A lot of big filmmaking contests have been popping up in the past few months, like the MOGA Mega Video Challenge last year (which I entered, you can watch my entry here), the My Rode Reel contest that just ended, and now The Music Bed is hosting their own! I plan to enter that as well.
But the biggest talking point amongst these contests is "What's the point?" These are big international competitions with huge prizes (The MOGA challenge gave a way 6 Red Scarlets!). Obviously the guys with the big budgets and Red Epics are going to win, right? And if the winners are picked by votes, obviously the popular kids are going to win, right?
Often times, these contests have judges pick their grand prize winners. If that's the case, the best film should win right? Then who is going to be the most experienced filmmaker? The 17 year old with an iPhone who's studying video production in school? Or the 30 year old who's been working in the industry for 10 years whose buddy has a Red Epic?
Instead of asking "What's the point?" You should ask "What do I have to gain?"
What do I have to gain?
- A new film to add to your reel, that you can send to film festivals and host on your YouTube channel.
- The experience and knowledge from creating another project
- New connections/friends during production
- Your work is being seen and judged by influential and groundbreaking filmmakers
- Publicity for you as a filmmaker and your project
- The chance to win a big prize
What do I have to lose?
- The contest (obviously)
- Time & energy spent making the film
- Hard drive space
There will be always someone else who will have a bigger camera, a larger budget, a more famous actor, and more minions on twitter. But what it really comes down to is making the most of your resources. If all you have is an iPhone and an annoying little brother, go make something cool with that nobody else can. Don't like your iPhone? Ask a friend to lend you their DSLR. Don't like your little brother? Ask one of the drama students at your school to act in your film.
Just do it. The positives will likely outweigh the negatives, and even if you lose, it may open new doors for you. I didn't win the MOGA contest, but my video helped me land a few acting gigs!
Side note: Read the fine print of the contest's terms! If you have to surrender ownership of your work, you may want to think twice on what you have to gain from this contest.