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Posts Tagged ‘tongal’

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


GUEST POST: How to Create a Kick-Ass Music Video: Part Two

Dan’s Note:  Wednesday has arrived and so as promised, here’s the second half of director John Scalleta’s guide to creating a kick-ass music video.  Here’s Part One in case you missed it.  Let’s start things off with a music video that John’s company Motion Source produced for The Last Vegas track, Evil Eyes.  Part Two begins below.

I’m back again and ready to take you through a whole new slew of details that you are going to need to consider when seeking to shoot a kickass music video. If you haven’t already read the first post in this series, I would urge you to do so now, as what you are about to read builds off of a foundation set there.

So what’s next? People, places, and things.


Before you have anything else, you are going to need a crew. If it’s a concept that is fairly simple to execute, you may only need an assistant of some sort; if your sights are set a little higher, there is a good chance that you are going to need a solid team to bring your vision to fruition. And, when no one is getting paid, it can be quite difficult to assemble said team; however, here are some suggestions:

• Work on other people’s projects. Scour Craigslist, talk to your friends in film school, and generally do whatever you need to do to locate a filmmaker in need of help. Indie filmmakers subscribe heavily to the philosophy that one hand washes the other; and if you help out a fellow brother in arms, there is a very, very good chance that they will help you out when the time comes.

• Use your friends. Your friends may not know anything about filmmaking, but they can sure as hell hold a reflector or lug gear around. Just make sure that you are fair to them, and don’t act like a ridiculous dictator. Additionally, you need to make sure that they understand you have a mission to accomplish, and that this isn’t just an extension of hanging-out. With this in mind, you’ll know the right friends to ask.

• Offer a cut of the take. If you are creating this video for a contest and there is money at stake, consider dividing up the pie. Offering major crew members a percentage of the winnings is often all that is needed to convince talented indie filmmakers to sign on. And, a lot of times the people that you invite to take part might have their own equipment that they would be willing to bring out for the video, as they now have a stake in the game.

And, one final note about crews. You may not have to pay them, but you sure as hell have to feed them. Pushing your crew to the limit and not tending to their basic animal needs does nothing but prove to them they are no more than a tool to you. Plus, hungry people are weak and grumpy–both bad things.

A word to the wise here: please avoid serving pizza or Jimmy John’s! These are too often the staple foods on set, and every filmmaker I have ever met is sick to death of them.


Actors are a dime a dozen; good actors are like needles in a haystack; great actors are about as easy to locate as a unicorn. This being said, you are in luck! Your actors don’t need to memorize, and convincingly deliver, lines of dialogue; they simply need to emote. We all emote constantly, and most of us can be guided to emote in a particular style with a little bit of time and patience. The main criteria that I have when seeking talent for a music video is look: who can I find that has the appropriate look for the character that I envision? Remember, they don’t need to deliver dialogue like De Niro, they simply need to have the right look, and look the right way at the right moment.

Just as you dream of one day getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce music videos, actors fantasize about the day they will be cruising down the French Riviera in an electric yacht on the phone with Steven Spielberg. What I am trying to communicate here is that we all need to start somewhere–we all need to build a springboard to take us where we want to go. Actors, especially those starting out, will oftentimes agree to be a part of your project, because they understand the importance of building a portfolio. This being said, it is totally unacceptable to offer an actor a part in a project if you yourself are not 110% invested in it. If you are, in fact, 110% invested, actors will feel that and easily catch your passion.

So where can you find talent to fit the roles of your story?

• Craigslist. This is often the obvious first choice; however, I have to tell you that I have interacted with so many flakes via Craigslist that I have completely sworn it off at this point. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful with it, it simply means that you need to be careful. Before you commit to bring a Craigslister onto your project, ask to see some of their other work to validate that they are invested in their craft. Additionally, it helps to get on the phone with them and get a feel for whether they are a total weirdo flake or not.

• Model Mayhem. Having sworn off Craiglist, I tend to use Model Mayhem. If you have never visited Model Mayhem before, it is a site that seeks to facilitate collaborations between models, photographers, hair stylists and the like. The thing I’ve found is that most models are also aspiring actors; additionally, the users of Model Mayhem depend upon positive experiences and effective networking to build their career, and are therefore much more likely not to flake out on you.

• Anyone is game. Seriously, anyone. More often than not the talent in the videos that we produce is composed of friends, family, acquaintances, etc. Again, most people can be guided to emote, so you just need to make sure that you build enough time into your shoot day to successfully work with a non-professional. One word of warning here, as you probably already know, filmmaking saps massive amounts of time and energy, so it doesn’t pay to
bring out your high-maintenance sister who needs to be home by 8 to watch the Real Housewives. Find people that will not only be willing to go the distance, but will be excited to be running alongside you.


Alright, I know that I told you to go wild with the concepts you create–to get crazy artistic. But, if your vision dictates a location that is impossible for you to find, much less access, then your entire project is dead in the water. It is due to this that I oftentimes construct concepts around locations that I know I will be capable of accessing, or that I am fairly confident I can find and convince the owner to work with me on. I strongly, strongly, strongly suggest that you do the same. Sorry to come up a little hypocritical here, but location drives a video in my opinion.

Perhaps you find the perfect diner for your story, and convince the owner to let you shoot there after hours. Then, you show up the day of with equipment, crew, talent, and props, and the location owner gets cold feet. Well, that sucks! A situation like this isn’t isolated, it is the stuff of indie filmmaking nightmares. Therefore, if your initial interaction with a location owner feels a bit like pulling teeth, move on. You do not want to work with location owners who are anything but accepting or excited about your project. This may sound a bit improbable, but truth be told, there are a lot of wonderful people out there who would be extremely excited about their space being featured in a video.

Just remember to be respectful to, and upfront with, a location owner. If you are going to be shooting an orgy sequence, you need to let them know this, because sooner or later they are going to find out anyway. Plus, being less than transparent just makes you a jerk. You are asking for a major favor here, and owe it to the grantee of that favor to do whatever is in your power to make the process as easy and non-threatening as possible.

Another tactic that you can use to inspire excitement and acceptance in a location owner is to barter your services. You know how to shoot video right? Well, what about putting that skill into service for them in exchange for access? If you need to shoot a scene in a salon, perhaps the owner of said salon would be extremely interested in having a profile video for their website made in trade. This is, of course, quite a big commitment in terms of time and energy, but who ever said art came without suffering? Remember, one hand washes the other.

And, a final point about locations: make certain that they meet the technical requirements of your shoot. You may find the perfect motel for your horror themed video, but does this rickety old building have the power to accommodate the lights you will be using, or will you be blowing fuses left and right? These are the kinds of questions you need to answer before you ever consider a location a reality.


So you’ve got your people and places, now you need your things.

Props work hand in hand with your location to conjure the world that your story takes place in. If said story takes place in a fairly mundane world, you may have every prop you will need scattered throughout your house. One the other hand, if you are telling a tale of Medieval intrigue, you are definitely going to need to go on a quest for props.

Recently, we completed a music video for the band The Last Vegas, which was predominantly a period piece. This meant that we needed to drum up a number of specific props, many of which weren’t readily available to us. Therefore, we had to get creative, and here is how we did that:

• Witchdoctor Hat: Where do you find one of these suckers? We called upon a particularly crafty friend of ours to take a party-store top hat and turn it into precisely what we needed. Not only did the prop turn our fantastic, but our friend had a great time creating it, and was super excited to see it featured in the video. We all have artsy friends, this is the time to call on their craft.

• Antique Slot Machines: In a desperate bid to find these ancient items we slapped a post up on Facebook looking for any friends that might be able to help us pull this off. Low and behold, the very creator of this site, Dan, has a close friend who collects these fossils. Not only were we able to score 2 period specific slot machines, but we also got 2 period specific extras in Dan and his friend Rod, who came out with the machines and gladly stepped in as
gambling den patrons.

• Showgirl Headdresses: Good old ebay for this one. Remember, you can find anything on ebay, and then you can find a cheaper knock-off that generally serves the purpose just as well.

• Voodoo Tabletop: This is a weird one, I know. All we did here was to ask around; not online, but in person. We asked friends and acquaintances if they had any idea of someone who might have an item like this. To our surprise, a friend of a friend of a friend threw an annual haunted house, and was more than happy to show-off the one-of-a-kind voodoo tabletop he had made as a prop.

This brings me to a very important tactic: one of the absolute best places to locate props are antique stores. Many of these places might as well have a sign hung out front that says “Prop House” rather than “Antique Market”, as they can be that valuable to the indie filmmaker. If you are polite and enthusiastic with the owners of one of these stores, they will often agree to rent or loan you pieces of their stock. However, this often takes developing a relationship. Let them know who you are, and why it is you do what you do. Show them some of your previous work, so that they can feel secure that you are legit. And, if need be employ the same trade suggested in the location section: produce a video for them.

People are often very excited about their things, especially when those things are unique. This means that they can be extremely protective of their possessions, but it also means that they can be surprisingly eager to have them showcased in a video. For instance, we have developed a number of contacts with collectors of antique and vintage cars, all for use within an upcoming project. These auto-lovers are totally into the idea that we are as excited about their darlings as they are. Show that excitement, and win over a potential donor.

That concludes our tour of what it takes to produce a kickass music video. There are so many other details that could be covered here, but if you adhere to the points covered in this post, and the previous, you will have a rock solid foundation to begin building off of. Beyond anything else, remember to use this as an opportunity to be fully creative; and have a flippin ball! Making music videos is a blast–now get out there and start shooting.

Good luck!


Pringles’ “Force For Fun” winners

Pringles’ Star Wars-themed “Force For Fun” commercial contest was one of Tongal’s biggest competitions ever.  There was a $75,000 prize pool and Pringles even promised to use the winning videos in a new online ad campaign.  The company wound up buying 7 videos and all of them are currently on Pringles’ youtube channel.  Here’s the entry that came in first:

Pringles’ First Place Pick.  Prize:  $25,000:

That video was created by the two filmmakers who used to produce the web series BackYard FX, Justin Johnson and Erik Beck.  Unfortunately BackYard FX is now defunct but Johnson moved on and created the Galaxy’s Best Video Contest site, onlinevideocontests.com.  And it looks like Beck and Johnson have a new Youtube Channel under the name TheIndieMachines.  It’s got some pretty ridiculous stuff on there including that’s gotten close to 2 Million views.  If you only watch one funny cat video today, make it that one.  And if you do only watch one cat video today, you need to get your priorities straight.  It’s Friday and the day after the 4th of July.  No one’s going to get any real work done today so you might as well kick back and watch some cat videos until 5PM.

Oh actually, If you like Star Wars and Pringles (I sure as hell do) then you’ll probably enjoy all the winning videos from the “Force For Fun” contest.   Head here to check them out:  http://tongal.com/project/TheForceForFun


Tongal gets into the music video business


2013 has been a very good year for Tongal.  The site received $15 Million dollars in funding in January and since then the site has been landing one gigantic client after another.  It seems like every few weeks they launch a new $100,000+ commercial contest.  Just yesterday I read an announcement for a new $150,000 Tongal “Super Project” that’s sponsored by Gillette.  Two years ago that would have been a huge piece of news.  But now it’s just another big contest that casually gets revealed on the company’s Facebook page.

On Friday the LA Times reported that Tongal is going to try and capitalize on their new found momentum and branch out into the world of music videos.  From the Times:

Tongal, a Southern California start-up that has crowd-sourced video ads for big brands such as Pringles and McDonald’s, is expanding into music.

The Santa Monica-based firm has made a name for itself linking writers, directors and actors with brands to create video ads in exchange for cash prizes. The sponsoring brand chooses the best entries from the users’ submissions.

Tongal will now use its platform to field ideas and production for music videos as online streaming becomes a key way that people consume content, the company said Thursday.

Why would a band use Tongal to produce their next music video?  Here’s the answer:

Crowd-sourcing music videos could also save money for the labels, and increase the number of videos they can make, Wolfe said. While $250,000 music videos were once the norm, record companies have pulled back. 

At the same time, the demand for videos has increased as fans desire more content to watch on the Web through YouTube and Vevo.

“All the recent research clearly shows YouTube as being the No. 1 place where people consume music,” said Wolfe. “Labels used to spend a quarter-million to make a video that would get one spin a day. The way we do it, we make a video for every track on an album.”

There’s already a video contest site named Genero that’s almost exclusively dedicated to running music video-themed contests.  But to be frank, I am not a fan of that site.  The problem with Genero is that the prizes are just way too low.  Creating an interesting and entertaining 3-minute music video takes a hell of a lot of work.  And the job becomes much more difficult if you can’t film the featured artists.  If you cant use footage of the band, you’re pretty much making a 3 to 5 minute short film set to music.  Gereno usually offers one or two prizes ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 for each contest.  So there isn’t a lot of incentive for people to do really great work.  But I’m thinking Tongal will probably do this right.  If they start offering $50,000+ in prizes per assignment they’re going to be able to lure in some really talented filmmakers.


VCN Sponsor Spotlight: 5/18/13

Memorial Day is still a week away but from where I’m sitting it feels like summer is already in full swing.  This is a great time to enter video contests because there’s a lot less competition in May, June and July.  Apparently most (normal) people don’t want to bust their ass shooting a commercial on spec while their friends are off working on their tans.  Plus a lot film students are back at home now which means they might not have access to camera gear or editing systems.  I won a crazy amount of money in video contests last summer so I definitely recommend you spend a few of your vacation days shooting a contest video or two.  Here are three stand-out Poptent, Mofilm and Tongal assignments that you might want to consider entering this month:

Deadline: June 17, 2013

Poptent’s Lil’ Drums Assignment:  I usually avoid Poptent assignments that feature “fun foods” because it’s easy to come up with great ideas for a candy bar or a pizza commercial.  And that means there will be a lot of really good submissions in that assignment.  But remember what I said like 6 sentences ago about their being less competition in the summer time?  Well Poptent’s new “Lil’ Drums” assignment is a good example of what I’m taking about.  Normally an ice cream-themed Poptent assignment would get scores of really great, really funny submissions.  But the Drumstick contest has been up for a week and so far only 150 people have accepted it.  That is VERY low.  150 accepts would normally result in maybe 20 submissions.  So if I were you I’d take one of your old Crash the Super Bowl scripts and re-write it so that it’s about ice cream instead of chips.  There’s only one guaranteed purchase of $7,500 but as I’ve been saying, your odds in this particular assignment should be pretty good.  DEADLINE:  June 17th, 2013.  Head here for details.

Deadline: July 29, 2013

Mofilm’s Corkcicle Chillsner:  This Chillsner thing sounds like my alcoholic dream come true.  I am a man who enjoys tipping back a nice cold bottle of beer every once in a while but I absolutely hate when you get down to the bottom of the bottle and the beer is warm.  So I guess this little device goes in the bottle and keeps your beverage cold.  Oh hey!  Mofilm actually has a few Chillsners that they’re going to send to filmmakers so they can use them in their submissions.  Hmm, maybe I’ll have to shoot an entry for this one.  I don’t think this contest will get a lot of submissions because there is only one prize at stake.  Sure, that prize is $10,000 and a trip to Africa but normally Mofilm contests offer a bunch of smaller prizes for 2nd-5th place.  Another interesting thing about this assignment; there are production grants available and if your idea is really, really good you might receive up to $5,000 to shoot your submission.  Just imagine the party shoot you could throw plan with five grand. DEADLINE:  July 29th, 2013.  Click here to download the brief and/or apply for a grant.

Deadline: June 28, 2013

Tongal’s National Pork Board contest:  You know what goes great with a nice frosty bottle of beer and a mini-drumstick?  A big slab of juicy, grilled pork.  BBQ season is here so this is the perfect time for Tongal to run a contest about how awesome pork is.  The National Pork Board (my favorite national board BTW) is re-naming many popular cuts of pork and this contest is meant to get the word out about the changes.  Like all Tongal contests, this one is being run in three phases.  The idea phase is about to close on Monday at Noon so if you hurry you might be able to get an idea in at the last minute.  After the idea winners are selected you can apply for a Pitch Phase prize.  Two filmmakers will win $1,500 that they can use to create their submissions.  But this Tongal contest is accepting “WildCard” submissions so you can still enter the video phase if you don’t win the pitch phase.  First place in the video phase is worth $12,500, second is $6,000 and third is $3,000.  So even if you come in third you can still throw one hell of a pork party this Labor Day.  VIDEO DEADLINE:  June 28th, 2013.  For more info, click here.


VCN Sponsor Spotlight: 4/19/13

Late April has got to be my favorite time of year.  The days are getting longer, the temps are starting to rise, the flowers are in bloom, the robins and redwings are back and the sky is a deep, gloomy gray.  Ok, that last point might sound sort of weird but April’s gray skies are great for filming.  The clouds act like a natural diffuser and the sunlight is nice and even.  I just finished a big entry for a Mofilm competition and I was planning on taking a break from video contests for a little while.  But April’s niceness has inspired me to go out and shoot a new entry as soon as I can.  If you’re also in the mood to do some filming this month, here are 3 new contests you might want to check out:

Deadline: 5/19/13

Poptent’s “Hormel Black Label Bacon” assignment:  Just a few weeks ago I was a little worried about the future of Poptent.  They were running 16 private, invite-only assignments and only 2 public assignments.  I thought maybe the company was going to close their doors to the general public and just start assigning work to their most successful members.  But good news; Poptent just launched a whole bunch of very enticing new public assignments. So they’re not going private any time soon.  Their biggest current assignment is for Hormel Black Label Bacon.  There will be one $10,000 purchase, one $7,500 purchase, one $5,000 purchase and seven $3,500 purchases.  The top 3 winners will also get a trip to Brooklyn so they can attend a screening of their shorts at a “Bacon Film Festival.”  Bacon is obviously a really fun product and since there are a ton of prizes at stake, Poptent is going to get a billion submissions for this.  But the brief is kind of challenging,  Hormel doesn’t want 30 second commercials; they want short films up to 5 minutes long.  Head here for more details.  DEADLINE:  May 19th, 2013.

Deadline: 5/13/13

Tongal’s “Everyone Loves Welch’s” contest:  Tongal is running a bunch of big money contests right now but this one for Welch’s Fruit Snacks managed to grab my attention.  It’s currently in the “Idea Phase” so you still have a few days to submit a concept.  After the idea winners are selected you’ll have a chance to submit a pitch and explain how you would go about creating one of the winning ideas.  If you win the pitch phase you get $1,000.  When all is said and done, the first place video will receive $10,000, 3nd place gets $5K and third is good for $2,500.  You can read the contest brief here.  And if you’re in need of some inspiration, I suggest you eat 2 or 3 pounds of those fruit snacks and then take a nap.  I’m sure you’ll have some pretty entertaining fruit snack-themed dreams.  Video Deadline:  May 15th, 2013.

Deadline: 7/15/13

Mofilm’s “Wild Turkey American Honey” contest: According to Mofilm “Wild Turkey American Honey is looking for some fun and aspiring video content for its new campaign: Born Wild Made Smooth.”  I’ve got a decent idea for this contest but I’m not sure I should enter.  Why?  Because the Wild Turkey contest is a part of Mofilm’s 2013 Lollapalooza contest and the 1st place winner gets $8,000 and a trip for 2 to Chicago.  I can see Chicago from my kitchen window so I don’t need a plane ticket to get there.  But even if I don’t enter, I’ll probably be at Mofilm’s Chicago awards dinner so if you win, you get the bonus prize of meeting your video contest buddy Beardy from VCN!  Oh one more thing, there are still production grants available for this contest.  The grants go fast so hurry up and submit an idea and maybe you’ll get some cash to produce your idea.  If you win, I promise to buy you a glass of bourbon in person.  To download the brief for this contest, click hereDeadline: July 15th, 2013.

I just realized that I made some really delicious picks this month.  BACON, FRUIT SNACKS and WILD TURKEY: Everything you need to throw one kick ass party!

VCN Sponsor Spotlight: 3/19/13

Usually when I do a “Sponsor Spotlight” I list what I think are the best current Mofilm, Poptent and Tongal contests.  But this month I thought I’d change things up and post some recent winners from each site.  First off, here’s the video that won the top prize in Mofilm’s Nestea: Sydney contest.  Nestea was so happy with the videos they received that they’re running a bunch of them as web ads.  The first place winner is amusing and the production values are really fantastic.  I guess that’s what happens when video contest sponsors start offering big ass production grants!

 First Place Winner.  Prize:  $8,000 and a trip for 2 to Sydney, Australia:

Ok, on to Poptent; 7UP Ten’s recent Poptent assignment was a big one.  More than 1,000 filmmakers accepted the assignment and 151 videos were submitted.  7Up was only supposed to buy one video for $15,000 but I guess they liked what they saw because they bought 3 extra videos for $7,500 each.

Purchased by 7UP.  Purchase Price:  $15,000:

That was pretty clever.  But I think I might like this other one just a little more:

Purchased by 7UP. Purchase Price: $7,500:

And finally, the results of Tongal’s MASSIVE Duplo contest were revealed about 2 weeks ago. Duplo wound up paying out more than $150,000 in prizes for this one. Here’s how the contest worked; during the idea phase, anyone could submit ideas for short videos about Duplo.  The sponsors picked 50 ideas and gave each winner 100 bucks.  Then came the pitch phase; Filmmakers applied for production grants so that they could each produce 5 of the 50 ideas  10 Filmmakers were selected and each received $3,000 so they could make their videos.  Each filmmaker was guaranteed to win at least $6,000 in the video phase.  The first place winner received $40,000 for their set of 5 videos.  I can’t embed any of the winning videos so click the image below to see grand prize winner.  If you want to see all 5 of the videos in this set, click on the little red arrow under the video when you get to Tongal.

First Place Winner.  Prize:  $40,000 for 5 videos:

Like I said, click this image to see all the videos in this set


The simple magic of the Dollar Shave Club promo

I read a lot of video contest briefs and lately I’ve see one particular video get referenced over and over and over; The Dollar Shave Club’s “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” promo.  Here’s a snippit of a brief that I just happened to come across today:


And hey, here’s another mention from a different contest brief:

Sexual humor will never be passé!!

All of these companies want their own Dollar Shave Club promo because the original is wacky and fun and it’s gone on to be a big viral hit.  The promo was uploaded to youtube on March 6th, 2012 (holy sh*t that was one year ago today!) and over the last 365 days it’s been watched more than 9 million times.  The video cemented the company’s image as fresh, hip and different (the words fresh, hip and different appear in a hell of a lot of contest briefs too) and DollarShaveClub.com actually started making a whole lot of sales. According to Wired, DSC’s newfound success even got them a 9.8 million dollar capital investment last fall.

So the ad was a monster success.  But I think that there is another reason video contest sponsors like this video.  It was cheap.  Actually no…cheap is the wrong word.  It was Low Budget and had a DIY vibe to it.  It looks like it could have been shot for a video contest, doesn’t it?  It just feels casual and cool and you get the feeling that the cast and crew probably had a lot of fun making it.  It’s a little irreverent and a little tongue and cheek.  It’s a commercial but it doesn’t feel like a commercial so viewers can share it with the friends and not feel like spammers.  And finally, it explains exactly what the company does but it’s obvious that no one at DSC, not even the founder, takes themselves too seriously.

And that right there is the magic formula that all these companies want.  They are looking for cool, hip, tongue in cheek videos that don’t take the brand too seriously and that has a sharable quality to it.  No one anywhere can actually make a video that’s guaranteed to go viral.  But if you know the ingredients your odds of writing something that has viral potential will be greatly increased.

So the next time you’re reading through a video contest brief, think about the Dollar Shave Club video.  You shouldn’t flat out copy what DSC did (enough people have already done that) but instead you might want to try and capture the tone, style and attitude of the promo.  And hey, just between you and me….if you’re ever submitting a pitch or applying for a production grant on a site like Tongal or Mofilm you might want to say something like “my video would have a Dollar Shave Club” vibe to it.  It seems that “Dollar Shave Club” has become a magical phrase to marketing folks and anyone reading your application would realize that you understand exactly what kind of video they’re looking for.

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