Friday, October 14, 2011

3 Reasons Why You Didn't Win

LawHag again!

It's nearing the end of the year and the last competition is closing soon! We decided to look back and answer the question on everyone's minds, "why am I not winning"? The filmmakers that have made Pepsi Films possible have submitted so many great pieces and have really put a lot of time and effort into creating great films. But even with all of the collective talent, time, and energy, put into submissions, there can really only be one winner in the end. After hearing a lot of conversations on Facebook and from filmmakers regarding what should or shouldn't have won, we decided to provide some insight from our point of view on why every great entry doesn't win.

1. You were doomed from the start.
Even with the best camera set up, an A-Team crew, a great creative concept, and academy award winning talent, sometimes you can make a mistake so fatal that your film has zero chance the second you hit upload. For example, we made a spec commercial for a MOFILM competition a year ago called "Floors" for a brand that shall not be named (though you can search for it here: and at the time we thought it had a great story, cast, music, etc. but as soon as it entered competition, it straight up lost. Why? We were told that we made a great commercial but for the wrong brand, the target audience was wrong, the music jingle was the wrong one, and the overall concept just didn't fit. If we had done our research, we could have avoided all of this. What do we learn from all of this? Be sure to read the brief and stick to those guidelines. If the brief says no violent themes, then don't have masked figures with guns, laser swords and people running around punching other people in the face. The brief is there to help harness and guide your creativity.

2. You are doing too much.
Believe it or not this happens quite a bit. We've all been there before, filmmakers have all these grand plans and epic ideas. One creative vision leads to another and before you know it you have a monster of an idea. Creative development is such an addictive and exhilarating part of the process, we tend to get ahead of ourselves and begin to mash ideas together. When its time to execute your vision, you end up trying to cram a million ideas into a one minute film. The end result? Something that is incoherent, random, and not that entertaining to watch. Our advice is to keep the big picture in mind and craft simple work. As judges we can tell you this is one of the biggest reasons why a vast majority of submissions don't make it to the shortlist; jumbled ideas don't make good films. Take a step back, take one idea and make a great film about it. Less is more.

3. Creativity is subjective.
There is no right answer to creative work. That's the beautiful thing about it, you can go out there and make whatever you like and in some way or form, that creative work is great. It may not be appreciated by everybody, but all work eventually finds an audience (no matter how small). We all have submitted masterpieces (in our minds) but find out they are quickly beaten out by a film that is... well... crap. How could it be possible that a crap film has beaten the best thing to ever grace the medium of moving picture? Take a step back and think about it, judging creative content is based solely on opinion and when a judging process is a cycle of opinions pushing your film towards the win or lose category, it's really all up to chance. Every judge along the way has their own tastes and likes/dislikes, we have been on the judging panels for these competitions and we can tell you now that there are rarely unanimous decisions. Our best advice is to keep doing what you're doing, and try to make the best work possible given your constraints (the theme you have chosen), after that it's all up to chance.

At the end of the day, film is what you love to do, so just keep doing it. Competitions were a great place for us to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and really start understanding the commercial language and process. Eventually everybody hopes to be a filmmaker, and with that comes having to meet other people's requirements (whether that is a client or an exec producer) so this is the perfect place to start developing your creative signature and how to problem solve and work around the constraints. That is all for now, we would love to know your thoughts on your experience so far and if you agree!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Pepsi Films Rio Winners

Our first place winners are now back from Rio, where they had a wonderful time.

We'll reveal the overall winner shortly but in the meantime, enjoy the nine winning films!

Remember there's still one contest left for you to enter - Pepsi Films Kathmandu!