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

Zooppa passes a milestone and things get really weird, really fast

Last week Zooppa announced that their community had just passed 300,000 members.  To celebrate, the company’s sales director smoked a bunch of crack, dressed up like a spartan, murdered a camera operator with a spear and went bananas in the office.

Personally I probably just would have ordered a cake or something.  But the banner thing is a good way to celebrate too, I guess.


Userfarm Jr. (AKA goes live, the offspring of Poptent and Userfarm is now live and the new company is already running several big video contests.  I poked around the site last night and I still can’t tell why this big merger was necessary.  Vizy is basically Userfarm with a new name and a slightly different design.  Just take a look at these screenshots and you’ll understand what I mean…


Userfarm 2013



Vizy 2015

The new Vizy banner looks like it was designed by someone on Poptent’s graphics team but other than that, this new site doesn’t really include any of Poptent’s style or features.  And that might be a problem for the new company because Vizy’s Euro-Centric theme will probably be a turn-off to a lot of American filmmakers.  Whenever I’m looking for a new contest to enter, I usually skim the listings at and stop whenever a big dollar amount catches my eye.  But I don’t have an automatic currency calculator in my head so I usually ignore contests that list their prizes in Euros.  And I hate to sound like a stuck up American but seeing all those little flags feels a little off-putting too.  American filmmakers have gotten used to entering contests that are open to US-residents only.  So it just seems like bad strategy to enter a contest that’s open to 600 Million people.

There’s really only one reason why Poptent and Userfarm merged to form Vizy; Poptent had tens of thousands of member-accounts and Userfarm wanted them.  But most of Poptent’s members are located in the US.  That means most of those people will have zero interest in creating video content for foreign markets.  (How is a guy in Indiana supposed to know what kind of ads will work in Italy or Spain)  So hopefully the folks at Vizy will realize this and create a special web portal just for their American members.  All they have to do is list prize amounts in good ole’ dollars, hide the contests that need videos in languages other than English and run the occasional project for a regional US sponsor (like the California board of Tourism) and Vizy will probably wind up being very popular with American filmmakers.


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:

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


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:


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:



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!


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.

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