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You gotta be in it to win it (video is fun, why not do it for free)

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Roy Schneider
You gotta be in it to win it (video is fun, why not do it for free)
on Dec 14, 2010 at 2:01:45 pm

Hi All:
I have seen this concept before for logos, and should have known someone would do it for video production. It is a little scary, but this is where we have come in the industry.

Basically the customer sets up a contest (project) with a creative brief and puts up a prize for the winner. You create your best work for the client, client decides which he likes best and awards prize to the winner. What what a win-? proposition for the client.

This is an innovative web concept, and I imagine a great place to try and break into the industry if you have plenty of time and do not need money to survive, but it also is a bit scary at the same time.

Anyway what do you think? Want to join?


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Mark Suszko
Re: You gotta be in it to win it (video is fun, why not do it for free)
on Dec 14, 2010 at 3:05:50 pm

Just as with logo "contests", the quality of entry you get for something like this for video work will be all over the map. And what if NONE of the entries is really good enough? Then you're out the prize, unless you elect not to award it... bad PR move all-around, potentially. I don't think it is a smart way to do serious business, from either side of the line. You may occasionally get something good from someone who has talent but is just doing this for kicks. But that seems a dangerous thing to rely on in the business world.

My views may be colored by my last experience of entering a "make-the-commercial" contest for a local bank. The bank's youthful web master ran the contest. I came in second to the entry of... the web master's classmate. What were the odds? Pretty good, actually, for the first place winner. Thing was, the winning entry was clearly inferior, from the canned imovie music used, to the nonsensical script with fuzzy premise. But his entire dorm building voted for him online about 400 times (contest did not limit each I.P. to one vote).

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Brent Dunn
Re: You gotta be in it to win it (video is fun, why not do it for free)
on Jan 6, 2011 at 4:55:37 pm

I met the 2 brother's who won the first Million Dollar Doritos's commercial.

The first time they entered, they won $25,000. The next year they won it all. This was the commercial where they asked a question, shook the 8 ball and threw it through the vending glass. Then another guy asked if he would get a raise, shook it, & threw it into his Bosses lower twins.

Funny, sophomoric humor always wins. It's about the story, production comes second.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite

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Jim Biffle
Re: You gotta be in it to win it (video is fun, why not do it for free)
on Dec 14, 2010 at 8:24:24 pm

I see two different points of view on this.

1. I looked at the website and it looks tempting to give it a shot. Who couldn't use some extra money? Plus, it looks like it could be fun seeing as how I've never done a spot for a national company.

2. However, could it become like some other talent websites (who shall not be mentioned) where there are 300 billion users competing for one spot so the chances of your work being seen are slim to none? Also, could it become a way for major companies to get production for cheap? The grand prize for a lot of those spots looks to be a lot less in cost than hiring a company to come out and do a full shoot with a crew, then pay for post time and so on.

From my perspective it's tempting since I'm always looking for freelance work and eventually (like a lot of other folks) want to start my own production company. However, part of me can't help but think if I got into this contest stuff would I be shooting myself in the foot profit wise and client relation wise down the road?

I'm pretty skeptical when something like this comes along and looks like easy money since there is no such thing.

This is interesting Roy, thanks for bringing it up!

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Alan Lloyd
Re: You gotta be in it to win it (video is fun, why not do it for free)
on Dec 15, 2010 at 5:44:21 pm

It's called "crowdsourcing" and it is spec work.

Someone pays for spec work. Mostly the people who do it for free in the hopes of getting chosen.

Don't do this. Discourage it. It undercuts every one of us who is working at making a living.

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Craig Seeman
Re: You gotta be in it to win it (video is fun, why not do it for free)
on Dec 19, 2010 at 6:48:00 pm

There is a more legitimate way to do these forms of contests. I saw one recently on craigslist of course and I was impressed with the approach.

I high end product design firm was looking for a videographer to do two "making of" 3-4 minute videos on two of their designs. They also mentioned specifically the types of products and the philosophy of the design.

The contest though had nothing to do with the given products though. They asked submissions, no longer than 30 seconds on the making of a fried egg.

Submission themselves are to be posted to your own YouTube channel with an unlisted link.

The winner would receive $5000 plus production, travel, equipment budget. In other words. In other words the $5000 is your payment. They pay for all the production expenses.

What sets this apart is that the submission is NOT work for their product but a demo of your skills to do a "making of" video. It's only 30 seconds rather than full length so it can't even be a simple "insert our product for the fried egg" (which would be absurd but I don't doubt some would use these things to still completed ideas otherwise). You don't hand them any material at all. You do it on your own YouTube channel.

Some might still have problems with the "contest" but this is closer to a "demo" submission than "do our work for free and we'll pick the best one" in other contests. It's the closest I've seen to a legitimate contest.

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