Winning a movie-making competition can be a boon to the minor mogul’s career: people will see your movie, you’ll have a hook you can use in promoting your movie, and you might even (very long shot) land a distribution deal.
Merely entering a competition is not without benefits: it forces you to complete a project and put it out there, and the fact that there are more losers than winners acclimates you to rejection.
Here are a couple of contests that I’ve heard about lately:
Win gear by using a RØDE mic
RØDE Microphones is holding a short-movie competition. You have to make a five-minute movie — plus a behind-the-scenes featurette that shows you using a RØDE microphone. Then you upload the pair of movies to YouTube, and fill out the application form on the contest website. The deadline for entries is May 31.
There are three prize packages, worth up to $70,000. Prizes include cameras, lenses, tripods, cranes, microphones, software, and more. The contest website also includes some good “Tips & Tutorials” on getting started, scripting, budgeting, shotlists, storyboarding, and locations; these are useful even if you don’t enter the contest.
Learn more: My Rode Reel
Win cash with your online short movie
Canada’s own National Screen Institute is running an Online Short Film Festival. You can win up to $4,500 in cash awards. Entries must be 30 minutes or shorter.
From the website: “Drama, comedy, animation, documentary, sci-fi, horror, music video, and experimental are all eligible and must be made by a Canadian writer, director, or producer. There is no submission fee. Films must be available online (YouTube, Vimeo, or other platform) for viewing by the selection committee.” Then you enter your movie by submitting it through the form on the website; the deadline is April 25.
Learn more: NSI Online Short Film Festival
Win funding, lose your movie
Media Factory Inc. is running a contest to win funding for your project. You have to submit a one-minute video pitch or trailer for a feature-length movie, which will go through two rounds of voting — the first online, and the second by a panel of judges. If you win the contest, they will fully fund production of your movie.
The downside is that you have to sign over 100 percent of the rights to them; they even specifically mention that you have no claim to the 10 percent royalty they say they’ll give you on your own work. They do encourage you to enter your movie in other film festivals — in other words, to spend your money to promote their property. Not recommended.
Learn more: Let’s Make a Movie
The first Friday of each month, I present a small and arbitrary selection of links that will hopefully be useful or interesting to the minor mogul. To suggest a link for April, please email me.