Why?!

So we started our site, www.surprisesurprisefilms.com, in hope of getting a bunch of filmmakers (of varying degrees of experience) participating and making all kinds of films to exercise their creativity and hone their filmmaking skills...
BUT the responses, thus far, have been minimal...
We even added a weekly $25 audience prize!
WHY do you think that is? We are in need of your advice. Please, help!!! We are open to suggestions.
Thank you for the consideration!

Comments

  • KirstieTKirstieT Staff Administrator, Moderator, Website User Posts: 1,056 Staff
    edited February 2014
    Personally, the reason I think there has been little interest is threefold:
    1) A lack of knowledge about you guys. If you aren't well known yourself and have a good reputation then apart from the prize there is little else to enter the competition for. If you compare to FilmRiot where the kudos associated with winning their Monday Challenge is enough to intrigue people - never mind the prizes. 
    2) A lack of social media presence - I took a quick peek at your social media channels and currently you don't have a huge following meaning you'll be reaching about 100 people at the most. 
    3) The prizes. While $25 is nice, I don't think it is generous enough for people who are submitting movies and may be having to pay multiple costs of that, spending their time etc. And I know that you're a small group (don't even know how you're getting the $25 a week prize - are you shelling out for it yourselves?) but the prize should really either be associated with filmmaking (e.g. a mic or an editing software, lights or a greenscreen) if you can.
    - Essentially, the reason people enter filmmaking competitions seriously is in order to get their names out there as well as winning a cool prize. But you also need to build trust and a reputation so that when someone says "I won the SURPRISE SURPRISE filmmaking competition", someone says "Awesome! Your film must have been really cool".
    I really commend what you guys are doing but I think you need to try to slow down. It's very unlikely that you could set up a competition like this and have people flocking to you. Often people introduce competitions after having had a large audience for a few years, and still struggle with entries. 
    They say that a successful blog needs at least 3 years to become successful, and you need to keep plugging at it until then. I don't know how long you've been running but to gain hundreds of followers or submissions within even a year would be nigh-on impossible. 
    If I were you, I'd put real effort into creating your own shorts and building up a YouTube channel so that people come to respect you as filmmakers and want to follow you and recreate your work.
    Then I'd work on increasing your social media following because if you have a competition running you want to be screaming it out to as many people as possible.
    Only then would I start asking for submissions - and then I'd want to make the competition more appealing so I'd decrease the number of competitions from a weekly challenge to a monthly challenge - meaning you can offer a $100 prize instead of 4 $25 prizes (much more likely to provoke people to act). It would also then give you maybe 2 weeks out of that month to collect submissions, giving you a large pool to pick from. 
    This may take quite a while to do and lots of patience, but it sounds like you're very eager and I wish you the best of luck :) 
    Hope this helps! It's probably not what you wanted to hear, but I think you need to change your strategy somewhat.
    PS. You are also likely to find that your submission level alters depending on the other competitions taking place that week. E.g. because you also doing a challenge starting on Monday, it is likely to clash with any FilmRiot Monday challenge which most amateur/professional filmmakers will enter, if they will any. 
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,262 Ambassador
    Kristie raises good points. I echo what she said and add a couple more of my own.
    First--this is your week 5. Patience! You don't go from nothing to thousands in a month. Kristie really said this more eloquently above, so, moving on.
    Second--as far as social media goes, I've not checked out your Facebook or other outlets, merely your contest website. However, your website doesn't have the best design. It's not immediately clear where everything is. (I retract that. I just checked your site again, and it seems you've changed layout since I last visited.. I leave the previous comment to point out that I've noticed you've improved in a month.:-) ) and it's a bit boring-looking. I'm not saying you need full css gradients and animated whatevers, but the look is blah. Art (film is art) is tricky, and any kind of artist website MUST have some style. It's the first impression of you we'll have and we WILL judge you as an artist based on that.
    Third--at least on the Hitfilm forum, you've come off as disorganized. Please don't take this as insult--I'm trying to help. ;-) Continuing--you've created at least 7 different threads on here. You've done one for each week, one for this topic and a couple other reposts/introductions. That's bad organization. Move all your contests to a single thread (maybe a "Surprise Surprise 2014!" thread and a new thread next year?). Then, instead of a single disposable thread that dies you have a continuous dialog. This community will watch you grow. Interest may build that way. Link the week's winner in the thread. Let Hitfilm users who participate post in the thread. Also, that way, when a new contest starts you continuously bump your thread.
    I practice what I preach. I don't create new threads for each project, it's all here: http://community.hitfilm.com/index.php?/topic/4059-triem-23s-hey-im-working-on-this-page/
    (That's marketing, sir-or-madam, as the case may be.)
    Also, you've posted 10 times since you've joined, which means the only thing you've publicly done is post your contest. Are you watching stuff on the movie wall? Do you watch the movie wall? Tell a user who's done really excellent work how much you've enjoyed the work? WedgeOz has the brilliantly cheesy sci-fi Invasion movie that's just one of the funniest things I've ever seen! His effects work is inconsistent--some of his shots are feature film quality and some would have looked bad on 1970's Doctor Who, but it's obvious it's just fun, and it really is as fun to watch as it had to be to make! (I actually haven't told him that, yet. I will... Next post.) Have you told Orange Pekoe how amazing he is with volumetrics? I could name twenty other users on here who do amazing stuff that could get them work in the industry today.
    Now, in the above (sorry, I'm about to dissect myself. That's pompous, but I really did build that paragraph as a point.): I've reviewed a film, probably pretty well, and shown I kinda know what I'm talking about. I've complimented publicly several other members of this forum--and they deserve it--but that's a warm fuzzy. Other people who like their work went "yeah!" when they read it.Those people I named get a "yeah!" from a compliment. I also delivered a critique, but not in any mean way. Honest, err on the side of nice is what I try for.
    Now people may actually like me, respect my opinion and even maybe enjoy or learn from what I have to say.
    Finally, I post my own stuff here--and, you know what? I'm good! There are people here who are far better, but,yeah, I'm good.
    End of self-analysis.
    Look again at what Kristie said above. She raises a lot of good points and consistently gives everyone good feedback. It's obvious she takes the time to really think about things before saying them. (I made a planet texture for her. ;-) ). I don't need to repeat what she said.
    Look at the movie wall and take themes based on things you see there... A user may recycle and old film, but it gets you both views. Strongly consider monthly for $100. Films take time, even 30 second ones. I just had a total of 27 render hours to deliver a 30 second animation and 2 and a half minute VFX breakdown. Not counting actual shot build and edit time.... (The animation is currently featured on the movie wall. ;-) )
    Point being, if you do 30 second alien invasion in two months, my shot's done. Yeah, I know--I didn't make a new film, but entering in your contest is more views. I just licensed a short I did for a contest two years ago to another compilation. I did re-edit, but it was mostly done. Point being, if I use that shot, we both win... more people are going to watch my shot, and my entry makes your contest bigger.
    Heck, if you do that, you can invite the user who created the shot. Do it on their threads, not Private Message. Don't cut and paste a stock invite. Take the time to type a response based on the short that you noticed. "Hey, Phil Wesson, those clouds on your Invasion shot were inspiring, I did a shot totally inspired by your techniques!" then (if I were in your shoes), "you know, I run this contest, it's alien invasion month, there's 1 $100 prize, you should enter!"
    It's art--we'll ignore cut and paste, because it's spam.
    (Marketing. :-) )
    To sum up, in order of importance.
    4) Get some style on that website.
    3)Everything Kristie said.
    2) Be more proactive in the community. (at large, not just here)
    1) DON'T GET DISCOURAGED and DON'T GIVE UP! (You've been going a month.)
    I genuinely hope this helps. :-)
  • SURPRISE SURPRISESURPRISE SURPRISE Website User Posts: 12

    Kirstie, thank you ever so much for the considerate response. It means a lot. 
     

    Personally, the reason I think there has been little interest is threefold:
    1) A lack of knowledge about you guys. If you aren't well known yourself and have a good reputation then apart from the prize there is little else to enter the competition for. If you compare to FilmRiot where the kudos associated with winning their Monday Challenge is enough to intrigue people - never mind the prizes. 
    2) A lack of social media presence - I took a quick peek at your social media channels and currently you don't have a huge following meaning you'll be reaching about 100 people at the most. 
    3) The prizes. While $25 is nice, I don't think it is generous enough for people who are submitting movies and may be having to pay multiple costs of that, spending their time etc. And I know that you're a small group (don't even know how you're getting the $25 a week prize - are you shelling out for it yourselves?) but the prize should really either be associated with filmmaking (e.g. a mic or an editing software, lights or a greenscreen) if you can.
    - Essentially, the reason people enter filmmaking competitions seriously is in order to get their names out there as well as winning a cool prize. But you also need to build trust and a reputation so that when someone says "I won the SURPRISE SURPRISE filmmaking competition", someone says "Awesome! Your film must have been really cool".
    I really commend what you guys are doing but I think you need to try to slow down. It's very unlikely that you could set up a competition like this and have people flocking to you. Often people introduce competitions after having had a large audience for a few years, and still struggle with entries. 
    They say that a successful blog needs at least 3 years to become successful, and you need to keep plugging at it until then. I don't know how long you've been running but to gain hundreds of followers or submissions within even a year would be nigh-on impossible. 
    If I were you, I'd put real effort into creating your own shorts and building up a YouTube channel so that people come to respect you as filmmakers and want to follow you and recreate your work.
    Then I'd work on increasing your social media following because if you have a competition running you want to be screaming it out to as many people as possible.
    Only then would I start asking for submissions - and then I'd want to make the competition more appealing so I'd decrease the number of competitions from a weekly challenge to a monthly challenge - meaning you can offer a $100 prize instead of 4 $25 prizes (much more likely to provoke people to act). It would also then give you maybe 2 weeks out of that month to collect submissions, giving you a large pool to pick from. 
    This may take quite a while to do and lots of patience, but it sounds like you're very eager and I wish you the best of luck :) 
    Hope this helps! It's probably not what you wanted to hear, but I think you need to change your strategy somewhat.
    PS. You are also likely to find that your submission level alters depending on the other competitions taking place that week. E.g. because you also doing a challenge starting on Monday, it is likely to clash with any FilmRiot Monday challenge which most amateur/professional filmmakers will enter, if they will any. 
  • SURPRISE SURPRISESURPRISE SURPRISE Website User Posts: 12

    Thank you for fantastically considerate response! 
     

    Kristie raises good points. I echo what she said and add a couple more of my own.
    First--this is your week 5. Patience! You don't go from nothing to thousands in a month. Kristie really said this more eloquently above, so, moving on.
    Second--as far as social media goes, I've not checked out your Facebook or other outlets, merely your contest website. However, your website doesn't have the best design. It's not immediately clear where everything is. (I retract that. I just checked your site again, and it seems you've changed layout since I last visited.. I leave the previous comment to point out that I've noticed you've improved in a month.:-) ) and it's a bit boring-looking. I'm not saying you need full css gradients and animated whatevers, but the look is blah. Art (film is art) is tricky, and any kind of artist website MUST have some style. It's the first impression of you we'll have and we WILL judge you as an artist based on that.
    Third--at least on the Hitfilm forum, you've come off as disorganized. Please don't take this as insult--I'm trying to help. ;-) Continuing--you've created at least 7 different threads on here. You've done one for each week, one for this topic and a couple other reposts/introductions. That's bad organization. Move all your contests to a single thread (maybe a "Surprise Surprise 2014!" thread and a new thread next year?). Then, instead of a single disposable thread that dies you have a continuous dialog. This community will watch you grow. Interest may build that way. Link the week's winner in the thread. Let Hitfilm users who participate post in the thread. Also, that way, when a new contest starts you continuously bump your thread.
    I practice what I preach. I don't create new threads for each project, it's all here: http://community.hitfilm.com/index.php?/topic/4059-triem-23s-hey-im-working-on-this-page/
    (That's marketing, sir-or-madam, as the case may be.)
    Also, you've posted 10 times since you've joined, which means the only thing you've publicly done is post your contest. Are you watching stuff on the movie wall? Do you watch the movie wall? Tell a user who's done really excellent work how much you've enjoyed the work? WedgeOz has the brilliantly cheesy sci-fi Invasion movie that's just one of the funniest things I've ever seen! His effects work is inconsistent--some of his shots are feature film quality and some would have looked bad on 1970's Doctor Who, but it's obvious it's just fun, and it really is as fun to watch as it had to be to make! (I actually haven't told him that, yet. I will... Next post.) Have you told Orange Pekoe how amazing he is with volumetrics? I could name twenty other users on here who do amazing stuff that could get them work in the industry today.
    Now, in the above (sorry, I'm about to dissect myself. That's pompous, but I really did build that paragraph as a point.): I've reviewed a film, probably pretty well, and shown I kinda know what I'm talking about. I've complimented publicly several other members of this forum--and they deserve it--but that's a warm fuzzy. Other people who like their work went "yeah!" when they read it.Those people I named get a "yeah!" from a compliment. I also delivered a critique, but not in any mean way. Honest, err on the side of nice is what I try for.
    Now people may actually like me, respect my opinion and even maybe enjoy or learn from what I have to say.
    Finally, I post my own stuff here--and, you know what? I'm good! There are people here who are far better, but,yeah, I'm good.
    End of self-analysis.
    Look again at what Kristie said above. She raises a lot of good points and consistently gives everyone good feedback. It's obvious she takes the time to really think about things before saying them. (I made a planet texture for her. ;-) ). I don't need to repeat what she said.
    Look at the movie wall and take themes based on things you see there... A user may recycle and old film, but it gets you both views. Strongly consider monthly for $100. Films take time, even 30 second ones. I just had a total of 27 render hours to deliver a 30 second animation and 2 and a half minute VFX breakdown. Not counting actual shot build and edit time.... (The animation is currently featured on the movie wall. ;-) )
    Point being, if you do 30 second alien invasion in two months, my shot's done. Yeah, I know--I didn't make a new film, but entering in your contest is more views. I just licensed a short I did for a contest two years ago to another compilation. I did re-edit, but it was mostly done. Point being, if I use that shot, we both win... more people are going to watch my shot, and my entry makes your contest bigger.
    Heck, if you do that, you can invite the user who created the shot. Do it on their threads, not Private Message. Don't cut and paste a stock invite. Take the time to type a response based on the short that you noticed. "Hey, Phil Wesson, those clouds on your Invasion shot were inspiring, I did a shot totally inspired by your techniques!" then (if I were in your shoes), "you know, I run this contest, it's alien invasion month, there's 1 $100 prize, you should enter!"
    It's art--we'll ignore cut and paste, because it's spam.
    (Marketing. :-) )
    To sum up, in order of importance.
    4) Get some style on that website.
    3)Everything Kristie said.
    2) Be more proactive in the community. (at large, not just here)
    1) DON'T GET DISCOURAGED and DON'T GIVE UP! (You've been going a month.)
    I genuinely hope this helps. :-)
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