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One Planet, Many People: FAQ and Tips

Quick answers to questions you may have and tips for creating a winning video for the "One Planet, Many People" video contest!

Can I enter?

The 2020 contest has concluded — check out our winners here, and keep an eye out in fall 2020 for news about the 2021 contest!

What makes a winning video?

  • Originality and imagination will be highly rewarded.
  • We don’t expect students to provide original film of whales, other countries, or Earth from space. If you decide public-domain images improve your narrative, feel free to use them.   Try to balance them with film and audio showing your own original work.
  • Use correct spelling and grammar. Use spell-check. Let friends look at early versions of your video to be sure it will be heard and understood. Be sure any facts you cite are accurate.
  • Consider exploring solutions.
  • If your video includes people talking, be sure they speak slowly and clearly so that viewers understand.
  • Be clear and concise. Short words and short sentences often work better than long.
  • Statistics often make a strong impact, but use them carefully. Be sure to explain them accurately.
  • Consider watching winners from last year’s contest.

Can international students enter?


Can adults help with my video?

Consultation with others is acceptable, but students must do the primary work of creating the video. Professional assistance is not allowed. Winners will be required to certify that they did not receive professional assistance.

When are videos due?

You must upload your video no later than 11:59 P.M. on May 15, 2020.  Videos must be submitted in digital format.

Should my video address local, national, or worldwide impacts from population growth?

It’s your choice. Pick the topic that you know the most about or that interests you the most.  Some of the best videos from previous years focused on local issues.

How do I enter?

You upload your completed video to YouTube and complete the online Entry Form. Please check your video link carefully to be certain that it functions properly. We have frequently received links to the wrong video. We have received links that could not be opened because they are protected as “private.” Videos sometimes are mistakenly entered without any audio.

Is there paperwork?

Only for the winners. If you win, you will need to provide us with the address of the financial aid or treasurer’s office at the college you plan to attend so that Population Media Center can arrange the payment. Winners must also submit a list of sources from which factual statements were obtained, and an Actor-Release Form for any person acting in the video.

What equipment can I use?

Videos may be produced on any equipment available to the entrant, such as cell phones, video cameras, and computers. Alternatively, you may choose to use a still camera to make a photo montage or stop-motion animation. When you are putting your media together, there are several types of editing software that you can use. iMovie comes free on all Macs and is easy to use. If you have a PC, check to see if it has Windows Movie Maker or download it free online.

Where can I learn more about population issues?

Background Materials on our webpage can help get you started. The internet can be of great help, and your school and public libraries may be able to assist you.  Discuss population with others and consider their perspective.  Spend some careful time on research. Facts and statistics provide strong support for the points you make.


I have created a video for another purpose. Can I submit it to the contest?

Only if it addresses the topic of human population growth and is 60 seconds or less in length.

Do I need to cite my sources?

You must be able to cite a source of facts and statistics presented in the video. The sources do not need to appear in the video itself. However, if your video wins, you will be required to submit a list of all sources used.

Can I use copyrighted materials?

Not without permission. Copyrighted materials (music, images, etc.) may not be reproduced unless you own the copyright or have a license to use the material. Written permission must be obtained and provided upon request for all copyrighted materials.

Lots of copyright-free material is available on the internet. To find it, you can type “copyright-free images” or “copyright-free music” into a search engine. Other sources of pictures and images include: and You can get free music at and

Can entries be disqualified?

Yes. If you use inappropriate content, copyrighted materials without permission, or if you fail to provide sources, actor release forms, or other required forms, or violate the contest rules, your video may be disqualified.

When will winners be announced?

Winners will be announced in July, 2020. The names of winners and their videos may be posted on the Population Media Center website.

How do I get started?

Watch the winning videos from last year’s contest and check out the background materials. Read the rules of the contest. Talk to friends or teachers who might be able to assist or guide you.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact Population Media Center.

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