We've had a few questions this year and, well, we have some answers! You also might want to read through the Official Rules, which offers plenty of details about Storyfest. If you don't find the answer you're looking for, please email email@example.com.
Q. How do I post a story on Planet Forward?
A. We've created this step-by-step posting tutorial with images for you to see how to do just that.
Q. Where is the entry form?
A. New this year: There is no separate entry form! Instead, you MUST check the box that says "This is a Storyfest entry" on your story draft (see below). A form with a few more questions to answer will pop out. That's it! Save your story and move on with your life!
Q. My story was posted already, but I didn't know I needed to fill out the form on the draft. Can I still enter?
A. Absolutely! The easiest way is to log into your account and click on "My Profile" in the green bar at the top of the site. Your story should appear on the righthand side of the page. Click on this, and at the top of your story there are two tabs. Choose "New Draft," as shown below. Then, scroll down to "STORYFEST" - almost at the bottom of the page, and check the "This is a Storyfest entry" box. Fill out the form, change the moderation state back to "Needs Review" then hit "save."
Q. I used photos in my story from a website and credited the website. Is this OK?
A. Short answer? Probably not.
Long answer: Check the usage rights on any photo you use in your story. "All Rights Reserved" means you cannot use it because the image is copyrighted. An image must be licensed by Creative Commons or Wikimedia, and you MUST follow the rules for use, which likely include crediting the author and linking to the license. Public domain images also are free to use!
If you can't shoot your own images (always the best option), you can find usable images online via Images.Google.com or Flickr.com. Do a search using keywords but make sure the search settings are "Labeled for reuse" on Google and "All creative commons" on Flickr.
Q. I copied and pasted my story from Word/Google Docs and my images aren't showing up. What do I do?
A. So we've got some bad news. On our website, you cannot copy and paste your images into your story. It doesn't always work. Also, don't just provide a link to your images in the body of your story. In both instances, follow the directions on the posting tutorial to upload the images to embed them in your story.
Q. I created my story using a website creation program (Adobe Spark, Exposure, etc.), but I can't figure out how to make that show up in my draft. Help?
A. As it is explained in the Storyfest rules, we need any entries created using Spark or similar platforms to provide the embed code, which admins can fix so it appears as a seamless part of your Planet Forward story. (Note: That means it will just look like HTML to you and that's exactly how it should look. We will fix it!) We also need an image for the top of your story so there will be a thumbnail when you see your story on the website. Otherwise it's just a blank spot. We recommend using an image that helps summarize what your piece is about.
So, to recap, please provide:
1. A short summary of your story (100-200 words)
2. The embed code, which is HTML for a script (just paste it into the story field, below your summary)
3. An image uploaded in the "image" field (not "gallery), and please make sure you provide proper credit on it as well
Q. I have a podcast/video AND photos and when I put my SoundCloud/YouTube/Vimeo link in the field the podcast/photos/video don't show up in my draft. Help?
A. Right. So, as explained on the website, only ONE item will appear at the top of your story. You can choose: video, single image, gallery of images, OR podcast. There is a hierarchy on the site so certain media take preference over others. It's technical, but, bottom line: If you want photos at the top, choose "Image" for a single image, and "Gallery" for a slideshow, and put your podcast or video embed code (or just a URL) in the body of your story. Admins will embed the audio or video file into the story for you.
Q. My single, main image is a vertical and the heads are cut off. Can I fix this?
A. Yes, you can. Either replace the vertical with a horizontal (780x440 px is the ratio), or you can leave the vertical and anticipate some of the image will get cut off - but! - if you look closely at your image in the draft you will see a tiny crosshair. Move this crosshair over what you want to be the center focus of your photo and hit save. Please note: This ONLY works on the single image media option, NOT when you have a gallery.
Q. Can I enter more than one story?
A. Yes! You can enter up to three stories. (Hooray! More chances to win!)
Q. Can I enter as a team?
A. Yes, BUT (you knew there was a "but," right?): Your team must only consist of two people, AND you should determine if you win, how you will split the prize because just one seat on the trip is offered per award.
Still lost? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We've gotcha.
GOOD LUCK, EVERYONE!