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:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/MOFILMLA.  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:

-

-
IMG_0242
IMG_0537
-
-
IMG_0367
-
-
IMG_0600
-For

For more info and booking details, head here:  https://www.mofilm.com/info/LAStudio

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

-
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.

-
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:

-
It’s the Mexico City team!
-
My friend Rujanee does some networking
-
That’s Lloyd Choi, one of the biggest commercial contest winners of all time
-
Me taking a blurry pic of the Mexico City crew
-
There’s the President of Mofilm-North America, Alex Arata
-
Here’s me pretending not to notice that my picture is being taken
-
-
-
These are the cool dudes from Brazil.  They were really stoked to buy some camera lenses while in the US
-
My friend Marisaa tries the shrimp
-
-
One of the best views in the city.
-
I went with the rib eye
-
Joel graciously accepts his award
-
-
-
-
-

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.

MofilmPro goes public

mofilmpro

Most video contest/spec commercial sites occasionally run semi-secret “pro” contests that aren’t exactly open to the public.  Companies love these pro contests because they’re guaranteed to get professional-looking videos.  But any mid-sized production company can deliver a decent web ad.  So I guess some sponsors go out of their way to hire video contest filmmakers because they also want their ads to have an organic, crowdsource-y feel to them.

Only the best and most successful members of sites like Mofilm, Tongal and Poptent ever get invited to participate in these contests.  But now Mofilm is experimenting with a public version of their Pro assignments.  Right now they’re accepting ideas from all members of the Mofilm community for a contest sponsored by Dove.  Here are the details:

At this stage we’re looking for great filmmakers with a great subject. We are not looking for detailed treatments, just the basic outline of your story.

Step 1) Download the brief and read it carefully.

Step 2) Submit your idea for a film via the submission form above before the deadline. You must include a picture of the planned subject of your film.  Don’t forget to include your showreel or previous MOFILM work.

After reviewing the submissions, Dove and MOFILM will select six to move into the second stage and develop into full, detailed treatments.  From these six treatments, three will be chosen to move forward into production and awarded the production budget of $20,000 to make their film. One of the three commissioned will also join MOFILM to celebrate at the LA event in November!

There is a $500 fee paid for those who complete a treatment, this will be included in the production budget for those treatments selected for production.

I’m not sure how much of that $20K the filmmaker gets to keep for himself.  And what happens if they don’t spend the entire budget?  If I was selected for this I’d probably pay my mom two grand to do craft services and then I’d pay all my friends $100 each to focus test my video.  And that right there is reason #23 and #24 why I never get selected for these types of contests.  Of course reason #1 is that I’m a my Mofilm track record suuucks.  I’ve entered maybe three or four mofilm contests over the years and I’ve never placed once. And I actually won production grants for some of those videos!  Actually, I think those grants are what really messed me up.  I’m used to shooting videos for like $80 so if someone gives me $1,500 my natural low-budget style gets all screwed up.  So anyway, I probably won’t apply for the Dove contest but you should because you’re awesome and I love you and goddammit I believe in you!

You can find the listing for the Dove contest (and I assume future MofilmPro contests) at the bottom of their Live Briefs page: https://www.mofilm.com/briefs/open

$350 Million “BrandTech” group acquires a majority stake in Mofilm

Mr. Jones of "You and Mr. Jones"
Mr. Jones of “You and Mr. Jones”

It sounds like our friends over at Mofilm have a new boss.  Last week it was announced that the world’s first “brandtech” group, You and Mr. Jones has acquired a majority ownership stake in Mofilm.  The group was created by David Jones, a “founding member of the Facebook client council and former global CEO of advertising group HAVAS.”  Jones wanted to launch an investment and development firm that would “bridge the gap between brands and technology.”  Apparently Jones isn’t the type of guy to do anything half-assed because he managed to raise $350,000,000 for his new venture.  According to TechCrunch, You and Mr. Jones will use that money to “acquire companies that create user- and machine-generated content” and that focus on brand and content strategy, social media marketing, programmatic media buying, multi-channel networks, and real-time measurement analytic. The group’s first two acquisitions were Mashable and Mofilm and it sounds like more high-profile purchases are already in the works.

So what does this mean for the filmmakers that use Mofilm?  It means the company’s financial future will be nice and secure for years to come.  And that’s good news for the entire Crowdsourced Video Community.  There’s been a lot of “Video Contest News” in the last 6 weeks but unfortunately it’s all been pretty grim.  Userfarm and Poptent pulled the plug on their new joint effort, Vizy, after a few disappointing weeks.  Vizy was Poptent’s last hope of survival so once the merger with Userfarm was dead, Poptent also had to shut down.  Poptent is so broke that the company stopped paying their staff and eventually someone just locked everyone out of the main office in Philadelphia.  These developments have caused a lot of panic because it looks like Poptent will probably wind up declaring bankruptcy.  And that means dozens of filmmakers will get screwed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.

But thanks to this Jones guy, filmmakers can enter Mofilm contest and not worry about whether or not they’ll actually recive their prize money.  It’s really funny how these type of things work out.  The market has rewarded a good company (Mofilm) and eliminated the crappy company (Poptent.)  It’s survival of the fittest.  The folks at Mofilm actually care about their clients AND their filmmakers and the market took notice of that.  On the other hand, Poptent spent the last few years screwing their members.  All of the best filmmakers left the site which meant that their clients were unsatisfied with the ads they received.  Sales went down and eventually the investors got tired of  bailing out a sinking ship and pulled the plug.

So anyway, this You and Mr. Jones stuff is great news for all of us.  I have a feeling Mofilm will start running a lot more contests and I also suspect their prize packages are going to get bigger.  And that in turn will probably drive up prize amounts on all the other (remaining) video contest sites.

By the way, Mr. Jones, if you’re reading this I just wanted to let you know that for the right price I suppose I would consider selling VCN.  Ask any filmmaker and they’ll tell you this site is basically the Mashable of the video contest world so you’d be crazy not to make an offer!