Archive for the ‘New Contests’ Category

DeVry and Current want to run your ads on TV


Current TV has gone through a lot of changes in the last few years but I’m happy to see that their old Viewer Created Ad Message program (or VCAM) is still alive and kicking.  Every so often Current will turn to their viewers when they need a commercial for one of their sponsors and the network just launched a new VCAM for Devry. The great thing about VCAM assignments is that the goal of the whole thing is to find commercials that Current can run on TV.  They also pay you if your ad airs but just getting your work on television is a fantastic prize that can really help advance a filmmaker’s career.  Current and Devry have promised that they will purchase and use up to four :30 second, viewer-made ads for $5,000 a piece.  The deadline is January 7th.  Here’s a little info about what they’re looking for:

DeVry University is looking for stories of those who have studied and prepared and are now thriving in today’s and tomorrow’s emerging career fields, everything from cloud computing to cyber security to robotics. In this VCAM assignment, your challenge is to find and highlight one of these success stories. Showcase real people and tell how they have let nothing stand in their way of being ready for their future. It would be great to tell the story of someone who has forged a path into a career that wasn’t even around a few years ago, but is now doing work that is on the cutting edge in a field that is growing.

Since opening its doors in 1931, DeVry University has helped prepare students for the jobs most in-demand and it holds a high standard for the education it provides, believing that ‘the future belongs to the ready.’ So DeVry graduates could be ideal subjects for this assignment, but are not required.

Videos should be smart, credible, optimistic, and aimed at graduating high school students, their parents, or working adults who are seeking a career change or advancement. The hope is that your ability to find and tell a great success story will inspire others to get the know how they need for a new tomorrow.

Got that?  Devry graduates would be nice but you don’t have to feature one in your ad.  And you shouldn’t have any fake DeVry grads. So don’t put an actor in front of a camera and have them say that they went to Devry if they didn’t.  Oh here’s one final important note:  Guild members (SAG, AFTRA, IATSE, etc.) are not eligible to participate in this assignment so be careful when you cast your spot.

For all the details, head here:

Tis the season for making money on Poptent!

hello, gorgeous.

Every December I go on a full-blown video contest bender.  I don’t know why but it seems like a ton of really fantastic contests are launched this time of year.  And because a lot of filmmakers are either burnt out from entering the Crash the Super Bowl contest or distracted by holiday happenings, competition in many of these contests is pretty light.  So if you’re looking to make some money this season you should postpone your shopping and do some filming this weekend!

One of the best contests/assignments running right now is the Miller 64 assignment on Poptent.  I’ve been planning an entry for this one for a few weeks now.  (Last weekend I was shooting a party scene for some other video contest entry and when we were done, I made everyone hold a Miller 64 so I could get a quick shot.)  The Miller 64 contest jumped out at me for a few reasons.  Contests and video assignments for alcohol products are always good to enter because there are tight legal restrictions that will keep a lot of people from participating.  If you’re under 21 you can’t enter.  And thanks to federal advertising laws, no one that appears in your alcohol ads can be under 25!  So those two rules mean that a very large percentage of filmmakers and actors will have to sit this one out.  Just look at the number of “accepts” this assignment has compared to a similar assignment Jacuzzi ran a few weeks ago.  Both assignments offered one guaranteed purchase of $7,500.  But while 347 filmmakers accepted the terms of the Jacuzzi assignment, so far only 215 have accepted the Miller 64 one.  If you’re going to enter a Poptent assignment, there’s no shame in playing the odds.  Like I said, there are a lot of good contests and assignments running right now.  So it’s good strategy to budget your time and go after an assignment that you know can’t get a billion entries.

If you’re going to shoot an ad for the Miller assignment, you have two themes to chose from.  Option #1 is “a little extra.”  These would be videos about the little things you can do to lead a more balanced and healthy lifestyle (like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or you know….drinking a 64 calorie beer instead of a 180 calorie beer.)  Option #2 is “resolutions.”  For this theme you’re asked to tell a story about New Year’s Resolutions that are related to living a healthier life and more active life.

So that doesn’t sound too tough, does it?  Miller is guaranteeing at least one purchase of $7,500.  You still have until December 16th to submit a video so get your ass to the liquor store and but a 12 pack of 64′s and have a little filming party this weekend.  To accept this assignment and read the creative brief, head here:  Because the sponsor is a beer company, there are some quirky rules for this assignment so be sure to read the brief carefully before you start writing.

Quick, go shoot a drinking and driving PSA for Ciroc!

Drink me. But not before driving, idiot.

Hey!  What are doing this weekend?  Shopping?  Putting up Christmas lights?  Well screw that noise.  I have a hot tip for you so you might want to change your plans and do some filming this weekend.  Ciroc Vodka is running a video contest and they are looking for :30 second PSA’s about “responsible celebration,” i.e., not drinking and driving.  I’ve been working on an entry of my own but I have a sinking suspicion that I’m not going to be able to pull it off.  So I figured I might as well do a quick post and share the details of this very winnable contest.  The deadline has been pushed back a few days and your last chance to enter is this sunday.  To be eligible to win, each entry must include the phrase “the art of celebration.”  Contestants are supposed to upload their PSAs to a third-party hosting site (e.g., youtube, vimeo) and then send Ciroc the link.  I’ve checked around and the competition seems to be really light.  I’m not exactly sure why though because there are some pretty nice prizes up for grabs.  I think the problem is that the details of the prizes are kind of buried in the official rules.  Ciroc will pick three finalists and each of them will receive a $2,500 prize pack.  But that “prize pack” is pretty much just a consultation with a fancy party planner and a $2,500 gift card.  So if you make the top 3 you basically win $2,500.  After the finalists are picked, there is some public voting and one PSA will wind up airing on BRAVO on new year’s eve.  You don’t get any extra money for that but obviously it wouldn’t hurt if your work wound up on TV.

There are a few other reasons I think this contest is winnable.  Because this contest is being sponsored by a vodka company, the rules have to comply with certain federal laws.  Here’s an important disclaimer from the official rules:


That means that young filmmakers and every filmmaker in Los Angeles is ineligible to win this competition.  So like I said, you might want to cancel your lame weekend plans and shoot a quick submission.  I’m still hoping to enter this one myself and I realize I might be shooting myself in the foot by talking about this contest but oh well…consider this an early Christmas present from your pal Beardy.  Full details are here:

Hey by the way, did you notice that this post includes the correct usage of both “i.e” and “e.g.”?  Feel free to bookmark this post and use it as a reference guide for the rest of your life.

VCN Sponsor Spotlight: 11/23/12

Happy post-turkey day everybody!  I’m not much of a competitive shopper so I thought I’d stay in today and tell you all what I’m thankful for.  I’m thankful for pecan pie, episodes of Community on Hulu Plus and of course, our sponsors!  Mofilm, Tongal and Poptent are running some gigantic video contests right now and in this month’s installment of the Sponsor Spotlight I’m going to list three of my personal favorites.  If you get bored of shopping and eating this weekend be sure to check out the details of these top tier competitions:

Deadline: 12/4/12

TONGAL’S DUPLO VIDEO CONTEST:  In this monster contest, a total of $150,000 in prizes are going to be paid out to a whole bunch of lucky Tonglers.  Like all Tongal contests, this one is being run in three phases; the idea phase, the pitch phase and the video phase.  The idea phase is already over but it’s worth noting that 50 user-submitted ideas each won $100.  That means the Idea Phase alone cost Duplo $5,000.  So why do they need so many ideas?  Well because the sponsor wants a freaking ton of videos for their new online ad campaign.  Here’s how the rest of the contest is going to work; if you want to participate you need to submit a pitch about how you would film FIVE videos based on a single, per-approved topic (for example, using Duplo as part of creative playing.)  The sponsors will go through the pitches and pick 10 filmmakers that they want to work with.  Each of those filmmakers will receive $3,000.  They will then use that money to produce their five videos which will be based on some of the 50 ideas that were submitted in the idea phase.  This is sort of different from the way they normally do things on Tongal.  Normally a filmmaker pitches a specific idea.  But this time you just need to show some of your previous work and explain how you would handle a general topic.  So the filmmakers won’t actually know the ideas they’re going to be filming until after they win the pitch phase.  Finally, the Duplo judges will review all the videos and the person who made the best patch of ads wins 40 grand!  All the runners up will win prizes ranging from $20K to $6K so if you win the pitch phase you basically are a lock to win at least $9,000 in this contest.  PITCH PHASE DEADLINE:  December 4th, 2012.  Click HERE for details.

Deadline: 12/30/12

POPTENT’S MASTERCARD ASSIGNMENT:  To be frank, I’ve been kind of annoyed with Poptent this year because most of their best assignments have been “Invite Only.”  For a while I really thought the site was going to get rid of their public assignments all together.  There were times were they were running 22 video assignments at once but 20 of them were for invited members only.  But I’m happy to say that in the last few weeks a whole boatload of new public assignments have appeared on  The one that caught my eye was Mastercard’s “Your Money, Smarter” assignment.  I like this one for 2 reasons; first, Mastercard is guaranteeing that they will purchase at least two videos at $12,000 each!  And second, instead of making one video, filmmakers are being asked to create two :15 second vignettes.  I think that this might be a turn off to some people (who will see it as twice the work) so I think participation for this contest might be a little low.  But then again, $12,000 is almost double what a normal poptent assignment will pay so that should get a lot of people interested.  DEADLINE:  December 30th, 2012.  Click HERE for details.

Deadline: 2/4/13

MOFILM’S BARCELONA CONTEST:  Finally, I wanted to direct your attention to Mofilm’s Barcelona video contest.  The thing is, barely any details about this competition have actually been released.  The deadline isn’t even until early February.  But you should keep Barcelona on your radar screen because in the next few weeks, Mofilm is going to start offering production grants to filmmakers who want to shoot submissions for this contest.  In Mofilm-land, production grants (of up to $2,500!) are sometimes allocated on a first come, first served basis.  Obviously you’ll need to submit a decent idea but it does help to be fast.  And that’s why I recommend that you try and keep tabs on which Mofilm contests are coming down the pipe.  As soon as a grant is officially announced, you can pounce and be one the first people to submit an idea.  And oh yeah by the way, if you actually win one of the categories in this contest you’ll  get $8,000 and a trip for two to Barcelona!  DEADLINE:  February 4th, 2013.  Click HERE for details.


VCN Sponsor Spotlight: 10/19/12

Man, I really ran myself ragged this summer.  Being Beardy is hard work!  So I’m about to take a much needed, just-for-fun vacation.  I’m heading to Boston and Salem for a few days to learn about history and look at pretty leaves an sh*t.  Before I run out the door I thought I’d do a quick rundown of the some of the best contests our sponsors are currently running.  October is a really great time to enter commercial contests since a lot of filmmakers will be focusing all their energy on shooting Crash the Super Bowl ads.  So the level of competition for some of these contests might be a little lower than normal.

Deadline: 12/31

POPTENT AND FILMTHENEXT.COM’S FALL “SECOND CHANCE” CONTEST:  This contest is so easy to enter you could literally submit an entry in about 5 minutes.  All you have to do is upload one of your old, non-winning video contest entries and Poptent and Film The Next will give you a “second chance” at winning a prize.  Two videos will each receive $250.  No, that’s not a lot of money but this contest requires almost zero effort so you might as well go for it.  You can upload any kind of video contest entries but commercials usually wind up winning.  So you should try and submit your slickest, funniest, most professional work.  The only catch is that videos that were previously submitted to other Poptent assignments aren’t eligible.  So dust off that cool Mofilm ad or Crash the Super Bowl commercial and send it in.  TOP PRIZE:  $250.  DUE DATE:  12/31/12.  To enter, head here.

Deadline for Pitches: 10/30

TONGAL’S TOPCODER VIDEO CONTEST: is a new website that’s kind of like a video contest site for coders.  According to Tongal: “TopCoder is an online community of hundreds of thousands software developers, algorithsmists, and digital designers.  TopCoder hosts specific online competitions that produce and deliver the best digital solutions for their Global 1000 and Government Agency clients.”  So it makes perfect sense that TopCoder would turn to the folks at Tongal for their video needs.  TopCoder is looking for 90-120 second videos to raise awareness about their site.  A ton of huge cash prizes are up for grabs in this one.  And this competition just launched so you swill have about 10 days to submit a pitch.  If your pitch is selected, you win $500.  I think techy video contests like this often turn off artsy-fartsy filmmakers so if you’re able to think like a geek, you should definitely go after this one.  TOP PRIZE:  $15,000.  PITCH PHASE DUE DATE:  10/30/12.  (the video deadline will be announced after the pitch phase)  Head here for details.

Deadline: 11/19

MOFILM’S CHEVROLET – CAPETOWN VIDEO CONTEST:  Mofilm contests are always great to enter because if you win your category, you get cash plus a trip.  Mofilm has sent filmmakers to some amazing locations but now they want to send their winners to Cape Town, South Africa!  There are currently three open categories for the Cape Town contest but I think the Chevrolet competition is the one you should look at first simply because there are still production grants available for that one.  Mofilm grants go REALLY fast so the grants might actually all be gone by the time you read this.  If the blue “Apply for a Production Grant Now” button is still up, I suggest you write up a pitch and send it in ASAP.  If Chevy likes your idea, you’ll get a few hundred of a few thousand dollars to help cover your production costs.  And as you can imagine, having a budget of $1,000 or so will really increase your chances of winning a prize.  TOP PRIZE:  $8,000 and a trip to Cape Town.  DUE DATE:  11/19/12.  For more info, head here.

Tons of tasty prizes up for grabs in Buitoni’s “Girls like Guys who can cook” video contest

Damn right they do.

According to Buitoni, girls like guys who can cook.  Well you know what I like?  I like video contests that offer a whole bunch of prizes!  Whenever I come across a video contest that offers multiple runner-up prizes worth $200 or more I make it a point to enter.  Obviously it would be awesome to win the grand prize, but if I spend 5 hours planning, shooting and editing an entry that nets me 250 bucks, I’ll walk away happy.  Basically, if I have an opportunity to make $50 an hour, I take it.

And Buitoni is now offering just such an opportunity with their “Girls like Guys who can Cook” video contest.  The top prize is $10,000 but 15 people will also win a year’s supply of Buitoni pasta in the form of 52 coupons.  The AVR of each runner up prize?  $259.48.  That’s pretty damn good; especially when you consider how easy it is to enter this contest.  Pretty much all you have to do is shoot a 60 second video of a guy cooking with Buitoni.  Here’s a little promo video to show you what they’re looking for:

I also like this contest because of how the sponsors are picking the winners.  First there’s a public vote to determine 15 finalists.  Each finalist wins the year supply of pasta.  Then judges from Buitoni pick the grand prize winner.  Doing the judging like this really cuts down on cheating.  People are willing to cheat to win $10,000 but not a lot of people will cheat for a 1 in 15 chance at $10K.  The risk just isn’t worth the potential reward.

So this is a really excellent contest.  Last year I was in a Home Run Inn Pizza video contest and I won a year’s supply of free pizza.  Home Run Inn send me a dozen coupons but Buitoni is offering 52!  I used to give those free pizza coupons to friends and they would flip out.  So I might just have to enter this contest.  If I win a runner-up prize, everyone I know would be getting a fistful of free pasta coupons for Christmas.

The deadline for this particular contest is November 4th.  Head here to check out the rules: 

——  Sponsored by Buitoni  ——


Couchsurfing’s “Get Inspired” video contest

New Contest Alert!

I usually don’t enter the video contests that I promote here on VCN simply because it would probably look kind of funny if I won.  But man…I am seriously tempted to enter’s new “Get Inspired” video contest.  There are two AROUND THE WORLD PLANE TICKETS up for grabs in this one.  I would probably lose my mind (in a good way) if I won a trip like that.  I’d go see the world, grow a giant beard and come back sand in my shoes and a brain full of awesome stories.  I would probably have so much fun that at some point I’d just decide to stay where I was and spend a few months or years living in some exotic location. Oh well…I probably will sit this one out so you’re just going to have to win and then write a guest post about all the crazy stuff you did.  Check out this video for some specifics about how the contest will work:

And here’s a little extra info from the Folks at

We’re giving away 2 around the world tickets!  Announcing the GET INSPIRED Video Contest.

CouchSurfing members have been making amazing videos about their experiences for years. Now we’d like to reward you for it! Here’s your chance to share your inspiring video, win a trip around the world, and create even more film-worthy moments!

Fire up your video cameras!  To check out the details of the contest click here.  Happy Surfing… and filming!

Before you shoot your entry,  be sure to read the rules of this contest from top to bottom.  One of the tickets will go to the person who gets the most youtbue likes.  The “liking” period happens during the submission period.  So if you upload your video ASAP you will have a real advantage over the people who enter at the last minute.

Dortios and Michael Bay reveal the details of the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl contest!

DORITOS: They’re exploding with flavor!

Dortios is scheduled to announce the details of the 2012-2013 Crash the Superbowl contest during a webcast on at 8PM EST on Wednesday, September 19th.  But a few hours ago, USA Today spoiled the surprise and blabbed about all the stuff that Doritos was going to reveal tomorrow night.  So…SPOILER ALERT:  If you want to wait another 20 hours to hear some specifics about this year’s contest, look away now!

Ok, nobody really wants to wait until the webcast, right?  Good.  Here are the basic facts about the 2013 Crash the Super Bowl contest:

1.  Doritos is the only brand involved in the contest this year.

2.  FIVE finalists will be selected in January.

3.  The public will vote and TWO winning ads will air during the Super Bowl.

4.  If your ad scores the #1 spot on the USA Today ad meter you win a million dollar bonus.

None of those facts are especially shocking.  All those things pretty much happen every year.  But there are two NEW pieces of big news to report:

1.  If you make the finals and if your ad is the highest ranked Doritos commercial of the game you’ll will win a chance to work with Michael Bay on the next Transformers movie. What kind of job you would have isn’t clear yet.  I doubt you’ll be a producer or anything but hopefully this will be an actual, meaty job where you can get real on-set experience.  It would really suck if the winner was just a glorified PA.  I think the dream position would be as a second unit director.  If the winner got to direct a few action shots they could get into the DGA and they’d have an instant career in the film industry.  That would be a hell of a good prize.

2.  This year Doritos is going to try and involve non-filmmakers in the contest.  They will be encouraging people to offer up their homes, pets etc. to producers who are shooting entries for the contest.  This will happen via a special section on Doritos’ facebook page.

That’s all the news I’ve got to report right as of 11:00PM on the 18th.  I will update this post after the webcast tomorrow night!


POST-WEBCAST UPDATE:  It’s Wednesday night and I just watched the big CTSB webcast announcement.  Basically it was just a pre-recorded video that featured the guy in charge of the Crash, Jeff Klein and Michael Bay.  Bay took Klein on a little tour of his production offices and they talked a tiny bit about strategy.  I only learned one bit of new info from the video; Michael Bay will be one of the official Crash the Super Bowl judges this year.  Personally, I think that’s fantastic news.  I know that a lot of CTSB fans (myself included) are unhappy that the same people and ideas wind up winning this contest every year.  So maybe Bay will help Doritos make some bolder and more unique choices this time. The full webcast is now online and you can watch it .

After the webcast ended, disappeared!  It now looks like the entire contest WILL take place on facebook!  Yes, is dead and gone. Just a few minutes ago, Doritos changed their facebook page.  It now looks like this:


When you click on that Crash the Super Bowl tab it takes you to a “Get Started” page.  I’m sort of amazed that the contest is really going to be just a gigantic facebook app this year but I did totally call it!  It’s really a brilliant move on fritolay’s part.  For the next 4 months, millions of facebook feeds will be clogged with links to Crash the Super Bowl entries. When you upload your submission I bet all of your facebook friends will automatically see a link.  If an average of 5 people are involved with every CTSB submission and if they each have an average of 150 facebook friends and if 6,000 people enter the contest this year (same as last year) that means Crash the Superbowl entries will probably show up in the newsfeeds of about 4.5 million people!!!  The amount of free advertising Doritos will get out of this move boggles the mind!

The official rules are now live and on facebook.  Here are the key details you need to know:

1.  The contest opens on OCTOBER 8th.  The deadline for entries is NOVEMBER 16th.

2.  There will be a star-rating system “for entertainment purposes only.”

3.  A public vote will choose 1 of the 5 commercials that will air during the big game.

4.  A panel of judges will choose a second commercial to air too.

5.  The finalist prizes are the same as last year; $25,000 and a trip for 2 to the Super Bowl.

6.  The USA Today ad meter prizes are back too.  If your ad lands in the #1, #2 or #3 spot on the ad meter you’ll win a bonus of $1,000,000, $600,000, or $400,000.

7.  There is NO million dollar bonus for an ad that is ranked #1 on the FACEBOOK ad meter poll.  Doritos did this last year and the makers of the ad “Sling Baby” managed to win the online vote.  But they won because they had a small army of fans give bad scores to the other ads in the competition.  It was really uncool and I’m guessing that’s why the facebook vote got scrapped this year.  It was just too easy to manipulate the results.

8.  If you win and take the Transformers 4 gig you’ll get an extra $50,000.

You can read all the fine print for yourself here: 

This year I’m going to attempt to watch as many CTSB entries as possible and then I’ll post my favorite entries.  If you shoot an ad, be sure to send me a link. GOOD LUCK, EVERYBODY!!

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