December 4, 2014 at 7:40AM
Are ad crowdsourcing contests good or bad for film makers?
From a content creators perspective I haven't been a big fan of crowdsourcing platforms or competitions, mainly as they seemingly commoditize content, promote a race to the bottom in terms of budgets, take advantage of film makers and, from a financial perspective, are not viable to running a business. A colleague likened them to creative sweatshops but then another said they offered film makers the chance to show what they can do, similar in a way to entering a short film competition.
From a brands perspective there are plenty of pros and cons too, but that's another discussion.
Saying all that I recently entered the Doritos Superbowl competition - why? 2 reasons; the $1 million prize and the brief offered lots of potential to be creative. I was also interested to see how these competitions actually worked and this seemed by far the best one out there. I was adamant though not to spend any money on the spot apart from my time or to ask crew/cast for any favours. I wanted this to be about the idea, a really simple idea that could entertain. My inspiration, if that is the right word, was the classic Hamlet Photobooth advert starring Gregor Fisher and The John West Bear viral. Both brilliant but also simple.
Also from a financial perspective it would seem to be bad business to invest in making something with little guarantee of any return - there were over 5000 entries in this competition. Although it must be said the prize structure is generous and starts at the semi finalist stage (top 30) It also offers the opportunity for some unprecedented exposure - the top 2 winners going live at the Superbowl.
Previous winners have produced some really great spots too. Easily up there with a traditional broadcast advert in terms of quality and idea. Last years winner, a film maker, spent $300 but that obviously didn't include equipment, cast and crew etc. As well as the payday it also got him lots of work. Of course he could quite easily not have won and all that effort would have been in vein.
So are these just for those with little experience who need to show what they can do ? Surely If you're experienced you've already proven yourself, you're out there working for a living, so why would you enter something like this? True. But then if you work in a creative industry, unless you are right at the top, you are constantly having to prove yourself, whether it's pitching, doing treatments or being judged on your last piece of work. So is something like this competition, with a pretty open brief with lots of scope and a very decent prize, not a bad thing for stretching yourself creatively and seeing what you can do?
Be interested to hear people thoughts on this?
As for my entry. Pleased to say it has reached the semi finals, whether it goes any further who knows. It cost me less then a £5 and I made it completely myself over a spare weekend on a Canon 5D..
If interested you can see it here. Be great to hear any feedback on this too.