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The DV Challenge
An organized theme-based competition where Content is King!


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Old July 20th, 2005, 11:36 PM   #1
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DV Challenge rules/discussions

Ok, the format of the DV Challenge is still a work in progress, and eventually we will settle into a nice groove.
Here are things that I think worked, and things I think should change:

Technical category: I think this worked well. The goal of this is to get you to hone one particular skill, while doing everything else you have to. Next time it will be something besides cinematography. Maybe best make-up, editing, score, foley, who knows...

Time limit: I know a lot of you want more than three minutes. Watching 20 three minute films twice is two hours of watching. However, I'd be willing to consider a 5 minute time limit, despite the fact that I don't think it will help the quality any.

Web hosting: Everyone seemed to do well, with only a couple snags. I could secure hosting for all our films, but part of this is a learning experience, so I'd rather let you do it on your own.

Titles: Every movie needs a title!!!! Right at the start preferably. Also, four words or less would be nice.

Credits: Credits will need to be included from now on, and credit must be given to music used as well. If we have a longer running time, this won't hurt you.

A first time filmmaker category: No idea how we'd regulate this, as someone from outside the forum could come in and sweep up. I'd love to hear your suggestions on this.

Website: For the next one, we will have a website permanently listing past films, and the infamous wall of shame. If only my web designer wasn't busy with his girlfriend all the time... (you reading this Keith?)
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Old July 21st, 2005, 05:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
A first time filmmaker category: No idea how we'd regulate this, as someone from outside the forum could come in and sweep up. I'd love to hear your suggestions on this.
Why bother with an extra category? I intend to participate in one of the next DV Challenges and I'm perfectly happy to compete with the experienced guys and girls. If I'm not among the winners, so what? After all it's meant to be fun and you can always try again. And then, some time in the future, I will be one of the experienced guys myself!

And, what's more: did'nt Sean McHenry mention that his contribution to DVC#2 was the first short he ever made? If so, even a novice can win.

Just my 2 (Euro)Cents.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 05:39 AM   #3
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Addendum:

I just hope, there will be many more DV Challenges. It was so much fun to watch the movies, and as I said before, I would like to participate myself.

So, please keep it going!
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Old July 21st, 2005, 08:22 AM   #4
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First, your web guy has a girlfriend? Odd. Most of the ones I know live in a sort of a cave with 18 monitors running video games...Good for him getting out in the public. And good for his girlfriend too. Geeks will rule the earth one day.

Now then, I loved it the way it was but a first timer catagory might help out a bit. I don't know how to regulate it however. Guys like me with a background in all aspects of television may have an advantage simply from being in the same atmosphere with folks that do all aspects of production. On the other hand, it's one thing to read about how to swap out a 1969 Firebird tranny, and another thing to do it.

I think everyone that has watched movies and television, like our generation, has the ability to make something worth while, except those 20 somethings that keep shoving "reality" programming down our throats. And isn't it about time for Maurry to retire. I mean, come on. At least we survived the rash of "Judge this" and "Judge that" shows. Now it's called Court TV. </rant>

Anyway, I'm sure it will be good, even if it stays just like it is. I wasn't out to score prizes, I just wanted to prove to myself I could do the whole thing on my own. I think most folks are thinking the same thing.

Actually, the prizes may be what cause an issue further down the line. If folks are just doing it because they want to and maybe for some minor recognition, cool. If pros swoop in just to score goodies, that may be a contributing factor. I hope that doesn't happen.

Sean McHenry
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Old July 21st, 2005, 09:22 AM   #5
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The longer time limit is a great idea.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 09:45 AM   #6
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I think the format we have is pretty good as is. Maybe one other category, like special effects as it is so popular right now, or just rotate the second one as you have mentioned.

Would not mind it going to 5 minutes, as at least you could have proper intos and credits and look more professional. But, it will mean more time for the judges, especially if the participation goes way up, and I think it will. Compare the first DV Challenge to the second!

As far as a beginner category, I think it would be impossible to regulate, and determine who really is a beginner. This was my first anything, but no one else knows that for sure. This is a great way to learn, and shoot for the best you can do and keep improving! Bring on Steven Spielberg! It is kind of similar to when used to love playing tennis. I could never find anyone good to play with, and so it got boring and was no ďCHALLENGE," and I was not good at all. Finally I got the chance to play with a state champion, and got my ass handed to me every game, big time! But, I learned more and had more fun playing tennis than I ever had before or since.

I don't think that age should be a factor, as I bought my first camera at 57, just 9 months ago, and never dabbled before.

Everyone loves getting prizes, but are we setting ourselves up for trouble? Are the other people we find to help us going to start thinking they should get something for participating? You know, "Please take time from you busy schedule and come help me make a short where I can win XXX prizes." "What do I get?" Some of us don't have immediate family available to help out, and we have to rely on friends or even strangers, and it is their time too. Do we want to maybe start paying people to participate or star in our shorts? It doesn't sound right to me. Maybe just some great looking certificates, showing the contest, date, number of entries , and what catagory won? What about tax purposes? Just a thought.

Let's have some fun.

Mike
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Old July 21st, 2005, 10:30 AM   #7
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I agree with Mike.

1.) The rules should stay as is. Age and level of expertise should not enter into the equation. This was the first time I did anything like this and I did it for the experience and to learn. I'm floored that I won a special award the first time out, but that is not why I entered. First timers will become better moviemakers if they compete with the pros.

2.) Keep the prizes simple. It's not about winning lots of cash, it's about winning experience. So, from that standpoint, everyone who submits and watches all the other entries, wins.

3.) The time limit probably should stay at 3 minutes. Yes, it will help the judges not consume so much whiskey [Sorry, Dylan :) ], but it will also help us to better hone our craft. I think my piece would have benefited by an extra 2 minutes. However, If I worked harder at it, I could have figured out how to get my point across better in the three minutes.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 11:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
Time limit:
Well.. "less is more" :) I first thought that 3 minits is short. But then you cut out stuff that don't need to be in there. Limiting possibilities forces alternative solution. See the trailer of Say no to human alien mating... only 30 secs and real cool. A bit longer running time allows you to have nice intros and credits so that might be an advantage. Maybe we should try with 4 minits... though it feels like a "wrong" number.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
Web hosting: .
True. An alternative would also be to use something like bittorrent if we want to share bigger files. I personally would think it would be nice to have a big 100 mb version of the movies and view them. It might not be an option for all but broadband users would appreciate it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
A first time filmmaker category:
I think of myself as a first time filmmaker still. This challenge was the 2nd movie i ever did. Personally I don't mind competing against experienced people. It puts higher demands on me 'cause I know what others are doing. And I don't consider it just a challenge against others, it's a challenge against me as well. I challenge myself to get out there and do something and complete it. By doing that I am gaining new experiences.

Edit: just removed most of the quotes.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 11:20 AM   #9
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Jeff brought up a good point. Let's say Spielberg does enter this little contest and uses a Sony F900 and goes Full on HD with 5.1 surround, etc. While initially that sounds discouraging, it gets you to think and follow the expert.

After that first contest he enters, we are all going to be critically evaluating his piece to see how he did it. How he told the story, what camera angles he used, what edit decisions he made, etc.

In fact, we might even think about adding a guest short producer/director. In fact, invite all the pros to participate. You never know, Ron Howard might find it fun to do a one man thing on the weekend between shoots.

In fact, I think that's a great idea. Maybe they wouldn't win a Steady Stick or a $100 coupon for goodies but they would certainly inspire the rest of us to see what they can come up with. In fact, in a way, even if they brought in the whole "studio system" it would be a sort of $300 camcorder against all of Hollywood. And - as if that weren't enough, somebody might end up getting discovered.

Chris, Dylan?

Edit - Also, I bet Guy has some connections that might be willing to lend a name to the whole thing. I would love to compete against Lucas, etc.

Sean
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Old July 21st, 2005, 11:24 AM   #10
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Prizes and Sponsors!

In questioning the awarding of prizes, I centainly don't want to sound like we don't want or need sponsors. We Do!

But, instead of prizes, small monitary donations to help offset the up-coming cost of certificates, a nice frame, and the postage to mail them to the winners. Maybe a website where we all could post, and they could have ads there. Cheap enough! That grand prize would have paid for a site for a year.

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Old July 21st, 2005, 11:45 AM   #11
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Right. I really appreciate Guy and the folks at Dvcreators.net pitching in and giving us some cool stuff. I wrote Guy a note this morning telling him thanks. I think we can still do the prizes as long as they stay simple like they are now. If we start giving away NYU Film School Scholorships, I'll be there but I don't want that to be driving in semi-pro competition just for the prizes.

I think we are OK at the level we are at now but I agree, someone underwriting the supplies for Dylan would be nice too. In fact, if he wants to set up something I might even consider underwriting it for the upcoming event. Shouldn't be much and it's an opportunity to give something back to the group.

Sean
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Old July 21st, 2005, 12:28 PM   #12
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I sure hope I didn't seem ungrateful for the generosity of our current sponsors. I agree that their donations make a big difference and we need them, and others, to help this grow.

My point is in line with Sean's. While I wouldn't turn down a big cash prize if one were offered to me, that's not the reason I'm interested in these challenges.

I also agree with Mike and Sean in that it would be wonderful to have sufficient sponsorship to defray hosting costs and possibly Dylan's time. Although, let's stick to cash and leave the hard stuff alone. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean McHenry
In fact, we might even think about adding a guest short producer/director. In fact, invite all the pros to participate. You never know, Ron Howard might find it fun to do a one man thing on the weekend between shoots.

In fact, I think that's a great idea. Maybe they wouldn't win a Steady Stick or a $100 coupon for goodies but they would certainly inspire the rest of us to see what they can come up with. In fact, in a way, even if they brought in the whole "studio system" it would be a sort of $300 camcorder against all of Hollywood. And - as if that weren't enough, somebody might end up getting discovered.

Chris, Dylan?

Edit - Also, I bet Guy has some connections that might be willing to lend a name to the whole thing. I would love to compete against Lucas, etc.

Sean

This is a very interesting idea, Sean! I'm not sure that Howard, Lucas or Spielberg would have any interest or time to do such a thing, but just having any accomplished producer/director as a guest competitor would help us all learn.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 01:17 PM   #13
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I am really new on this board and this was my first attempt at a movie. I had a great time and learned a lot while filming. Thanks. I hope the challenge keeps going.

I like the idea of having to complete a project around a given theme with time restrictions.

I had a college professor that felt to be a great writer one had to learn to be brief. Every week she would give us a reading. Then we were to write a critique in 95-100 words. No less No More. It was difficult at first to think that small, but as the weeks wore on you learned to write. I know that I have watched too many movies that are over two hours long that should have been shorter. So I kind of like the 3 min idea. How about a 1 min contest just for fun sometime, that would pressure us.

How about if well all donate 5.00 via paypal each contest, to be split between the judges, their time has got to be worth something, we are trying for prizes or recognition, they are just trying to make us better film makers and have expenses too.

I have a 29-year-old daughter so it was a while ago that I was in school. Now we have auto-summarize in Word. Does anyone know where that filter is in Final Cut? Sure would be handy.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 01:26 PM   #14
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No prizes would be okay.
Prizes would be way better. I'll do it either way, but the prizes add an element of fun to it. Keep in mind too, that while a steady stick might not seem like much to someone with a garage full of gear it would be a significant addition to the kit of a lot of those who are liable to enter.
Obviously, as has been said, the real prize is learning experience; well, EVERYBODY gets that, the winners should get more- if possible.
A contest without prizes is like xmass without gifts, the true meaning remains, but a bit of the fun has crept out the whole thing.
Just my opinion.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 01:42 PM   #15
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If worse comes to worse next time around, I would be glad to host anyone's video if needed. Don't be afraid to ask me.
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