Bye, Bye Beardy!

If you’re a regular reader of VCN you’ve probably noticed that the site looks a little different today.  After 3 1/2 years of loyal service, our faithful cartoon mascot “Beardy” has retired.  He was getting up there in years so I sent him to a farm where he can run and jump and play and grow his beard as long as he wants.  Only Beardy the mascot is retiring.  The guy who runs this blog under the name “Beardy” (A.K.A. me A.K.A. Dan) isn’t going anywhere.  I probably should have put the beard-man out to pasture a long time ago but I just couldn’t think of anything I could use to replace him.  Then a few days ago I was filming myself with my DSLR and as I was staring into the lens I realized an aperture symbol might make a nice, generic, un-bearded logo.

Good night, sweet prince.

So Beardy is dead on a farm now and I feel like VCN is a lot more professional looking.  I was never very attached to him and I’m glad that I finally took the time to create a new banner.  Let’s face it, Beardy was kind of a frumpy looking sadsack.  It also bugged me that he was holding up some kind of Hi-8 video camera from 1998.  The funny thing is, he was just supposed to be a temporary place-holder mascot.  I started this site on a whim in the fall of 2009 and that was the first semi-relevant iStockphoto image that I came across.  Originally VCN was supposed to be an anonymous blog and I never thought I’d actually want to share my real name here.  So when it came time to pick a new name I just named myself after the mascot guy.  I wound up ditching the “anonymous blog” idea pretty quickly but for some reason I kept the nickname.  But from now on I’ll be blogging under my own name, Dan L.  Actually, if you read my old posts it already looks like I’ve been posting as “Dan L” this whole time.  I just changed my wordpress profile and I guess it changed my name in every VCN post I’ve ever written.  Right now I’m in the process of de-beardy-fying all the other facets of my VCN persona.  I even figured out how to change my twitter handle.  Here’s the link in case you’d like to be the very first VCN reader to follow the blogger formerly known as Beardy:

Thanks for making November our biggest month ever!

Hey folks, It’s your BFF for life Beardy, here.  Every year we see a giant spike in traffic thanks to our coverage of the Crash the Super Bowl contest and I always like to do a quick post welcoming our new readers to the site.  And man, did we get a lot of new readers last month!  During the summer I made some SEO changes to VCN that caused traffic to increase by about 300%.  So when you throw a bunch of CTSB traffic on top of those figures the results are pretty amazing.  November 2011 turned out to be our biggest month ever with 13,901 Unique Visitors.  To quote the great Charles Dickens, that shite is redonkulous!

Here are  few other random things I want to mention:

If you’re here for Crash the SuperBowl info, we’ll be running a whole bunch of posts about the contest over the next 2 1/2 months. Next week we’ll even be featuring an interview with one of the 2011 CTSB finalists.  And of course, we’ll post the Top 5 videos (along with reviews and analysis) as soon as Doritos makes the results public.

Next I want to say Thanks to all the filmmakers out there that sent in the links to their Doritos entries.  I’ve decided to extend my “free mini-review offer” for a few more days.  So far, I’ve crtiqued more than 100 submissions and I am pretty sure that at least one or two of the videos I’ve seen will wind up making the finals.  If you’d still like to get a mini-review of your ad, please post the link in the comment section of this article:

As I’ve mentioned, I’m trying to do the impossible this month.  I’m trying to watch at least a few seconds of every, single Crash the Super Bowl entry.  (By the way, there were just under 5,000 submissions this year.)  My goal is to compile a list of the 50 or so best submissions.  The list will be posted on December 14th.

If you’re a new reader, I just want to mention that Video Contest News is a year-round operation.  We run two or three posts a week about different contests.  If you’re having a problem with a contest, let us know!  Companies hate bad publicity and a single article about a crappy contest can sometimes inspire the sponsors to fix whatever has gone wrong.  Or hey, you can even let us know if you have some good news to report!  We post a lot of winning entries so if you’ve recently won a nice contest prize, I want to hear about it.  You can reach me here:

Finally, if you like you can only stand to read 140 characters of video contest news at a time, follow us on twitter here.  This month we’ll be “following back” all of our new followers!

Want to write a Guest Post for VCN?

Brought to you by the US Dept. of Video Contests

I don’t know what’s changed but the amount of people who visit this website on a daily basis has just been going up and up all summer!  And that’s weird because usually the summer is VCN’s slowest time of the year.  But as far as traffic goes, July was our 3rd biggest month of 2011 and it looks like August’s numbers are going to crush July’s.  Maybe we moved up the google rankings a bit or maybe this is just another sign of how popular video contests in general are getting.  But I think one thing that’s happening is that the number of “regular readers” we get really shot up this year.  So if you’re one of those people who have us bookmarked and who check the site every week (or even every day!) thank you for your support!

We’re now getting so much traffic that I feel like I’m not really keeping up with the demand for new content.  This used to be a “2 posts a week” type of blog.  But lately I’ve been trying to do 3 posts a week.  For future reference, new posts will usually go up on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Because VCN will be doing more posts per week, I’ve decided that it might be cool if I let someone else stand on my soapbox every once in a while.

So for the first time ever, Video Contest News will be accepting submissions for “Guest Blog Posts.”  If you care about video contests enough to read this blog, you probably have some strong thoughts and opinions about this growing micro-genre of filmmaking.  I’ll consider all types of articles as long as what you write is true and won’t get me sued.  So if you want to brag about your latest big win or if you want to share your secret strategies or if you just want to bitch about some crappy contest where you got screwed over somehow, let me know.  Hell…I might even let you plug your contest-related website or post a vote requests if those plugs and requests are part of an article that someone would actually want to read.

I’m kind of psyched about this idea and I’m looking forward to hearing what you folks have to say.  I think adding other voices to this site will give it a little more depth and variety, if you know what I mean.  For now, my plan is to ease into this and run just 2 guest posts a month.  But if things work out, I might start running a guest blog every wednesday.  So if you have an idea for a guest post, e-mail me your suggestion:  Thanks!

My very first novelty check!

About 2 weeks ago I got word that I had won first place in Royal Purple Motor Oil’s “Reel Wars” video contest and the good people at RP said that one of their representatives would hand deliver to me a check for $5,000.  But in addition to that tiny, cashable check, they also wanted to present me with a giant. novelty check.  And I’ll tell you what….I was super stoked.  I’ve won a lot of video contests in the last few years but somehow, this would be my first big, fake check!  True to their word, a team from royal purple showed up at my door and gave me this….

I'm going to giant Las Vegas and putting all this on Red.

You know what’s really funny about that check?  It has a check number on it; number 508.  I have to wonder, does Royal Purple have a giant, novelty check book?  And did 507 other giant checks get issued before I recived this one?

By the way, if you’re interested, here’s the video that won the contest for me.