This Thursday night I THINK some or all of my entry for @Midnight’s #HowIGetAround video contest will air during the show. As far as I know, I didn’t win the grand prize (A new Jaguar XE!) but honestly I’m just psyched to maybe see some of my work air on Comedy Central (Even if that work is incredibly stupid). The show actually used a quick clip of my entry in the promo video they released today. See if you can spot me!
I’m a freelance editor so I’m always uploading and downloading gigantic files. Sometimes my Internet is blazing fast and sometimes it seems hilariously slow. I’ve used free online tests to check the speed of my connection but those results always seem kind of fishy because those sites are usually trying to sell you something.
But now the people of the Internet have a simple, free, unbiased way to check the speed of their ISP; Fast.com. Netflix bought the domain recently and launched the speed test because “We want our members to have a simple, quick, commercial-free way to estimate the speed their ISP is providing.” The rest of the story is pretty obvious: if customers have trouble streaming content from Netflix, their customer service reps can ask those people to check their speed. If their ISP is too slow, they’ll realize they can’t blame Netflix for their streaming issues. It’s a simple but brilliant idea. And it’s nice that Netflix made the site available to everyone. I just checked my speed and I’m hitting 88 MPS. Not bad. I think I’ll go celebrate by streaming 9 or 10 episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
My girlfriend (like all girlfriends everywhere) loves Blue Apron. If you’re not familiar with that company, BA sends you recipes and the exact ingredients you will need to prepare those meals. It’s a weird service. Like, if the recipe calls for 2 sprigs of fennel they will ship you exactly two sprigs of fennel. I’m not a big fan of BA because they pretty much put fuggin’ mushrooms on everything and glob dammit I hate mushrooms. (When I was a kid I at some mushrooms I found in the woods because I thought they’d make me bigger like Super Mario. I tripped balls for three days straight and eventually the cops had to fish me out of a green drain pipe.) But mushrooms aside, I guess I can see why people love Blue Apron so much. And I’m not surprised that their first video contest was such a big hit. The company asked people to film themselves cooking a specific recipe for a chance to win a trip to New York. About 200 people entered and Blue Apron used some of their favorite entries to create a crowdsourced cooking show. It’s a brilliant idea and the final product is very watchable: –
The sponsor wound up picking two winners. Both are dog-themed. So eventually Blue Apron is going to get sued by some dummy who’s dog got burned while helping him make crispy chicken in orange sauce.
I have a really dumb video contest tip for you today. Are you ready for it? Ok, here it is: Start writing down ideas for funny videos about clean water. Once you have a few good ones, flesh them out into really strong scripts. Then head to google and set a news alert for the terms “Water” and “Video Contest.” At some point during the next few months I guarantee that you’ll hear about at least one new Clean Water-themed video contest. How do I know this will happen? Because it happens all the time! “Clean Water” might be one of the most popular contest themes of all time. So if you have some decent water scripts chillin’ on your hard drive, eventually you’ll be able to pick one and shoot it.
Unfortunately, water-themed contests are usually run by non-profit groups so the prize pools tend to be on the small side. But contests run by non-profits usually don’t get a ton of entries so at least the competition will be light.
If you need some watery inspiration, check out the $2,000 grand prize winner American University’s “Eco-Comedy Video Competition.” –
This video is kind of cute but it also would have been easy to beat. (A panel of judges picked the winners). You can see all the runner-up entries here but trust me, I know you could write and shoot something better than all of them.
Actually no, wait…WTF am I doing. Now I want to write some scripts and enter Clean Water-themed video contests. Forget everything I said in this post. I am as dumb as this tip was.
Last November, a bizarre story started slithering its way through the right-wing media. The owner of the world famous Laugh Factory in LA claimed that someone from the Clinton campaign called and harassed him after he posted a video about Hillary on the club’s website. The mystery man demanded that the video be removed and said that making fun of Hillary could be bad for the club’s business. The owner says he hung up on the man once he started asking for the names and contact info of the comedians featured in the video.
Conservative bloggers and pundits and talk radio hosts ate this story up because it confirmed so many of their wildest fantasies about Clinton; it basically proved that she’s a humorless you-know-what that hates the first amendment and that wants to destroy anyone who dares stand in her way.
Of course there was just one problem with this story. According to Slate.com it was probably total B.S. (story link) The Internet is filled with thousands of blog posts and videos and memes that make fun of Hillary Clinton. Why would someone from the campaign care about one random, non-viral video that featured a few extremely harmless jokes. (It seems like most of the comedians featured in the stand-up montage actually like Clinton.)
After the story first broke, the owner of the Laugh Factory told a reporter from Slate that he has “no idea” if the call really came from someone in Clinton’s campaign. In fact, he suggested that it may have been a prank. (Which seems very possible since the owner knows hundreds of comedians.) Slate theorized that the caller may have been “an overzealous Hillarybot” or a “dirty trickster, who then took steps to send the story ricocheting through conservative media.”
But conservatives aren’t about to let a little thing like reality ruin their good time. On November 24th, (five days after Slate published their expose about the rumor) right-wing radio show host and Grade-A scumbag Alex Jones of InforWars.com launched the “Make Fun of Hillary” video contest. Here’s what InfoWars.com had to say about the contest:
We launched the contest back in November to reassert our birth right to free speech after Clinton attempted to censor comedy skits that poked fun at her produced by the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, Calif.
“They threatened me,” club owner Jamie Masada told Judicial Watch. “I have received complains before but never a call like this, threatening to put me out of business if I don’t cut the video.”
In response, we asked for the funniest, most outrageous satire and comedy videos making fun of Hillary Clinton.
Infowars announced the winners of their contest a few weeks ago and the videos they picked are absolutely disgusting. The right’s hatred of Hillary Clinton is so deep and so rabid that it’s genuinely frightening. Apparently these people think that Hillary is some kind of twisted, psychopathic, despotic MURDERER that can’t wait to take away our liberties and destroy the American way of life.
Here’s the video that won the grand prize. I’ve seen a lot of creepy things on the Internet but this video is truly disturbing. It gives us a glimpse into the sick and twisted minds of the bunker-dwellers who sit in the dark and listen to Alex Jones while photoshopping “funny” pictures of Hillary’s head on a witch’s body.
First Place Winner. Prize: $5,000:
It sounds like the dude who made that video believes that the Clinton’s are straight-up evil and out to destroy the United States of America. He goes so far as to claim that the clintons intentionally surround themselves with “physically repulsive people who are angry at the world” (e.g. James Carville, Robert Reich, etc) who want to use political power to get revenge against “the normals” that shun them. That’s some seriously sick sh*it right there! And yet THAT is the type of content that the InforWars judges thought was worthy of $5,000.
The second place winner is a little less creepy but it’s still pretty insipid. I guess the judges gave this guy extra points for his random and obviously super-hilarious fake gay voice.
Second Place Winner. Prize: $1,000:
The presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump has said that if he’s elected, he’ll bring back waterboarding and “much worse” because “torture works.” Well Mr. Trump, if you make it to the Oval Office I recommend that you make the bad guys watch videos created by InforWars fans because that last video made me want to puncture my own eardrums. And to all the Bernie Bros out there that are saying they’ll never vote for Hillary, I hope these videos will serve as a bit of a wake up call. Now that you’ve seen what the true Hillary-haters believe, do you really want to be on the same side as them?
One of my oldest friends is a good dude from Ohio named Dave. Dave wants to sell his house but first he needs to re-do his whole kitchen. He’s a pretty good musician so I told Dave that maybe he could make some extra cash by winning a video contest. I searched through some contest listings and I helped him find a good one he could enter; The annual Trend Micro “What’s Your Story?” contest. This year the theme is “What does the Internet Mean to You?” Here’s Dave’s entry: –
Click the screenshot to view and vote!
To have a shot at the $10,000 grand prize, Dave first has to get enough votes, views and comments to make the top 10. I usually like contests that pick their finalists via a public vote because the cheating doesn’t get too vicious. Ten spots leaves room for some cheaters but most of the open slots are filled by good videos that actually get a lot of real votes.
But this contest turned real ugly, real fast. The problem is that “the public” can rate videos using a star system like this…. –
So you can probably guess what happened. Dave’s entry is pretty good so some of the other contestants started down-voting him like crazy. Dave’s friends and family have been incredibly supportive and based on the number of facebook likes and comments he’s been getting, I’m sure he’s gotten literally hundreds of real, 5-star votes. But instead of having a rock-solid, 5-star score, his rating has been going down and down and down. He’s now hovering around 2 1/2 stars. That means he’s probably received about 200 1-star votes in the last 10 days or so.
Dave has never entered a video contest before so he wasn’t prepared for such blatant, hardcore trolling. He and his wife have taken the down-voting really personally and he’s been kind of distraught for the last few days. He feels like if he could just make the top 10, he would have a serious shot at winning. (He absolutely would.)
So I contacted the judges and told them what was going on. They must have gotten a lot of complaints because today they sent out a message that basically said “hey people, knock off the trolling or get disqualified.” The effect was almost immediate. Dave’s score stopped going down and the top entries stopped changing positions every 5 minutes.
The judges actually took things one step further and said that the star system isn’t the only criteria they will use to determine the top 10. They will look at how many votes each video got in total. So Dave’s video (with 200 five-star votes and 200 one-star votes) would actually score much higher than a video with 20 five-star votes. They also said that views, comments and shares are also going to be VERY important. And fortunately, the sponsor actually has a great system in place to prevent fake comments. Whenever a comment is posted on a video, the creator of the video gets an email that says something like “Your entry has received the following comment _______, from email@example.com via IP address # 00000000.” So they are basically letting the contestants know that they are recording the IPs and email addresses of everyone who leaves a comment. So it would be very stupid for someone to leave a ton of positive comments on their own video. And that probably explains why three of the top four videos have less than 5 comments each.
So VCN readers, I’d like to ask you guys a favor. Dave will never be able to get a 4 or 5 star rating at this point but maybe he can still win the battle for comments and views. So if you have a moment to spare, please help Dave stick it to the trolls by watching and/or voting for his video. It would also be super, duper helpful if you could leave a nice comment or click the share button. Thanks in advance for the help. I’ll be sure to post the results of this contest when the judges make their final decisions.