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Archive for the ‘New Video Contests’ Category

PEEP THIS: Zenni Optical launches gigantic commercial contest

By now, most of you guys are probably putting the finishing touches on your Crash the Super Bowl entries.  But it’s never too early to start planning your next contest entry!  So you might want to check out Zenni.com’s humongous new video contest before your creative juices dry up.  The company is paying out $45,000 in prizes and if they really, really like your video, it might just wind up on TV.  The rules say that videos must be exactly 28 seconds long but I talked to a rep from Zenni and longer videos are ok.  In fact, they are also looking for viral-style videos that they can use online.  But still, shorter is apparently better in this contest.

Here’s a quick synopsis from the contest page:

Twenty grand. When’s the last time you saw THAT much money? Yeah, a long time. Probably like never.

But if you wear Zenni glasses you might.

We need your brain, at least the creative part. And in return you may just win $20,000.

It’s easy. Smack us with a video, any length (but you score points if it’s short), that says something outrageous about you and your Zenni glasses.

Let your inner Fellini run wild. Surprise us with a zany Zenni story. Or create something touching, you know, with little kids or puppies (please, no cat videos).  We’re looking for videos so good they might even go viral (saving us big bucks on an ad campaign).

This is a truly insane chance to make some serious scratch. We know, because our boss said “you guys in marketing are insane if you think I’ll do this.” But, after a couple of drinks…

Like I said, there’s some big money at stake here.  The grand prize is $20,000 and first place is $10,000.  Two second place winners will get $5,000 each and finally five third place winners will each receive $1,000.  And here’s the best news of all:  THERE’S NO VOTING IN THIS CONTEST!  That’s right, none of the prize money will go to vote swappers or cheaters or Internet celebrities.  If you wanna win some of Zenni’s cash all you gotta do is make a kick-ass video.  The deadline for entries is December 22nd.  So I suggest you go shoot a submission once Thanksgiving is over and out of the way.  It will give you something to do while you’re waiting to hear if you made the Crash the Super Bowl finals!  For more details, head here: 




The 2014 Crash the Super Bowl contest is now accepting entries!

On Tuesday afternoon, the 2013-2014 installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest officially started accepting entries.  As of right now you have 44 days to shoot and submit your Doritos commercials.  It looks like some filmmakers actually shot their entries before the contest even began because there are already 30 ads in the video gallery.  And speaking of the video gallery, Doritos has remodeled and resurrected the classic, scroll-able, video wall.  Last year it was a real hassle to watch multiple CTSB entries because the videos were all hosted on a sluggish facebook page.  But the new gallery is slick, fancy and fun.


Click to check out the gallery

This year Doritos made another change to the contest; ALL SUBMISSIONS ARE BEING UPLOADED TO YOUTUBE!  If you’ve ever tried to upload a CTSB entry at the last minute, you’ll understand why this is a big deal.  You can even submit videos that are hosted on your own youtube channel!  The old CTSB servers would sometimes have problems in the final hours of the contest because hundreds of people were trying to upload videos at the same time.  But now if you enter 20 minutes before the deadline you don’t have to worry that the uploader might crash on you.

Crashthesuperbowl.com is gone so if you want to read the official rules and the contest FAQs, you’l have to head to https://www.doritos.com.  If you do decide to enter the Crash this year, be sure to tweet me a link to your entry () and I promise I’ll reply with a 140 character review!


$19,000 is up for grabs in Womadz’ new Liberty Tax Service video contest


Lady Liberty likes to watch you do your taxes

Last week the new video contest website Womadz.com launched their first official commercial contest.  It’s sponsored by Liberty Tax Service and there are some very nice prizes at stake.  The video that gets the most votes will win $10,000 and the video that gets the 2nd most votes will receive $2,000.  Then a panel of judges will select 3 winners and each of those videos will earn $2,000.  I suspect that some VCN readers may be hesitant to enter this one because some contests that involve online voting can get pretty ugly.  But the Womadz system has an interesting safeguard that should discourage people from cheating.  Womadz is going to select 20 voters at random and award them $50 each.  So if someone votes for themselves 1,000 times, some of their fake votes are probably going to win prizes.  And if a bunch of “people” don’t respond to respond to e-mails informing them that they just won 50 bucks (of if the e-mail addresses turn out to be fake) then the Womadz team is going to realize something fishy is going on.

So cheating probably won’t pay off in this contest.  I think whoever wins the grand prize is going to have to get it the old fashioned way….by begging for votes on facebook.  But the $50 voter prizes will probably make the begging process a whole lot easier.

To enter this contest, filmmakers need to create videos that are aimed at people who are  thinking about buying a Liberty Tax franchise.  The sponsor has come up with two basic ideas and contestants need to incorporate one of those ideas into their entry.  If you want to read the full contest brief, head here:  http://www.womadz.com/liberty-tax—45-days-to-ceo

The deadline for entries is November 5th so you’ve still got a few weeks to come up with an entry.  If you submit a video and need help getting votes, let me know (via ) and maybe I’ll give you a little plug on twitter or even here on the blog.



Tongal and Spitfire team up to create a crowdsourced documentary

tonagl-spitfireOh snap.  Sh*t’s about to get real over on Tongal.  The documentary film production arm of Exclusive Media, Spitfire pictures, has teamed up with Tongal in an effort to create a crowdsourced documentary.  The contest’s project page says “AT LEAST one filmmaker is going to get their feature-length documentary green lit and have Spitfire Pictures as their producing partner – all the way through the completion of production and (hopefully) through procurement of a distribution deal, bringing your masterpiece(s) to the masses…and earning you a share in the profits.”

Like all Tongal contests, this one is being run in several stages.  First up is the Subject Phase.  From now until October 17th, Tongal members can submit up to two ideas for a documentary.  The folks at Spitfire will select 5 ideas and then filmmakers will get the chance to submit pitches based on those ideas.  (Or you can do a “wildcard pitch” and pitch a totally new idea.)  Eight pitch phase winners will be selected and each will be awarded $2,500.  Those winning filmmakers will then use their prize money to create sizzle reels (a sizzle reel is sort of like a trailer for a movie that hasn’t been made yet.)  The two directors who create the best sizzle reels will receive $35,000 each so they can go out and shoot their movies.  And finally, Spitfire will give an extra $15,000 in finishing funds to at least one of the two winners so that they can create a final cut of their documentary.

I don’t usually talk about my non-video contest work here on VCN but documentary filmmaking is sort of my hobby/passion.  A few years ago I produced and directed a documentary feature about the world of “geek rap” entitled Nerdcore For Life.  It got a lot of press attention and the doc screened in some decent film fests.  The movie even wound up on Hulu which was personally a huge deal for me.  Shooting and promoting the Nerdcore movie was a super fun experience and I’d love to do it all again.  But I put more than $10K of my own money into Nerdcore For Life and there’s no way I could afford to self-fund another feature.  So I’m really psyched about this new Spitfire contest.  I just need to narrow my list of 10 un-produced documentary ideas down to two, solid submissions.  But really, I’d even be happy if I won the chance to shoot someone else’s idea.  There’s still about 24 days left in the Subject Phase so if you want to suggest a topic head here:  http://tongal.com/project/Spitfire


The Crash the Super Bowl contest is back and this year it’s going global!


Later this afternoon, Frito-Lay will officially announce the return of the Crash the Super Bowl contest!  This morning’s edition of the USA Today teased some of the details but a few other news outlets got lazy and just straight-up posted Frito-Lay’s full press release early.  It sounds like the people in charge of this contest actually listened to their fans (and maybe this blog) because they’ve made some phenomenal changes this year.  You can read the official press release here but I’ll list the most important details:

  • The contest will begin accepting fan-made Doritos commercials on October 8th, 2013.  The deadline for submissions is November 24th, 2013.
  • FACEBOOK IS NOT A PART OF THE CONTEST THIS YEAR:  Last year Frito-Lay ran the entire Crash the Super Bowl contest through an annoying and poorly-designed Facebook app.  This year the Crash is back where it belongs on it’s own, dedicated website.
  • A panel of judges that includes “executives from the Doritos brand, advertising professionals and the legendary Stan Lee of Pow! Entertainment” will select a slate of 5 finalists.
  • Two of these finalists will air during the Super Bowl XLVIII.  One will be selected by a panel of judges from Doritos and the other will be chosen through an online, public vote.
  • THE AD METER CONTEST HAS BEEN RETIRED:  For the first time ever, the winner of the Crash the Super Bowl contest is guaranteed to win a cash prize of One Million Dollars!  If you win the online vote, you “win” the Crash the Super Bowl contest and you get the million bucks.  There will be no bonuses for scoring well on the USA Today Ad Meter.  Also for the first time ever, the second place winner is guaranteed a prize of $50,000.
  • The two filmmakers that win 1st and 2nd place will also get the chance to “become part of the Marvel family” and work on the set of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • All five finalists will win a trip to fabulous Rutherford, New Jersey in February so they can watch the Super Bowl from Doritos’ private skybox.  The three finalists who do not win one of the big prizes will receive $25,000 just for making the top 5.
  • THE CRASH ISN’T JUST FOR AMERICANS ANYMORE:  This might be the biggest change of all.  For the first time in the history of the Crash the Super Bowl contest, Doritos will be accepting entries from filmmakers outside of the United States.  If you live in one of the 46 countries around the world where Doritos are sold, you are eligible to enter the 2013-2014 installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest.

Some fans are probably going to be annoyed by the “global” angle of this year’s contest simply because it means there will be more competition.  But the Crash was getting stale and I think an international infusion of styles and talent is just want this competition needs right now.  It will be sort of cool to see what kind of ads people in Romania and Peru and South Africa create.  No word yet on whether or not submissions will need to be in English.

All in all, I think this is going to maybe be the best Crash Super Bowl contest ever.  Last year’s installment was sort of a disaster for two big reasons; #1: The CTSB Facebook app was an ugly, spammy, hassle.  #2:  The winners of the contest got robbed because of changes USA Today made to their ad meter.  You can read about these problems in detail in these two VCN articles;  Did a poorly-designed facebook app almost ruin this year’s crash the super bowl contest? and Why didn’t Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl ads do better on this year’s USA Today Ad meter?  But basically, the facebook app tracked user’s data and clogged their friend’s feeds with updates every time they voted for an entry.  And USA Today turned their highly-respected, long running Ad Meter poll into a bogus, online-only poll that anyone could access.  One of the 2013 CTSB winners, Goat 4 Sale actually won 1st place on Nielson’s ad meter but the commercial didn’t crack USA Today’s top five.  The ads that did score high on the USA Today poll mostly sucked and it seemed like maybe certain companies took some steps (cheated) to make sure their commercials would do well in the poll.  If the USA Today ad meter had been run the way it had been run for decades, the director of Goat 4 Sale probably would have won one of Frito-Lay’s big bonus prizes.

But apparently those problems are in the past.  I’m genuinely impressed that the folks in charge of this contest recognized that certain aspects were unfair to contestants and then to action to fix those issues.  Doritos got a massive amount of free, social media exposure when they ran the contest on facebook last year.  So it must have been tough for them to move the contest back to a dedicated website.  I also think it was a stroke of genius to involve Stan Lee in this year’s Crash.  Last year’s celebrity judge was Michael Bay.  Let’s be honest, Michael Bay f*cking sucks.  Nobody likes Michael Bay and his movies are total garbage.  One of the 2013 winners actually won a job working on the set of Transformers 4.  It was a great opportunity but I sort of feel sorry for that guy because he’s probably spent the last 5 months sucking up to Michael Bay and pretending like he’s proud to bring another Transformers movie into the world.  But Stan Lee is different.  Stan Lee is an icon.  People freaking love Stan Lee and the Marvel movies have all been pretty great.  So a chance to “join the Marvel family” is a seriously awesome prize.

Frito-Lay’s official announcement will probably happen around noon EST today.  I’ll update this post with a link to coverage of the announcement when it’s available.  In the mean time, here’s a link to the new Crash the Super Bowl website:  The rules aren’t live yet but a teaser video is already up: 


DO IT FOR AMERICA and maybe some prize money: Explain the benefits of the Affordable Care Act!



Are you excited for October 1st!?  I know I sure am.  10/1/13 is opening day for the heath insurance exchanges that were created under the Affordable Care Act!  I’m genuinely psyched about this because I’m sick and tired of all the lies, half-truths and rumors Fox News some conservatives have been gleefully spreading about this thing we all call “Obamacare.”  If you only get your “news” from the right-wing media, you probably believe that most Americans hate The Affordable Care Act and want to see it repealed and/or defunded before this country turns into the Soviet States of America.  But what Rush Limbaugh and Megan Kelly and Sean Hannity and your uncle Jeff won’t tell you is that a lot of the individual components of the Affordable Care act actually score through the roof with people across the political spectrum.  You know those ACA Insurance Exchanges I mentioned?  Well according to this 2012 Reuters poll….

80% of Republicans favor “creating an insurance pool where small businesses and uninsured have access to insurance exchanges to take advantage of large group pricing benefits.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.  

That’s right….80% of the people who are cheering on Ted Cruz’s suicidal efforts to de-fund Obamacare by shutting down the entire government actually support many of the key components of the law.  But conservatives have done such an amazing job distorting the facts about the ACA that millions of people still don’t understand what it actually does.  (It seems like many just think it’s free insurance for lazy poor people.)  Actually, in a weird coincidence, a moderate-conservative friend of mine called me today to tell me she just got fired.  Obviously she was bummed but she was especially freaked out about losing her health insurance in 30 days.  She said she was going to sign up for that COBRA thing which costs a fortune.  I told her, “Hey, by october 1st you can go to one of the Obamacare exchanges and get a great deal on insurance.  And since you’re unemployed, you may even qualify for Medicare!”  She thought I was joking.  She had no idea she could do that thanks to the ACA.

And that’s why I’m looking forward to October 1st.  Your Uncle Jeff will probably, finally shut up about Obamacare after his kid with Diabetes is able to buy affordable health insurance for the first time in his life.  Once Americans actually start to experience the benefits of this law, they’re going to realize that it’s not an evil new form of socialism.  After October 1st, the fighting and the lies and the calls for repeal will probably begin to die down and we can all get back to arguing about important issues like Syria and Miley Cyrus’ butt cheeks.

So if you’d like to help spread the word about the good stuff that the Affordable Care Act does you may want to enter the “Healthy Young America” video contest.  It’s sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services and a group named Young Invincibles.  The goal is to explain the benefits of the ACA and to encourage young Americans to sign up for heath insurance.  There are lots of prizes at stake and First Place is worth $6,500.  The deadline for entries is September 23rd.  For more info and prize details, head here: 


The ABCs of Death 2 is looking for its 26th director

That baby’s mom is super ugly

All of you aspiring horror directors should take note; a sequel to the 2102 anthology “The ABCs of Death” is in the works and once again the producers are running a contest to find one of the short films that will make up the movie.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, The ABCs of Death is broken up into 26 segments about kittens death.  Each segment is shot by a different director and has a theme connected to one of the letters of the alphabet.  When The first ABCs of Death was being made, the producers (Drafthouse Films) ran a contest to find the short that would represent the letter “T.”  The winner was this weird (and NSFW) claymation video entitled, “T is for Toilet.”

This promo gives an entertaining explanation of how the contest works.  Warning: Like most video contest promos this one opens with a shot of a very loud screaming skull.

I’m not really a horror guy so I’m probably not going to enter this one.  But I do like the concept so I figured I’d mention it.  This contest offers filmmakers a nice excuse to go out and shoot a high-quality short horror film.  So even if you lose, you still walk away with a decent film that you can send to festivals and add to your reel.  The deadline for this one is Halloween so you’ve got plenty of time to shoot something fancy.  Head here to read the official submission guidelines.

Chevy and Mofilm want to air your work during the Oscars!

Some video contests are so big that they deserve a post of their own.  Earlier this month Mofilm announced that the ad that wins their new Chevy commercial contest will actually air during the 2014 Academy Awards.  Having your work air on TV is the ultimate prize for any spec filmmaker but the fact this is going to happen in the middle of a commercial break during the Oscars makes this contest a must-enter.  Just think about it….tens of thousands of the most important and influential people in the America film industry will be watching the Oscars next March.  If you win the Chevy contest, maybe one of those agents, producers or investors will be so impressed with your work that they’ll want to sign you, hire your or dump some funding in your lap.

Of course, it’s important to note that if you win this contest you will technically earn “the chance” to see your work air during the 2014 Oscars.   Mofilm has to phrase the prize that way for legal reasons.  Even if the judges pick you as the winner, there’s always a chance that Chevy or CBS won’t be able to air the ad.  I remember a few years ago a filmmaker won first place in a Mofilm-run Chevy contest but the actors in his video weren’t wearing seat belts.  Legally, Chevy wasn’t allowed to exhibit that video anywhere, not even on Mofilm.com.  In fact, that ad probably would have aired during the 2011 MLB All-Star game if the director had followed the safety guidelines listed in the contest brief.  Because the winning ad didn’t conform to federal guidelines, Chevy aired the second place winner during the game and the actual first place winning ad has never seen the light of day.  So if you’re going to enter the Oscar contest, be sure to read and follow the brief carefully!!

Aside from “the chance” to see your work air on TV, the grand prize winner will also take home $20,000.  There are also a bunch of regional, runner-up prizes that range from $2,000 – $8,000.  On top of that, Mofilm is also offering a ton of production grants to filmmakers who want to shoot submissions.  (The deadline to apply for a grant is August 15th.)  And here’s one more perk; if you apply for a production grant and Mofilm really likes your idea, you may receive notes and advice from a panel of notable mentors that include producer Jon Landau and one of my personal favorite directors, Spike Lee.

Like I’ve said, you still have about 2 weeks to work up a pitch for this contest.  Follow this link to download and read the contest brief:  http://www.mofilm.com/chevrolethollywood



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