duplicate fandoms.

*Fandom titles that are misspelled or otherwise incorrect.

*Ambiguous sources (i.e., more than one source has the same title and there isn't other clarifying information)

*Fandoms that are not marked as safeties (180 minutes or less of source) but should be

*Fandoms that are marked as safeties, but should not be

At the end of the first week of the fandom review period, an amended list of nominations will be finalised once the above issues have been identified and resolved. Stage two of this process will then take place, during which all participants are encouraged to identify fandoms which are not small from this finalised list - see 'How do you define a rare fandom?' above for details of criteria for this.

With help from the volunteers, moderators will base the final list of fandoms, including safety fandoms, on this process. If it comes to that, the mods' decisions are final.


Can I dispute a decision made in previous years?

If a fandom was disqualified in a previous year for being too large and you believe this has now changed (i.e. the fandom has become eligible under the 'fewer than 10 vids in the last four years' rule), then yes, feel free to nominate the fandom and open a dispute. You will need to provide evidence of how the fandom has now become eligible - for example, providing dates for vids made in the last few years.

If you disagree with how a fandom was defined in previous years (i.e. treated as part of a series instead of a standalone or vice versa), then you can open a dispute as to how you think the fandom should be treated. From Festivids 2015-16 onwards, we are starting anew in our judgments as to what counts as a fandom, which means decisions about what counts as a “fandom” made in previous years are no longer considered precedential. However, you will need to provide evidence as to why you think the fandom should be changed; please assume the mods aren't familiar with the fandom in question and give us your reasonings based on the usual criteria - see the 'How do you define a fandom' question for a list.


How do sign ups work?

You can sign up for Festivids 2016-17 at this link: http://www.festivids.net/festivids/sign-up between 15 October and 25 October 2016. To sign up you need to be logged into the site.

You need to make 6-8 distinct fandom requests. One of these must be a safety (a source that is 180 minutes or less in total), to give the matching vidder a simpler option in case of unanticipated difficulty.

For each requested fandom, you may, but need not, include (a) song/music suggestions and (b) other details (e.g. "I want a vid about Burn Notice's Fiona and lots of guns"). However, your matching vidder does not have to use your suggestions. You are matched only by fandom--not, e.g., on characters or pairings. The suggestions are intended as a guide to your giftvidder, but the vidder’s obligation is only to vid in the fandom.

If you have multiple ideas for a fandom, you can put them all in the details field.

You must also offer at least four fandoms, but can offer more--as many as you feel comfortable with. Vidders are responsible for having access to source for any fandom they offer.

The matching algorithm matches each offeror to a recipient who requested at least one fandom that the offeror offered to vid. While you will definitely match on at least one fandom (probably only one, but you might get lucky), you are welcome to vid any of the 6-8 fandoms requested by the recipient, even if it wasn't your match. As above, each recipient will request at least one "safety" fandom, which may or may not be your match. Either way, the safety is there as an option if you would prefer to work with more limited source.

Because it may not be possible to find a perfect set of matches, it is possible that one person may be assigned two vidders so that everyone has a recipient.

Warning: Because some recipients may be assigned to two vidders, (and because anyone may make a treat, described below), it is possible that more than one person might produce a giftvid to the same prompt. If this makes you uncomfortable, please think carefully before signing up for Festivids.


How does the matching process work?

After sign ups close, the site runs a matching algorithm that generates a list of assignments. This is never a perfect list of matches (as an algorithm that matched everyone up perfectly would take forever to run), so there are always a few 'orphan' recipients left over.

The matching process isn't trying to find 'best' matches but simply trying to assign as many people as possible, so although you may be lucky and match on more than one fandom, it's far more common to match on only one.

If someone has no matches as either a vidder or recipient – i.e. either they have offered a set of fandoms no one has requested, or they have requested a set of fandoms no one has offered – then the mods will take measures to sort out those participants first. For instance, if Jane Vidder offers a set of fandoms that nobody requested, we may ask Jane Vidder to expand her list of offers from the list of requested fandoms, or post a list of Jane's offers (without Jane's name attached) and ask if anyone is willing to add a request from that list so that Jane will have someone to vid for. (Other situations may require different measures.)

Where someone has no potential vidder because they have requested a set of fandoms no one has offered, we may either put the requests straight out for pinch hit or contact the participant to ask if they'd consider adding a different request, depending on the circumstances.

Even if everyone has at least one potential match as both vidder and recipient, a perfect set of matches is still unlikely to be generated by the algorithm. The site will therefore assign two or more vidders to the same recipient, which will leave a few orphan recipients with no one to vid for them. The mods will at this point then look at the list and manually move around vidders and recipients to see if they can reassign some of these 'orphans' as far as possible. The mods may also manually rejig the matches for other reasons, such as aiming to create a better mix of matches where the matching process has clustered several participants together on the same fandom match.

In the case that there are still 'orphan' recipients after this process, an early pinch hit request will go out before matches are complete, asking for a volunteer. Anyone may volunteer to pinch hit, even if not signed up for Festivids. (More on pinch hits below.)

If you volunteer to take a pinch hit at this point, before the assignment emails have gone out, this will still be additional to your assignment, it doesn't replace it. The only exception to this is in the unlikely event your originally assigned participant can be easily reassigned to one of the 'extra' vidders who were double-assigned in the original list – if this is the case, the mods will email you to confirm.

Once pinch-hitters have been found as necessary and all of the above sorted out, the final list of assignments will be fixed and assignment emails sent out.


I signed up! When will I get my assignment?

Assignment emails will be generated some time after the sign up period closes (in 2016-17, this is noon EDT on 25 October 2016).

The matching process can take up to a few days for the reasons described above, so please be patient with us – we won't send out assignment emails until everyone has a match, and it may be we are having to contact people behind the scenes or arrange pinch hits. If everyone has a potential match and the matching process is co-operative, assignments should go out within 24 hours; otherwise, it can take up to several days.

Sending out assignment emails is a manual process, with a gap between each one to keep the strain off the server; this means that if your friends are excitedly talking about getting their assignments on social media, don't panic if you haven't got yours! We probably just haven't got to your name in the list yet.

Once all assignments have been sent out, we will post to all the official channels to confirm. If you still haven't got yours through yet, please check your junk mail folders; check your account on the Festivids website has a valid email address; and if you still can't find it, please email the mods and we will send you another copy. You can also see your assignment on your Dashboard when logged into the site.

Vid requirements for your assignment are described further below. After you get your assignment, if you realize that due to Real Life or other concerns you will not be able to participate, please, please, please email the mods to let us know so that we can find a pinch hitter for your recipient.


What are the video requirements?

You only match on fandom. You will be told the name of your recipient, your recipient’s 6-8 requested fandoms, and any details the recipient provided. At least one of those 6-8 fandoms will be a fandom you offered, but you may ultimately choose to make a vid in any of the 6-8 requested fandoms. The vid created must use one of the requested fandoms (limited outside source okay; crossovers not okay unless the recipient indicated such). You choose the song and the subject of your vid; any song ideas or other details provided by the recipient are suggestions, not requirements. The completed vid must be at least 1 minute long but may, of course, be longer.

"Outside source" can be many things: photographs or other stills, news clips, stock footage, clips from other shows. Please use your best judgment: by "limited" we simply mean that your vid should recognizably be for the requested fandom, so that your recipient doesn't request a Buffy vid and get something that's all about Xena (non-rare examples).

If there is a disambiguation problem with the fandom--e.g. there are three movies called Crab Clan Chaos (Movie) but the year wasn't specified during sign-ups or the dispute period--you are welcome to vid any source with that exact name, even if that wasn't what the requester meant. (The script matches on name and has no way of reading minds.) That being said, if you get such an assignment and are feeling generous, you can either check to see if your recipient has a Dear Festividder letter, or you can email the mods, who will sneakily contact them on your behalf. (Please do this through the mods as it will preserve your anonymity.)

You can read more about submission procedures below, but in brief, you will be asked to make two versions of your vid: A signed version with your name, and an unsigned anonymous version. URLs for both versions should be provided to the mods by the deadline; on golive, we will unveil the unsigned version, and at the reveal, we will unveil the signed one.

All vids are required to pick one (possibly more) of the following standardized content notes:
- No standardized notes apply
- I prefer not to give content notes (viewer proceeds at their own risk: could be anything)
- Sexual violence
- Physical triggers (e.g. epilepsy or migraine: strobe lights, bright lights, "stuttery" cuts between 2-3 stills)
- Other (you may use this box if you would like to indicate the presence of other content, such as, for example, particularly graphic violence, self-harm, or anything else)


I don't want to sign up or missed the sign up window, can I still take part?

If you missed the sign up period, or don't want to commit to making a vid for a matched participant, there are two ways you can still take part: by taking on a pinch hit (filling a request where someone has been defaulted on) or by making a Treat vid for a participant. See below for more details on both.


I defaulted in a previous year, can I still sign up?

If you defaulted by emailing the mods before the last day for defaults in a previous year, then yes, you can still sign up without penalty.

If you defaulted after the deadline or failed to submit a vid - and this was the first time you had done so - then you can sign up as normal but usually the mods will contact you to ask you to submit a full draft of your vid a couple of weeks earlier than the deadline for everyone else. (You can then edit the vid any time up to Go Live, but we must see a complete draft without gaps by this early deadline.) If you fulfil this condition, your record will be clear for future years; however, if you default again, you will then be banned from future participation. Modly discretion applies, and we reserve the right to change these rules if necessary.

If you're not sure what your status is, please email the mods.


What is a 'Dear Festividder' letter?

Many people who participate in Festivids enjoy writing "Dear Festividder" letters, where they provide more details about their requests (favourite characters, what they like about the sources, favorite pairings, music suggestions, whatnot). These letters are posted to the recipient’s own blog or website, where the assigned vidder may find them easily. These letters are completely optional, but there are at least two reasons to write them: First, to give your giftvidder more guidance in case your vidder would like to know more about your tastes, and second, to enable someone to make you a Festivid "treat" (described more below--of course, if you do not want a treat, you may say so in your letter).

When the mods put the Dear Festividder post up in the comm, you may comment with a link to your Dear Festividder letter. That way, anyone in mind to make treats can scroll through the comments and see if there’s anything that inspires. It is also possible to view all of the Dear Festividder letters via the website.


What if I need to default?

If you notify the mods that you cannot participate by the no-penalty date (in Festivids 2016-2017, this is December 17, 2016), you will incur no penalty. Defaults/no-shows afterward may be banned from participation in future years, or otherwise have their participation restricted, at the mods' discretion. However, even if you have to default after the no-penalty date, please, please let the mods know as soon as possible so we can hunt down a pinch hitter.


I'm making a vid! Do I need to check in with you before the deadline?

Because we want to make sure pinch hitters have enough time to make their vids, we will do a check in asking participants to verify that they’re still in. A post will go up on the comm asking vidders to comment to confirm they still plan to participate. No proof is required; all you'll have to do is leave a comment. Anyone who hasn't responded by December 30, 2016, 9 p.m. EST will be emailed for confirmation. If the vidder does not respond to the email, they will be considered a no-show and the mods will seek a pinch hitter for their recipient.

Because we understand that schedules vary and not everyone will be online during this period, anyone is welcome to check in ahead of time by emailing the mods. We will post to the community in advance of the check in post reminding everyone that it’s coming.


What if I can't finish my vid by the deadline?

If you realise you may not be able to finish your assigned vid by the submission deadline, please, please email the mods to let us know as soon as you can so we have time to find a pinch hitter. Under normal circumstances it's very unlikely you will be given an extension, as the mods' priority is making sure everyone has a vid by go live – but we understand Life happens and it's always better to talk to us about your situation rather than defaulting without notice. If we do have to find a pinch hitter, you are still very welcome to submit your vid if you finish it before go live, and this will be taken into account when deciding whether to restrict participation in future years or not.

Remember also that you have two weeks between the submission deadline and go live, during which you can edit your vid at any time. If you want to submit a draft of your vid in time to meet the deadline and then choose to edit it before go live, that's absolutely fine with us – but it must be a complete vid, with no gaps/blanks on the timeline by the submission deadline, or it will still count as a default and we will put the request out for pinch hit.


Can I pinch hit?

If someone defaults on their assignment, the mods will look for a pinch hitter to complete a vid for the recipient who would otherwise be left without one. Pinch hits will, if necessary, be posted to the DW/LJ communities with screened comments, with a notification also posted on Twitter and Tumblr. The mods will post someone’s request, and vidders may volunteer to fill it. Commenters should leave their name/handle and email address so the mods can email them to confirm a claim. Mods will probably try to spread out the assignments so no one vidder ends up with too much to do.

Pinch hits are in addition to, and not instead of, your assigned vid, unless the mods explicitly say otherwise. For example, if someone who has not been matched by the algorithm happens to volunteer to do a pinch hit, that will count as their regular assignment rather than an additional assignment. The mods will notify the volunteer if this is the case.

Anyone may sign up to pinch hit, even if they have not signed up for Festivids.


Are treats allowed?

Like Yuletide, Festivids permits treats. A treat is an optional "extra" vid that a vidder decides to make based on someone’s requests and/or their Dear Festividder letter. Though Festivids encourages vidders to make treats, please be aware that treats do not replace your assigned vid; they are in addition to, and not instead of, your assignment. You may make treats for your assigned recipient (fill two requests! Fill a request twice!) or for any other Festividder. Because treats are optional and are not part of the assignment system, treats need not meet the minimum length requirements or the ordinary deadline--as long as we get your treat by 3 am EST on the morning of Golive, we will include it in the master post. Treats must, however, meet all other vid requirements.

Anyone may make a treat, even if they have not signed up for Festivids.

Warning: Because some recipients may be assigned to two vidders, and because anyone may make a treat, it is possible that more than one person might produce a giftvid to the same prompt. If this makes you uncomfortable, please think carefully before signing up for Festivids.


Can I request or make a multi-fandom vid or crossover?

Multifandom videos cannot be submitted for Festivids, and do not count toward the 100 video/4 years count when determining whether a fandom is rare. However, there are two exceptions to this rule. First, the use of limited amounts of outside source in a video does not count as multifandom. What’s limited? That’s a fuzzy concept that ultimately comes down to modly judgment, but it basically means that the video continues to be recognizably of the relevant fandom; the original canon should make up at least 50% of footage, ideally more but can depend on context (particularly for non-traditional sources). And second, a video recipient may, in his/her requests, indicate that s/he would be okay with receiving a multifandom/crossover/what-have-you video, in which case, the vidder may satisfy that request (or not, as the vidder chooses).


How do I submit my vid?

You must create two versions of your vid - the anonymized version ("unsigned") and the credited version ("signed"). The unsigned version may be uploaded to any anonymized account you choose to create, either via a streaming service or a file sharing service (Youtube, Vimeo, Sendvid, Dropbox, Sendspace, etc).

Your vid (at least one minute, in any one of the requested fandoms) must be submitted by the due date for that particular year. That means the unsigned version must be uploaded to an anonymized account by then--either a streaming site or some sort of anonymous download link (such as a file sharing service like Dropbox, Sendspace or Mediafire.) Streaming versions should be privatized, but the Festivid mods must be able to access them. There are many ways to accomplish this: If you use Sendvid or YouTube, you can create an anonymized link that only people with the exact URL can see; if you create your own anonymous account somewhere, you can set the vid to private and include the username and password when you submit your vid, or, if it's a service that permits it, you can create a password for the vid itself and include that password with your vid submission. Any of these options is fine; we just need to make sure that the vid will not be generally viewable before golive, but that the mods can see it.

A recommendation: If your vid is password protected, you may want to use the password "Festividz!" It's fun to have individualized passwords, but some people have remarked that when the vids show up as embeds on the Festivids site (as they do), the lack of a uniform password makes some hard to access. You're not required to use Festividz! as a password; we're just throwing it out there.

For the signed version, you must provide a link to a vid announcement post, or a working download, or a streaming URL, so the mods can compile the masterlist for reveals. The idea is, on the reveal date, we will replace all of the links to unsigned versions with links to the signed versions, so we need to have your link at the ready. How you accomplish this is up to you. Basically, for the signed version, you may: (1) provide a streaming URL or direct download link to the signed version, or (2) provide a link to a privatized vid announcement post at your LJ/Dreamwidth journal that contains information about accessing the signed version. If you choose (2), when reveals go up, we will link to that post, so you just need to make the post public right before reveals. (If any of this is confusing, go look at the vid posts from prior years' Festivids at fv-poster.livejournal.com or fv-poster.dreamwidth.org. You can see what the links look like after the names of the vidders are revealed.)

Once you have uploaded your unsigned vid, and have created a link to a signed version, you must come back to the Festivids website and officially submit the information for your vid. Until you come back to the Festivids site and fill out the submission form, we will not know that your vid is complete!

Please use the following link to submit your links to your signed and unsigned versions of your vid: http://www.festivids.net/festivids/submit

A final note: We strongly recommend that you keep a copy of your unsigned vid on your hard drive until reveals. There's always the chance of a sudden takedown - Megaupload was shut down mid-Festivids 2011, for example - and if that happens, you'll want to be able to reupload your vid to another service.


How do I use the Festivids website?

In order to participate in any stage of Festivids you need to be logged into the Festivids website, but you don't need to be logged in to simply view the masterlists of vids.

Once logged in, your Dashboard is where you can change your username, email address or blog, or the log in service you use to access the site. It's also where you can find your assignment for the current exchange once it's underway, as well as gifts you've received and submissions you've made in previous years.

To participate in each stage of Festivids, go to http://www.festivids.net/festivids and select the options on the right-hand side of the toolbar.

In order to log in or to create an account on the site, hover over the login button at the top right-hand corner of the site, and a number of OpenID options for logging in will pop up (Livejournal, Dreamwidth, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Google). Simply choose your preferred option and that's your account set up.

Remember to log in with the same OpenID every time; if you log in with a different one it will create a second account (because as far as the site is concerned, festividder.dreamwidth.org is a completely different person to festividder.livejournal.com). If you've forgotten which login you've used before, there's a list on the home page of this website of every user and their corresponding login.

If you'd like to change your login from one OpenID type to another, log in with your current account, go to the Dashboard, click on the 'Log in' tab and follow the instructions.

If you create a duplicate by accident, you can merge the two accounts yourself; log in with either account (if doesn't matter which), go to your Dashboard, click on the 'Log in' tab and follow the instructions.

If you've changed your name on the service you use as your OpenID log-in (i.e. tumblr, twitter etc.), you'll need to create a new account under the new name, then email the mods and we'll combine the two accounts for you.

If you come across any bugs on the website or are having any difficulties, please email the mods at the usual address.