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

5-Hour Energy’s Yummification winners

I didn’t have much time for video contests this summer so I only entered two; the Tripdavisor 15 Seconds of Fame contest and the 5-Hour Energy Yummification contest.   I’m still waiting on the Tripadvisor results but last week I found out I didn’t win anything in the Yummification contest.  I’ll never buy a 5-Hour Energy shot again!!  Oh, I’m not upset about losing.  It’s just a scary product.  I drank half of one while working on my submission and my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest.

Even though my video didn’t make the cut, the sponsors did manage to pick some decent winners.  I watched a lot of entries and as soon as I saw this one I knew it would take home the grand prize.  If you’re unfamiliar with this contest, contestants had to come up with a recipe that included a 5 Hour Energy shot and then explain that recipe on camera.

First Place Winner.  PRIZE:  $50,000:

And here are the second and third prize winners.  As you’ll see, both of them feature cocky guys who are walking and talking to the camera in several extended, unbroken shots while periodically doing cool things.  I’m guessing that these guys (and a lot of other video contest filmmakers) were inspired by the super-viral Dollar Shave Club Promo.

Second Place Winner.  PRIZE:  $30,000:

Third Place Winner.  PRIZE:  $10,000:

Ten runner-up videos will receive $1,000 each.  You can watch them here.



2014 Crash the Super Bowl finalist Chris Capel makes the Project Greenlight finals


“Living with Jigsaw” by Chris Capel

Hardcore Crash the Super Bowl fans will remember the 2013-2014 finalist ad, Office Thief which featured a cheese dust-covered employee who may or may not have been stealing his co-worker’s Doritos.  Well the director of that ad, Chris Capel is really on a roll because his new short film, “Living with Jigsaw” just made the Project Greenlight finals.  Here now is a quick Q&A I did with Chris about Doritos, Project Greenlight and his new roommate, JigSaw.

VCN: So first things first, how did making the CTSB finals affect your life?

CC: It was pretty amazing. I got my first few paid directing gigs from the exposure, so it definitely started me on that path.

VCN: What inspired you to try out for Project Green Light?

CC:  I watched the third season back when it was on and seeing into the filmmaking process was incredibly exciting. Once they announced the new season I knew we had to enter.

VCN: Where did you get the idea for your short?

CC:  My writing partner Richard Price and I originally came up with a comedy short called, “Living With A Merman”. It’s a similar premise to Jigsaw, just with a merman instead. Since then we’ve come up with several other “Living With” scenarios and we want to eventually turn it into a digital series.

VCN: What was production like?

CC.  We shot it on a panasonic hpx170 with a Redrock 35mm adapter. It was a one-day shoot. This was the first time we worked with an actual DP. John Hafner and his crew were pretty amazing. Totally on the ball and we got a lot shot in one day. It was refreshing to get a glimpse of what it’s like to work on a real set.

VCN: How did you find out that you made the finals?

CC:  We received an email from the staff at PGL shortly after they announced the finalists on Facebook. I saw the facebook post first and just about peed my pants. Needless to say it was incredibly exciting.

VCN: What needs to happen for you to win a slot on the show?

CC:  So from the top 20 they narrow it down to 10. One of the top ten is determined by who gets the most votes via facebook. The other 9 are chosen by a panel of experts from the show/industry. From there we make a short interpretation of a script they will be providing and the winner is chosen after that.

If you’d like to vote for Chris’ short, head to and click on “Living with Jigsaw.”  Voting is done via a facebook app but be aware, you can only click the vote button after the entire video has played.  (That’s actually a very clever way to prevent cheating  I bet Ben Affleck came up with that feature himself.)  Fortunately Chris’ film is very watch-able so you won’t have any problem making it all the way to the end.  Seriously….you should check it out.  I literally lol’ed out loud like 5 times.



How much should you spend on your 2015 Crash the Super Bowl entry?

The 8th installment of Doritos’ annual Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest is now officially open and accepting submissions.  But you don’t need to run out and film your ad this weekend.  The deadline is still 54 days away.  That means there are eight saturdays and 8 sundays between now and 11:59PM CT on November 9th.  There are no advantages to being the first person to submit an entry; in fact, it seems like most of the winners submit their videos at the last minute.  So if you’re planning to enter the contest this year you should slow down and take a few weeks to carefully plan your production.

After you come up with an idea you’ll need to decide what your budget is going to be.  When you do, keep in mind that the goal here is to create a commercial good enough to air on TV.  The reality of the Crash the Super Bowl contest is that most of the “fan-made” ads that reach the finals were created by professional or semi-professional producers, directors, cinematographers and editors.  Every once in a while a true low-budget filmmaker will make it to the SuperBowl.  For example in 2012, “Man’s Best Friend” made the CTSB finals, won the online vote, aired during the super bowl and won the one million dollar USA Today Ad Meter bonus despite the fact that it only cost $20 to produce:


Unfortunately, this is a better example of the type of video that typically makes the finals:


Sling Baby” made the top five the same year as Man’s Best Friend.  A few days after the Super Bowl, the ad won an online poll (that looked rather easy to manipulate) so it also earned a Million Dollar bonus.  As you can probably tell, this was no “amateur” production.  It was created by a team of professional filmmakers in LA and cost $2,700 to produce.  Here’s a full crew list that I pulled from the old “Vote For Sling Baby” website:

DIRECTOR – Kevin T. Willson
EXEC. PRODUCER – Jeff Edwards
PRODUCER – Jason Dennis
WRITERS – Kevin T. Willson, Grant Nieporte, Sean Gaffney, Kevin Chesley
1ST AD – Heather Chalecki
2ND AD – Andy Peters
DP – Bernard Evans
1st AC – Jacqueline Stahl
1st AC – Trevor Smith
2nd AC – Dustin Miller
MEDIA MANAGER – Shane Sorenson
GAFFER – Edwin Kim
KEY GRIP – Becky Train
GRIP/ELECTRIC – Jay Castillo
GRIP/ELECTRIC – John Christensen
GRIP/ELECTRIC – Armando Crespo
ART DIRECTOR – Jalisco Wayne
SOUND MIXER – Matt Burgette
WARDROBE – Kristina Van Dyk
P.A./BTS – Tory Nelson
P.A. – Patrick Phillips
BTS – – David Reynosa
EDITOR – Bob Perkins
VFX – Justin Folk
SOUND DESIGN – Bob Perkins, Justin Folk
COLOR CORRECTION – Blacklist Productions
SOCIAL MEDIA – Nate Daniels

Frito-Lay will probably receive around 5,000 submissions to the CTSB contest but I’m guessing only a handful will have one Production Assistant on their crew list, let alone two.  The marketing team behind The Crash enthusiastically push the idea that any “average joe” with a funny idea can win this contest.  But 9 years of history show us that this just isn’t the case.  Even the guy who shot “Man’s Best Friend” for $20 was a professional filmmaker who already owned all the equipment he needed to produce his ad.  And if you think that $2,700 is a lot of money to spend on a video contest entry, I have some bad news for you; Sling Baby‘s budget was actually kind of small.  The director of that ad, Kevin Willson has managed to make the finals 4 times now and some of his other entries cost upwards of $5,000.  (Including the 2014 runner-up, “Cowboy Kid.“)

When Doritos announces their picks for the finals in January they usually distribute an electronic press kit to the media that includes the budget for all the selected submissions.  Here now are the five 2014 finalists and how much each ad cost to create:

TIME MACHINE. Budget: $300:

OFFICE THIEF. Budget: $1,500-2,000:

Breakroom Ostrich. Budget: $1,700:


COWBOY KID. Budget: $5,000:

FINGER CLEANER. Budget: $7,000 (U.S.):


Even though Time Machine was the cheapest finalist of the bunch, it went on to win the million dollar grand prize.   However, that $300 price tag is a little misleading.  The director shot Time Machine with a 2.5K Black Magic Cinema Camera and two Rokinon Cinema Prime lenses.  That’s a very pricey set-up but it helped his “low budget” commercial look good enough to air on HD TVs all around the world.

Does this mean that only well-equipped, well-connected, properly-financed filmmakers have a shot an making the CTSB finals?  Well, I hate to say it but yeah….it pretty much does mean that.  The Super Bowl is the biggest TV event of the year.  Doritos isn’t going to pay three million dollars to run a 30-second ad that doesn’t look and sound professional.  It hasn’t happened in 9 years and it’s not going to happen in 2015.  That means that if you want to win this contest you’re going to need two things; a great idea AND the resources necessary to create a good-looking TV commercial.



Shocking News! Project ED wants you to create a video about Ben Franklin!


Why so serious, Ben?

Let’s cut to the chase:  Benjamin Franklin was dope as sh*t.  He is honestly and sincerely my hero.  He was brilliant and hilarious and imaginative and resourceful and brave.  He loved freedom, beer, women and partying.  Even after 237 years, Franklin still stands as the quintessential “American.”  And you know what else he was?  Benjamin Franklin was a borderline-mad scientist.  We all learned about his inventions when we were in grade school; the potbelly stove, bifocals, swim fins and the lighting rod.  But did you know that Ben Franklin also “discovered” static electricity??  Obviously people had been getting shocked by static charges since the beginning of human history but Franklin was the first person to figure out what was causing these little zaps of “Electric Fire.”  His theories and discoveries changed the way scientists thought about electricity and in a sense, his work helped create the modern wired world we all live in today.

Project ED is celebrating B-Frank’s amazing achievements with the “Ben Franklin and the Electric Fire video contest.”  Students and filmmakers are being ask to…

…explain what’s happening when we experience static electricity, and how important Ben Franklin’s breakthroughs were in understanding it. In a video that is no longer than 90 seconds you must:

– Demonstrate a discharge of static electricity by one person shocking another.

– Use the interaction to expose the definition of static electricity and demonstrate how static charges are built up.

– Tell us how Ben Franklin discovered how static electricity works

One “adult” will win $1,000 plus one student will also win $1,000.  There are some $200 runner up/viewer’s choice prizes too.  Project ED just extended the deadline on this contest so you have until October 6th to shoot and submit your entries.  Good luck and make Big Ben proud!



The Crash is Back! Doritos reveals their plans for the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest

My dream job?  Eating Doritos.

My dream job? Eating Doritos.

Doritos has finally confirmed that the Crash the Super Bowl contest will be back for 2015, and instead of “going global,” this year the contest will be going “Universal”  The winning filmmaker will receive a million dollars plus they’ll get a year-long “dream job” at Universal studios.  Here’s FritoLay’s official announcement video:

The Crash the Super Bowl site is now live and the official rules have been posted.  (  Here are some of the highlights:

–  FritoLay will begin accepting entries on September 12th, 2014.

–  The deadline is November 9th, 2014.

–  The contest will be semi-global again this year.  You can enter if you live in any of these countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and The United States of Awesome.

–  All entries must be uploaded and submitted via youtube.

–  This year the CTSB judges will pick and publish 30 semi-finalists in late November.  Every semi-finalist (that doesn’t go on to win a bigger prize) will win $1,000.

–  On January 5th, 2015, FritoLay will announce UP TO 10 FINALISTS.  (Rather than the usual 5!)  All 10 finalists will get to go to the Super Bowl and 8 of the 10 finalists will receive $25,000 each.

–  The “First Place winner ” will be selected by a panel of judges from FritoLay.  The winning filmmaker will receive $50,000 and their commercial MAY air during the Super Bowl.

–  The “Grand Prize Winner” will be determined by a public vote.  The winner will receive $1,000,000 and their commercial will air during the big game.  On top of that, the grand prize winner will also get a “dream job” as a consultant at Universal Studios in California.

I don’t think anyone was supposed to notice that the CTSB site was live yet.  So more details will be revealed on Thursday when the company officially announces the return of the contest.  As always, we’ll be posting lots of updates about The Crash so be sure to check back here 20 or 30 times a day for the next 5 months.



VCN turns 5!

I already ate the cake that was under this candle

I already ate the cake that was under this candle

Happy blogiversary to me!  Video Contest News is now FIVE years old.  That’s bananas, isn’t it??  If VCN was a human he’d be ready for kindergarten.  (Lucky for me VCN is just a website because I don’t have money to blow on stupid school supplies.)  It was five years ago today on September 1st, 2009 when I first registered the domain,  Even after all these years it still feels kinda weird that I run a website that people actually read.  I just checked my traffic stats and in the last 12 months, VCN had 129,000 Unique Visits and 170,000 Page Views.  Sure, about 20% of that traffic was probably spammers trying to leave the same comments about “Free V1agrxa” over and over but hey, 80% of 129K ain’t nothing to sneeze at.  Thanks to all of you for reading the site and here’s to 5 more years of!  LOL/JK.  There’s no way VCN will still be around 5 years from now.  In fact, the entire video contest “industry” will probably be collapsing soon.  By 2019, computers will be so powerful that brands will be able to cut out the middlemen (filmmakers) and generate all their ads digitally.  But that nightmarish reality is still a few years away.  So I’ll be here bloggin’ my butt off until The Computers finally render all us meatbags obsolete!


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