In the digital age, online video contests surely provide aspiring filmmakers an impeccable opportunity to make and practice their craft at different levels and genres and receive more recognition. This also gives them the added advantage of having greater exposure to audiences (via the internet as it has a far greater reach than a film festival would for an amateur) and contacts (investors) alike. If they win the online contest they might even go on to win monetary prizes, etc. As for managing and organizing these contests, it costs virtually nothing.
They have their PR resource teams make the contest go as much public and talked about as it can be so that it goes viral and they are potentially marketed. That is however hard these days since digitalization has also prompted the market to be saturated which has caused a loss of quality assurance. According to the websites where the contests are pitched in one locality there at least a dozen (more or less) per week, on similar or different niches and genres both. It is worth mentioning that if the organized contest does tend to do well in terms of reception, publicity, popularity and video entries (participants) it becomes a win-win situation.
The new production companies or producers get to spot and grow a relationship with new, emerging talent whilst also getting an idea of how the market might tend to change. As in what might sell in the next few years and whatnot, what to fund and what to not, what is considered boring and what's all the rage these days. Consequently, the filmmakers would get a glimpse into the business side of the craft and would learn to deal with producers at a young age and also to get your creative juices flowing, challenging one's own self, getting in touch with a whole community of aspiring filmmakers, also having the freedom to execute their own ideas while they still have the liberty to.
Moving on, now the main prospect of the contest is to pick a niche. Be it a commercial, a short film, a public service message, a music video, etc. Then the participants have to come up with the respective themes, plots, angles and most importantly the vision for this project. The aim is to increase production value whilst simultaneously paving your creative voice in harmony. (The competition structure may vary though).
Furthermore, to mention a few – here are some online video contests that happened recently and were successful: Louis Vuitton hosts a competition in association with Wong Kar Kai titled the "Journey Awards". Obviously, the theme of the completion is the ‘journey' which's the story, the participants have to tell. They even get the desired script/text they want to associate with their vision. Additionally, if the participant manages to win the Jury Prize (the jury comprises of some of the most esteemed filmmakers today) or the People’s Choice Awards, the prize for that is $25,000 which is quite a sufficient amount to even produce and make a feature film debut.
Diversity in the genre is also present though. While the aforementioned competition explores more artsy and serious themes, competitions like the “Dorito Competition” facilitate the genres of comedy and action. Its structure revolves around participants competing for the top 6 positions which all respectively go on to win $25,000. Then when they are broadcasted and whichever ones voted the most by America – that one goes on to be broadcasted as one Doritos' Super Bowl advertisement. The cash prizes, however, vary from competition to competition. Commercial projects even go up to the sum of approximately $35,000.
It may of interest to ask right now, whilst you still may be reading this – where and how do you apply (if you’re considering the prospect that is). One of the most popular websites for this is, https://www.onlinevideocontests.com/ where the up and coming and on-going contests are listed. This has the most information and that is primarily because the website was specifically designed for this purpose. Another website for the same purpose is https://woobox.com/videocontests which in order to use, you have to make an account. It helps in managing your creative profile. Furthermore, it is also integrated with both social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and also with video platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo which makes its interface more convenient to operate. It even has a gallery and portfolio grids, templates that display your work, (also having Wordpress plugins) garnering viewer and voter attention. It is not exclusive for just aspiring or amateur filmmakers, but it is also used by companies to host video competitions and to participate you have to submit your entry with the jargoned hashtag. These competitions are also promoted at various film schools, both online and real as it encourages the students to push their craft and limits. Moreover, this is free advertising for the film schools themselves because the credentials of the entries ultimately are attached to them, that is unless if the participant is independent and does not attend film school.
As for marketing the video contests, updating the community and among other things – Tumblr is used extensively as people and companies maintain their blogs on them, and recent surveys have found that the general age demographics of 15-25 (which tends to range between the students being in High School or University) is more gravitated to using this specific social media platform. So if the blogs maintained on it are accidental or intentional it sure is effective. The interface of Tumblr also allows for a more aesthetically defined and interactive profile which further engages the audience. Other social media platforms are also used comprehensively.
The rapid occurrences of such prospects should always be encouraged as this prompts talent to be evident in the eyes of the audiences and investors alike and has a practical impact on the young artists, striking the balance between remaining confident and humble, which is precisely the key to success, especially in this industry.