For the past few years, I’ve been entering my fair share of online video contests – they’re a powerful creative outlet, and a great exercise in filmmaking. For me, these videos are less about “making commercials” and more about integrating a brand or message into a fun and entertaining piece of storytelling. And honestly, it’s just a lot of fun to see what you can accomplish with the limited resources (and time) you have available to you!
There’s typically some great prizes to be won with these contests… A few years back, we won first place in ICBC’s 180 Short Film Contest – our grand prize included a fully-loaded video camera package with audio equipment, media cards, a pro-grade tripod, a brand new iMac and Final Cut studio. A year or so later, we came in third place in CSIP’s Safe Internet Pharmacies campaign, and pocketed $750.00 cash. Most recently, a short video I wrote, directed and edited called ‘I Know What You Did With Your Electronics’ took home second place, and a cash prize of $2500.00! Winning these contests has provided us with the resources (and cash) we need to be able to create more content.
‘I Know What You Did With Your Electronics’ was my entry in Recycle BC and Electro Recycle’s video contest they held this past fall. The contest rules were pretty straightforward: they wanted filmmakers to create fake movie trailers – but with a recycling twist! The videos needed to be (first and foremost) entertaining, but they also needed to convey RCBC and ElectroRecycle’s messaging about the proper disposal of household electronics (ie. coffee machines, vacuums, power tools etc.) The videos could be parodies of existing movie trailers (which was the route I took) or they could be for an original concept film (invented by the filmmaker).
I spent a bit of time watching previous years’ entries and thinking about what type of faux trailer I wanted to do. Being a big fan of all things ’90s slashers, my brain immediately went to films like ‘Scream’ and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’. After watching and analyzing trailers in that genre, I wrote a script, called up a few friends to work on it/star in it, and the rest is history. We shot the video in record timing (5 hours on a Tuesday evening after we all got off work), and I edited it in a flurry to meet the contest’s deadlines. Aside from racing the clock, the biggest challenge I had was the sound mix – horror movie trailers are known for their overly dramatic SFX and eerie music (which I had none of). Thankfully, a friend led me to an affordable music library that set me back $40, but provided me with a decent amount of audio to work with. The result is our second-place winning video entry, ‘I Know What You Did With Your Electronics’ … Check it out below, and sound off in the Comments section!
Synopsis: For the last year, a group of four friends have kept a dark secret about a recycling mishap… But now, somebody knows what they did, and they’re about to learn their lesson in this campy, fun homage to 90’s horror films in the vein of ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’.
Starring: James Neate, Jillian Walchuk, Elysia Rotaru, Stephen Sawchuk
Written, Directed & Edited by: Stephen Sawchuk
DOP: James Choi