Tag Archives: jared cicon

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..

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


SuperBowl or Bust (Doritos Finalists Announced)

Well, there you have it. The horses are out of the barn and galloping their way to Doritos and Superbowl fame, or at least that’s the goal. I get nostalgic this time of year during the CRASH. I remember what it was like as a finalist, to campaign like a zombie day and night during the vote-getting phase of the contest. At the time, I was so ill-equipped to compete with my fellow finalists. In fact, I had used/owned a computer just a single year and owned a cell phone for only two years prior to the inaugural CTSB. Born in 1964 I am on the cusp of the baby-boomer generation. A generation which has not embraced the internet (or other communication technologies) in the way subsequent generations have. I almost missed the boat, but eventually joined the .com insanity with the rest of the world. Not sure if I am better off now than I was 7 years ago, but I have certainly been changed forever.

These five CTSB finalists (production teams) are about to embark on a life changing whirlwind odyssey, whether or not they prevail in being broadcast during the Superbowl. I remember being so bummed out discovering I came in last place in ‘votes’ and that my commercial wasn’t played during the big game. But then pleasantly discovered that Doritos liked our spots enough to run them as regular advertisement throughout the year. I remember the opporutnites that came from scoring my first national commercial. Lot’s of good things happened which eventually allowed the creation of Jared Cicon Films. So, win or lose on the SuperBowl stage, these finalists are already winners.

I was happy to see that two of my five choices for finalists made the Doritos top five: Bird Of Prey and Man’s Best Friend. And yes, though all of the spots are good commercials, IMO, better spots were passed over (no disrespect to the final five).

I am however smart enough to know that just because ‘The King’, on any given matter, thinks something is awesome, doesn’t mean that all of the remaining ‘non’ good-looking-chubby-white-boys-father-of-four-former-east-coast-rock-star-wannabee-baby-boomers will feel the same way, or that they are wrong. heck, it might just be this sole good-looking-chubby-white-boy who is occasionally wrong. After all, my experience in life is singular and so too are the resulting opinions from those experiences. It is why I am such a big proponent of peer review.

What is painfully clear is that all of the finalists chosen by Doritos over the years (and how well they have done on the Ad Meter) bears out that Doritos knows what the they are doing. No one can dispute this.

You don’t do as well in the USA Today Ad meter as often as Doritos has, without knowing what the h**l you are doing in the matter.

It’s funny, just a few minutes after the five finalists were announced, my phone started ‘texting’ off the hook. Peers and friends were lamenting the choices made by Doritos, and venting their frustrations verbally this-away-and-that-away. As predicted they would be, most were unhappy with the final five. Opinions are like fish in the see. countless and many still undiscovered. There is even a fellow blogger by the name of Dan Lamoureux (VideoContestNews) who is hemming and hawwing about how unfair the process is and why people should and shouldn’t have been chosen as finalists, using criteria other than how well they would do on the USA Today Ad Meter. I really wish people like Danny could step back for a second and listen to how pathetic their arguments sound. My pig pet peeve with bloggers like Danny Lamoureux, is that too many of you fellow creative peers who might otherwise go about progressing in positive and productive ways, read drivel like his and mistakenly create mental crutches to fall back on when things don’t go the way you’d like in contests and other freelance matters. In an ever increasing competitive creative fraternity, there is no time for either crutches or drivel.

Doritos, doesn’t care if you are a rank amateur (like I was my first year), or a veteran in the film industry (Kristin Dehnert that same first year), or somewhere in between (Billy Federighi & Brett Snyder the first year). Doritos doesn’t care if you come to the Doritos gas station in a Lamborghini or a mo-ped. They just want you….need you to perform on the highest level possible.


Let that sink in for a minute people……and then learn to embrace it. You otherwise chance finding yourself operating from a perpetual piss & moan disposition that could stunt your creative growth and sour you on what is still the greatest opportunity for freelancers bar none world wide. The advertising world has been changing before us for several years now (in large part because of what Doritos introduced). We don’t have time, nor is it helpful to complain about the part of our cup that is yet empty.

Video Contest News (VCN) presents the argument that past finalists shouldn’t be allowed to re-enter the CTSB once they win…., and/or shouldn’t be awarded subsequent years because it’s unfair to win more than once…………

Danny Lamoureux, (editor for the VCN) suggests that hose creatives who have shown skill at nailing the ‘creative brief’ (and BTW helped Doritos with their program’s success) should be barred from entering and/or prevailing in the contest a 2nd time. I don’t subscribe to this kind of narcissistic frustration. It flies in the face of why great things become ‘great’ in the world. It definitely isn’t the premise upon which America was built from the Industrial Revolution forward. It is similar to the mamby-pamby liberal perspective that there should be some arbitrary leveling of the playing field when a certain person or people feel disenfranchised because they can’t compete in any desired field. Is Danny suggesting we institute a sort of ‘Affirmative Action’ for the contest world? Oh yeah, the rest of the advertising world would just love that. That would ‘really’ provide formidable competition to the balance of the advertising industry where no such constraint exists.

Barring past finalists would be akin to the jealous fraternity of creatives at the Director’s Guild barring Stephen Spielberg from producing E.T., becasue he already had his hit with Close Encounters. And….he definitely should not have had the right to steal a disproportianate amount of box office revenue with Indiana Jones, Schindler’s List, Super Eight, etc. etc. etc… How dare he. If Danny had his way, he would explain that Mr. Spielberg is now so well connected, as a result of his past success, that there is no way for his content to compete. the only solution is to bar/censor Mr. Spielberg.

Absurd. Funny too, because after reading a blog post he penned titled “No Fair, You Used Your Skills“, it appears Danny Lamoureux is conflicted on the issue.

Doritos doesn’t even trust themselves when choosing finalists for the CTSB. Did you hear what I just wrote?


Doritos will select the 25-100 submissions from the gallery that fit the brand requirements for comedy, demographic, image. They then put these spots in front of test market groups in an environment very, VERY similar (wink, wink) to what the real USA Today Ad Meter judges experience on the day of the Superbowl. The USA Today judges are regular people like you and I BTW. Current finalists are rated alongside previous year’s finalists commercials, and and also against spots like Budweiser, E-Trade, Geico, etc. etc., The finalists who fare the best (score the highest) are the ones Doritos chooses to compete during the Superbowl. End of story.

Doritos awards no creative finalist status unless the relative content demonstrates the requisite Ad Meter strength through test panel marketing. Case closed. Whatever way a creative does or doesn’t gain insight, advantage, upper-hand, insider-info, should matter little in the bigger picture. The most important take-away a freelance creative (and reader to this blog) should glean is to do the requisite homework to improve storytelling skills, increase production assets/values, and become steeped in the tradition of the brand to the extent you are capable of creating the type of content they just can’t pass over. Where the field of 6,000+ CTSB submissions is concerned, these five finalists did so.

The freelance genre (our world) is being flooded with new talent on a daily basis. Those creatives who used to be able to produce something half decent a year or two ago and gain some measure of recognition for their work, did so in part, because of the rather diminutive quantity of creatives on the scene at that time (it’s called ‘competition‘ Danny). During 2011 and now in 2012 things are changing even more rapidly and in bigger ways. We are being joined by waves and waves of new creatives who will force us to step up our game or render us obsolete. It is this continuing wave of oncoming talent that will help foster great changes in advertising. There is no free lunch. There is no ‘one-block-of-cheese-per-person’ stipulation. No entitlements here. It is a merit-based environment we must all prepare for. I try to improve daily. We all should. Only this way will we deserve the fruits of those labors that eventually reap reward. The alternative is to whine, complain, point fingers and wallow in mediocrity.

Doritos owes no one any apologies, and deserves much credit for what they do. The King is grateful for access like this on such a large scale, as we all should be.

His Highness