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

Doritos announces their picks for the 2016 Crash the Super Bowl finals!


D-Day is finally here!  This afternoon Doritos revealed which three Crash the Super Bowl entries will be advancing to the finals.  These three ads were selected from a pool of 50 semi-finalists that were announced in December.  Last fall Frito-Lay received more than 4,500 submissions so a director’s chances of making the finals were 1 in 1,500.  Here are the 3 ads that made the cut.  Overall all I think these ads are solid picks and they range from “good” to “really good.”

Doritos Dogs

Creator:  Jacob Chase from Los Angeles, CA
Budget:  $1,000

Every year I try and predict which entries will make the finals and this time around the only pick I got right was Doritos Dogs.  It’s a cute, fun entry that is just a perfect fit for the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  The image of the giant dog-man is really incredible.  I’ve watched this entry a a few times and it does get a little boring after repeat viewings.  But FritoLay could easily cut this commercial down to 15 seconds.  I think this entry is going to win the online vote by a landslide and a 15-second cutdown of Doritos Dogs will probably run on TV for months. VCN’S GRADE:  A-


Creator:  Peter Carstairs from Melbourne, Australia
Budget:  $2,000

Maybe it’s just me but I think this ad is freaking creepy!  It’s also funny and based on a good idea but something just feels sort of wrong here.  Some bouncy background music probably would have helped lighten the tone a little.  To be honest, I’m shocked that this entry made the Top 3.  I’m not really sure that CBS will want to air Ultrasound during the PG-rated Super Bowl.  Some uptight parents might get upset if their young kids learn about the mechanics of childbirth during a football game.  Plus some viewers might get freaked out by the punchline; the mental image of a baby shooting out of a woman’s vagina is kinda terrifying.  (at least the Doctor mentions that the baby is only a few days away from being born).  I’d really like to know if the network has pre-approved this ad.  If they haven’t, maybe the judges picked this one because they know it will be rejected.  If the winning entry can’t air during the Super Bowl, I assume the ad that came in 2nd will be named the as the winner.  So when the judges picked Ultrasound they may have secretly been staking the deck in favor of one of the other finalists.  VCN’S GRADE:  B-

Swipe For Doritos

Creator:  David Rudy from Los Angeles, CA
Budget:  $4,500

This is a cool ad and I think people will really like the visual effects.  But I’ve always been put-off by big-budget Crash the Super Bowl entries.  This contest is supposed to be about helping an outsider “crash” into the industry.  The creator of this ad apparently owns a talent agency and I’m guessing that most of the women in this commercial are his clients.  The most recognizable face is of course Doris Roberts from Everybody Loves Raymond.  But the other women all have serious resumes too.  (you may recognize the “I’d sneak out for you” girl from Parks and Recreation and the mom from Wet Hot American Summer.)  Casting recognizable actresses in this ad seemed unnecessary.  It feels like the director was sort of showing off.  I thought Frito-Lay created this contest to see what kind of ads the “average joes” out there in middle American could make.  But if you can spend $4,500 on your entry and if you can get a 5-time Emmy winner to do a favor for you then you don’t really need any help breaking into the industry.  Having said all that, I do think that this is a good commercial.  I just wish the judges hadn’t picked it because it goes against the crowdsoucing premise of the competition.  VCN’S GRADE: B

Voting in the CTSB contest is now underway and will last the rest of the month.  The ad that gets the most votes by January 31st will air during the Super Bowl and the creator will receive a million dollars plus a chance to work with the director Zach Snyder.  The two runners-up will each win $100,000.  Everyone is allowed to vote once a day (per device).  You’ll need to register before you can vote but you can automatically sign up with your facebook, twitter or Google + accounts.  If you’d like to vote, head here:


Teenager’s homemade physics video wins $400,000

America leads the world when it comes to scientific research but right now we’re falling behind in one key area; we desperately need more fun and friendly, media-savvy scientists that are good on TV.  Obviously we do have some great heavyhitters on our roster; Neil Degrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins and Bill Nye. But beyond them our bench is kinda thin.  Basically we’ve just got Michio Kaku (you’d know him if you saw him) and an endless parade of reps from NASA.

Now more than ever, American talk shows need wise talking-heads to explain complex issues like climate change, GMOs, and space travel to the Dorito-munchers out there in TV land.  Fortunately, the Breakthrough Prize committee and that dude who created that Kahn Academy thing are already on the lookout for the next generation of TV scientists.  According to the contest site, “The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is an annual challenge that invites students, ages 13-18, to share their passion for math and science with the world.” The sponsors put up hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes and students submitted more than 2,000 entries.

The grand prize was awarded to a 17-year old high school kid from Ohio named Ryan Chester.  Ryan shot a video about Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity in his backyard and wound up winning more than $400,000 in prizes.  He’s getting $250,000 in scholarships plus $50,000 for his AP physics teacher and $100,000 for his school’s science lab.  His video’s quite good and it actually taught me a few things about popcorn and relative motion.  If this kid can get some better graphics he might just be the perfect host for the 2024 re-re-reboot of Cosmos.


Which 3 entries will make the 2016 Crash the Super Bowl finals?

Frito-Lay usually notifies the Crash the Super Bowl finalists on or around December 21st but I remember one year when they called the winners on Christmas Eve.  I have a feeling that the Top 3 filmmakers have already been notified but if you made the top 50 you should still leave your phone on tomorrow.

The Top 3 ads won’t be reveaked until January 4th but I thought now would be a good time for me to make my annual CTSB predictions.  Here are the three entries that I think will make the 2016 Crash the Super Bowl finals.  I think all of these videos are great but I didn’t pick these ads because they’re my favorites.  These are the 3 entries that I think the judges will like the most.  Here they are in no particular order:

I Don’t Think That’s a Leaf Blower by Stefano Pennisi (USA):

No Dogs Allowed by Jacob Chase (USA):

Paranormal Snacktivity by Logan Paul (USA):

I picked these three ads for several reasons:

  1.  The production values are excellent and they all look like “real” TV commercials.
  2.  These ads fit the style of humor that the judges usually like.
  3.  The judges usually like ads with lots of action and very little dialogue.
  4. The sponsor wants their Super Bowl commercial to be re-watchable and all of these ads will stay funny after multiple viewings.
  5.  These videos are all buzzworthy.  The judges like ads that will get a lot of social media shares.  I think a lot of people would share these commercials on facebook and twitter the day after the game.

Crash the Super Bowl finalists are always sworn to secrecy but non-winning semi-finalists can probably talk about their status.  So if you made the top 50 but did NOT get a call from Doritos, maybe you could leave a comment and let us know.


Cheating pays off in the Flonsase #FALLOFFAME Photo & Video contest winners

It’s already mid-December but for most of us the US it’s starting to look a lot like fall again.  This weekend the sky was blue and the air was just slightly on the cool side.  Since Autum is apparently going to stick around for a few more weeks I might as well post the winners of Flonase’s “Fall of Fame” photo and video contest.  This particular contest had a simple, fun premise; people were supposed to share photos and videos of their pets having fall-themed fun (that’s only possible because Flonase helps combat fall allergies).  I was going to shoot an entry with my super cool cat but I never got around too it.  Now I’m glad I didn’t waste my time because after the judges picked a slate of finalists the contest devolved into a giant cheat-a-thon.  I was so shocked by the voting that I actually took a screen shot….


Some contestants were somehow able to get thousands and thousands of facebook votes in just a few days.  One video had 5,200 votes!  If that contestant was buying 50 votes at a time from a site like Fivver, those 5,200 votes would have cost them $520!  That’s freaking insane.  I can understand why people might buy some votes to pad their scores but it would take real balls to run up the scoreboard like that.  It seems like you’re just begging to get disqualified.  And the grand prize was only $7,500 so it feels like the whole ordeal is a a stupid waste of time and money.  But in the end, the (alleged) big gamble paid off.  The video with 5.2K votes got up to 5.6K votes by the time voting ended and the judges gave them the grand prize.  Here’s the winning video:

#FallofFame Grand Prize Winner.  Prize:  $7,500:

If you check out the youtube stats for this video you’ll see that it only about 900 views which means 4,700 “people” voted for this video without ever watching it.

So what’s the lesson here?  I guess it depends on your attitude.  One lesson may be that if you’re going to cheat, you might as well go for the blowout because the judges probably won’t bother to verify your votes.  But I think the more practical lesson is this; you probably shouldn’t waste your time on contests that let Facebook votes determine the winners.

PLEASE NOTE:  I do not have any concrete evidence that anyone in this contest actually violated the official rules.  It is certainly possible that the winner is an Internet celebrity with millions of fans.  Or maybe 5,600 random strangers watched all the entries and independently voted for the same video.




Doritos announced 50 (surprisingly decent!) Crash the Super Bowl Semi-Finalists

Doritos-semi-finalistsThis year Doritos received more than 4,500 entries for the Crash the Super Bowl contest and on December 1st the judges over at Frito-Lay whittled that number down to 50 Semi-Finalists.  50 may seem like a big number and it is; last year there were only 25 semi-finalists.  But since this is the final CTSB contest and since 2016 marks the company’s 50th anniversary the sponsors decided to go big and pick 50 ads for the next round of judging.  In January, the judges will pick just 3 finalists and then a few weeks of public voting will commence.  The ad that gets the most votes will win a million bucks and air during the Super Bowl.  The other two finalists will each receive $100,000.  The 47 Semi-Finalists who don’t make the Top 3 will receive $2,000 a piece.

I’ve watched all 50 Semi-Finalists and I’m very impressed with the judges picks this year.  Last year’s slate of Semi-Finalists included some real clunkers.  It seemed like the judges intentionally some gross or sexy ads because they wanted to milk some extra views from videos that had no chance of making the finals.  But this time around it seems like the judges really wanted to target millennials.  A lot of the entries feature the quick cuts and tongue-in-cheek absurdist humor that you’ll see in a lot of popular Vines or Youtube videos.  Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.  Over the last few years I’ve seen at least a dozen entries that used the title “Paranormal Snacktivity” but this is the first one that actually made me laugh:

I thought that was pretty great.  In any other year I would say this entry was a shoo-in for the finals.  But I think at least 40% of the Semi-Finalists are good enough to make it to the Top 3.  Here are a few other entries that I really enjoyed.  The first one is probably my favorite….

I went though all the semi-finalists and I jotted down some raw data.  Here are some random factoids:

  • 45 of 50 semi-finalists are men
  • 5 of 50 semi-finalists are women
  • 41 of 50 semi-finalists are from the USA
  • 9 of 50 semi-finalists are from other countries
  • 4 semi-finalists are from Australia
  • Israel, Canada, Romania, Denmark and the Netherlands each had one semi-finalist.

One more fun fact:  As far as I can tell, only ONE past finalist made it to the semi-finals this year.  The one repeater I spotted is Jonathan Friedman.  In 2012 his Doritos ad Man’s Best Friend aired during the Super Bowl and won the million dollar grand prize.  Usually I’m kind of critical of past winners who enter the contest again but since this is the final Crash I figure all bets are off.  Plus this director happened to make my favorite ad in the Top 50 (the one with the guy who faints when he sees Doritos.)  I’m sure some other past finalists made the cut so if anyone recognizes any names, please let me know.

This year it’s going to tough to predict which ads will make the finals but I’ll post my picks for the Top 3 later this month.  Feel free to share your own thoughts about the semi-finalists in the comment section below!


A sneak peek at Mofilm’s new LA studio


Later this week Mofilm will be opening a brand new production studio and event space in Los Angeles.  The company plans to host parties and screenings and other special events in the space and Mo-filmmakers will have access to the studio’s production facilitates.  The studio is an amazing idea and I think Mofilm’s members will be lining up to shoot there.  Anyone familiar with the Mofilm model knows that they give out hundreds of production grants every year.  These grants are incredibly helpful but after you pay a cast and crew and rent gear and budget for costumes and props and lunch there’s usually not much money left over for a location rental.  But thanks to this new studio, Mofilm’s west coast members will have have a big, beautiful professional studio at their disposal.  Filmmakers can even use the location to hold production meetings or casting sessions.  Here’s some more info from Mofilm:

The MOFILM LA Studio has been specifically created to provide our community with free production, casting, screening, learning and event facilities. So if you are looking for an easy-going creative space to work from and execute your projects then look no further!

Facilities include High speed wifi, private casting and meeting space, open café and soft seating area, fully stocked kitchen/bar, production studio, Bluescreen facilities, free valet parking, access to the MOLA crew, and a state-of-the-art movie theater space for screenings.

The studio’s grand opening is happening in Thursday night.  If you’re a Mofilm member and you want to go, you MAY be able to get an invite to the party.  The first step would be to join the studio’s facebook page:  Once you’re approved you’ll see more info about the grand opening.  But if you’re like me and you can’t make it to the party, these photos will give you a nice sneak peek inside the space:












For more info and booking details, head here:

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