Video Contest News - Part 2 Video Contest News – Featuring News about Video Contests!

The Chiquita video contest was bananas…..bananas. B.A.N.A.N.A.S. bananas.


Ok, the Chiquita video contest wasn’t really bananas.  I just thought the Gwen Stefani reference would make for a funny title.  Truth be told, this contest was actually 100% non-bananas.  It was just a nice, orderly, well-run competition.  What’s the least crazy fruit?  Apples maybe?  Well if so, this shit was totally apples…..apples. A.P.P.L.E.S. apples.

In all there were three categories:  Music Video, Sing-A-Long and Banana Gram.  The Banana Gram category was mostly for fun; a few people won $100 each for uploading a photo that was automatically added to an old Chiquita Banana commercial.  The big money in this contest was for the music video category.  First place was good for $5,000.  Here’s the grand prize winner:

Click the still to watch the video on the contest site

Click the still to watch the video on the contest site

That was easily one of the 40 best banana-themed videos I’ve ever seen.  And let’s be honest, it would have been a huge disappointment if the grand prize video DIDN’T include a coupla’ pants-less goofballs in banana costumes.

Head here to see the other winners in this contest.  Then head to the store and buy a bunch of bananas.  They’re super good for you, bro.  Plus they come with a free sticker!


MofilmPro goes public


Most video contest/spec commercial sites occasionally run semi-secret “pro” contests that aren’t exactly open to the public.  Companies love these pro contests because they’re guaranteed to get professional-looking videos.  But any mid-sized production company can deliver a decent web ad.  So I guess some sponsors go out of their way to hire video contest filmmakers because they also want their ads to have an organic, crowdsource-y feel to them.

Only the best and most successful members of sites like Mofilm, Tongal and Poptent ever get invited to participate in these contests.  But now Mofilm is experimenting with a public version of their Pro assignments.  Right now they’re accepting ideas from all members of the Mofilm community for a contest sponsored by Dove.  Here are the details:

At this stage we’re looking for great filmmakers with a great subject. We are not looking for detailed treatments, just the basic outline of your story.

Step 1) Download the brief and read it carefully.

Step 2) Submit your idea for a film via the submission form above before the deadline. You must include a picture of the planned subject of your film.  Don’t forget to include your showreel or previous MOFILM work.

After reviewing the submissions, Dove and MOFILM will select six to move into the second stage and develop into full, detailed treatments.  From these six treatments, three will be chosen to move forward into production and awarded the production budget of $20,000 to make their film. One of the three commissioned will also join MOFILM to celebrate at the LA event in November!

There is a $500 fee paid for those who complete a treatment, this will be included in the production budget for those treatments selected for production.

I’m not sure how much of that $20K the filmmaker gets to keep for himself.  And what happens if they don’t spend the entire budget?  If I was selected for this I’d probably pay my mom two grand to do craft services and then I’d pay all my friends $100 each to focus test my video.  And that right there is reason #23 and #24 why I never get selected for these types of contests.  Of course reason #1 is that I’m a my Mofilm track record suuucks.  I’ve entered maybe three or four mofilm contests over the years and I’ve never placed once. And I actually won production grants for some of those videos!  Actually, I think those grants are what really messed me up.  I’m used to shooting videos for like $80 so if someone gives me $1,500 my natural low-budget style gets all screwed up.  So anyway, I probably won’t apply for the Dove contest but you should because you’re awesome and I love you and goddammit I believe in you!

You can find the listing for the Dove contest (and I assume future MofilmPro contests) at the bottom of their Live Briefs page:


Blaze Pizza’s Fan Fest Video Contest Winner

Have you heard of Blaze Pizza?  It seems like they’re trying to do for pizza what Chipotle did for burritos.  And frankly that’s a noble and honorable pursuit. I looked at Blaze’s website and their pizzas looks pretty good.  But that’s like saying a sunset or a sunflower looks good.  All pizza looks good.  Well, except for those f-ing hot-dog-in-the crust abominations that Pizza Hut is selling now.  Just because you CAN put something inside a pizza crust doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  I mean I like donuts but I’m not going to take a pizza and…..oh my god…..a pizza with a donut crust!  Jesus Christ!  How has no one every though of that before!!?!?  The pizza would just be a regular pizza but the crust would be fried dough slathered in chocolate and sprinkles!  So you’d have your meal and dessert combined in one item. I think I’ll call them Pizza-nuts! Or maybe’Za-Doughs? It doesn’t matter. Whatever I call them I’m gonna be a millionaire….

But anyway, as I was saying, Blaze Pizza looks looks tasty and a lot less cheap and gross than Pizza Hut and or Dominos.  They launched a generic “explain why you love our product” contest back in the spring and they recently announced the winner.  Here’s it is:

Grand Prize Winner.  Prize:  $5,000:

If I had a dime for every time I’ve been to an all-night pizza party like that I’d have like 12 dimes.  And can I just say what everyone is thinking?  The people in that video were obviously baked out of their minds.  I mean seriously, do you know how high you have to be to put a slice of pizza in a DVD player?  The answer is “super.”  You need to be super high to do that.  Well congrats you crazy kids, 5K is gonna buy you a shit ton of Purple Kush and Fast-Casual, small chain Pizza.  If you’re in the Chicagoland area please invite me to your next party.  I’ll bring some Pizza-Nuts for dessert.


How to LinkedIn-stalk someone anonymously

Everybody hates LinkedIn right?  Man, I sure do.  LinkedIn sucks and it’s annoying and spammy and dumb and I don’t like it.  Every time I start a new project or website I create a new email address for that venture.  So every few days some rando will try and connect with me via the email address I created for the documentary or web series or short film I did x number of years ago.  Rather than just figure out how to unsuscribe from these alerts I usually just delete the email.  And that means 3 days later I’ll get a 2nd email saying “Hey Dan, Dingleberry Magoo’s invitation is waiting for a response!”

Blarg.  But anyway those messages aren’t even the worst thing about LinkedIn.  The worst thing about LinkedIn are the Visitor Alerts.  If you look at someone else’s profile, they get a little alert.  So if I look at my ex-boss’ page or my ex-girlfriend’s page or the page of someone I want to work with they’re going to know about it.

Fortunately there’s a way to browse LinkedIn anonymously but the company doesn’t really like to promote this option.  So if you meet some girl at a party and want to look at her LinkedIn page when you get home at 2AM, here’s what you need to do:

Step 1:  Click on your photo icon in the right hand corner of the screen and select the Privacy and Settings option.


Step 2:  Click on  the 4th link, Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.


Step 3:  Select the third option.


Now before you run off and start LinkedIn-stalking everyone you knew from High School, there are two important things you should know:

1.  THIS FEATURE WILL EVENTUALLY RESET ITSELF!  If you clear your cookies or even if you just let a few weeks go by, LinkedIn will forget your preference and your anonymous browsing will be turned off.  So you should check your privacy settings before you start browsing.

2.  Selecting this option will turn off the Visitor Alerts that you receive.  If you’re using LinkedIn anonymously then you don’t get to know who visited your page.

Happy browsing you weirdos!  And hey, if we’ve talked a few times or if we’ve met in real life, feel free to look me up on LinkedIn and send me an invite to connect.  I hear from so many strangers that it’s actually a nice little treat when I get to connect with someone I actually know.


Filmmakers will soon be able to monetize their Facebook videos

Most people used to post their videos to youtube and then use facebook to promote their work.  But now filmmakers and social media stars are cutting out the middleman and posting their viral efforts right to their facebook account.  The Likes and Views these videos generate help make their parent pages “stronger” and more popular.  For instance, here is a video that Russel Brand uploaded to Facebook.  (It’s a story about his phone being stolen and then returned while he was in India.)  The video has been Liked 34,796 times, it’s been shared 16,992 times and it’s been viewed 1,724,573 times.  If you sort your news feed by “top posts” then a video with stats like that will almost certainly appear at the top of your feed.  But Facebook’s algorithms will also reward Brand for all those likes, views and shares by boosting the exposure of his future posts.  Basically Facebook detects that Russel Brand’s content is popular so they automatically show more of Russel Brand’s stuff to more people.

Of course these views aren’t exactly true and genuine Views with a capital V.  As Antonin Scalia would say, there’s a little Jiggery-Pokery going on here.  Facebook Video exploded last year when the site enabled a new auto-play feature.  Even if you don’t click on Russel Brand’s video, it will start playing if you skim past it in your news feed.  So thanks to those Auto-Plays, Facebook now garners Four Billion video views a day.

Youtube passed the 4,000,000,000 views a day mark back in 2012 and now sees close to Eight Billion views a day.  But Four Billion views is still pretty incredible and a whole lot of content creators and celebrities have been waiting for the day when they could actually start making money from their facebook views.  Well that day is finally here…, sort of.  On July 1st, Facebook announced their preliminary plans for video monetization.  At first only a few select people or production companies like Funny or Die and Fox Sports will be invited to participate in the program.  And if things go well, eventually you and me and your Grandma Rose will be able to enable ads on our Facebook videos.  Facebook’s terms will be the same as youtube’s; 55% or revenue will go to the creator and 45% will go to the site.

Head to or more details (and an explainer video):

v1_update goes offline

RIP Poptent: 2007 - 2015

RIP Poptent: 2007 – 2015

I used to have a lot of love for Poptent.  That site basically saved my ass a few years ago.  Back in 2008 I was working for an AV company when the economy suddenly crashed and burned.   Most of our clients were big banks and credit card companies and by the fall most of them were in freefall.  By the spring of 2009, I (and about 30 other AV techs in Chicago) were out out of work.  My company had laid off guys who had 20 years of experience so I knew there was no way in the world I’d be able to get a new AV job any time soon.  So after a few months on unemployment I started entering every big video contest I could find.  Eventually I discovered Poptent and compared to the crappy contests that most companies ran on their own, the Poptent contests were actually fun and fair.  I think I made about $10,000 during my first 9 months on Poptent.  Here’s one of my winning videos from 2009.  I won $3,500 for this Coors Light ad remix:


Now as you might have noticed, I uploaded that Coors Light video to my personal youtube account.  That used to be against Popetent’s rules and Terms of Service but there’s no need for me to worry about getting my Poptent account suspended because my Poptent account doesn’t exist anymore.  And guess what?  Neither does yours.  Last Thursday (and their PR site quietly went offline.

Everyone saw this coming but I was a little surprised that the site just blinked out of existence.  An official heads up would have been nice.  I think it was really sloppy and disrespectful that the staff didn’t at least send out an email to let their members know this was going to happen.  As I said, Poptent didn’t let filmmakers upload Poptent videos to third-party sites like Youtube or Vimeo.  Poptent videos were supposed to stay on Poptent.  So I’m sure a lot of filmmakers lost a lot of their work when the site went down.  I just checked my personal website and all of the Poptent videos I embedded there have been replaced with a 503 Service Unavailable message.

But a few thousand missing videos is nothing compared to a five hundred thousand missing dollars….and that’s allegedly how much Poptent still owes some of their members and employees.  It sounds like someone has started to send out partial payments to some of Poptent’s recent prize-winners.  If Poptent owes you money, please let me know if you’ve gotten a check recently.  You can leave a comment below or you can email me at

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