Video Contest News Video Contest News – Featuring News about Video Contests!

Help me and my puppet pals win a jingle contest!

I’ve been really busy for the last 6 months so I haven’t been able to shoot many video contest entries.  But a few weeks ago I had some down time so I decided to look around and shoot an entry for the first contest that sounded fun.  I eventually decided on the Schwebels Bread theme song contest.  For this one, contestants were supposed to sing their own version of the company’s classic jingle.  I didn’t really want to sing on camera so I grabbed some puppets, set up my green screen and went nuts.

To my surprise, my video actually managed to make the finals.  I figured the judges might reject it because the video’s a little creepy.  It feels like something a psychotic 3rd grader would dream up while on acid.  I can’t embed the video so click this image if you’d like to witness the weirdness for yourself:

Click to view and vote

Click to view and vote

I now have a shot at winning $5,000 but to win I’ll need some votes.  So if you have 20 seconds to kill, I’d appreciate it if you could vote for my video.  If I win this contest, I promise to retire my puppet pals for good.  So never again will anyone have to witness my peculiar brand of ridiculous puppet-themed nonsense.  To vote for my video, head here:

http://schwebels.com/en/promotions/we-want-schwebels/Top10/We-All-Want-Schwebels.aspx

One vote would be great but if you’re feeling super generous you can vote every day until April 27th.  Thanks!!!

-

v1_update

Three reasons why you should always donate to your friends’ Kickstarter campaigns

If you’re a filmmaker you probably have a lot of friends that are also filmmakers.  And if you have a lot of friends that are filmmakers, you probably see a lot of kickstarter projects in your Facebook news feed.  I’m a big cheapskate but as a rule I try and donate to my friend’s projects whenever I can. Here are three reasons why you should do the same:

1.  It’s nice:  Running a Kickstarter can be stressful.  If it doesn’t go well the director might feel like their family and friends are ignoring them in their time of need.  Your donation (even if it’s only a few bucks) will mean a lot.  A lot of people will donate when a campaign is first launched or in the final hours before the deadline.  So I recommend that you make your donation in the middle of a campaign.  Your friend will probably be a little freaked out if a few days go by and they don”t get any donations.  So your $25 will help keep their spirits up.

2.  Wedding Reception Rules apply:  Imagine you go to a wedding reception and give the bride and groom $100.  Then a year later it’s your turn to get married.  Etiquette (and common sense) dictates that the other couple should at least match the gift that you gave them.  It’s an unspoken quid pro quo.  So if you ever plan on running a kickstarter of your own, you sure as hell better start funding your other people’s projects now.  As I said, I’m happy to donate to my friends’ campaigns.  But if see a Kickstarter that was launched by someone who has never backed any other projects, I’m not going to be sending that person a donation.  Remember, you should only try and raise money via kickstarter if you have a track record of donating money via kickstarter.

3.  Your risk is low:   Only 38% of Kickstarter projects actually reach their funding goal.  Your credit card only gets charged if a campaign is successful so there’s a good chance you’ll never have to donate real money.  If a project fails, the sponsor will be bummed but at least they’ll know that you care about their work.  And I guarantee that they’ll never forget you were ready and willing to help make their dream a reality. So it’s a nice, low-risk way to let someone know that you have their back.

As it happens, one of my old friends from film school is running a kickstarter right now and if this post has put you in a generous mood, maybe you should check out her plans and consider giving her a few bucks.  Maria wants to make a surreal short film about a “missed connection” from 1961.  The script is based on a true story that our old writing teacher once told her.  Here’s an expert of his story:
-

-
I think it’s going to be a cool little short.  I’m picturing a cross between Mad Men, This American Life and a Michel Gondry film.  For more info, head here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1985650904/intersection

-

v1_update

WebEx Meeting Challenge winners

Last fall I entered the WebEx meeting challenge but sadly, I didn’t win. It was one of the only contest entries I shot last year so I was realy hoping I’d win one of the top prizes.  Now that I’ve had a few months to get over the loss my video contest therapist thinks that I should finally admit defeat and post the winners of the contest.  And I gotta admit, the top two entries were actually pretty good and did deserve to win.  WebEx sells an app that lets people participate in video conferences.  So the sponsor asked contestants to explain where they would like to have a mobile meeting.  Here are the first and second place winners.  I can’t embed them so click on the images to watch them.  Video #1 won $15,000 and Video #2 won $5,000:

web1

-

web2

-

So there you go, there are the winners of the winners of the Web Ex Meeting challenge.  Are you happy Dr. Mueller!?!?  I did what you asked plus I returned your prescription pad so PLEASE drop the charges and let me back into group!  I still have a lot of Crash the Super Bowl-related issues I need to work though!

-

v1_update

Behold the 4K glory of Snapdragon’s Video Contest winners

I used to try and stay on top of the hot new video camera trends and releases but the future is just moving too fast for me to keep up with that stuff.  Did you know that people are running around shooting 4K videos with their freaking cell phones?  Well they are, thanks to companies like SnapDragon.  Snapdragon produces….um….something that helps filmakers convert their mobile devices into 4K capable video cameras.  I wish I could tell you how they pull of this mini-miracle but even though I poked around their website for like 5 minutes I still have no idea what SnapDragon actually sells.  Do they sell apps?  Or hardware?  Or lenses?  They might sell lenses.  I saw a picture of a cell phone with a big lens on it.   I’d love to start shooting 4K video with my cell phone but most of the jargon on the site was way over my head so I just gave up.  (If you want to try and figure it out, head here.)

I may not understand SnapDragon’s website but I do understand the video contest they just ran.  The company asked filmmakers to shoot cell phone videos in 4K using their special equipment and or apps and or software.  The prize money was huge and the winning videos look incredible.  Here are the #1 and #2 submissions:
-
$25,000 Grand Prize Winner: The Road Not Taken by Jennings Barmore


-
$10,000 Runner-Up: Onward by Andrew Garcia


-
I don’t know what kind of phone was used to shoot that first video but the runner-up was shot with a Galaxy S5.  You can buy one of those phones for like $350.  Isn’t that nuts?  Remember when a $900 Canon T2i seemed like a great deal?  I think I’m going to just forget about camera gear for a while and try and get back in the loop when GoPro starts selling 65mm 3D cameras at Walgreens.

-

v1_update

Vizy starts paying out Poptent’s missing prize money

Right now Poptent owes dozens of filmmakers tens of thousands of dollars in un-paid prize money.  And that’s a big problem because Poptent isn’t going to exist much longer; the company is about to merge with Userfarm to form a brand new crowdcourced video site named Vizy.  I detailed this problem in my most recent post and explained that Poptent personally still owes me $250.  (A pretty measly sum considering that some members claim that poptent owes them more than $5,000)  But just a few days after I published my story, a totally unrelated miracle occurred.  My Poptent “payment register” went from this…

250poptent

-

to this…

-

-

I’ve been waiting 107 days to get this payment but I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that a check was issued the same week that I (and a ton of other unhappy filmmakers) started publicly complaining about the delinquent payments.  (Some members actually contacted the companies that sponsored their Poptent assignments and asked for help securing their prizes.)  I don’t know if EVERYONE is finally getting their money but I’ve heard from some other filmmakers that have also been told that checks are in the mail.  But apparently those checks aren’t actually coming from Poptent….

-

-

I’m not really sure what this means but I guess it’s a good sign that the Poptent/Userfarm merger is official and complete.  One thing I do know is that this will probably be the only check I ever get from Vizy.  I’m really disappointed in the way the Poptent staff (now the Vizy staff) has been acting for the last few weeks.  I can understand that maybe some payments were delayed because of the merger but it was simply unprofessional for the company to ignore their members concerns and force filmmakers to start contacting the brands for help.  So I doubt I’ll ever use the new site or sign up for any of their contests.

-

v1_update

As Poptent winds down operations, dozens of anxious filmmakers are still waiting to get paid

-

-

Two months ago Poptent and Userfarm announced that in April they’re going to join forces and launch a new crowdsourced video company named Vizy.  While the architects of this plan are quick to call this move a “merger” it feels more like Userfarm (which seems to be in great shape) is absorbing Poptent (which seems to be in terrible shape).  Over the last few years, a string of unfair and ill-conceived strategies managed to chase away many of Poptent’s most talented filmmakers.  The brain-drain caused a drop in the quality and quantity of Poptent submissions and the drop in quality turned off potential clients.  Poptent’s decline was so precipitous that today the company’s most valuable asset isn’t a physical asset at all; it’s data.  The site claims to have a “community” of more than 70,000 members.  So if Poptent and Userfarm merge their user data, they can claim to be the “largest community of video professionals in the world.”  But of course that statement won’t exactly be accurate.  What Poptent has are 70,000 accounts, not members. The vast majority of those accounts were created by spammers or by people who logged in once or twice and then never returned to the site.  Based on Poptent’s public activity feed, I would estimate that the site has less than 1,000 real, active users.

But this is the 21st century and even crappy data has value.  Thanks to Poptent’s massive collection of usernames and e-mail addresses, the struggling company (and a select group of employees) will get to carry on inside of this new thing called Vizy.  But make no mistake; Poptent is going out of business.  The company won’t exist anymore and the website will probably be deactivated.  And these changes are already well underway.  Userfarm is still going strong and currently has NINE public assignments up and running.  But Poptent hasn’t launched a new public contest since October 2014.  On top of that, Poptent’s staff members have stopped responding to posts in the website’s public forum and all of the company’s social media pages have been turned into Vizy accounts.

But here is the most disturbing sign of Poptent’s impending demise; the company has almost completely stopped paying filmmakers their prize money.  Right now, dozens of members are waiting on tens of thousands of dollars (and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars) in checks from Poptent.  Take for example the case of the Poptent team Indian Head Pictures.  On October 29th, 2014, Poptent announced that their entry had won a $3,000 Brand Award in the Go Go Squeeze applesauce assignment:
.

-

-

.
Poptent used to send payments out within a few weeks but the guys from Indian Head Pictures have been waiting for their $3,000 for 146 days.  But those filmmakers should consider themselves lucky because other Poptent members are claiming that the company owes them well over $10,000.

As you can imagine, these folks are starting to get a little nervous.  The Poptent team is busy scrubbing the company’s name from every corner of the web and the site might be shut down at any moment.  I’ve talked to a few people who are still waiting on some pretty big payouts and the staff has either been ignoring them or stonewalling them.  These tactics are obviously unprofessional but they’re even more outrageous when you consider that the brands behind these contests have probably already paid Poptent the prize money.  The brand usually pays up front so for example, Go Go Squeeze has probably already given Poptent the $3,000 that is supposed to go to the guys at Indian Head Pictures.

So why would Poptent hold on to money that belongs to other people?  One Poptent member actually managed to get a response from a staff member and shared the info in the community forum.   The rep said that some payments have been delayed because of the merger but after the major players meet with the investors, the company will start sending out payments later this week.

I’m sorry to say this but I’m not sure I believe that.  The story just doesn’t make sense.  I suspect that Poptent might be holding on to payments because they’re worried that the merger might fall apart.  If that happened, Poptent would almost certainly have to shut down and declare bankruptcy.  In that scenario, filmmakers would be lucky to recover a fraction of what the company owes them.

So, what should you do if Poptent still owes you money?  Well, the first thing you should do is log into your “payment register” and take a screenshot. Like this:
.

Yes, Poptent owes me all of $250.

Yes, Poptent owes me all of $250.

.
You need to do this ASAP because if Poptent.net disappears tomorrow, your payment register will be gone for good.  After you get your screenshot, start e-mailing staff members and ask where the heck your money is.  SOme day you might need to prove that you actually tried to get your money.  If no one writes back, call the main office and ask someone to guarantee that you’re going to get paid by a certain date.  The company’s contact info is right here:  http://www.poptent.com/company/contact/

Good luck everybody.  Hope we all get what we’re owed.  I feel like I should mention that I did try to contact several Poptent staff members before I wrote this article but no one responded to my message.  I’ll post an update if I get a response or if I hear that payments are starting to go out.

-

v1_update
Designed by: Free Cell Phones | Thanks to Highest CD Rates, Domain Registration and Registry Software