7 Commandments for Winning a Video Contest

Brett Slater (Slaters Garage) was doing radio production, song writing and voiceovers about a year ago. Now he’s integrated simple video into his mix, and is sweeping up contests one after another. How does he do it? Check out his seven commandments for winning a video contest.

I’ll tease you with three:

  1. Thou shalt be brief. 30-60 seconds.
  2. Honor thy target demo.
  3. Remember thy deadline, and keep it holy.

When you’ve learned the rules, enjoy the simplicity of this winner of a “Piece of Maine” contest (by Maine Realtors). It’s a low-production video with a great tune and soulful lyrics. Here’s a guy that celebrates a mindset that where you are — right now — is exactly where you want to be. He shows a map with Maine in red, and the rest of the U.S. as “insane.” All this makes it almost okay that he bought land once stolen from Indians (snap). The song made me smile because the definition of insanity is wanting to be be someone or somehere you’re not. And Slater is celebrating what he’s got and where he already is. 

I used to “free associate” Maine with the madness of Steven King (and maybe lobster on the shore, which I have, incidentally, checked off my bucket list). Now maybe when I consider stopping by Maine, I’ll envision fewer tentacles emerging from The Mist, and instead see Slater on a hammock singing this earworm.


28 Replies to “7 Commandments for Winning a Video Contest”

  1. Thanks, Kev… In looking over this list again, I do have to amend Commandment 1: When I say “Be brief,” I use 30-60 seconds as the “in a perfect world” ideal… As you can see above, the “My Piece of Maine” video clocks in at 1:49. Way over the 60-second mark, obviously.

    I should amend that rule to read, “Thou shalt use as little time as possible to make your point.” True of all advertising, but especially with these kinds of contests. The time limit on the Maine video contest was 3:00, and a few entrants were concerned that their 3:02 videos might be disqualified because they went long. But I bet with a little extra script-scrutiny, any of them could have knocked more than a few seconds off the run time.

    Thanks again for the feature. And if you DO decide one day to take a spin Downeast, Lobstahs are on me.

    Follow me on Twitter (link)

  2. Wahooo!! I gotta crow a little! I just got a call from a representative of the ‘Smoke Free Florida’ commercial contest!

    I placed! Brand new IPOD Touch!! Cool!

    Link is above

  3. Great video! Congrats… Love the “Don’t smoke” written in schmutz at the end… Powerful images, and sincere message… Well done.

  4. That’s kinda strange… we’re on vacation in Maine right now and I just had some lobster!!
    It’s like 80 degrees here

  5. Great job, JinnerSD. Just watched your video. As I commented there, I smoked for 35 years. I only quit 5-1/2 months ago, but wish I had done it so much sooner. I believe you have to be ready or you won’t succeed. You have to do it for yourself. No one else can tell you to do it or push you into it unless you are ready. But hopefully your video will help to push those on the fence over it.

  6. Thanks Everyone! The original version of that piece was on my JimmerSD channel but they tossed it back at me and told me to sanitize the language. Seems the State of Florida doesn’t have or believe in asses. I’m surprised that it placed. Oh no affirmation!

    Marilyn I have been permanently quit since Jan 1 2000. It takes a complete change in routine long enough to break the mental hooks. There are still times even today when I crave that crap.

  7. JimmerSD:
    I have changed a lot of my routines. I am biking to work this summer (and probably into fall as well), not only saving gas, but getting my lungs in better shape as well (hopefully!). I still have to walk the dog (which used to be one of my “butt” times), but I’ve taken to jogging with the dog which gives both of us some exercise and discourages the idea of smoking. I work at a school, so there is no smoking on school grounds (at least here in NY State), so I had to leave the grounds to smoke. Now I just sit in the comfort of the faculty room at lunch and on my free period. But the best thing I have done to keep myself motivated is to put the money I would have spent on cigarettes aside for a cruise with my sisters next April. They have trying to get me to “cruise” with them for several years now, but with 2 kids in college I could never justify it. Now it is my carrot and any time I think I want a smoke, I think of the cruise. It works!!

  8. Those are all great tools to divert your attention. I had to completely can all shirts that had a breast pockets. I would carry my smokes there and found myself unconsciously pawing at that pocket .

    Have fun on the cruise! Which line are you going on?

  9. sukatra: I would love to have you coming cruising with me and my sisters! We are going next April break (I think it’s around the 10th).

    JimmerSD: I really don’t know all the details yet. We haven’t made our deposits yet. My sisters usually do Royal Caribbean, and I think they said they want to sail out of San Juan this year. I have never been on a cruise, so I don’t care where we go.

    Oh, and I am married, Jimmer. Not that that would stop me from cruising for sailors if they were hot! 😉

  10. @ Jimmer: Thanks, but Shhhh… Don’t tell WifeofSlater… She thinks I’m a claims adjuster.

    BTW: Between cruises and Sandals, both of which we’ve done recently, we’re Sandals fans… All inclusive, and no kids. Two great tastes that taste great together.

  11. Slater: I’ve never been anywhere, so I’d take a cruise OR Sandals. I’ve heard Sandals is cool, but I thought that was a sort of couples place.

  12. Marilyn, I was just kidding. You couldn’t get me on a boat in the middle of the ocean if you paid me. I am deathly afraid of falling off and being left out there all by myself.

    Unfortunately I have watched wayyyyy too much dateline nbc and abc’s primetime. they’re always talking about stories about people getting knocked overboard.

    Just one of my many, many neuroses.

  13. Sukatra, I have been trying not to think about that. I, too, have watched too many of those “investigative” reports. But I guess it’s the law of averages – how many people cruise every year and how many actually fall off, get the norovirus, or are killed in their sleep and dumped off the side? Of course, the way my luck goes….

  14. here’s a $million idea, surround the ship with retractable nets, if someone falls into one charge them $500, unless they were tossed on purpose

  15. Sukarta I recommend shock treatment. Begin with a nice easy travel channel show. I recommend something with the ever perky Samantha Brown. Then a couple hours of ‘Gilligan’s Island’. Eventually switch over to ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ the ’70 version with Shelly Winters and Gene Hackman not the hackneyed remake. But you could watch both consecutively if you can stand it.

    Intersperse this with the first season of ‘lost’. But only the first season since the rest doesn’t seem make any sense at all.

    And then finally move on to a 24hr “Deadliest Catch” Marathon. All the while dosing with your favorite Serotonin Reuptake inhibitor (SRI) . Prozac is good but Cymbalta would be better. The next step is tough, draw a bath, light some candles and stare into the water chanting “I will not jump, I will not jump, I will not jump”.

    There! You’re done! Now you are ready to book that first cruise.

    With it you will enjoy all pleasures of cruising. Overeating! Overpriced excursions! Waiting in line. Fighting for deck chairs. Missed ports because of weather, equipment malfunction, civil insurrection, etc… Learning the meaning of the 4 C’s (which by the way has nothing to do with the 7 seas as I first thought). And that joyous feeling of going to another country and being viewed as a source of revenue “Just leave your money and get back on the damn boat” or “Come with us how do we contact your family in the states? Do they have money?”

    Bon Voyage!

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