Archive for the ‘Guest Posts’ Category

How to apply for one of MOFILM’s production grants

Beardy’s Note:  Today I’m happy to bring you folks a very special guest post that was written by a longtime friend of VCN; MOFILM’s director of social media, Kerry Gaffney.  Kerry’s going to let you you know how you can apply with Mofilm to get cash to pay for your Mofilm video contest entries.  It sort of sounds to good to be true but it’s legit; Mofilm is now paying out production grants to filmmakers left and right.  Need some money to hire actors or rent a nicer camera or build some outrageous prop or buy a new piece of editing software? Mofilm wants to help make any and all of that happen. Here’s how you can get a slice of their sweet, production grant pie:


There are lots of reasons why people like to enter video contests.  And there are also lots of reasons why they don’t enter; usually it’s because they run out of time or because they don’t have the money to do their idea justice.  MOFILM can’t help with the time element but we’re now doing our best to help with the money side with the introduction of Production Grants.

When we were running the Chevrolet Super Bowl contest last year, we really encouraged filmmakers to make their entries as big and bold as possible.  The winning spot had the chance of being aired during the telecast of the Super Bowl LXVI.  So we wanted to make sure that all the entries were great enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with, or be even better than, the big agency ads. That’s why we launched the MOFILM Production Grant program.  Open to any filmmaker from anywhere around the world, all they had to do was apply; sharing their concepts and giving as much supporting material as they felt like.  We gave out over $100,000 last fall and the scheme was so successful we decided to include production grants for as many of our contests as we possible could.

So far in 2012 we’ve approved over $140,000 in grants for 14 different contests to over 100 filmmakers. That’s not a typo, just in January we’ve approved almost $150,000.  That’s in addition to the $300,000 in prizes across our Sydney, Barcelona and Texas contests.

So how does it work?  It’s easy; go check out the open contests on MOFILM and pick a brand.  If there are production grants available there will be a link to the application form right from that page.  You need to be quick though, the grants go fast so the sooner you get your application in the better.

For the application we want to know who you are, what your concept is, how much money you’d like (there’s usually a guide as to what’s available on the form) and what you plan to spend the money on.  A member of the MOFILM team will then review the applications and decides who gets what.  Anyone can apply but your odds of being successful are increased if you have a great idea (natch), have some supporting material like a script or a storyboard, and examples of previous work either with MOFILM or in a link to your showreel on your MOFILM profile.

Once you’ve been told you’ve been successful, you’ll be sent an approval form to fill in and sign.  Then you can get on and create. You can bounce ideas off the account manager or ask for advice and feedback.  Although, any filmmaker entering one of our contests can do that by asking on or with an email to .  Once you’re ready, and before the deadline, upload your video and all the relevant release forms.  One of the MOFILM team will then be in touch to ask for receipts and bank details. Once we have that we’re good to make payment and we’ll reimburse your approved expenses.  After that, all you have to do is wait to find out if you won!!

—- Guest Post by Kerry Gaffney.  Follow Kerry on Twitter   —-


Guest Post: Watch Out, It’s Dot TV

What is "Dot TV"? I actually have no idea

Beardy’s Note:  For the first time ever, VCN is presenting a guest post that was written by an author who would prefer to remain anonymous.  Here’s how this article came to be:  A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from a filmmaker and long-time reader of VCN that was having problem’s with .tv’s “Watch Dot TV” video contest.  The filmmaker had made the finals in the contest and he had a shot at winning the $10,000 grand prize.  The winner of of the contest was supposed to be determined  by facebook votes.  But right away, the voting seemed pretty fishy.  I’ll let our anonymous author tell the rest of the story but as you can probably guess, it doesn’t end well.  Initially I planned to do an article about this debacle myself but I knew the filmmaker could tell his own story better than I ever could.  This contest got pretty ugly and the filmmaker got screwed by the sponsors pretty badly so I suggested that we run this article without revealing the filmmaker’s name.


In the wild west of online video contests, Watch Dot TV, a part of the large Verisign corporation, has set a new low in taking advantage of its contestants. In October they solicited entries and their judges chose the top 10 videos who competed for public votes.   First Prize was $10,000, Second Prize was a Canon 7Dand Third Prize was a Panasonic GH2.

The voting in this contest ended more than a month ago and Dot TV is now over a week late announcing the winners.  They have not issued a single statement despite the plethora of agitated comments on their . Watch Dot Tv’s continued silence is the loudest admission of guilt they could make. They even went so far as to delete people’s comments on their wall demanding accountability.

So what happened?

During the voting, each Facebook user was allowed one vote per day and after 4 days the top two entries had around 500 votes. Within hours the top two increased their lead on the third place by almost double what it took them days to accumulate. After this anomaly I discovered how the top two entries had gotten a huge lead: They exploited an error in the voting system that allowed for more than one vote a day.

Simply opening the voting page in a new tab, or even refreshing the page would allow for multiple votes. I immediately emailed the contest administrator to make them aware of the voting system error and that it has already been taken advantage of by the top two entries.

They responded and said they could not recreate this simple error on their own.

This was the major red flag. I was not trying to explain the error to an Amish craftsman, this was an internet company that could not open their own Facebook page in a new tab and recreate the error.

The two entries had already gained an insurmountable lead and the contest administrator was turning a blind eye. My fear was that they would find and fix the error I made them aware of and then deny it ever existed, meanwhile the two entries would continue to win, and Watch Dot TV would have averted a PR headache.

That’s when I decided to expose the error by voting repeatedly so it could not be ignored and brushed under the rug. As soon as I gained a lead on two winning entries, within minutes, they began exploiting the error to regain their lead. I called in reinforcements to gain such a lead that the two entries would give up, be exposed as exploiting the error, and Watch Dot TV would have to restart the competition. I did gain a 1,000 vote lead and the two entries did stop trying to keep up, so now it was just up to Watch Dot TV to fix the error and restart the competition.

Watch Dot TV’s solution was to reset the number of votes to a previous point in time that the two entries had already gained their lead by exploiting the error. When I commented on Watch Dot TV’s Facebook wall that they did not reset the votes to a point in time before the error occurred, they deleted my comment. Red flag number two.

Dot TV's facebook announcement

I continued to email them the timestamped screenshots I had taken when I exposed the voting error and asked them to address their mistake. There was only a few days left of voting for Watch Dot TV to fix this.

Watch Dot TV didn’t enjoy being called to account. After my pleas in emails and on their Facebook wall to restart the voting, they disqualified me and another entry from the contest. (Beardy’s Note:  For some mysterious reason, the sponsors did not disqualify the two original elleged cheaters.  It seems they only disqualified people who tried to beat those two contestants at their own game.)  The entry in first place remained in that position until the end of the voting period. He was even promising to donate 25% of the prize to the Invisible Children organization in an effort to gain more votes.

There were even people on his facebook wall claiming they were using multiple accounts to vote for his entry. His video also violated the contest’s Official Rules and should have never been chosen as a finalist. His entire video was created by using previously published work, a direct violation of the rules.

I have never seen such disrespectful behavior by a company towards people from which it solicited video entries.

To this day the winner has not been announced and Watch Dot Tv has not issued any statements. (Beardy’s Note:  The entire contest and all the entries have actually been removed from Dot TV’s facebook page)  My only hope is that if they did give the prize money to entry that remained in first, despite having exploited the voting error and violating the official rules, maybe 100% of his prize found its way to the Invisible Children organization.

Watch Dot TV should be ashamed of the unprofessional manner in which it operated the contest and its parent company Verisign should exercise it’s parental responsibilities and put its misbehaved child in permanent timeout.


—  Written by: Anonymous. To learn more about the Invisible Children fund, head here  —


Low Budget Lighting Part Three: Putting it all together

Beardy’s Note: Here now is Part III of Cinematographer Jeremy Applebaum’s Three Part Low Budget Lighting guide.  In case you missed the first two installments you can read them here:  (Part I) (Part 2)  Big thanks to Jeremy for creating this very handy guide.  Remember, if you have an idea for a Guest Post of your own, be sure to send me an e-mail at .  And now, on to Part III…..

First here are the answers to the questions from Part II:

1: 4.16 (dived by volts = 120) or 5 (dived by volts = 100).  2: 2.  3: Yes.  4: No, Around 3.74, largely depending on how you round (dived by volts = 120) or 7 (dived by volts = 100).

In the first part of this series we went over what gear you should invest in for low budget lighting and in the second part we went over some basic electrical safety. This time I’ll explain how to put everything together to light a simple scene.

It should be noted that while stingers, multi taps, and surge protecters would be used in order to power our a lights, a lighting diagram as well as amperage calculations (per circuit) wonʼt be presented here. You should always take note of your amperage draw and be calculating your total draw on the circuit before plugging anything in. With that in mind lets get to work!

Let’s say that we are shooting a commercial for a contest and our script involves two actors; one sitting in a kitchen and the other standing in front on him.  It is to be assumed that our kit contains*:

– 2 Work lights, 1 500 watt fixture, one 1,000 watt fixture (a stand with 2 500 watt fixtures)
– 1 China Ball
– 4 clamp lights
– 5 Pony Clamps
– Clothes Pins
– Tin Foil
– 2 Sheets of each white and black foam board
– Gloves
– Various Bulbs
– Various Stingers, Multi Taps and Surge protecters

A rough diagram of our scene would look something like this:

Note: For these examples the exact wattage of the lamps doesnʼt matter

So were do we begin? The first light that we will need for a our scene is a key light. This is probably the most important light you can place as it determines were all the other sources will come from. What I would do here is take my 1,000 watt work light, place in right hand corner and bounce it off some white foam board (or tinfoil, depending on your tastes) onto the subjects. This would give me a large, soft, directional lighting source that I can then build off for the rest of scene.

While it should be assumed stingers/multi taps would be needed to power our lights, the exact amount needed/used isnʼt important

The next thing I would do is to start adding some fill light. I would proceed by taking my paper lantern and hanging it overheard. This would give me a more even, all around, soft light while not canceling out the effect of the key. It would also help light the background.

I made these images using Google SketchUp and its 3D warehouse. Special thanks goes out to who ever created the templates that I used in creating these diagrams.

So now that we have a strong key light, and a multipurpose fill light it is time to start adding some highlights and more focused fill lights.  While the paper lantern provides overall fill, we will still have a little too much contrast between the key light and the non key light sides.  To remedy this I would then take two clamp lights, and place one at each the opposite side key of our talent.

A china ball is hard to make in that program!

At this point our scene should look good enough that we could go ahead and shoot the commercial. However there a few more things you could do to make our actor or some of the props stand out. One would be to take your clamp lights and use them to highlight certain objects in your scene. You would do this if there was something in your scene you wanted to call special attention to (like the product or something important to the story).

The other thing that you can do would be to place backlights on the talent. The backlights would provide a nice shine to the back of your actors heads and makes them pop out a bit. Be careful though, if your backlight is too bright it can make your whole scene look cheesy.

Yep, that's a lot of clamp lights

Remember that this is just a sample lighting diagram and won’t work for all angels or shots. You may very well have to tweak or move lights out of the way for a different angel. Furthermore this example, while very broad and general may not work for all circumstances and is just to give an idea how these lights can be used.  When on your own shoots you may very well find that you like the look of the scene with only the paper lantern and clamp lights or you may not like the look the paper lantern gives at all! The best way to learn is to go out there and shoot something. Donʼt be afraid to experiment and mess up, itʼs the best way to learn.

If you liked this article, have any questions, or think I missed anything please speak up below.

* This is not to be considered an end all be all kit, just a basic kit with several options to light your scene with.

**You may want to use parchment paper attached with c-47s to soften the lights or a dimmer to control the brightness of the lights. If you do choose to use parchment paper please allow the lamp some room to breath.  You should not allow the parchment paper to directly touch the lamp. CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) lamps wonʼt dim.

—     Guest Post by Jeremy Applebaum. Check out Jeremy’s “Virtual AD” app    —


Low Budget Lighting Part Two: Basic Electrical Safety

Beardy’s note:  It’s Friday which means today we’re running Part 2 of Cinematographer Jeremy Applebaum’s excellent Three Part Guest Post about the basics of Low Budget lighting.  And today’s installment is extremely helpful.  If you’ve ever tripped a breaker during a big shoot, now you’ll know why.  In case you missed it, here’s Part 1 of the Low Budget Lighting guide.  And now, on to Part 2:

Part One: Calculating Amps:

Remember, a "Stinger' is an extension cord on a film set.

In the first installment we went over the tools and gear you can pick up in order to build yourself a DIY, low budget light kit.  This time we will go over some basic electrical safety.  Before plugging anything in it is good practice to know where the fuse box is.  And if  it’s an older fuse box you’ll need some replacement fuses in case you trip a fuse.  Even if you closely monitor your power draw, you never know when a refrigerator, furnace, tv, etc will kick on and blow the fuse.  Any standard wall socket socket (circuit) can handle anywhere from 15 – 20 amps.  In order to make sure you donʼt blow a fuse (or trip a breaker) you should always keep track of how many amps you’re plugging into the socket.

The formula for calculating amps is:  Amps = Watts / Volts.

In America we use 120 volts.  However, when calculating amps for my own shoots, I divide by 100, not 120 for a few reasons.  One, itʼs faster: Itʼs a lot easier to and quicker to divide 500/100 (5) as opposed to 500/120 (4.16).  Two, it keeps my amperage on the circuit down, further reducing my chances of blowing a fuse.  While itʼs important to know that the formula for 100% accuracy, you can almost never go wrong with diving by 100 instead of 120.

Part Two Stinger Safety:

Something to keep in mind when handling power distribution for your scene is that stingers have gauges, which tell the amperage they can handle.  Most off the self stingers will have gauges ranging from 12 – 16.  But the longer the stinger, the less amps they can safety hold.  Below you will find a chart explaining the differences (for America).  If you are not careful your stinger can melt, causing a potential electrical fire.

Beardy's note: I went to college with a guy named Max Amps. True story.

As you can see it can get quite complicated if you’re running long stingers.  You can never go wrong buying a higher gauge cord. In fact, unless you are really strapped for cash, you should never buy anything less than a 14 gauge stinger for film work.  The same principle applies to surge protectors and to an extent, multi taps.

And now, some Bonus Questions!  Answers to be posted at the start of next week’s article:

It should be noted that for the purpose of these questions volts are assumed to be at 120.  It is perfectly fine (and recommended) to try solving these problems with volts at 120 and 100 (answers will be given for both). Stinger gauge/max amperage for the distance should be taken from the table above.

1: How many amps does a 500 watt work light draw?

2: If you have 4 500 watt work lights and one 100 foot 16 gauge extension cord, how many work lights can you safely power?

3: If you nearest 20 amp socket (circuit) is 50 feet away, you have a 50 foot 12 gauge stinger, and you need to power 20 amps of light could you safely power your lights?

4: If you have two 15 amp sockets (circuits), one 1,000 watt work light, two 500 watt work lights, two clamp lights with 100 watt lamps in them and two stingers, each 12 gauge 25 footers with attached multi taps could you power all your lights if the closest socket (circuits) is 45 feet away? If not how many more amps would you need?

Feel free to post your answers you may have below.  Same goes for any questions you may have.  Stay tuned for part three where we will go over a basic low budget lighting set up.

—     Guest Post by Jeremy Applebaum. Check out Jeremey’s “Virtual AD” app    —

Low Budget Lighting Part One: The Fundamentals

Beardy’s Note:  Today I’m happy to present our third-ever guest blog post.  And it’s actually the first installment in a three part series about lighting low budget video projects!  The series is being written by video contest filmmaker and cinematographer, Jeremy Applebaum.  I’ve worked with Jeremy on a few shoots and the guy certainly knows his stuff.  Last year he handled the lighting for my Crash the Super Bowl entry and I was really impressed with the work he did.  The video was shot outdoors at night next to a campfire so it was an incredibly difficult scene to light.  But check out the final product!  Like I said, the guy knows his stuff.  Oh, and Jeremy also just released iPhone app for filmmakers!  Ok, on with the post…

Lighting on a small budget can be a real challenge. But a nice, professional look doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. In fact, most of what you need can be picked up cheap at your local hardware store. In this installment of the lighting guide, we’ll present some items that every low budget filmmaker should have at their disposal.

Section One: Background Information:

Before we go into the gear, some basic lighting terminology knowledge is needed:

1:  A Key Light, the strongest source in your scene.

2:  A fill light, a light not as powerful as the key but used to fill in the darker spots.

3:  A back or accent light, a light pointed at the back of your subject to make them pop.

4:  A background light, a light pointed at the background so it doesnʼt turn into black mush.

A typical set will have one key light, a few fill lights, several accent lights, and one to two background lights.  All these different lighting sources can purchased inexpensively and off the self at various retailers.

Section Two: Lighting Fixtures:

Disclaimer: It needs to be said that all of this lights can get very hot, so please be careful and use caution when moving and touching these lights.

work it.

The most common low budget (hardware store) light in use would be the work light. At anywhere from $4.99 (and up) for 500 (and up) watts of these are quite a steal. Even more so when you consider that Lowel Tota lamps (bulbs in film are called lamps) can be used instead of the lamp that comes with it.  Work lights are great for lighting a broad area and can be used for anything from key lights, fill lights/accent, and background lights. The main disadvantage of these lights are that they are very difficult to control and unless softened somehow they emit a very harsh quality of light.

Another common low budget light you will see in use would be the paper lantern. These are great as soft fill lights. At around $25 for the whole fixture (lantern, socket, and lamp) these, while a bit pricier than the work light, are still a great deal.  Paper lanterns are great for providing a great soft fill light to your scene. The main disadvantage here is that the only thing they will do is provide soft light and can not be easily controlled or shaped. They also have a huge safety issue, while unlikely, since they are made of paper, if the bulb is too close or touching the sides, the lantern could light on fire.

The Clamps!

The last lighting fixture on this list is an absolute gem and largely unknown to the low budget, DIY type crowd, and this would be the clamp light. While you can get by with one to two work lights, and a china ball, you will need several more clamp lights if you really want to get serious about lighting your scene. At $7.99 (and up, without a lamp) these can get quite pricey. Clamp lights are great because, like the name suggests, they can be clamped almost anywhere making them great for for fill, accent, backlights, and in a pinch, enough of them can provide enough punch to provide a solid key light. A safety issue that should be said is that just because they can be clamped anywhere doesn’t mean they should, always make sure your lights are secure before walking away from them. When in doubt donʼt leave it.

Section Three: Accessories and Lighting Control:

Below are several great options out there for shaping and controlling your lighting sources.

Another clamp!

C Clamps:  C clamps are great for rigging pieces of gear in spots that you couldnʼt get them normally.

Foam Board:  White foam board can used to bounce light onto your subjects (experiment by pointing your work lights at something and then try again, this time pointing your work light at some white foam board and bouncing it back to truly see the effect). Black foam board can be used block (or called flagging) parts of light that you donʼt want hitting your subject.

Clothes Pins:  Clothes pins (c-47s) are great for clipping parchment paper to your lights.

Gloves:  Gloves (or pot holders!) are needed to handle and move your lights during a shoot.

Tin Foil:  Tin foil makes a great shiny reflector. The main difference between tin foil and white foam board is that tin foil will bounce back a more powerful and harsher light. To make a cheap all-in-one bounce board, tape or glue some tin foil to one side on your white foam board.

More clamps? WTF?

Pony Clamps:  Pony clamps are used like clamps for rigging gear, except where c clamps excel at clamping lights, pony clamps are better for clamping foam board and helping secure clamp lights.

Parchment Paper:  Parchment paper makes a great diffuser, clip in front of a work light or clamp light to soften it. Be careful not to clip it too close so it doesnʼt get too hot and start burning up.

Tape:  Masking tape and duct tape are a requirement to have on hand on any set.

Case:  You will also need some sort of case to carry all your gear in. I personally use work totes but almost anything should work. Just be careful how you pack your lamps. You donʼt want to open your case to find smashed lamps and broken glass.

Power:  No lighting kit would be complete without its share of power distribution options. Since most low budget options generally tend to have short cords it would be a good idea to always have a few extension cords (called stingers on a film set) and surge protecters/multi taps on hand to split the power. Furthermore dimmers are great for controlling your fixtures output.

Lamps:  You will need a few different lamps to put in your clamp lights and paper lanterns (work lights come with one to two in the box). It would be good to have several lamps on hand of different color temperatures and wattages.  Make sure you always bring a spare to set you with, you never know when a lamp is going to blow.

Next friday we’ll cover basic electrical safety in Part Two and then in Part Three were we go over some basic lighting techniques.  If you liked this article, have any questions, or think I missed anything please speak up below.

—     Guest Post by Jeremy Applebaum. Check out Jeremey’s “Virtual AD” app    —


The ABCs of Death

Beardy’s Note:  It’s our second ever Guest Post!  This one comes from a great video contest filmmaker and a longtime reader of VCN, Shane Free.  Shane is from Pennsylvania originally but he has been working in Los Angeles as a trailer editor for movies and videogames for the last 11 years.  He even made a documentary called “Investigating the Afterlife” which you can find here on amazon.  Shane has won a number of video contest prizes over the years and his most recent win was third prize and $2,000 in 3M’s “Couple Speak” contest on Zooppa. ()  In his guest post, Shane talks about his experience entering an amazing film/video contest called “The ABCs of Death.”  At the end of the article, I’ll link to shane’s entry.  But let me tell you right now….it’s awesome!  Even if he hadn’t done this post I would have written about his entry…and the guy hasn’t even won the contest yet!  So now, on with the guest post….

On the set of "T is for Table"

What I really want to do is direct…

As a filmmaker, I like to enter video contests because it allows me to make mini films while getting feedback on my work and occasionally winning a few bucks.  However, every now and again, a contest comes along that I would enter even if the prize was a bag of jelly beans because the reward could be so much greater if successful. This is the case with Drafthouse Films’ The ABC’s of Death competition.

From website:

Established filmmakers and emerging new stars will make up the diverse roster of creative talent that will showcase these tales of termination, beginning alphabetically with the letter A and eradicating all life right through the letter Z..

Each director is assigned a letter and every letter represents a word that acts as a springboard to tell a short story about death. A linking device will open, connect and close.

Twenty-six directors will participate from all corners of the world: Australia, United Kingdom, Serbia, USA, Japan, Thailand, Chile, India, Denmark, Indonesia, Finland, Mexico, Belgium, Mexico, Spain and France.

This unique anthology will be a celebration of death in all its forms, from the shocking and exotic to the humorously droll. It’s up to each director to interpret the letter they are assigned as creatively and outrageously as they see fit.

So as a filmmaker how do I get involved? Well, they have not selected a director for the letter “T” and are holding a worldwide competition in which filmmakers are invited to make a short no longer than 4 minutes (not including credits). The winning filmmaker will become the 26th director and their submission will be included in the final feature. One of the requirements is that the short start on a frame of red and end on a frame of red, and no pre-existing horror shorts are eligible.

The way it works, you upload your short to the site and then begin the process of begging for votes. You can vote once for each film, and the voting system makes you enter your email address and then confirm the vote through an email link for the vote to count. The 10 films with the most votes move on to the final round in which the other 25 directors then choose the winner. There is a caveat in the rules, which I think is pretty cool:

Producer Amendment. Producers reserve the right to add one, two or three shorts to the Top Ten (making it a Top Eleven, Twelve or Thirteen) if they feel great work is somehow being overlooked by the public voting system.

This is great, so if you were working on your film and got it in late with not enough time to accrue votes you still could get into the finals if the producers think your film is worthy, what a great idea.

Having my short appear as part of a feature length horror anthology gets me more excited than the million dollar prize Gain was offering up, I know that sounds crazy, but filmmakers are crazy.  I applaud Drafthouse Films for creating this contest, as there are so many filmmakers out there just looking for a chance for their work to be seen and competitions like this don’t come around often enough!

The short I entered in this contest is called “T is for Table” and it’s a concept that my father and I had the idea for and I am very excited to have brought it to life. So if you enjoy it please send me a vote and help me get into a top 10 that I hope is filled with quality films.  Prepping this shoot was the most extensive prep I ever had to do. A month before I shot I worked closely with a production designer I found on craigslist to build the table, once that was built he made the book and the drawings. I was able to borrow a friend’s Panasonic AF-100 for the shoot, this is a great camera it’s basically a DSLR in a camcorder body, so you can switch out the lenses and get that nice 35mm depth of field. I rented a pocket dolly and lit the film with LED lights.  I had a very small crew just myself and a sound guy, we pretty much did everything. All of the actors are people I know and have acting backgrounds . The post production was where it got tricky, I used two different effects artists, a mixer, and did color grading for the first time. I highly recommend color grading with someone who has properly calibrated monitors. I never trusted my computer monitors because they all looked different, so by going to a post house you can be sure to get your film represented properly. I also wanted this done fairly quickly so I could gather votes once the film was uploaded so I shot on August 28th and 29th and uploaded on Sept. 14th. All in all, I am very happy with the results and sometimes working on a deadline can be a great way to get a project done without procrastination.

I will also point out some other entries I think are really good and deserve a look, T is for Toilet, T is for Talk, T is for Tracking and T is for Toss.

Submissions end on Oct. 1st but voting will continue until October 31st and then the final winner is decided on November 15th.  To watch and vote for T is for Table, click here:

—–     Posted by Shane Free. Twitter @freestyleflicks    —–

There’s Always at Least One Rap Video

Guest Post by Manny Arciga, Community Manager of the video contest site,

In my short time as a community manager for a video contest site I’ve learned this blaring truth rules most if not all video contests. I’ve thought of the possible reasons why. Could it be the wide acceptance of this previously niche genre of music? Could it be that it is the easy way to skirt music copyright issues if you make what’s essentially your own music video? Could it be that they are a rollicking good time to make and watch?

The answer is all of the above.

The following 3 rap videos have won awards in Zooppa contests. Each take rap and place it in incredibly un-gangsta situation like purchasing plane tickets. I’m reminded of “Office Space” when I watch “I’m IT.” The funniest scene in that movie was the destruction of the printer with a musical backdrop from Geto Boys.

Submitted to MegaPath’s I’m IT contest.  Prize won:  $2,000: 

Submitted to Hormel Compleats contest.  Prize Won:  $2,000:

Submitted to:  Orbitz Contest.  Prize Won:  $1,500:

Submitted to Silk: Better for You, Better for the Earth. Prize Won: $8,000:

It’s funny that a niche genre becomes most accessible when it becomes a novelty. This is what these videos are: novelty rap. It’s not just for Sir Mix-A-lot anymore.

—   Guest Post by Manny Arciga, Community Manager of   —

Beardy’s Note: So that was our first official guest post!  Remember, if you’d like to write a Guest Post for VCN, just e-mail me at and let me know your brilliant idea.

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