First Winner Announced in “Beyond the Still” Canon & Vimeo Contest

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Josh Thacker (Director/Creative) and Brian Slater (Editor/Creative) were named the first winners for their short movie “Job Security” above.     I very much look forward to working with them at the end of the contest – their entry – and frankly all of the finalists entries were outstanding.

If you’re interested in participating in the contest or submittind for Chapter 3 of “The Story Beyond the Still Video” contest, those entires are now being accepted through March 22, 2010. For rules and submission instructions, click here.

Here’s what I told the Vimeo community about this first series of entries:

“I wanted to thank everyone for participating in this experiment. I find it difficult to express how much I appreciate the level of time/talent and effort that you have put into this project – and the quality of the entries overall – not to mention how they so far exceeded my expectations – without sounding too effusive or like I’m trying too hard… take me at my word when I say: thank you and congratulations.

Congratulations to Josh Thacker and Brian Slater – I look forward to working with the two of you and the other finalists in a few months – and your entry was definitely one of my favorites. The choice in actors, lighting and twist were absolutely excellent! When I can get to a phone – I’d love to call you directly to say congrats.

Without taking anything away from Josh and Brian – congrats to the 5 finalists – and to pretty much everyone who entered for TAKING THE PLUNGE.

We’re working on loosening the myriad of rules we have to live by with this nationwide contest – and I speak for all of the judges when I say we’ve been frustrated about not being able to say more and more often – as you may know we were not allowed to say anything during this first round – as lawyers felt we might sway the voting. I hope that will change soon.

As far as my perspective as a judge – there were a good top 15-20 entries – it was far from an easy choice to pick the top 5. I’ve judged 20-30 contests by now over the past decade – and I can tell you this was an unusually strong field. When I get to Dubai I hope to find time to share more about the process.

One important thing to take away from this: the entries that had the best story/concept/plot and that were directed/shot in the way that communicated that them best rose to the top. I don’t think that the technical execution was as bit of a factor as many of you might assume. We all love to see pretty films – but the stories and their ability to draw out emotions and thoughts always win out.

For now: here’s the challenge – for all of you: PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ENTER AGAIN – maybe not Chapter 3 – maybe later – I and we all know how much time/effort and resources one of these little films can take…

What won out in the end (speaking for myself as a judge) were strong stories with good execution. Sure the production value of some entries made them rise to the top – but after talking with the judges after we submitted our final votes – I can speak to the fact that never, at any time did the topic of camera moves, lighting etc. come up – the stories and ideas were the topic of discussion.

So let’s keep this thing going – please tell your friends/colleagues and I hope that this continues to progress at even half the speed we’ve started at – that would be impressive.

Congratulations to every single one of you – I can’t wait to see what you enter next and where we take this story. We’re also on wworking on some news ideas that will have more than the finalists invited to the final shoot..oops…not supposed to say that..the lawyers will soon be after me 😉 Point is: we’re discussing this contest internally almost every other day – and incredibly excited about it – so stay tuned!”