Tongal’s Rock Stars converge in LA for the 4th annual Tongies!

Last week I awoke from my winter hibernation to travel to LA for Tongal’s annual award ceremony, the Tongies.  I always have fun at the Tongies but the team really knocked it out of the park this year.  The theme for 2017 was “Rock n’ Roll” and the nominees and guests really did get the full-on, rock star treatment.  We out-of-towners got to stay at the W hotel in Hollywood which was obviously very amazing.  But the hotel happened to be about 200 yards from the awards show venue so everyone was able to walk there in like 5 minutes.  And let me tell you something, if you ever want to feel like an actual rock star, I recommend you walk out of the W hotel and then head down Hollywood Boulevard in a tuxedo.  Everyone does a double-take as you walk by.  You can see from their faces that they’re thinking “ok, that’s got to be somebody, right?”

One of the great things about The Tongies is that the festivities are actually spread over two days.  My girlfriend, Carla, and I arrived in LA on Wednesday afternoon.  Then we went straight to The Grove to have tacos with a friend at a place named Loteria Grill (try the red snapper tacos!)  On the way out we saw Guy Fieri filming a cooking segment at an outdoor restaurant that was not a Drive-In, a Diner, or a Dive.  Then on the Lyft ride back to the W, Doug Benson walked right past our car at a red light.  Carla yelled some excited gibberish at him and he smiled and patiently listed to her gush about DLM.

On Wednesday night we were treated to a super-fab welcome party in Santa Monica.  Here are a few pics:

That’s me and my ladyfriend in her rock-STAR outfit.

I know it might seem weird that I took a picture of purple macaroons but those were some damn good macaroons.  And I’m a macaroon expert so I know what I’m talking about.  Seriously, we actually had lunch at the Grove just so we could stop at a popular macaroon shop.  (The ones at the welcome party were way better and not just because they didn’t cost $3 each.)

The next day we took it easy and explored West Hollywood.  (I found so much free drug paraphernalia!)  Even though the Tongies were happening 5 minutes away from the hotel, Carla and I were still about 20 minutes late.  So no one was there to scream for us as we walked down the red carpet.  But we still had plenty of time to drink and eat and drink and chit-chat and drink.  As we were sitting at our table I looked over towards the bar and saw a big, happy, familiar face.  It was Dan fucking Aykroyd; my goddamn comedy hero.  He was wearing a tuxedo and chatting up the girl manning the ice sculpture/shot luge like he owned the place.  I assumed he was an invited guest but it turns out, he wasn’t.  The Tongal top brass went and introduced themselves and polity asked what the heck he was doing there.  D.A. said that he actually DID own a piece of the place and he had noticed that Tongal had booked the space for three years in a row.  I guess he looked up the company and liked what he read because he decided to stop by and show his support.  He even asked if he could say a few words to the crowd.  When Mr. A got on stage, he gave a genuinely exciting speech about filmmaking and the need to respect creatives.  (He also plugged his Skull Head vodka but I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t.)

The non-Aykroyd events that night were also pretty fun and exciting.  The show opened with a totally bananas contortionist act and ended with a performance by pretty much the best Led Zeppelin tribute band in the country.  In between there were lots and lots of awards.  As always, the videos that won Tongies were all brilliant and/or beautiful and/or funny.  You can watch all the winning entries here:

And now for more pictures!

So as you can see, a wonderful time was had by all.  As always I had a I’d like to thank all the amazing people at Tongal who made this whole thing possible.  (They know who they are!)  You are now and forever shall be my favorite online crowd-sourced video platform.  Rock on my friends….rock on.

See you in 2017 – although probably a lot less

I think we can all agree that 2016 sucked nuts and that we’re all happy that it’s over.  But on a personal level, 2016 was one of the best years of my life.  I was crazy busy this year and some of you may have noticed that I’ve been blogging a lot less.  Well, I hate to say it but I think the time has come for me to retire (or at least mostly retire) from VCN.  I started this site back in September of 2009 and I feel like 7 years is a pretty respectable lifespan for a goofy wordpress blog.  Right now I have no plans to shut down the site so it should still be here for a few more years.  But as of January 1, you won’t see many new articles from me.  I might blog every once in a while if I get really worked up about something but those posts will be few and far between.

If you’re a long-time reader of Video Contest News, I’d like to thank you for your time and interest.  (Even tough I’m retiring from this site, I’m going to continue entering video contests.  So you never know, you might wind up competing against me some time.)  I’d also like to thank all the companies that have sponsored VCN over the years, especially Tongal and Mofilm.  Both of those websites are incredibly awesome and their staffs really understand filmmakers and their needs.

One final thought; I wouldn’t mind passing this blog along to some other video contest addict.  So if anyone out there is interested in taking over VCN, let me know!

Good luck and happy new year to all!

-Dan L.


A bored Grandma used her square hair-do to set a Doritos world record

As you guys have probably noticed, Frito-Lay isn’t running the Crash the Super Bowl contest this year.  Instead they’ve been asking fans to set chip-related records as part of their “Doritos Bold 50” celebration.  Most of the winning videos are pretty boring (make the world’s tallest house of cards with Doritos!) but I finally found one that’s worth watching.  On November 15th, someone named “Marie” won $1,000 and set a new record for “Most Doritos Bags Stacked on Head at One Time.”  With the help of some guy (probably her grandson) she managed to balance 15 bags on her her head at once.  It seems pretty obvious that the guy in the video was the mastermind of this whole thing.  The woman is clearly not enjoying herself as she sets her record……

Maybe she was just meditating to keep her body still but that lady looked pissed and/or bored AF.  But good for her for agreeing to help out the mystery bag-stacker.  And good for the guy for realizing that the lady’s hair would make a perfect shelf for a giant stack of chips!

There are still a few weeks left in 2016 and Doritos will probably run a few new record contests before the end of the year.  So if you think you can do the most push-ups while eating Doritos, visit to claim your prize.

The 2016 Chicago SantaCon is on for December 3rd!


If you’ll indulge me for a moment, I have some personal business to discus.  I’ve been to the Chicago SantaCon maybe 5 or 6 times over the past 10 years but this year I’m helping to promote the event.  So, if you live in the Chicagoland area and you enjoy Christmas, beer, dressing up like Santa Claus, having fun, walking around in the cold, caroling, beer, making merry and beer, you may want to check out this year’s SantaCon.  If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, Santa Con is basically a big Chrismasy bar crawl.  They happen all over the world but it seems like Chicago does one of the best ones.  It’s not as sloppy and stupid as the one in New York but it’s also not as tame as some of the Santa Cons that happen in other cities.  I think it’s just the right level of ridiculous.  The word is that some guy is running a second Santa Con in a different part of the city but ours is the real deal.  It’s the original Chicago Santa Con and it’s been around since 2005.

The 2016 schedule has just been released.  Here it is:

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016:

Noon to 1:00PM – Congress Plaza Hotel Bar.  520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL.

1:00 to 1:15PM – Steps of the Art Institute for photos and caroling.

1:15 to 2:30PM – Beef and Brandy and The Bar Below.  127 S State Street.

2:30 to 3:30PM – Santa takeover at The Bean/Cloud Gate at Millennium Park

3:30 to 4:30PM – Bar Louie – River North.  333 N. Dearborn Street.

4:30 to 6:00PM – Adelines (Formerly Celtic Crossings). 751 North Clark Street.

6:00 to 8:00PM – Brehon Pub 731 N Wells St # 1

8:00 and beyond – General Shennanigas

If any VCN actually want to go this year, let me know and I’ll buy you a drink!