I’m the king of the Stikbots!!


I got my first video camera when I was about 14 years old.  And as soon as I figured out how to use it I was trying to make stop-motion videos.  But clunky old VHS camcorders weren’t made to do stop motion so of course my experiments never worked out.  Ever since then I harbored a secret desire to create a successful and GOOD stop motion video.  So when I heard that Zing Toys was running a Stikbot-themed video contest for stop-motion animators I decided to go all in and create the biggest, craziest, most epic entry I could.  (Stikbots are these amazing little robot guys that kids use to make stop-motion videos on their cell phones.)  I was hoping that maybe I’d place in the top three but I actually wound up winning the $15,000 grand prize!!  Here’s my submission:

I’m very proud of this win and I’m extremely proud of my entry.  There was no public voting so a panel of judges picked all the winners.  And as a nice little bonus, it seems like Stikbot fans really liked the entry too.  The view count for this video just kept going up and up and up and it’s currently at 147,000 views.

I probably put at least 60 hours of work into this project since I was basically learning stop motion by trial and error.  I figured out a lot of helpful tricks during this shoot and by the end, things were moving really quickly.  So I think I might try and do more stop motion videos in the future. For anyone who may be interested, I shot this video with my Canon T4i.  To eliminate camera shake, I used a 2 second timer to take each photo.  I wanted the lighting to look as natural as possible so I used a very fast lens.  But that gave me a really narrow depth of field sometimes.  So in close-ups, one stikbot would be in focus and the one behind it would be soft.

The entire process was kind of grueling but I did have fun.   It was definitely the most creatively challenging video contest entry that I’ve ever done.  Here are some behind the scene pics:

My stikbot set. I only made one small section of the cave and I used photoshop to make it seem bigger.
Here’s the wideshot I used in the video.
And here’s what the shot look like before I photoshopped it.
I’m not sure if many people actually noticed this but I put a working LED light inside a toy lantern.
This set was pretty much dirt, sticks, lease and some fake Halloween moss.
I found that Sticky-Tack was the secret to getting a Stikbot to hold things. You can see some on this guy’s left hand.
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Here’s a shot of the bots falling into the cave.
And here’s that same shot before I erased the rig I used to drop them.

Zing is actually planning to do another big Stikbot contest this fall so if you’re interested in entering you should watch their facebook page for updates.

Doritos asks their fans to “Meme the Crash the Super Bowl Finalists”

During the broadcast of Super Bowl 49, Doritos’ facebook page posted a few GIFs that used clips from some of the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl finalists.  The GIFs included football related puns and they proved to be pretty popular.  The GIFs got so many likes and shares that the company decided to post a new slate of them this year.  So a few weeks ago Doritos launched a small contest via their Legion of the Bold platform and asked their fans to “Meme the Crash the Super Bowl Finalists.”  The sponsor picked 5 winners and some or all of the selected GIFs will be posted to Doritos’ Facebook page and Twitter account during the big game.  Here are a few of the winning entries.  The creators of these GIFs will receive $2,000 apiece.

People could use footage or images from any of the three 2016 Crash the Super Bowl finalists but none of the winners were based on “Swipe For Doritos.”  Two entries used clips from “Ultrasound” and three used footage from “Doritos Dogs.”  So those numbers might give us a hint as to which ad or ads will air on Sunday.  If you’d like to see the other winning Memes, head here.

Folgers announces their 2013 Jingle Contest winner

Folgers’ annual jingle contest doesn’t usually get much attention but it’s actually one of the biggest video contests in the world.  In 2011, the contest received more than 3,000 entries.  Now that I think about it, this year’s Crash the Super Bowl contest only got about 3,000 submissions.  So it’s very possible that the 2013 Folgers Jingle contest was BIGGER than the 2013 Doritos contest.  That’s kind of surprising since Doritos literally offers millions of dollars in prizes in “The Crash” but Folgers only gives out one prize of $25,000.  Folgers probably gets so many entries because their contest is so easy to enter.  You don’t have to hire actors or write a script.  All you have to do is perform your own version of the classic “The Best Part of Waking Up…” jingle.  Oh my God.  Can you imagine being a judge in that contest?  I’d never want to drink a drop of coffee again after hearing thousands of people perform the same song over and over and over.

The judges that didn’t go insane selected and announced a slate of 10 finalists back in March.  Then there was a month-long public voting period.  But…votes didn’t actually determine the winner in this contest.  The judges made the final pick and contests just got a few extra points if they did well in the voting.  The winning musician is named Sawyer Frye and he’s from Carthage, NC.  Here’s his video:

Folger’s Grand Prize Winner.  Prize: $25,000:

Holy crap.  Wait a second, that was sort of amazing, wasn’t it?  I just now realized that I recognized the guy who won that contest.  Last fall I did a blog post about a music video he did that won a contest sponsored by FireHouse subs.  His FireHouse entry was so good that I said something like “If this guy keeps entering contests he’s going to make a fortune.”  Guess I was right about something for a change!

Folgers really milked this contest and they made all of the finalists appear in little biographical videos.  If you want to watch any of these or if you want to see the other nominated jingles, head here.

5 predictions for the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl finals

This year’s installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest was kind of a strange one.  For some reason there was a massive drop in the number of submissions received.  Last year Doritos got more than 6,000 entries for the Crash.  But this year they only got about 2,800 entries.  I have a pretty good idea why participation for the contest dropped and I’ll be covering that issue in a post in early January.  For now I just want to focus on my list of predictions for the 2013.  Because there were a lot fewer entries I had a really hard time finding “contenders” that might have a shot of making Doritos official Top 5.  But I have to say, some of the contenders I did find are incredibly strong.  Usually I pick entries that I think the CTSB judges might like but this year I was able to find several ads that anybody would love.  If Doritos’ list of finalists includes a few of these ads they will have made some really excellent choices.  Ok, so here now are my 5 predictions for the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl finals.  Click on the images below to watch these videos on Facebook.  Let’s start with a submission that is actually one of my favorite Crash the Super Bowl ads EVER:

Goat 4 Sale

Goat 4 Sale:  If you don’t love this commercial you should go see a cardiologist because you have no heart!  I totally love this entry but it also bums be out.  I happened to find this submission when I went to the contest page and searched for videos about goats.  Why would I do that?  Because this year I tried to make a CTSB entry about goats!  I tried to think of an animal that was cuter and funnier than a dog and I came up with goats.  Our goats wouldn’t cooperate though so we had to abandon the shoot.  But my crew and I were planning on trying again next summer.  So if this ad makes the finals, Doritos probably wouldn’t pick two goat commercials two years in a row.  But oh well. This entry deserves to make the top 5 more than almost any CTSB entry I have ever seen.  It’s just a PERFECT little short film.   I will be amazed if Doritos doesn’t pick this one.  Not only is “Goat 4 Sale” a funny video, it’s actually a great commercial since Doritos get a ton of screen time.  So this entry is funny and entertaining and it actually makes me want to buy the featured product….and a goat.

It’s a Trap!

IT’S A TRAP:  And here’s another one that I love!  This is a great example of what a really good CTSB submission should look like.  It’s got a bearded goofball, a simple premise, very little dialogue, a huge, shocking surprise and some cute animals.  And like “Goat 4 Sale” it actually does a good job of selling Doritos.  “Every living creature loves Doritos!”  What more needs to be said?

Road Trip

Road Trip:  Usually I get kind of annoyed when the same filmmakers make the finals over and over. But like I said, this year the pickings are kind of slim so I’m gonna cut the Crash judges some slack.  Road Trip was made by Tyler Dixon who is a TWO-TIME crash the super bowl finalist.  He made the top 5 in 2011 with his enry The Best Part and he made it again in 2012 with Dog Park.   I’m not really in love with “Road Trip” but it’s really good and I think the judges might pick this one because it would probably score really well on the USA Today Ad Meter.  Doritos actually does test screenings of their potential finalists before they make their final picks and I think focus groups are gonna flip for that cute little kid and that hilarious little dog.  So high focus group scores might just get this one in the Top 5.

Blow Granny, Blow

Blow Granny, Blow:  Here’s another ad made by a former finalist that I think deserves to make the top 5.  “Blow Granny, Blow” was created by Brad Bosley who made Love Hurts which was the only 2011 Pepsi Max finalist that I actually liked.  Blow Granny, Blow is really professional-looking and it just feels like something you’d see on TV.  And again, it’s another spot that would probably do really well with focus groups.  It’s got a fantastic grumpy old lady, weird, surprising action and funny shots of people’s faces flopping in the wind.  I sort of hope this one makes it just t because it’d be nice if one of the finalist slots went to an ad that didn’t star an animal.

Great Lengths

Great Lengths:  This one is kind of my dark horse, wild card pick.  It’s entertaining and cute and funny but it’s nothing fancy and it doesn’t have a big twist or shocking gags.  But to me it really just feels like a Crash the Super Bowl finalist.  And I think kids would freaking go crazy for this commercial.  This is the kind of video that a 6 year old kid would make their mom play 10 times in a row.

So that’s my list.  As a little bonus, here are a few honorable mentions that I think also have an ok shot of making the finals: Fetch, You Look Like Your Dog, Good Boy and Attraction Music.  Remember, the real winners will be revealed on January 2nd.  Be sure to check back here to see how accurate my predictions were!

UPDATE: The CTSB rules say that Doritos would announce the finalists at (or anytime after) noon on January 2nd. But it turns out the reveal isn’t happening until at 8PM on January 3rd.

Oatshake jingle winner

Last week I posted about a musician named “Sawyer F” who won the grand prize in the Firehouse subs video contest.  The guy’s song was so I good that I mentioned that he could totally clean up if he wrote more songs for other video contests.  I was just looking around for some recent winners I could post and it turns out that Firehouse subs guy has already won another jingle video contest.  This time it was for the Oatshake jingle competition:

Grand Prize Winner.  Prize:  $2,000:


Once again, that was pretty damn good.  This dude is going to become the Justin Bieber of video contests and make a bazillion dollars.