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Which Doritos ads will Crash the Super Bowl on Sunday?

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Two of these ads will air during The Super Bowl on Sunday.  But which two!??!

Super Bowl XLIX is still three days away but a whole buttload of Super Bowl commercials appeared online this week.  Did you see that Godaddy ad about the lady who sells the puppy?  Crap like that is one reason why I transferred my web hosting away from Godaddy.  On the flip side, that Snickers ad with Danny Trejo is going to go down as one of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time.  But that’s not surprising because Danny Trejo can do no wrong.

So what about Doritos?  Frito-Lay never reveals which Crash the Super Bowl ads are going to air so for now we’ll just have to make some educated guesses.  One of the winning commercials was picked via an online vote.  So let’s take a look at the view counts for all 10 finalists and see which ones were popular:

Lemonade Stand: 488,387 Views
Baby’s First Word: 475,221 Views
Middle Seat:  470,870 Views
What Could Go Wrong?:  429,607 Views
Trouble in the Back Seat:  423,582 Views
Doritos Angler: 413,067 Views
When Pigs Fly:  402,214 Views
Selfish Sneezers:  388,147 Views
Doritos Manchild:  379,307 Views
MissSpelling Bee: 373,552 Views

The numbers are pretty close here and there’s no clear landslide winner.  But I think Lemonade Stand will wind up winning the public vote.  I remember one year about 750,000 votes were cast in the CTSB contest so “get out the vote” campaigns don’t really have much affect.  Even if a contestant went on the local news and managed to get 1,000 extra people to vote for him, most of the votes in this contest will come from people who watch a few entries and then pick their favorite.  And since Lemonade Stand is objectively the best ad in the bunch, I think it’s going to win the million dollar grand prize.
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Second place is a little harder to predict.  The second ad will be picked by the judges at Frito-Lay and I wouldn’t be surprised if they selected one of the weirder finalists.  Middle Seat is a great ad too but it contains a quick joke about Irritable Bowl Syndrome.  It’s a cheap shot that would upset a lot of people so I think that one joke will keep Middle Seat off the air.  And I can say with almost 100% confidence that there’s no way in hell that Trouble in the Back Seat will air.  That’s because AdWeek noticed something that I pointed out weeks ago; Trouble in the Back Seat was a little too similar to this Award-Winning European commercial:
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Is Trouble in the Back Seat a rip off?  I can’t say for sure.  But FritoLay isn’t going to spend 4.5 Million dollars to air a commercial that MIGHT be based on a stolen idea.

The remaining ads are either too gross for the Super Bowl (Selfish Sneezers, MissSpelling Bee) or just not very original.  So I’m going to go out a limb here and predict that the judges will give second place to What Could Go Wrong?
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I like this one because it’s cute and has a nice, low budget feel. Plus it has a weird and shocking ending.  The folks at Frito-Lay want two things here; they want people to re-watch the CTSB ads online and they want viewers to tweet and post about the commercials right after they air.  And What Could Go Wrong? Will accomplish both of those goals.  Plus the director of the ad has a great backstory….
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Good Luck to all the finalists.  I’ll post the results of the Crash during the game so check back here if you miss any of the winners.

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VCN Interview with 2015 Crash the Super Bowl finalist and the creator of “Lemonade Stand,” Dave Horowitz

Dave and his lemonade stand

The “Lemonade Stand” team: Co-Writer Richard Jindapornsuk, Production Designer Bernadette Vitto, Associate Producer Clint Riffo and Writer/Producer Dave Horowitz

This year’s crop of Crash the Super Bowl finalists was really, really weird.  There were a few ok entries, a few terrible entries, a few ultra-low budget entries, a few gross entries, a few boring entries and one entry that was almost certainly a rip-off of an old ad from Europe.  So there were only two commercials in the Top Ten that I thought deserved to air during the Super Bowl; Middle Seat and Lemonade Stand.  It turns out Middle Seat was created by a professional director that already has a successful career so for the last few weeks I’ve been voting for Lemonade Stand…
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As it happens, the creator of this ad, Dave Horowitz is a fan of VCN and he actually sent me “Lemonade Stand” to review a few months ago.  It’s quite possible that I literally groaned out load when I saw the title; lemonade stands are one of the lamest and most over-done crowdsourced video tropes.  (I once warned filmmakers about this problem in a short lived feature I use to write entitled “Know Your Tropes.”)  But to my surprise, THIS lemonade stand-themed video contest entry was actually fresh, original and funny!  So let’s talk to Dave and find out how he created this commercial:

VCN:  Dave, why don’t you tell us about yourself.  Where are you from?  What do you do for a living?

DH:  I grew up in El Paso, Texas and went to school at the University of Rochester and Tokyo International University. I majored in Japanese and was set on doing something in the business world after college, but I couldn’t suppress my passion for film making so I began my tumultuous journey into the film world. The last 17 years haven’t exactly gone as planned so I have supported myself by slinging drinks and managing a bar at Sushi Roku here in Santa Monica, where i currently reside.

VCN:  Have you ever entered the crash the super bowl contest before?

I entered about 5 years ago and it was a pretty bad one. The irony about the first ad that I submitted was that it also involved a trope that you warned against doing as this one involved a guy who dressed up like a corn chip. If you are surrounded with a good core group of film makers, it will naturally be reflected in your film, so over the years you learn which people you want to work with and which ones you shouldn’t work with. And it’s on these type of mediocre projects that you learn the most from because learning what you shouldn’t do is sometimes more valuable that what you should do. That’s part of the process of cultivating a good network of people. The director of Lemonade Stand had entered 4 times and one of them I believe spoofed The Exorcist, and the guy who came up with the idea was a CTSB virgin. More on him later though.

VCN:  What is your favorite Crash the Super Bowl commercial of all time?

DH:  I of course loved Time Machine last year. I think there are a lot of similarities between our commercials with an adorable kid bamboozling an unsuspecting adult, but I’m a sucker for animals (especially dogs) and my favorite of all time was probably Man’s Best Friend. I heard the Great Dane in that video recently passed away, so my condolences go out to the family of that ad.

VCN:  Where did you get the idea for lemonade stand?

It was funny because for the last 5 years the writer Richard Jindapornsuk (a waiter at Sushi Roku) has been bugging me to submit an ad and during slower hours at the bar, he would pitch ideas to me. Quite frankly most of them ranged from mediocre to absolutely horrific, but then one day during last year’s CTSB contest, he pitched the general idea for Lemonade Stand and my eyes immediately lit up. I knew with a little finessing, we had a potentially great commercial on our hands. We only had 3 weeks left during last year’s contest to submit and because I knew that this idea warranted extensive preparation, we should take the chance and wait a year to properly execute the idea. Fortunately for us, Doritos announced another CTSB contest in September and we immediately went to work. Choosing the right location and finding our little girl were the 2 top priorities and challenges that we faced, and I knew that we wouldn’t find these over night. Ironically enough, after an exhaustive search, the little girl Addison Aguilera was literally right under our nose. A close friend of mine overheard a conversation I was having about the frustrations of finding a talented 7-year old actress in Los Angeles, and he interjected and said, “My niece is an actress…check her out.” So we saw that she had some good experience with some national spots and sat down with her, and within 30 seconds, we knew our search was over and we found our little auctioneer.

VCN:  Who helped you create the ad?

DH:  Once Richard and I locked in a script, I approached one of my best friends, Nick Sivakumaran to direct. He’s a directing teacher at the NYFA here in Los Angeles and I knew he would be perfect for this. Working with children is never easy even with someone as talented as Addison, and Nick has 2 kids of his own, so he has that invaluable inexperience, patience, and language that children really respond to. Additionally, Nick and I, have a long working history together as we won a video contest for Lifestyles Condoms 20 years ago, which aired for a brief period of time on MTV and won us a few bucks. The irony isn’t lost on us that 20 years later, we team up again for a video contest that has a lot more at stake.

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VCN:  What kind of camera did you use?

DH:  We used a black magic and shot it on 4k. Nick brought on his D.P., Gonzalo Digenio, who I had the good fortune of working with on a couple of Wetzel Pretzel’s training videos. I knew he was good, but I was truly astounded how beautiful the colors in the Lemonade Stand turned out. It’s such a luxury to shoot on a 4k camera because you have the flexibility to do so much like punch in, zoom in, or even smooth out a shot without compromising the resolution. We were very fortunate to have so many talented members of the crew and cast.

VCN:  How did production go?

DH:  When your budget is as small as ours, production never goes as smoothly as you would like. We spent only $1,200, but obviously when you have as many years as I do cultivating relationships, you are able to call in favors, so everyone pretty much worked for free, and most of the equipment we used was free too. The only things we really paid for were food, permits, and the actual Lemonade Stand. Richard’s girlfriend volunteered to design the Stand because we really wanted a female perspective and she did a hell of a job. We told her we wanted vivid bright colors and she ran with it. The fact that the permit only allowed us to shoot the ad in one day added to our stress levels so we knew we had very little margin for error. Additionally we had no idea which bidders we were going to use in the film so we decided to have about 30 show up. As we fell behind in the day, more bidders waited to shoot their scenes so we had a lot of people milling about on other people’s front lawns. Fortunately, we had a great location with a very tolerant neighborhood, so no one was upset at the end of the day. It was really a race against time with the sun setting around 6, but luckily we were able to get all of our shots. When I would edit the ad a few days later, most of the 30 bidders ended up on the cutting room floor, but it really improved the ad cause we had so many to choose from. Due to the frenetic nature of the shoot, we didn’t have enough cups in the money shot when Sticky Hands Slater is eating his Doritos, so it didn’t have the humorous impact that we originally envisioned. So we CG’d in more cups, and if you were to freeze that shot and you counted all the cups, you would count 84…that’s how accurate we were.

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VCN:  How and when did you find out you made the finals?

DH:  I found out we made the finals in mid-December. I was at the gym and I’m about 30 minutes into my workout on the stair master when I get a call from a woman in San Fran. She said she was Elizabeth Banks and she was calling on behalf of Doritos to congratulate me in making the finals. You can imagine that I pretty much almost fell off the Stair Master. I think I was so out of breath that Elizabeth had to ask a couple of times if I was still there or not.

VCN:  What have you been doing to get out the vote?

DH:  Wow, what a process. I don’t think anyone can imagine how much work goes into campaign. It truly is a full time job. I considered myself somewhat socially media savvy, but once this campaign started I realized how little I knew and how fast my learning curve would have to be. We have mostly used Facebook and Twitter to help drive people to vote. To help supplement the commercial, we shot about 70 promo videos that provided each character with a background and a story. Like for example, the unwitting bidder at 84 is one of those guys who still lives in the past. “Sticky Hands Slater” claims he caught 130 touchdown catches in high school and never once dropped a pass. Of course, he’s 40 years old and still living with his mom. We really tried to have fun with all the wonderful characters in the ad. We shot another video with Addison practicing her auctioneering skills on her dolls. We also brought Addison and the Lemonade Stand down to Hollywood and Highland and had her pass out flyers, Doritos, and lemonade, and a news crew filmed it and we got some great press out of it.

VCN:  Are you excited about the super bowl? Who are you taking with you?

DH:  I am so excited about the Super Bowl. Being a Jet fan, I figured this was the only way someone of my ilk would be able to go. I think it goes without saying who I will be rooting for, but I will be watching the commercials with a tad bit more interest than the actual game. Nick, the director will be going as Richard the writer is noble enough to volunteer and stay home.

VCN:  Have any final thoughts for us?

DH:  I really want to thank Doritos for putting together an amazing contest. The fact that they give opportunities to people like me who have been hitting the pavement for 20 years, is something that I am so appreciative of. This has been an unforgettable experience and sometimes I find it hard to believe it is all happening. I also want to thank all of my loyal friends, family members, acquaintances, and the amazing amount of people who have supported us during this campaign. I have been humbled by all of the unwavering support and am very fortunate to have such a great group of people behind the project. To the amazing crew and cast who believed in the project since the very beginning, I also thank you for your immeasurable contributions. Thanks Dan for the interview as I truly appreciate your time and consideration.

VCN:  Thanks Dave for taking the time to talk to us!

If anyone would like more info about this project, head to votelemonadestand.com.  And there are still a few days of voting left so if you’d like to vote for Dave’s ad, just click this link and hit the vote button:  https://crashthesuperbowl.doritos.com/finalists#/6514

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That old car is worth money! Victory Auto Wreckers launches video contest to find a replacement for their 30-year old ad

Ok, this story is only going to be interesting to people who grew up in the Chicagoland area.  A junkyard in Bensenville has been running the same commercial for 30-freaking- years.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have seen this ad THOUSANDS of times in my life.  The phrase “That old car is worth money….” has been echoing in my brain since I was in the 2nd grade.  The commercial used to air during mid-day reruns of Gilligan’s Island and I Dream of Genie so every time I see it I’m reminded of those lazy afternoons in the 80’s when I got to stay home sick from school.  And now those knuckleheads at Victory Auto Wreckers want to replace it!  The company is running a video contest to find their new ad.  I know this because 3 people posted the link on my facebook page today.  But I’m going to boycott this contest because I think this ad should run for another million years.  Also the grand prize is only $500!  But hey, I guess that’s actually a pretty good deal.  I bet the guy in the original ad got way less than five hundred bucks and the sponsor managed to get a hell of a lot of mileage out of his work.
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Poptent and Userfarm merge to form the “undisputed” largest community of video professionals in the world

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On Wednesday it was announced that the two “biggest” crowdouced video sites in world, Poptent and Userfarm, will merge in April to form a new site named Vizy.  Here are a few quotes from Poptent’s blog post about the merger:

Poptent is so excited to announce that we have merged with Userfarm, Europe’s largest and most powerful crowdsourcing community. Together we will be Vizy, a truly global company able to show the world’s most successful companies what our combined community is capable of.

Combining forces and becoming the largest global content creation company means that we will be able to bring you more challenging and more fun opportunities than any video crowdsourcing platform on the planet.

It sounds like Vizy will be a brand new company and that it will be very different from the current incarnations of Poptent and UserFarm.  The old platforms and sites will be left behind.  But Vizy won’t be starting from scratch.  That’s because all Userfarm and Poptent accounts are going to automatically be turned into Vizy accounts.  According to Poptent’s CEO Nick Pahade, this will make Vizy “the undisputed largest community of video professionals in the world.”

The official press release about the merger says that right out of the gate, Vizy will have a community of 120,000 filmmakers.  But that statement is both ridiculous and untrue.  Vizy will have 120,000 member accounts….not 120,000 members.  That’s because the vast majority of Poptent accounts are inactive.  Userfarm seems to have a healthy and active community but most users who signed up for Poptent abandoned the site a long time ago.  Right now Poptent’s Company Overview states that the site has 70,000+ members.  But if you actually log in and poke around you’ll see that the place is empty.  The member activty feed shows that only about 40 members a day do anything on the site and A LOT of those people are spammers.  (The spammers are using their profiles and media pages to post backlinks to sites in an effort to improve SEO ratings.)  A few filmmakers are working on videos for private, invite-only assignments but pretty much everyone is a brand new member.  These people sign up, fill out their profiles, sign out and then never return.

Based on those numbers, I would estimate that less than ONE PERCENT of Poptent’s members use the site every week.  And of those 700 users, most are new members who will never accept an assignment or upload any videos.

It wasn’t long ago that Poptent was one of the most ground-breaking marketing sites on the web.  So what caused them to crash and burn?  Well, Poptent was dominating the video contest scene back in 2009 and 2010.  But by 2011 they started losing a lot of business and members to more innovative and user-friendly sites like Tongal, Mofilm, eYeka and Zooppa.  Poptent responded to this increase in competition by selling out their members and catering to the inappropriate demands of their clients.  In the summer of 2011, Poptent did something that no other crowdsourced video site had done before; they declared that any video that was submitted to a brand assignment would automatically become the intellectual property of the brand under an implied “work for hire” agreement.  The new policy was absurd and completely illegal; copyrights can only be transferred via signed and written agreements and work-for-hire arrangements are only valid if a creator is paid for their work.  A Poptent employee told me that the changes were necessary because some clients were worried that low-quality or offensive spec videos might leak onto Youtube and make the brand look bad.  The Poptent team took these concerns very seriously and eventually they built a wall around the company and started running more and more and more, tightly-controlled  “invite-only” assignments.

Over time, Poptent went from a company that would run 10 public commercial assignments and 1 private commercial assignment at a time to a company that would run 10 private assignments and 1 public assignment at a time. Only 10 or 20 filmmakers were invited to participate in these secret contests so that meant that there was no work for 99% of the people who signed up for the site.  This was an amazing deal for a handful of super-elite members.  Some of them even started getting direct-paying gigs.  So these members didn’t even have to shoot anything on spec anymore.  Poptent had basically turned into a virtual production company with a roster of about 200 reliable producers.

But this new model caused a massive brain drain.  Sometimes weeks would go by without the announcement of a single new public Poptent assignment.  User participation in the site plummeted and disgruntled filmmakers left to work with Poptent’s competitors.

In May of 2013, it was announced that Poptent’s longtime CEO, Rick Parkhill was retiring.  He was succeed by Nick Pahade, the ex-CEO of the media agency Initiative.  Pahade declared that he intended to take the company to “the next level.”  But over the next year and a half it seemed as if Poptent was winding down their operations.  The site cut back on advertising because they didn’t really need to court new members any more.  The once-active community forum turned into a ghost town, many of Poptent’s most visible employees left the company and assignments became few and far between.  Only 7 public commercial assignments have been run on Poptent in the last 6 months and the last of those assignments ended 4 weeks ago.

All this information makes the merger with Userfarm a lot less exciting.  I’m sure Userfarm has its fair share of inactive accounts too.  (I signed up for Userfarm once but I haven’t even looked at the site in years)  Technically Vizy will be able to claim that they’re biggest crowdsourced video site in the world and that their clients will have “access to over 120,000 filmmakers”.  But the Vizy team will probably never reveal how many “active” members they have because most of those “filmmakers” are really just ghost accounts.  So while Poptent’s CEO may claim that Vizy will be the “undisputed” biggest community of video professionals in the world, the site is going to need tens of thousands of new, REAL members before that claim becomes true.

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How much does it cost to make the Crash the Super Bowl finals?

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Frito-Lay has published the budgets for all 10 Crash the Super Bowl finalists and the numbers are all over the place.  The judges really picked a diverse set of finalists here.  Well….I mean to say they picked a FINANCIALLY diverse set of finalists.  The roster of filmmakers that created these ads isn’t diverse at all.  All ten of them are white guys.  But let’s save that PC rant for another day and focus on the good news; a lot of low-budget entries managed to make the top 10.  And here’s another fun fact: there are ZERO re-peat finalists this year.  Hardcore Crash the Super Bowl fans will understand why that’s a big deal.  A lot of the same people seem to win this contest every year.  Doritos has run The Crash 8 times now and they picked at least one re-peat finalist in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009.  But I guess that trend has finally been broken.  So the 2015 finalists are all first-timers.  That’s kinda neat.  Anyways, here’s what everyone spent on their entries:

1. “Doritos Angler” by James Bedford, UK: $20
2. “What Could Go Wrong?” by Alex Pepper, USA: $80
3. “Trouble in the Back Seat” by Jason Johnson, USA: $100
4. “Baby’s First Word” by Travis Braun, USA: $350
5. “Mis-Spelling Bee” by Brian Kleinschmidt, USA: $500
6. “Doritos Manchild” by Armand de Saint-Salvy, Australia: $700
7. “Selfish Sneezers” by Devon Ferguson, Canada: $800
8. “The Lemonade Stand” by David Horowitz, USA: $1,200
9. “When Pigs Fly” by Graham Talbot, Canada: $1,200
10. “Middle Seat” by Scott Zabielski, USA: $2,000

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s what a $2,000 video contest entry looks like:

Two grand is a lot of money to spend on a commercial that has a 1 in 4,900 chance of winning a million dollars.  But there are only two “great” entries on this list and “Middle Seat” is one of them.  But that ad looks like it cost a lot more than $2,000.  The director didn’t just pull out his camera and start filming on a real plane.  That’s a set that filmmakers in LA can rent.  But I’m guessing the director was able to call in a lot of favors because guess what…?  His name is Scott Zabielski and that dude is the producer and director of Tosh.0!  His IMDB page says he’s directed 139 episodes of the Comedy Central show.  (I assume that’s all of them)  This news came as a bit of a shock because The Crash is supposed to be for amateur filmmakers who want to break into the industry and win their “Dream Job” at Universal Studios.  But it sounds like Mr. Zabielski already has a dream job.  What’s going to happen if he wins?  Is he going to quit Tosh.0 so he can become a glorified assistant at Universal?  In January 2012 it was announced that Zabielski was going to direct the new Police Academy movie.   That film’s been in development hell for five years now and he’s no longer attached to the project.  But there’s no way that will be his last, big offer.  Eventually he’s going to get a chance to direct a major motion picture and his career will be set.

So why did he feel that he needed this opportunity too?  Is he just after the million bucks?  I don’t think it’s ethical for a successful pro to try and compete in a contest that was created for “aspiring” filmmakers.  But I will say this; so far no one associated with Tosh.0 has asked people to vote for “Middle Seat.”  That’s a lucky break for the other finalists because if Daniel Tosh or Comedy Central or Tosh.0’s twitter account were to plug Zabielski’s entry, “Middle Seat” would win the online vote (and the million dollars) in a landslide.

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JANUARY 15th UPDATE: 

Wow.  It looks like this post really freaked somebody out.  I’ve been getting slammed with angry comments all day.  Basically “people” are mad that I said it was unethical for the director of “Middle Seat” (and Tosh.0), Scott Zabielski, to enter the Crash the Super Bowl contest because he was already a very successful filmmaker.  All of the comments were coming from first-time commenters and most of them were posted under goofy, fake names.  So after a few hours it became obvious that something fishy was going on.  Here’s the first comment that I received:

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This person claimed to be a former Crash the Super Bowl finalist.  So I decided to check VCN’s traffic logs and see who actually left this comment.  Here’s the data for Mr. “Cheerios Are the Best.”

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Heh.  Ok.  Well, I guess there are two possibilities here.  Either a former Crash the Super Bowl finalist quit filmmaking to work for William Morris or Scott Zabielski is represented by someone at the agency.

That was just the first of maybe 9 or 10 weird comments I got today.  I won’t post them all.  If you’d like to read them, just check out the comment section of this post.  Basically a bunch of “people” called me a few names, defended Zabielski and told me my opinions were ridiculous.  Most of it was run-of-the-mill anonymous Internet smack talk.  But a few comments were a little more sinister.  Some “people” tried to divert attention away from the Tosh.0 guy by bashing three other Crash the Super Bowl finalists.  As you already saw, the William Morris guy accused one finalist of plagiarism.  And a commenter named “Michael Brannigan” tried to out two other finalists as “professionals.”  He even provided links to these directors’ websites.  But Brannigan’s definition of a pro was pretty generous.  One guy did have some great commercials on his site but “Brannigan” didn’t realize that they were all video contest entries.  And the biggest thing the other filmmaker ever shot was a promo for the Sochi Olympics.  One promo and some spec ads hardly put these guys on the same level as the producer/director of Comedy Central’s highest-rated show.

So where did these comments come from?  They all came from different IP addresses but most of the comments were made with an iPhone on AT&T’s wireless network.  Also, none of these users were “referred” to the site by an outside link.  So they didn’t get to VCN via twitter or facebook or wherever.  They either had this article bookmarked or they typed the actual address to VCN in their browser:

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I’m guessing that the iPhone Guy’s IP address kept changing because he was out and about and he kept jumping onto different networks.  But late last night I got another comment from the iPhone guy….

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I guess iPhone Guy was home by then because he was logged into his personal Wifi account…..

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So Mr. iPhone Guy, the guy who had been posting angry comments all day using multiple IP addresses, fake names and fake e-mail addresses and who had tried to make some of the other Crash the Super Bowl finalists look bad lives in Burbank, California.  I wonder who else lives in Burbank…..

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I’ve been covering the Crash the Super Bowl contest since 2009 and I’ve never had something like this happen before.  Obviously I don’t know for sure that Zabielski (and maybe his agent) were behind all the nasty comments I got today but I’d be willing to bet Dollars to Doritos that Zabielski owns an iPhone and that he has VideoContestNews.com saved in his bookmarks.

If the director of “Middle Seat” really did do all this it was a pretty dumb move on his part.  The rules of the Crash the Super Bowl contest are pretty clear…..

Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual deemed to be (a) tampering or attempting to tamper with the entry or voting process or the operation of the Contest or any Sponsor or Contest-related Web Site; (b) violating these Official Rules; (c) violating the Contest Sites’ terms of service, conditions of use and/or applicable general rules or guidelines; (d) acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person; or (e) engaging in fraud, dishonesty or illegal activity; (f) attempting to deliberately damage or corrupt or otherwise attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest, and/or Sponsor’s business operations, including without limitation by cheating, hacking, deception, and/or other unfair practices, including but not limited to using automated entry or voting programs and/or devices; (g) colluding to alter the results of the Contest; and/or (h) giving false or misleading information to Sponsor or Contest Parties.

Mr. iPhone Guy behaved in an unsportsmanlike manner today.  He also harassed and annoyed another person and because he used fake names and e-mail addresses, he engaged in fraud and dishonesty.  If a that person turns out to be a Crash the Super Bowl finalist he could be in danger of being disqualified.

Fortunately for Zabielski, it would be almost impossible for anyone to prove who actually posted all these comments.  So let this story be a warning to all you Crash the Super Bowl finalists out there.  If some dumbass blogger doesn’t like your entry (or the fact that you entered a contest for “aspiring” filmmakers even though you’re already the director of one of the most popular shows on cable) don’t send that guys a bunch of nasty anonymous comments.  But if you do feel the need to talk some trash, at least be a man and use your real name.
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Voting is open for the 2015 Tongie Awards!

2015tongies

We’re only 9 days into the new year and 2014 already feels like ancient history. But we can’t put the past year behind us just yet.  There’s still one more piece of 2014 business to attend to.  It’s time to vote for the best Tongal entries of 2014!  Tongal members have until January 16th to vote and the winners of the poll will be announced at the Tongie Awards ceremony on March 5th.

I actually got to go to the Tongie Awards last year and it was an awesome experience.  It was a very inspirational event and afterwords I was determined to go out and shoot a whole bunch of Tongal entries.  But 2014 was a hectic year for me and I was only able to enter a handful of video contests.  And as it turns out, I wasn’t able to shoot a single Tongal submission in 2014.  But I still managed to make a ridiculous amount of money on that site!  Just before December 31st, I checked my Tongal profile and it said my Year-To-Date earnings was $5,625.  This might sound hard to believe but all that money came from prizes I won in the IDEA PHASES of 8 different projects.  My biggest single win was $2,000 in an invite-only assignment that was sponsored by a beer company.  For that one I actually had to film a video of myself explaining my concept.  But other than that, I made all that cash just by thinking and typing.  But to be honest, it did take a lot of thinking and typing to get those 8 wins.  I just checked my Tongal submissions page and it looks like I submitted about 200 ideas in 2014.  So I only had about a 4% success rate.  Still, $5,625 for about 20 hours of work seems like a sweet deal, doesn’t it?

If you’d like to review the Tongie finalists and help pick the winners, head here:  https://tongal.com/tongies  I won’t list all the entries I’m voting for but I will say that my favorite submissions were “Beach Day” which is up for Best Wildcard Video and “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” which is up for Best Song.

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