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