DSLR Production Table by the VCK / Congratulations to the CTSB finalists

Three things I want to do in this post:
1. …apologize for not posting in many, many months.
2. …congratulate all of the finalists in this years running of the Crash The Superbowl contest.
3. …introduce a piece of gear I built with a goal of making producing with my DSLRs more efficient.

1. This last year has been a fruitful one for Jared Cicon Films. I’ve been able to produce commercials for some pretty noteworthy brands, and have also booked a bunch of work with local companies to the extent I wasn’t able to enter this year’s Crash The Superbowl contest. A good problem to have. We also are proud to announce our son’s entrance into the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, Utah and his impending departure to Rome, Italy for a two year religious mission for our church. Between Jacob (our eldest), Jonah (senior in High School), Jared Jr. (Sophomore) and Jolie our 9 year old princess, this last year has been a cyclone of activity. Family and JCF production has left little time for spending any kind of meaningful time in the Video Contest Kingdom. I apologize for that. I also can’t predict with any certainty how much time I’ll have in the coming months, but I definitely wanted to share the info about this production table I built since it may be of some use to my peers who produce with DSLRs.

2. Congratulations to everyone who made the finals in the CTSB commercial contest. I think the five finalists were awesome choices. Like Beardy of Video Contest News. I think it is a no-brainer that ‘Goat 4 Sale’ should play during the Superbowl. It would be money in the bank for FritoLays North America.

I will be curious indeed to see who prevails out of the field of finalists. I really like that Doritos has just come out and made it public that ‘they’ choose one of the finalists that airs during the SuperBowl. In years past it’s been my suspicion and it’s always seemed like the most sensible thing to do when brand reputation hangs in the balance. Good for Doritos finally coming clean on the issue.

3. I’ve spent about a week planning and building a production table specifically for Jared Cicon Films – JCF (FYI, JCF is the production company of record for the VCK). I’ve searched high and low over the last several years for a light-weight, portable, multi-function production table. One that can follow the director around as his location changes and with ease. One that would allow the organization of all the little bits and pieces, odds and ends that go along with each and every production. I can’t tell you how many times production has come to a standstill because no one knows where the gaffer tape is, or where can be found the silver dollar needed to remove the tripod head or the phillips head screwdriver has been misplaced, etc. etc.. Just think of how much time is lost during an average 10-12 hour shoot day in waiting for lenses to be switched out when a crew member must go to wherever the camera bag is being staged and journey back to the set. I’ve needed this table for years and in failing to find one that facilitated my specific needs, I decided to build my own.

The on-set, on-location management system for gear and tools.

The on-set, on-location management system for gear and tools.

I’m really satisfied with how it turned out. I think I calculated spending about $100 for parts/supplies. Most of the cost was the hardware. I can’t believe how much nuts and bolts cost these days. I probably sunk about 30 hours into it and there is the real cost. A lot of time that might otherwise and arguably be spent better as a producer of commercials. Where ‘gear’ is concerned it is usually/invariably always the smarter avenue to purchase rather than waste time building. In this case however, I had no choice. This product is not available for purchase…anywhere. At least not the way I needed it. To read more about it’s functionality and to see some explanatory text and high resolution images, click on the two images below. If you produce with DSLRs and are familiar with all of the little pieces of gear, gadgets and production tools that go along with it, I’m betting you will find this piece of gear invaluable. I believe I reveal enough information relative to it’s construction, but am willing to provide more should you decide to build your own. Hope you guys enjoy this.

Jared Cicon films Production table.

Jared Cicon films Production table.

JCF production Table - Breakdown/Storage

JCF production Table – Breakdown/Storage

The King

LOLLAPALOOZA BOUND!!!

Something good, just got a whole lot better.

After recently completing and submitting to MOFILM’s Walmart commercial assignment, my wife and I discussed with each other the total experience. We knew that at this point, it could likely be the conclusion of the experience and we needed to compare it to other spec. work we’ve done for various crowd sourcing portals. We determined that it was one of our best spec. creation experiences, and for a bunch of reasons. The two most important being: Even if we failed to sell anything to the brand, we still enjoyed more open communication channels between all three parties during production (MOFILM, Walmart and JCF), and secondly: the production grants from the brand/MOFILM allowed us to pay our talent and crew leaving only ourselves as the owners of Jared Cicon Films to work on a speculative basis. This increased level of risk-sharing does so much to increase the strength and value of so many assets of production.

We concluded that regardless of the judging outcome, we would definitely produce again for MOFILM.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the rock concert. With only a week to go before the scheduled announcement of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, Walmart informed MOFILM they were still in the judging phase and hadn’t yet determined a ‘best’ Walmart submission. They had as yet only narrowed it down to a top ‘3’. But wait a minute! The 1st place prize included a trip to Chicago to meet the brand, receive the award, attend events related to the Lollapalooza music festival, etc., and if Walmart hadn’t yet chosen a 1st place pick, how would they know who to send to Chicago?!? MOFILM’s answer? Send all top three creatives and a guest each to Chicago and let ‘the lot’ enjoy what was originally promised to only a single creative.

Since MOFILM contacted yours truly informing him his Walmart spot was one of the top three chosen by Walmart, Yeah, something great just got even better.

So the ‘King’ and Queen Cicon will be visiting the land of Lollapalooza later this week courtesy of the generosity of MOFILM. Air fair, five days and four nights accommodations, dinners, brunches, hobnobbing with Walmart executives and the MOFILM family, VIP passes to Lollapalooza music events, and whatever else MOFILM has up their sleeve.

OK, I’m gloating. And is it really ‘news’ that the king prevailed in his kingdom and won yet another video contest. Hardly. After all, it happens with such frequency that it’s not exactly headline material anymore.  What ‘is’ news though, is how MOFILM handled the situation. Kudos to them. Kudos to Walmart. And “here, here” to the evolving nature of crowd sourcing that seems to be of increasing benefit to the freelance creative as our role in an ever-changing advertising world becomes more appreciated and further defined.

The King

MOFILM…MORESPECT!

 

 

 
Hey Everyone,
I promised to get back to the kingdom and report on my progress with the MOFILM/Walmart video assignment. And here I am. Yesterday (Monday July 16th) was the deadline to submit to the assignment. I made the video submission with two days to spare. The paperwork was a little daunting. MOFILM is very thorough and covers all of their bases. Because I had 10 Extras and 4 principals (+ minors), I had a ton of releases, driver’s license copies etc.. But I submitted on time and now all that’s left is to wait and see. But from what I understand it won’t be a long wait. More about that, later in the post.

I’m going to try and provide as much information as I can about the process to help those of you who have never created with MOFILM make a more informed decision should you choose to engage.

PRODUCTION GRANTS:
As I reported in my previous blog post, I applied for a grant and was awarded $2,000.00 to help in the production of my Walmart script. MOFILM provides a substantial amount of production grant money with most of the projects they host. To qualify, they require a detailed synopsis and/or script detailing your idea, and a link to other work you have done. If they like what they see/hear, you get the grant (ranging from $500 – $2,000). This grant is paid whether or not you win the assignment, and is not deducted from any prize money in the event you win. The only stipulation is that you faithfully execute your script. MOFILM provides grants in part, to maintain a high quality level of submissions for their clients. This is smart for everyone concerned. Smart for the brand, smart for MOFILM, and smart for we creatives who can pay our talent and crew, and in the process keep them coming back for future projects. I think what is lost on most crowd-sourcing portals is that even if we creatives can’t help but going back to the crowd-sourced back-alley for our production fix, sooner or later, we lose the faith of those production associates (talent/crew) who don’t take our addiction in the same stride. They want/deserve better for themselves.

I win my share of video contests, and even His Highness experience times where talent declines an opportunity to work on a project unless there is a guaranteed payday. Can’t blame them. Bottom line here, you can’t help but feeling better about a company like MOFILM when they are willing to line up along side you and share in the production risk. Won or lose, I’ll feel a lot better about the time and talent I’ve dedicated to the MOFILM model.

COMMUNICATION:
One thing that really stood out with MOFILM when compared to other crowd-sourcing portals I’m familiar with, is that I was included in the communication chain at several junctures. Upon submitting my script, the Walmart brand took an interest in reviewing and suggesting things that could do to help make it a more campaign friendly message. MOFILM cc’d me on certain emails so I could see first hand the exact wording the brand was using when they were communicating an idea. Later in the pre-production phase we had some lengthy give and take about the appropriate type of location that should be shot (I had requested to use a Walmart store for some of my live-action filming). In this case I was simply included in the email chain. It was so refreshing to be treated and communicated with in the same way my non-contest customers treat me. Like a grown-up. Imagine that. I had become so used to the super secretive, clandestine nature of video contests that it actually took me by surprise when I started getting emails where I was included in the conversation as the ‘director’ of the spec. commercial. ‘Respect’ is also a form of compensation…and I received a good measure of it from MOFILM. It also helped in eventually securing a store with the new Walmart logo on it’s exterior, and at which I could shoot the necessary footage. Don’t get me wrong, the exchanges of communication had an occasional stumbling block or two, and nor did I score all of the concessions I sought from the brand as a creative/director. But such is often the case when working with clients on non-contest related branding. What bears repeating though, is there was a much more transparent veil of communication while navigating the production process.

ASSIGNMENT RESULTS – TURN-AROUND-TIMES:
Now, I don’t know if this is standard protocol but I was shocked when MOFILM informed me that the results should be in well before the end of the month. That’s less than two weeks. If true, that will be awesome. I hate to wait for anything, especially when I end up not selling/winning the assignment anyways. Surely the results notification will differ from brand to brand, but it was nice to get specific information like this instead of the same old form letter we often receive from other portals at submission deadline. A form letter which essentially really reveals nothing at all about when the brand will make the decision.

WHAT? NO VIDEO GALLERY?
That’s right folks. There was no contest video gallery for the Walmart contest. And I loved it. At first I thought it was a ripoff. I’ve been so ingrained into thinking that I need to view all of the 100- 200 or 4,000 videos that I’m competing with. I just had to have that 3-4 hours or 3-4 days investment of time (depending on size of contest), that always resulted in nothing more than useless consternation and time away from family. I’m going to be perfectly honest with the reader. I can’t tell you how much time over the years I’ve wasted, musing over my competitor’s work. For sure there is a benefit to seeing what the next great technique is, and measuring it against your own skill set with an eye to improving, but come on people….we don’t limit it to that. Not sure why we do it, but aside from the communal benefit it seems like we all spend a whole lot of wasted time in THE GALLERY. I feel a sense of freedom and independence, now that I have been weened off the gallery tit. Cold Turkey.

With this Walmart contest, only the top five ‘moneymakers’ as chosen by the brand will be showcased on the site. That is frankly how it should be. In the olden days, when you produced on spec. for a brand, they didn’t show you the work of a competing creative director, and as we mature in our roles as serious ‘players’ in the advertising world, we shouldn’t require it either. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve crossed a bridge. OK, yes, I’ll occasionally still create content for crowd-sourcing sites that have galleries and I”l likely revisit bad habits occasionally leaving veiled remarks, to most of the competitors (except for a very small close circle of friends). But when the day comes where galleries disappear altogether, we’ll all be better off. Let the winning videos suggest to us how we could have done better. MOFILM shows just the winners.

EXPOSURE TO THE BRAND:
I think the most exciting thing I appreciate about MOFILM is their transparency between admin (themselves), we creatives and the brand. In fact, with the Walmart contest, the winner of the assignment will be receiving their paycheck directly from Walmart at a festive event in Chicago to which they will fly and accommodate the winner and a guest with the Lollapalooza Music Festival as backdrop. That’s right, the winning creative gets a trip to chicago and will personally meet the brand that purchases the creative content. Can anyone say, “Career Advancement”? This is quite a cry from sites like Poptent.net which through the creative contract, prohibits both the brands (their clients) and the creatives (us), from having any communication whatsoever for one full year after the conclusion of any assignment for which we’ve created content, win or lose. Kind of stifling to the career of a freelancer who is hoping to make impressions on brands with hopes of future employment. Poptent doesn’t hide their policy either, sort of. You can read it yourself. I think it’s on paragraph four of page eleven on the terms and conditions form. And if you’ve never read it, it ‘s to your own undoing. We should always fully read any and all contracts we sign, and prior to doing so. Hey, I knew it was there and still created content. I’m not saying though am happy about that. Look, I ‘get’ that it’s a necessary part of saddling /obscuring/locking-away Poptent‘s bread and butter (us), but if MOFILM has figured a way to do it and still be profitable, why can’t other crowd-sourcing portals. I mean, for me it is quite simple. Even if I lose the Walmart assignment:
1. MOFILM still helped me produce to the tune of $2,000.00
2. MOFILM showed the respect of sharing the risk of spec. production.
3. MOFILM allowed for increased open communication with the brand during production.
4. When I do win one day, I will meet the brand face to face.
5. MOFILM allows me to maintain a roster of professional associates who will continue to work with me because I have a ‘budget’.

PREDICTION FOR THE FUTURE OF CROWD-SOURCING:
In the not too distant future, major and intermediate brands will have their own Crowd-Sourcing departments where capable producers are given leads and ‘breakdowns’ on upcoming ad campaigns. When you consider how the whole crowd-sourceing model has morphed over just a few short years (production grants, invite only assignments etc.), there are scarcely other evolutionary possibilities. I think it will be a boon to those creatives who are serious about their craft and who increasingly bolster their professional profile and skill set. Some things in the world of business do not change. Professionals expect the people they work with to be professional.

Well, that’s all I got for now. In my opinion, if you’ve grown tired of the other crowd sourcing sites available to you on the net, and haven’t yet tried MOFILM, you ought to.

Yours Truly,
The King

MOFILM bankrolls a VCK contest submission.

Hear ye, hear ye!!! The VCK (aka Jared Cicon Films), applied to MOFILM for a production grant to help offset production costs for a video to be submitted to one of their contests, and the award was granted! Pretty cool huh? Although it makes me feel pretty special (and it surely does), the truth is, it happens all the time at MOFILM.

MOFILM issues up to 10 production grants per assignment (ranging from $500 – $2,000.00) to creatives who demonstrate the talent, will and track record of producing quality content, as they pitch/propose to MOFILM.

These Production Grants are intended to raise the quality of the assignment submissions by increasing production values. The grants may be spent for items ranging from, paying for pro talent, buying/renting legit props, buying/renting equipment, etc. Basically, most anything that ensures the brand can get a better, more ‘usable’ video at contest conclusion.

FYI, MOFILM is similar to crowd-sourcing models like tongalZOOPPApoptentGeniousRocket, eYeka, etc..

SIDE NOTE:
Why didn’t I do this earlier?
It’s funny how comfortably self-sabotaging we allow ourselves to be in our daily/weekly/yearly routines. Never reaching out, rarely willing to truly explore and try and apply new things. Case in point: Over the last several years I’ve seen countless adverts and articles for the MOFILM brand, and never took the time to ‘really’ check out their offerings. It actually took one of MOFILMS’s representatives, (Kerry Gaffney), to finally spur this royal clydesdale into drinking at the watering hole. I didn’t realize how dehydrated I’d become.

What caught my attention?
Kerry Gaffney (MOFILM) posted a comment in a recent VCK blog:
It can be easy for the people organising the contests to forget that entering isn’t free, even if there is no ticket price to enter per se, making a decent entry costs time and money for [a] result that isn’t guaranteed.

These are courting words for any ‘available’ freelance creative, and they definitely got my attention. I can’t understate how important it is to the freelance creative to hear from the crowd sourcing portal, that they understand the financial plight of the spec-producing freelancer as we regularly and repeatedly create and give away the life blood raw material of the business model…for free.

OK, back to my particular dealings with MOFILM.
What’s cool about the grants is, even if my submission is not chosen by the brand, as long as I faithfully follow the script/pitch I submitted to the grant committee, deliver the video as promised by deadline, and can produce reciepts for my expenses, MOFILM will still honor the grant and pay me the $2,000.00 grant to help minimize my losses.

How’s that for a crowd sourcing portal shouldering some of the risk of speculative content creation? It makes me feel like MOFILM is a ‘real partner’ in what I am trying to accomplish in my filmmaking career. Please, anyone, correct me if I’m wrong here and offer an alternate to MOFILM that provides equal or better risk-sharing. I hope, sooner than later, there become many.

NUTS AND BOLTS:
Just so you know what we’re talking about here. I originally submitted a grant request for $3,500.00. I read the creative brief, provided a 3 or 4 sentence synopsis and a fully fleshed out first draft of the script (though a fully drafted script is not mandatory to pitch a project, I would suggest you do it. It will say a lot more about you and your ability to get an idea across.) I provided a list of items the funds would be allocated for: props, wardrobe, talent, craft services, labor fee for editing hours, etc..

MOFILM countered with a grant offer of less than what I requested. The reduction was primarily the result of disallowing payment for labor hours spent at the editing bay. It was explained that these hours are part of the ‘creative’ what will be awarded if the brand finds value in the content. It is one of the assets I must be willing ‘risk’, as I create on spec.. MOFILM did however approve of compensating for talent fees, crew fees, craft services, props, etc., all of which will markedly increase the realism of the finished spot. In the end, MOFILM agreed to a $2,000.00 grant. I accepted the terms. Though this will not pay me for any of my time or creative (editing/writing), it will surely allow me to employ tangible elements during production that will assuredly help to create a more polished national quality message.

This is good for me. This is good for MOFILM. This is good for the Brand.
This is good for the future of freelance film creators everywhere.

NOW CHECK THIS OUT!:
Let’s say I win the assignment and mine is the video purchased by the brand. Along with winning the top prize level $8,000.00 (in addition to the $2,000.00 seed money – $10,000.00 total), MOFILM will fly myself and a guest to Chicago, put us up in some nice digs for 4 days, and treat us like VIPs as we are shuttled to special events associated with the Lollapalooza Music Festival. Events will include a screening of our commercial (along with all other MOFILM awardees’ videos), where we will personally meet the brand representatives who purchased our content.

How’s that for making immediate and direct connections with brands as we grow the roots of our commercial production careers? I’d say it’s more than just a bit awesome.

WAIT! THERE’S MORE!:
And this ain’t no cheesy infomercial. After being purchased by the brand, if the commercial airs on television, MOFILM is starting a program that will provide for substantial additional residual payments for the creator of the content, and also for the talent that acted in the spot. If you want to read more, and you should…click here.

SIDE NOTE #2:
As of today’s date there remain contest opportunities relative to the Lollapalooza event at MOFILM. Brands associated with the contest include: Chevrolet, Walmart, Campbells Soups, Play Station, and Sovereign.

IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND:
Similar to sites like poptent.net, you needn’t receive grant money to enter a contest at MOFILM. In fact, the best thing that could probably happen is for you to win a MOFILM contest without a grant. From that point forward, you would definitely be a big blip on the MOFILM sonar, and getting future grant money would likely become a whole lot easier.

I apologize for sounding like a commercial for MOFILM, and it is not lost on me that I am in the throes of the Honeymoon period of the contractual relationship between them and myself. As there is no perfect crowd-sourcing model, there will likely be stumbling blocks that need to be navigated, but so far I am sold on the the MOFILM structure/model.

I’ll be blogging about my experience with MOFILM as it unfolds over the next few months and my gut feeling tells me I’ll have more good things to report than bad. On it’s face, IMO, MOFILM represents the best opportunity for our community, relative to compensation, risk-sharing and freelance career advancement. If it’s not already, MOFILM should be included in your crowd-sourcing rolodex as a strong option when you embark on spending your most precious creative assets.

The King

VIDEO CONTEST KING SELLS SECRETS TO THE KINGDOM

Here ye, here ye, all royal subjects:
His Highness heralds significant change to the Video Contest Kingdom.

Effective immediately, the VCK will focus on providing production consultation for any creative wanting to up their production game.

The Video Contest King will share with creatives his knowledge of video production with a focus on increasing your branding and story-telling value in the freelance marketplace, increasing the likelihood of your content being noticed and purchased by the brand.

As a highly successful video contest veteran, I have been finalist in 80% of the contests I’ve entered and have won more than half of them. That’s not a type-O, the Video Contest King has won over 50% of the video contests he has entered in the six years he has been producing spec. commercials. Through it all, I have used a myriad of camera and lighting equipment configurations and have shot with semi-pro Mini-DV on through the current Canon I currently utilize to story-tell. I have shot with cheap Lowell lights, eventually graduating to the Kino Flo system I now use. I have scored wins and have had national commercials from the outset, regardless of the type/quality of equipment available to me because I have always known that: More important than the newest film gadgetry is the valuable impression waiting to be made on the brand by way of good story-telling paired with solid editing.

For those of you that have hung out here in the kingdom over the years, you’re likely familiar with the hundreds of critiques and reviews I’ve given to requesting creatives. These creatives span the spectrum of freelance experience, from Pros who have worked with major brands, to entry level creatives equipped with a spankin’ new T2i from Costco and a dream of making a name for themselves in the advertising world. In most cases, the reviews I’ve provided to peers in the past were issued at the request of those creatives. Click HERE to read a blog post that contains numerous such reviews relative to a popular video contest run by Doritos.

Any successful writer/producer knows that the most important element of production is the quality of peer review and collaboration that goes into any project. I have employed the same peer review process in my own career and owe much of my success to it’s implementation. Having the luxury of honest feedback from a seasoned, successful professional with a willingness to pull no punches at any and all production junctures is irreplaceable. It is arguably the most important growth vitamin any freelancer can consume to help bolster their staleness immunity. The problem with our community, is that freelancers tend to be lone wolfs…mavericks with little in the way of peer review affiliation. Freelancer video creators rarely receive the kind of critique needed to improve the creative skill set in any consistent, ongoing fashion. Yet, it’s the kind of input necessary to not only make us more valuable in a creative sense, and to not propel us to the next level, but it is critical to helping us stay current with popular visual trends and styles. It’s the type of quality critique we will never receive from our friends, family and freelance buddies. It is why serious script writers the world over pay hundreds of dollars for coverage on their scripts, to have them dissected and ripped to shreds by professional and highly capable script readers. If you are a freelance creative and are not ready for this type of scrutiny, than be prepared for the coming waves of entry level film novices to steam roller over you.

In the Video Contest Kingdom I’ve been providing review/critique service ‘free of charge’ for years. In my archives you will find many other posts published over the last couple of years which contain literally hundreds of reviews and critiques. As a result of the overwhelming volume of requests I currently receive for review and critique I can no longer provide coverage free of charge. It consumes just too much of my free hours to provide the thoughtful feedback necessary for useful review/critique. It is why I am re-configuring the Kingdom. So that I may identify those creatives who are serious about receiving professional coverage, and stratify them from those creatives who may want an opinion but ultimately never intend to apply the input that can take hours to organize and provide.

Review and Critique will include:
1. Thorough and complete coverage of the commercial script. Often this may include a complete revision of the script by the King.

2. Reviewing the shooting schedule and suggest changes that may help paint a more comprehensive and contiguous visual story line. The goal is to reduce the occasions where time consuming pick-up shots and costly re-shoots can throw a serious monkey wrench into the production schedule. Any visual progression that skips or jumps and doesn’t move the branding story forward in a believable and aesthetic manner is doomed to fail from the very beginning. Brands regularly pay 3 Million dollars + to broadcast a :30 spot during the Superbowl. At this rate we better be sure that every single second ($100,000.00) of our :30 submission is kind of special. 

3. The creative will submit to the King a first draft of the edit. The King will provide detailed clip-by-clip input ranging but not limited to timing, length, style, effects, clip order etc.. A very common problem creators experience is sculpting down :43, or :51 of content down to the brand-required :30. I’ll share how it is done and by virtue of time compression how an even stronger spot results. The King will provide a total of three critiques on three different edits. TIP: Try not to spend too much time on your first draft edit. Or at the very least never allow yourself to think your first edit is the ‘finished edit’. Falling in love (spending too much time) with any particular sequence of content is the single greatest barrier to improvement (especially the early ones). Upon slowly falling in love our babies we tend to not want to kill any of them. Any editor who thinks their subsequent brainstorm is never as good as their first, is mistaken. It is a mindset often born of laziness and/or stubbornness, (something we creative types are often stricken with), one which regularly sabotages our professional growth. The King can only help improve your product if all content is fair game. After the King provides edit suggestions, the creator can choose to adopt little or none of the critique, but it is educationally incumbent to at least see what the changes would have looked like, before rejecting them. With growth comes growing pains. Buy some Advil.  

SERVICES:
The King provides the below rates for any video project of 1:00 or less in length. For projects of longer duration, or for information on how the King (Jared Cicon Films) can be hired as principal editor on your project, you may email me, Jared, at (JaredCiconFilms@yahoo.com).

Additional Information:
If upon completion of your master edit, the changes accurately reflect the King’s critique, the King may showcase your work as a ‘Before and After’ example here on the VCK blog.

TIP: Though the King will service any projects that fit the under 1:00 criteria, it is strongly advised that you not submit to the King, projects for contests where winning video(s) are chosen via a public or social networking voting scheme. In contests such as these, content can rarely be edited with any kind of assurance relative to contest success. Instead, sites like Poptent.net, Tongal.com, Zooppa.com, and MOFILM.com, represent a much more credible creative challenge and real opportunity to work with brands who are seeking legitimate content for their real world branding campaigns.

Happy filming. Good luck on your next project. Here’s to teaming up with you on it. All inquiries should be directed to jaredciconfilms@yahoo.com.

The King – aka Jared Cicon (www.jaredciconfilms.com)

Marinate with the King

Hey citizens of the kingdom. Good to have you on this side of the moat. Got a little different post for you today. A vlog instead of a blog. If you know me, than you know how much I love cooking……and eating. Almost as much as I love filmmaking. I decided to combine them and share a cooking tip and a thought for the day. Hey!!! If you buy a Turkey Fryer, let me know how it turns out.

The King

Doritos ‘put up’…now the naysayers can ‘shut up’!!!

So I saw the ads yesterday during the Superbowl. And as you night have guessed, I was elated to see “Man’s Best Friend“, not only winning the Doritos vote, but scoring the number one spot on the USA Today Ad Meter. $1,000,000.00 to Jonathan Friedman. Boo-freagin’-yawwwhhh!!!!

When “Man’s Best Friend“, made His Highness’ top five list month’s ago, I’ll admit the selection was with some reservation. I just plain loved it, but it didn’t quite fit the mold of what Doritos had selected in the past. As a result, and despite my appreciation for it’s brilliance, I almost left it off the list. After all, it flew in the face of the frequent advice I had given inquiring creatives regarding base content. Ultimately, I couldn’t deny it’s strength from a pure advertising perspective (for the brand), as well as for the Ad Meter folks. It was in my estimation, the strongest submission to the contest and why it continued to stay in the top five no matter how the hierarchy of the list morphed. In the end it’s nice to be able to say: “Damn, it feels good to be so right!”

Funny, but I also found myself not minding being marginally wrong about the type of content Doritos is willing to choose for the CTSB. It used to be if there weren’t visible carnage inflicted to the human male scrotal area, a submission had no chance of registering with Doritos. Not only was “Man’s Best Friend” non-carnage content, it was pleasantly more cerebral than normal, requiring the viewer to do a little work, and actually follow the storyline to get the humor. Wonderfully subtle sight gags with little to no dialogue. Bravo Mr. Friedman. The larger implication here is that Doritos just might be open to a wider range of content ideas moving forward should they continue with the CTSB.

FOR THE NAYSAYERS:
I remember years ago when I was a babe in the young woods of what is today’s video contest world. Every time I lost a contest I was sure the brand or marketing firm holding the contest were either evil, or just had very poor taste. While some contests are certainly run in devilish fashion, brands do occasionally run contests for the purpose of using it’s content for legit advertising (Doritos). Yeah, brands like Doritos tend to know exactly what they are doing and what they are going for, when they select representative content. No one knows the tradition and ambition of a brand, better than the brand itself, as a general rule.

It was amusing to witness everyone dissing Doritos for their CTSB picks this year (something I have also been guilty of in year’s past). Equally amusing was watching Doritos nab THREE TIMES IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS, the #1 spot on the USA Today Ad Meter (USATAM). Can you say, “Duh”!!!!

After yesterday, anyone who still thinks they know better than Doritos, how to pick a winner, needs to re-think how they process thought, since similar logic might also be affecting the balance of decision-making in their lives.

Whatever particular CTSB submissions made us (as individuals) laugh out loud, hold our stomaches, call our Mommies, fist pump our buddies, turn green with envy, etc. etc., is purely a matter of subjective opinion. The CTSB submissions  chosen by Doritos, on the other hand, were a matter of calculated brilliance. We in the freelance community should be nothing but grateful for Doritos’ collateral accomplishment of drawing attention to themselves, and simultaneously showcasing to the world what we independent creatives are capable of on the biggest stage the advertising world has to offer.

Doritos CTSB Runners-up:
Too bad “Sling Baby” didn’t score higher than 4th in the USATAM. It would have been awesome for a fellow creative to get $400,00.00 or $600,000.00 for either a 2nd or 3rd place finish courtesy of the Snack Strong bank account. Still, notwithstanding the missed payday, it is a remarkable accomplishment for Kevin Wilson and Doritos. Doritos basically owns the Ad Meter. I’d also be curious to know how “Bird Of Prey” would have fared with USATAM. Thereto, Joby Harris did an awesome job with special effects and stunt work.

The PopTent Factor:
Though not in the top 5, it should be noted that PopTent.net scored in a big way by taking slot #13 in the USATAM, with their Dannon Greek Yogurt spot. Congratulations Remy Neymarc (director of the PopTent sponsored spot). Not shabby for an ongoing crowd sourcing portal with about .00001% the marketing budget of a SNACK STRONG marketing megalith. When you add in that Poptent.net provides ongoing production opportunities for we creatives year round (not just during a single annual football game), the implications should excite us all. If the brands were watching, and there’s little doubt they were, it should eventually translate into an increase of freelance production opportunities for we creatives from Poptent and from crowd-sourcing portals in general.

Similar to the year I was a finalist (2007), Doritos broadcast only two spots during the SuperBowl this year. I and two other creative teams (The Herbert Brothers – Duct Tape and Billy Federighi’s – Mouse Trap) remained un-broadcast that inaugural year. Trust me when I share, it doesn’t feel very good to have gone through the Doritos contest campaign whirlwind only to come up short. I have this to offer the creators of the three spots that didn’t air this year: Though not getting air-time back in 2007, Billy Federighi’s and Brett Snyder’s submission of  ‘Mouse Trap’ would go on to air during the 2008 Superbowl, a non-CTSB Commercial contest year….because Snack Strong could…  And The Herbert Brothers would go on to be the first Doritos commercial to nab the #1 USATAM slot winning them a cool $1,000,000.00 in 2009. I don’t have all of the particulars in front of me but I think a few of this year’s finalists have already enjoyed some of the ‘repeat success’ phenomena which seems to manifests itself with the CTSB when the talent is undeniable.

Well, I’ll summate by concluding that IMO this year’s Crash was nothing short of an overwhelming success. I hope that Doritos got whatever paydays they were targeting, enough to justify running the contest again next year. It is just plain good for everyone.

The King