Only 4 days to go until the 2016 Tongie Awards!

Hey now!  I just checked my calendar and I was shocked to see that we’re just 4 days away from the third annual Tongie awards in Los Angeles!  I’ll be there again this year so if you’re going too, be sure to say hi to Dan from VideoContestNews.com.  (Here’s what I look like. So keep your eyes open for a big, handsome beardo)  I always meet a lot of great people at the Tongies but I have had a few awkward conversations; every year about 4 or 5 people get excited to meet me but only because they think I run OnlineVideoContests.com.  But last year I did meet a nominee that said he discovered Tongal thanks to the ads on my site.  So I think that proves once and for all that reading VCN can change your life and bring you lots of money and accolades and fun and friendship.

Speaking of fun and accolades, Tongal is giving away a new LEGO Ghostbusters Firehouse set via Instagram.  If you’d like a shot at winning it, just follow them at @tongalteam and post some photos with the hashtag #tongies3 and mention @tongalteam.  If you’re going to the event this year maybe you can post some shots of your outfit.  And if you’re not going, maybe you can take some pics of yourself sitting alone in a dark room as you daydream about being at such a kick ass party.

UPDATE:  I just got an email that says Tongal will be live-streaming the Tongie awards this year.  Here are the details:

“Just head to Tongal this Thursday, March 3rd at 7:00 PM PST; once the live broadcast begins the site will redirect you to the Tongies ReelTime Page.”

If you watch the livestream and see me, be sure to wave!

Mofilm honors their Chicago winners with awards, music, good times and shrimp!

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The 2015 Mofilm Chicago winners show off their whale tails

Mofilm’s annual pre-Lollapalooza awards dinner has become one of my favorite mid-summer traditions.  (It’s right up there with Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana!)  I’ve never actually won a prize in this particular contest but I live in the Chicago area and every year the nice folks at Mofilm remember to send me an invite.  I’ve been to this dinner three times now and 2015 was definitely the best year yet.  As always the party took place in a private room overlooking the Chicago river at Smith and Wollensky.  That’s a fancy-shamncy spot but team Mofilm hooked me up with a +2 so I actually got to bring some friends along.  And when I walked in I was surprised to see real-life friend of VCN, Joel Levinson.  It turns out that Joel had won 1st place in the 3M category so Mofilm flew him in from Ohio.  Actually, Mofilm flew in all the winners (as they always do) and there were even a few filmmakers from Brazil and Mexico.

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On the left there are the 3M winners Joel and his wife Randi, me (Dan!) and my friend Marissa are in the center and in the back there’s Thiago the Weber winner and his friend.

The party always happens the night before Lollapalooza because the winners also receive a par of tickets for the weekend-long concert in Grant Park.  So the out-of-towners were all buzzing about the show.  The dudes from Brazil were especially psyched because they were finally going to get to see Metallica play live.  I personally wasn’t going to Lollapalooza so I just kept buzzing about how awesome the pre-dinner seafood spread was.

My friends and I pounded down some champagne and shrimp and after 30 minutes of mingling we went into the next room for a ridiculously wonderful dinner.  As we ate we got to watch all the winning commercials.  They were….

3M 1st Place: Joel & Randi Levinson “More than just Post Its”
LIPTON 1st Place: Raul Fernandez “A Little Self Help”
YMCA 1st Place: Grace Jackson “So Much More”
GRAVY TRAIN 1st Place: Sean Cunningham & Mary Greenwalt  “Working like a Dog”
MANWHICH 1st Place: Jonathan Hayes and Christine Butcher “Welcome Home”
WEBER 1st place: Thiago da Silva & Leandro Romero “We Care”

All of the winning videos were actually damn good!  I’m not kidding; it was one of the best slate of Mofilm winners I’ve ever seen.  And in another nice surprise, Joel wound up winning the grand prize of the whole fest which means he went home with double whale tails.

I could go on and describe the rest of the night but photos are more fun than words.  So how about I just post a few a bunch of pics from the party.  These were all taken by Mofilm’s photographer:

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It’s the Mexico City team!
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My friend Rujanee does some networking
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That’s Lloyd Choi, one of the biggest commercial contest winners of all time
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Me taking a blurry pic of the Mexico City crew
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There’s the President of Mofilm-North America, Alex Arata
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Here’s me pretending not to notice that my picture is being taken
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These are the cool dudes from Brazil.  They were really stoked to buy some camera lenses while in the US
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My friend Marisaa tries the shrimp
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One of the best views in the city.
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I went with the rib eye
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Joel graciously accepts his award
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There’s a good chance that I’ll be moving to Milwaukee in a few weeks but that’s only 90 minutes away so hopefully I’ll get to come back and party with the Mofilm crew again next year.  And who knows….maybe next time I’ll be the one winning a whale tail!  Ok, probably not.  But if Mofilm starts handing out a “most jumbo shrimp eaten during the cocktail hour” award I’m sure I’ll win that one in a walk.

Video highlights from the 2015 Tongie awards

Whoa wait a second, has it really been three months since the 2015 Tongie awards?  It feels like the ceremony was just last weekend.  Let me tell you folks something, if you haven’t been to the Tongies before I recommend that you try and lock up an invite for 2016 by entering and winning as many Tongal contests as you can this year.  Ok maybe that’s easier said than done but hey, it won’t hurt to try.  If you need some motivation, check out this newly released video full of highlights from the 2015 extravaganza:

The Masters of the Tongal-verse converge in LA for the 2nd annual Tongie awards

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That’s me flanked by my video contest buddies HappyJoel Levinson and Joe “Bisbinetts” Binetti

For the second year in a row I was lucky enough to get an invitation to the Video Contest Prom, AKA the 2015 Tongie awards in Los Angeles, California.  The main event took place on Thursday night but I’m still recuperating after 2 straight days of sunshine and cocktails and tuxedos and hugs.  I think it goes without saying that the folks at Tongal know how to throw an amazing party.  But the thing that makes the Tongies so special are the people.  I gotta say, it’s kinda trippy to walk into a party and recognize dozens of people from the Internet.  And it’s even weirder when they start recognizing you too.  On Wednesday night, Tongal treated their staff, the Tongie nominees, their clients and various FOTs (friends of Tongal) to a Welcome Reception at a great spot across from the Santa Monica Pier.  This photo should give you an idea of just how many people were invited to this thing….

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That’s a lot of name tags!  And I showed up a little late so about half the crowd had already picked up their tags by the time I got there.  If I had to guess, I’d say that Tongal flew in at least 150 people this year.  Mingling at the cocktail party was lots of fun because I basically just walked up and said hello to anyone I recognized from the web.  Like these guys….

"Mr. Tongal" and the Rez FX team
“Mr. Tongal” and the REZ FX team

And it was also great to see all the Tongal staff members that I usually only get to converse with via e-mail….

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Tongal employees Ingrid and Romi try and eject a random bum that wandered in from the pier

The bar was serving special Tongal-themed cocktails that night.  It was my intention to try all three but I only sampled the Pitch and the Idea.  The idea was so tasty that I had to stick with it for the rest of the night.  After a few of those, I realized that I was genuinely buzzed so I ghosted early and walked back to our super swanky hotel.

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The next day I jumped in my rental car to knock two important items off my So-Cal bucket list.  I had chicken and waffles and the original Roscoe’s in Hollywood and then I went to the La Brea Tar pits.  I highly recommend both activities if you’re in LA and love chicken and/or waffles and/or wooly mammoth skeletons.  After that I had to head back to the hotel and put on my tux for the Tongies!

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Inside the Avalon Theater

This year the staff wanted to give everyone lots of time to meet and mingle.  So once I got to the Avalon Theater there were more cocktails and more people I recognized from the Internet.  Plus as a nice little bonus, there were plenty of photo opportunities….

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Hey, here are two more people I recognized from the Interwebz.  That’s Marrissa and Justin from OnlineVideoContests.com!

That's Marrissa from OnlineVideoContests.com!

I’m a sucker for a nice Stand and Repeat wall so I had to get in on the action just before the ceremony started.

I think the vest was the right call.
#AfterSix  #NotAFarmer

And then it was show time!  Here’s Ideator of the Year (and my new Argentine pal) Federico accepting his Tongie.

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Later in the evening I got Federico to show off his new hardware.

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I forgot to take a pic of my program before dinner so here it is covered in coffee and cake crumbs.

I managed to get coffee and some of my churros y chocolate on my program.

The ceremony flew by and before we knew it, Tongal president and co-founder, James DeJulio was announcing the Tongalers of the Year, Extraneous Noise.

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After that, it was time for more partying.  I switched from cocktails to beer and churros and rocker Chuck Prophet performed a mini-concert while Tongalers in tuxedos and fancy dresses danced in front of the stage.  I went towards the front of the house to catch some air and there I found one of the masterminds behind the Tongies, Caleb Light-Wills still hard at work.

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Here’s a relived-looking Caleb about 15 seconds after he completed his final official task of the evening.

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I slipped out before midnight and when I walked outside I looked down and realized I was standing right on top of Cecil B. Demille’s star on the Hollywood walk of fame.

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It felt like a fitting discovery since De Mille was one of the world’s first truly great filmmakers.  He directed his first movie in 1914.  He was there for the birth of a brand new medium.  And here we were, 101 years later, celebrating the birth of another new form of media.  Can you imagine what old Cecil would think if someone tried to explain to him what the heck Tongal is and how it works?  If his brain didn’t implode on the spot, he probably would have fallen to his knees in wonder as he watched just one of the wild, weird, sweet, slick or delightful ads that actually won Tongies this year.

And speaking of those ads, I wish I could post some of the winning videos but I can’t embed them here.  So if you’d like to see who was inducted into the Tongal Hall of Fame and watch the Video of the Year, the Best Broadcast Spot, the Best Comedy Video, The best Animation (that one would really make Cecil lose his mind), the Best Short Form Video, the Best Long Form Video, the Best Original Song, the Best Wildcard Video and best Gig video, head here: https://tongal.com/tongies

On a personal note, I just want to say Thank You to all the great folks at Tongal for inviting me and putting on a great slate of events.  I’ve already heard some buzzing about the 2016 Tongies so hopefully we’ll get to do it all again next year!

Mofilm rocks Chicago!

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Mofilm’s 2014 Lollapalooza winners

There are two types of Chicago-landers; those who love Lollapalooza and those who try and avoid it at all costs.  The music festival draws about 300,000 people to the center of the city so the congestion and crowds are a little insane.  I used to belong to the “avoid at all costs” camp but there is one thing that can get me downtown during the first weekend in August; Mofilm’s annual Lollapalooza awards dinner at Smith & Wollensky.  The nice folks at Mofilm always send me an invite and for the first time since 2011 I was actually able to attend.  As always, Mofilm treated their winners like rockstars and threw an awesome little party.  I wish I could post the winning ads but unfortunately the brands haven’t debuted them online yet.  But the first place winners were Nikki Parlane of New Zealand for Friskies, Robert Burdsall of Los Angeles for Cisco, Ilze Myburgh of South Africa for Castrol and Marc Riera Madurga of Barcelona for Boost Energy Drink.

I took a bunch of photos with my cell phone and I was planning on posting them below.  But they didn’t turn out so great so I’ll mix in a bunch of the professional shots that I ganked from Mofilm’s Facebook page.

Cocktail time
Cocktail time
The view at Smith & Wollensky ain't too bad
The view at Smith & Wollensky ain’t too bad
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I was tempted to grab this whole thing and run out the door with it
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Me and my friend Amelia.  Just out of frame is the giant pile of shrimp I was eating
The Mofilm team
The Mofilm team
The Mofilm awards.
The awards just before they got to meet their new owners
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Mofilm’s Richard Cottrell kicks things off
Handing out the awards
Handing out the awards
The winners show off their whale tails
The winners show off their whale tales
Nikki Parlane at Smith & Wollensky Chicago Steakhouse.
The judges gave their grand prize to Nikki Parlane for her Friskies video
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Goodnight Chicago!

If you’re feeling a little jealous of these happy folks you might want to head to Mofilm.com and try and win one of their current competitions.  They have 17(!) live briefs right now and the winners will all receive trips to destinations like London, New York, Africa and Singapore.  http://mofilm.com/briefs/open