It's been nearly a week now since I found out and the reality has finally set in. Last Thursday I got the call with the news I'd hoped I'd hear - that I'd placed 2nd in the Sasktel Cell-ebrities competition with my film the Gizmo Tree and won $3500!
It's been a long process, but it's nice to finally be able to reflect on it all. The idea of participating in this contest came about back in August 2007, and it's a trip to think about how much has happened in that time.
I made 2 films (Give it Time & the Gizmo Tree); I told everyone I knew about the contest and my flicks; after Xmas had both of them were selected as Top 10 finalists; I promoted the hell out of The Gizmo Tree for 2 weeks of voting; I got the call just a week ago that I'd won 2nd place and that I'd be going in for an interview and to pick up my check!
I feel pretty good about the result too because I had been so concerned about being the only person directly promoting my film. Some of the other finalists had groups of people behind their projects. I never felt relaxed about the contest or my chances, but I felt like I did everything I possibly could have done to get the word out and collect votes.
It's kind of a big sigh of relief to be able to move on, especially with the satisfaction of reaching my goal to make it to the top 3. The contest was both exciting and consuming, and for that I'm going to miss it. It was great getting up in the morning and checking for comments on my film, or sharing the experience with friends, or getting feedback from strangers, etc. Having my film in direct competition with others also felt incredibly validating. I knew exactly what I was up against, but instead of worrying about others work I continually thought about ways to improve my promotion strategy (which lead to a YouTube video, facebook groups, regular emails, blog updates, etc.)
The cell-ebrities contest was another reminder of how much I've grown over the last few years. Each festival or contest I participate in I get a little more confident, a little stronger and better prepared for the next time around. I didn't have any excuses for my work, and I really feel like I've earned my reward.
At the same time it's been an emotional ride. I've been sharing this experience with my friend Tyler, whose film Gilligan also made the finals. When we found out that he didn't win one of the top 3 prizes it was an awkward situation to say the least. Obviously I was celebrating my victory and spreading the good news within my own camp of supporters, but at the same time I couldn't help but think about what Tyler was experiencing.
He's relatively knew to festival stuff, and just based on my own losses I knew it was hitting him hard. It was fun going head to head in this competition when we knew that winning one of the big prizes would have such a dramatic effect on our poor university lives. I'm very proud of our films regardless of this contest though, and I think with the initial shock of loss out of the way, Tyler realizes as well as I do what a great experience this was. We're both left with great films, something for our portfolios, and experience gained that will help us down the road.
With all this wrapped up now, I'd like to take this one last opportunity to say thank you to all of you who checked out my films, who voted, who shared your words of support, who ultimately helped me win! Whether I know you, or whether you just happened to hear about the contest over my blog, I just want to say thank you for your help! This win is a huge reward, and a huge financial boost to help pay some of my student debt.
Also, I want to say thanks to my friend Tyler who made this experience twice as much fun and rewarding. When I think of how much we talked about doing this, and sharing our strategies, etc. I feel like I can't wait to do it all again!
Final results can be seen on the contest site: