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Old November 17th, 2015, 10:20 AM   #1
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We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

I was visiting another forum that I haven't been active on for quite a few years.

There was a discussion about a film contest they were having and the poor turnout.

Back in 2008 the same film contest had over 90 films submitted. This was back when a standard def camera would set you back $3500.

They ran the same film contest this year and got two entries. Two! Today you have iPhones that shoot 4k video and cost less than a grand!

So when we talk about the number of UWOL films being submitted, it's not the subject matter. It's the filmmakers or lack thereof.

The discussion went on to say that the whole forum had transformed from filmmakers to gear talkers. Everyone knows the latest stats of this camera or that camera. People are boasting their shooting 4k and up yet none are making films.

I'm not sure what the answer is but I just thought I'd mention it that there's a general slowdown in people making films in all different genre's.

So with that being said, I'm going to redouble my efforts to make sure I get a film submitted for these challenges.
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Old November 17th, 2015, 11:27 AM   #2
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

What Kevin says is the definition of "cold comfort." In other words, it's comforting to know that we're not the only ones getting less submissions. Still not a good situation though.
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Old November 17th, 2015, 12:16 PM   #3
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

Exactly Chris!

I know it's been my personal life changes that have prevented me from really getting into the filmmaking mindset.

Thankfully I've found my way out of the fog for the most part and I can see the changes as my focus shifts back towards filmmaking. I'm hoping by Spring I can be at least back to where I was.

I see it even around here in Eastern Iowa. There's been a big slowdown of people that are making films.
We used to have several filmmaker groups going strong and none of them are active anymore.

I don't know how you get people to transition from bit rates to actually making a film.

I';m on a lot of different groups on Facebook and most of what I see are clips with people saying check this out. You have a couple comments about the clip and then it's all what was it shot with and then it's a camera debate after that.

I've been shooting footage of the tallgrass prairies for several years now. My goal is to make a decent documentary out of it. My hangup has been the story. What do I say about land that looks like a bunch of weeds to people too tied up in playing Angry Birds and texting selfies to their friends?
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Old November 17th, 2015, 06:13 PM   #4
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

For what it is worth, I've never entered a film/video contest anywhere. It's the 'info' that attracts me.

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Old November 17th, 2015, 07:21 PM   #5
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

I will say what I said in the other forum... I think we all "grew up". I remember when this place was all about indie filmmaking (and the XL1!). I'm guessing those same people moved into less glamorous sectors of video or got out of the industry etc. the newer generation came along as YouTube, etc. began gaining prominence, and I think that's where that stuff gets shared now. Everyone trying to go viral and make web series and whatnot.
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Old November 17th, 2015, 09:11 PM   #6
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

I'd had in mind to suggest that YouTube and other sites such as Vimeo are, in a way, the new film contests that instead run in a perpetually ongoing manner. Sure the prizes aren't there, but the recognition and clicks certainly are.

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Old November 17th, 2015, 09:31 PM   #7
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

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Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
For what it is worth, I've never entered a film/video contest anywhere.
Same, but for me it's because I am cynical. Just seen too many terrible pieces that clearly won due to reasons other than the quality of the work, so why should I take time for something so out of my control?

I still post my work when I can, and I'm definitely still making things. I can't post any of my work on the "other forum" because they saw fit to kick me out, much like they did to others who were actually still making things, so they got the forum they wanted. Hope they enjoy it.
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Old November 17th, 2015, 10:13 PM   #8
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

What .... an echo chamber of 'artistic' mediocrity? :-P

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Old November 18th, 2015, 01:18 AM   #9
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

From 1996 on I was participating in our Netherlands Organisation of Video Amateurs. I kept participating in the contests, until I kept winning prices. On that point in time I felt I was making films that could survive the critics.
So I did no longer feel the need to compete. I now make films for myself and a small public.
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Old November 18th, 2015, 07:11 AM   #10
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

I've never looked at UWOL as a contest.

For me it's been a personal challenge and workshop.

I've never gone into it thinking what can I film to win this sucker.

The most amazing thing about UWOL besides the friendships that I've made is that it has opened my mind to possibilities I've never thought of before.

I see a theme one way and that's how I put my film together. Then I see all these other amazing ideas that my friends have come up with on the same theme and my mind has been expanded and I see things a bit differently because of that.

Gary, I've been to the other forums and while I haven't been kicked out, I've been made to feel stupid enough that I don't post or respond to posts.

I think UWOL has always been kind and I'm glad to see that Trond has added a critique scale so if people are just doing it to see if they can do it, they're not going to get discouraged by someone who points oout all the technical flash etc.

On the flip side you now have a critique scale that asks for a very detailed no holes barred layer of feedback.

Mat Thompson was always wanting his work picked apart and nothing held back, He never saw any of that as hurtful but he read everything and used it to improve his work.

It's sad if YouTube is the place where young filmmakers are going now. I try to avoid YouTube unless I'l looking for a Home Depot video on how to install something.

Anyway, hope we can figure out how to encourage more people to work on their nature and wildlife filmmaking and challenge themselves to make a film.
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Old November 18th, 2015, 07:28 AM   #11
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

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Originally Posted by Kevin Railsback View Post
Anyway, hope we can figure out how to encourage more people to work on their nature and wildlife filmmaking and challenge themselves to make a film.
It's also very niche, so if you only want to have contests involving nature videography, that right there culls a lot of potential participation simply due to the subject matter.
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Old November 18th, 2015, 07:56 AM   #12
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

Gary,

Totally true.

I've run into a couple nature and wildlife photographers here in Iowa but I've never seen another nature and wildlife filmmaker here.

I've only seen a couple professional crews in Yellowstone even.

That being said, we're still going and films are being submitted but our sister challenge, the DV Challenge has been dormant for quite a few months now. It's not about nature and wildlife at all and can whatever the filmmaker wants to film about the theme, plus they get prizes!

So hats off to Trond for keeping us going forward when everyone else seems to have pulled over to the side of the road.
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Old November 19th, 2015, 02:29 AM   #13
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Railsback View Post
I've never looked at UWOL as a contest.

For me it's been a personal challenge and workshop.

Anyway, hope we can figure out how to encourage more people to work on their nature and wildlife filmmaking and challenge themselves to make a film.
This has been the purpose of UWOL Challenge since day one. To challenge the individual participants to push themselves and improve their skills as film makers.
Looking at how every returning player has improved, I think UWOL has met that goal, and still continues to push everyone to get even better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Railsback View Post
So hats off to Trond for keeping us going forward when everyone else seems to have pulled over to the side of the road.
As long as we have participants, UWOL will stay alive. Thanks for the kind words!
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Old November 21st, 2015, 07:53 AM   #14
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

It's not just the contests that are suffering from lack of interest. A well-done documentary on the life of Audubon has recently been finished. The producer co-wrote the screen play for Apollo 13. No slouch. They can't get the film picked up, even though reviews in festivals were stellar. They have been reduced to begging local birding groups to set up venues and sell tickets. So far a handful of takers. This is a story about a fascinating man, an exciting life, and beautiful art...and no one wants to watch it.

One of the videographers on the movie has been working very hard on his own documentary about the Greater Prairie Chicken. (A story of the tallgrass prairie, like yours, Kevin). It was intended for PBS, but he can't get the money to finish it, even with crowd funding. I've watched the trailers. Beautiful stuff. But it's not new, and there may lie the rub.

With a video camera in everyone's pocket, nothing is special any more. How many times have you seen a Gannet fishing under water? Dozens? Hundreds? Or a shark attacking a seal? Hundreds? Or a lion hunting a zebra? Thousands? Or an African sunset? Millions? How on earth can we get people interested in what we shoot when that stuff is a keystroke away. There is a clip for sale on Pond 5 of a cheetah taking down and actually killing a gazelle in close-up. $25.00.

With novelty out the window, we can only feel fulfilled in our products by their art or story. We UWOLers do pretty well at the art. It's developing a compelling story that's the hard part. So I have some suggestions.
1. Hire a semi-famous personality with a smarmy smile to narrate the film. He/she has to make it partly about himself/herself and really dumb it down.
2. Add some mystery like space aliens, fantastical creatures, or poorly thought-through science and carry the theme through several successive films. Never reach a conclusion.
3. Have stuff die.
4. Forget chasing birds and toads. Forget dollies through the forest. Computer graphic everything. It looks better than reality. It IS the new reality. Sad.
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Old November 22nd, 2015, 08:27 AM   #15
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Re: We're Not The Only Ones Getting Less Submissions

So I guess it boils down to focusing on what you can control and not worrying so much about the rest?

So the world stops noticing, not much one can do about that. The UWOL group, however small or down in numbers, remains alive and well and is filled with filmmakers thrilled to continue to hone their skill, learn new techniques, master their craft, and through time and patience, capture that amazing moment that others may not realize how amazing it really is. So does one decide not to pursue excellence because the world doesn't notice?

I am impressed with how this community has continued through the years and it shows. After stepping away, and then returning, the improvement is evident.

I understand that trying to market wildlife filming is a tough market now and may remain that way. In the mean time, the UWOL forum is free for the taking, and the taking is good for anyone who desires to enter into the nature filmmaking craft and contribute their own twist on art that makes this world a better place.

In a way, haven't we seen this pattern time and again? Great contributions in art and science go unnoticed until well after the life and death of the individual contribution?

I'm looking forward to UWOL 36. It's been a long time and I'm really interested to see how everyone addresses the theme of weather.

Cat
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