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.
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.
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.