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2009 Crash the Super Bowl teammates get their own TBS show

Stay tuned after Conan tonight because the Pete Holmes show debuts on TBS at midnight (11pm CST).  The show stars the two comedians that appeared in the 2009 Crash the Super Bowl ad, “New Flavor Pitch,” Pete Holmes (of course) and Matt Mccarthy.  And the director of that commercial, Oren Brimer is the show’s co-executive producer and segment director.  New Flavor Pitch has always been one of my favorite Crash the Super Bowl ads. It made Doritos’ top 5 and won $25,000 but it didn’t air during the big game. Here it is:

Frito-Lay always presets the Crash the Super Bowl contest as an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers who want to kick-start their careers.  But as far as I know, the “New Flavor Pitch” guys are the first CTSB finalists to ever really “make it in Hollywood.”  There are a few people who manage to make the Top 5 almost every year and even those guys have had trouble finding steady, professional work.  (If they could find paying work, they wouldn’t be entering a video contest for amateurs every year).  But it’s hard to argue that Holmes, Mccarthy and Brimer have found success because of the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  They’ve been creating super weird/super funny viral videos for years and if you’re a comedy central, you’ve probably seen Pete Holmes’ stand-up special.  If these guys owe their success to anything, it’s the Badman parodies that they’ve been creating for CollegeHumor.com.  I think this is the first one they did.  It’s up to 10 Million views on youtube:

The parodies got progressively weirder as Holme’s Batman got dumber and louder.  Here’s their most recent (NSFW) short:

Ok, can I level with you?  I’m very much aware that this post doesn’t really have much to do with video contest.  I just saw an ad for the Pete Holmes show today and realized it gave me an excuse to post some of these Badman videos.  Sorry.  My bad…man.

The 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Crash the Super Bowl finalists

If you want to win the Crash the Super Bowl contest you first need to understand what types of ads make the finals.  Doritos used to have all the past CTSB winners posted to a single youtube channel but for some dumb reason, those official videos have all been taken down.  So if you want to see all the winning ads you’re going to have to hunt for them all over youtube.  Or you could just scroll down because I did the hunting for you!  Links to every Doritos finalist from the past 7 years are below. I would have just embedded the videos but 35 embedded youtube videos in one post pretty much would crash my site.  So each ad is represented by a screenshot.  To watch the actual commercials, click on the images:

2012-2013 Doritos Finalists:

Goat 4 Sale by Ben Callner of Atlanta, GA
-Aired during the Super Bowl.

Goat 4 Sale

Fashionista Daddy by Mark Freiburger of Los Angeles, CA
-Aired during the Super Bowl.

Fashionista Daddy

Road Chip by Tyler Dixon of Los Angeles, CA
-Aired during the Super Bowl.

Road Chip

Express Checkout by Sasha Shemirani of San Diego, CA

Express Checkout

Fetch by Joe Taranto of Los Angeles, CA



2011-2012 Doritos Finalists:

Man’s Best Friend by Jonathan Friedman of Virginia Beach, VA.
-Aired During the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar USA Today ad meter bonus

Man’s Best Friend

Sling Baby by Kevin T. Willson of Los Angeles, CA.
-Aired During the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar Facebook ad meter bonus

Sling Baby

Bird of Prey by Joby Harris of Los Angeles, CA.

Bird of Prey

Dog Park by Tyler Dixon of Liegh, UT.

Dog Park

Hot Wild Girls by Brad Scott of Denver, CO.

Hot Wild Girls


2010-2011 Doritos Finalists:

Pug Attack by JR Burningham of Burbank, CA.
-Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar USA Today ad meter bonus.

Pug Attack

The Best Part by Tyler Dixon of Lehi, Utah.
-Aired during the Super Bowl.

The Best Part

Adam and Eve by Stephen Schuster of Topanga, CA.

Adam and Eve

Birthday Wish by Heather Kasprzak of Los Angeles, CA.

Birthday Wish

House Sitting by Tynesha Williams of Santa Monica, CA.
-Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: $400,000 ad meter bonus

House Sitting

2009-2010 Finalists:

Underdog by William Kyle Gerardi of Cary, NC.
-Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: $600,000 Ad Meter bonus.


Snack Attack Samurai by Ben Krueger of Minneapolis, MN.
-Aired during the Super Bowl.

Snack Attack Samurai

The Smackout by Brendan Hayward of Santa Monica, CA.

The Smackout

Casket by Kevin Wilson of Whittier, CA.
-Aired during the Super Bowl.


House Rules by Joelle De Jesus of Los Angeles, CA.
-Aired during the Super Bowl.

House Rules

Kids These Days by Nick Dimondi of Cary, NC.

Kids These Days


2008-2009 Finalists:

Free Doritos by Joe Herbert of Batesville, IN.
-Aired during the Super Bowl. WINNER: Million dollar USA Today Ad meter bonus.

Free Doritos

New Flavor Pitch by Oren Brimer of New York, NY.

New Flavor Pitch

Power of the Crunch by Eric Heimbold of Venice, CA.
-Also aired During the Super bowl.

The Power of the Crunch

The Chase by Chris Roberts of Burbank, CA.

The Chase

Too Delicious by Michael Goubeaux of Los Angeles, CA.

Too Delicious


— 2007-2008: No Commercial contest —


2006-2007 Finalists:

Live the Flavor by Five Points Productions of Cary, NC.
-WINNER: Aired during the Super Bowl.

Live the Flavor

Check Out Girl by Kristin C. Dehnert of Los Angeles, CA.
-Also aired during the 2007 Super Bowl.

Checkout Girl

Mouse Trap by Billy Federighi of Beverly Hills, CA.
-Aired the next year during the 2008 Super Bowl.


Chip Lover’s Dream by Jared Cicon of Claremont, CA.

A Chip Lover’s Dream

Duct Tape by Joe Herbert of Batesville, IN.

Duct Tape


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.



The Canon 70D’s new auto-focus feature actually looks pretty good

I recently started shooting a new documentary project for a local burlesque troupe (nice work if you can get it) and while I was filming my first rehearsal I realized that my DSLR just wasn’t going to cut it this time.  The depth of field was just too shallow and the performers were always going in and out of focus as they moved around the stage.  So I’ve started shopping for a new camera that’s good in low light and can auto-focus.  I haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m probably going to go with the Canon XF100.  All the I’ve seen looks really great and all the reviews say it’s perfect for documentaries.

But the other day, a photographer friend told me I should check out the new Canon 70D.  He said it was supposed to have a “revolutionary” new auto-focus feature.   I wasn’t expecting much from the camera because my Canon T4i was supposed to have a pretty good auto-focus too.  But I’ve found the feature to be totally worthless.  In Auto-mode the T4i is always loudly zipping in and out of focus and can never make up its mind about what it should concentrate on.

I figured the 70D would feature a slightly improved version of the T4i’s auto-focus.  But based on the camera tests I’ve seen, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Here’s a review from a sorta-kooky camera vlogger named .  He does something great in this video; he first demonstrates the auto-focus features of a few different DSLR before finally showing us how the 70D performs.  The 70D footage starts at 4:50:

Compared to those other cameras, the 70D’s “Dual Pixel” auto-focus really does look revolutionary.  The camera never has to hunt for the primary subject and it also never does wild, blurry focus re-sets.  And the motor is whisper-quiet which is another huge plus.  The auto-focus isn’t 100% perfect but it looks like a skilled camera assistant is pulling the focus as the subject moves around the room.  The image kind of looks like someone stuck a DSLR lens on a regular camcorder.

Here’s another good test video that features some sketchy eminem-looking dude creeping around people’s backyards.

Again, the autofocus wasn’t perfect but it’s certainly good enough for low budget documentaries or video contest entries.  If I were to buy a new DSLR right now, this would be the one.  I think I paid like $900 for my T4i kit last year and the D70 (body only) is currently going for $1,200 on amazon.  That’s a damn fair price.  So if you’re thinking of upgrading (maybe before you shoot your Crash the Super Bowl entry) you may want to check out the 70D.


Hotel’s “dream job” sounds a little like slave labor



Brace yourselves.  Winter is coming.  If you’re not looking forward to a long season of ice and sleet and snow and white walkers you may want to shoot an entry for Hotel Iguanazul’s “Costa Rica Dream Job” video contest.  If you win you’ll get to spend 3 months at the Iguanazul Resort in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste, Costa Rica! Here’s how the sponsor describes the contest:

Always wanted to work in the tropics? Here’s your chance!  Are you a dynamic self-motivated and experienced blogger with knowledge/experience of the hospitality industry and a thirst for eco-adventure?  Upload a video showing why you should win this opportunity. You could win 3 months working as a Social Media Marketer at Hotel Iguanazul just south of Tamarindo, Costa Rica communicating what this tropical paradise has to offer.

Three months in paradise sounds pretty sweet!  Of course, there are a few strings attached to this “oppertunity.”  If you look through the contest rules you’ll discover that the “prize’ really is a job….a job that doesn’t actually pay you anything.  Here’s what you’ll receive if you win the resort’s contest:

  1. The opportunity to serve, for three months as a blogger for the Hotel Iguanazul in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste, Costa Rica and Eco Tourism in the area and a 3 month trip for one to Santa Cruz, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
  2. Round-trip economy air transportation from major airport nearest winner’s residence in the United States (up to a total of $1,500 including all taxes and fees) to Liberia, Costa Rica.
  3. Round trip ground transportation from the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica to Hotel Iguanazul up to a total of $250
  4. Hotel accommodations and three meals per day for ninety days at the Hotel Iguanazul.

During you’re stay you’ll be earning your keep by writing three blog posts a week during your 12 week stay.  $13,750 for 36 blog posts probably sounds pretty enticing.  It just so happens that I’m writing a blog post right now and I can tell you, it ain’t exactly the toughest job in the world.  But if you actually think about the prize that the sponsor is offering, you’ll realize that the winner is going to get a pretty raw deal.

The rules state that the total ARV of these prizes is $13,750. $250 of that is for ground transportation to and from the resort and $1,500 is for a round trip plane ticket.  That leaves $12,000.  But that money doesn’t go to you.  That’s the cost of a 3 month stay (plus 3 squares a day) at the Hotel Iguanazul.

So the sponsor expects the “winner” to basically live on zero dollar a day for three months.  Sure, you’ll be at a fancy resort but you’ll essentially be a prisoner there.  If you want to buy some sunscreen or a souvenir or a Milky Way from the vending machine you’re S.O.L unless you brought some cash with you.  The cost of your stay probably includes tons of activities but what happens when you get sick of snorkeling and lobster and you just want to get some pizza and watch a movie?  Anyone who wins this contest will have to go three months without earning an income of any kind.  What are you supposed to tell you cell phone, credit card or student loan companies?  They’re not going to stop sending you bills just because you took a break from life to go blog in South America for the winter.  And hey, let’s not forget about the IRS.  Even though you’re not going to earn a single dollar during your trip, and even though the hotel isn’t actually going to spend $12,000 (they lose nothing by putting you up in an empty hotel room) you better believe that you’re going to have to pay taxes on the prize the sponsor has valued at $13,750.

But now that I think about it, 3 months without pay isn’t even the worst thing about this prize.  The worst thing is that you’re essentially going to be all alone during your stay.  Unless you have a friend that’s willing to visit you, you’re going to be living in a hotel room all by yourself.  Three, free meals a day at a resort sounds pretty amazing….until you imagine yourself eating those meals alone at a table for one in the same restaurant day after day after day.  Maybe you’ll meet some cool tourists once in a while but retirees and couples on their honeymoon probably won’t want to spend their vacations hanging out with the hotel’s official blogger.  I suppose maybe you could become buddies with some of the people that work at the resort.  But I just checked and it looks like most of the staff is from Costa Rica.  I’m sure they’re all nice people but let’s be honest, few people on the staff will want to fraternize with someone who is technically a guest.

I googled the Iguanazul and the resort was once featured on the Travel Channel show “Hotel Impossible.”  I’ve never seen that show before but I guess a travel expert goes to failing hotels and points out problems and berates the owners.  You can see some clips of the Iguanazul episode here.  Maybe the host was exaggerating a bit but it sounds like the place kind of sucks and the owner just doesn’t care about his business anymore.  The show made the hotel look really bad (there were millions of termites, everything was moldy and dirty and coconuts were left hanging in trees that could fall and kill somebody) and that episode has become of of the top google results for the term “Hotel Iguanazul.”  So maybe this video contest is the manager’s half-hearted attempt to fix their google problem  He probably figures that if he can generate a ton of blog posts about the resort during the busy season, they might bury the Travel Channel clips.

So this whole deal sounds weird and shady and I recommend that you skip this contest.  But if you love adventure and dining alone and if you don’t have any debts or personal obligations tying you down, maybe you should go ahead and submit an entry.  If you win, be sure to watch out for falling coconuts! 


B&H’s “That’s Not What it’s Meant for” winners



I like B&H.  I’ve sent them a lot of money over the years and they always sell good gear at fair prices.  I also think it’s kind of cute that their website is down half the time in observance of Jewish holidays.  And I’m not being sarcastic.  It always bothers me when religious folks try and come up with elaborate schemes to get around the rules of their own religion.  For example, did you know that Amish workmen can use power tools?  It’s only a sin if they actually buy the power tools and own them.  The same thing goes for cars and cell phones etc.  I myself was raised Catholic and let me tell you, the only thing Catholics love more than making up rules is figuring out ways to get around those rules.  Recently a Catholic friend of mine said that some day she wants to have a spring wedding a few weeks before Easter.  Technically it will be Lent then but for the right price you can hire a Catholic priest to show up and give everyone a one-night “dispensation” so that they can eat meat at the reception.

So anyway, if you’re going to be religious, you should go big or go home.  If you think that God doesn’t want you to work on the Sabbath then you shouldn’t hire people to work on the Sabbath for you.  Whoever is running B&H photography takes that kind of stuff seriously.  Their website shuts down every Friday and right now they’re not taking any orders for the next 50 hours because they’re observing a Jewish holiday known as Succos.  That might not be the greatest business move but I can respect B&H is doing.  They’re like the Walter Sobchack of the electronics world.  Walter doesn’t roll on Shabbos and B&H won’t sell you a lens during Succos.

So as a tip of my secular hat to B&H I thought I’d share the winners of their “That’s Not What it’s Meant for!” video contest.  This was actually one of the most clever contest ideas of 2013.  Filmmakers were asked to submit videos of photo and video gear being used in idiotic ways.  I watched a lot of the entries and some people really came up with some ridiculous/dangerous stuff.  My personal favorite was the guy who used his boom pole and wind muff to dust the top of his shelves.

B&H selected a set of 10 finalists and then let the public pick the winners.  Here are the top 3 videos, in order.  First prize was a Canon 6D or a Nikon D600, second prize was a Canon Rebel SL1 or a Sony Alpha Nex 5R and third prize was a Canon Powershot or a Nikon Coolpix.


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


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