TMZ Promo Contest – We won!

We’re excited to announce that we are the winners of a nationwide video contest to produce a promo for the TMZ on TV show.  Here’s the winning entry.

Houston actor John Goad was the talent.


And here’s the fourth place entry.

Houston actor Dave Maldonado was the primary talent (with myself, Justin and Evan all appearing as one of the guests.)


We produced a grand total of six spots (three in one series, two in another series, and one stand-alone), and all six ended up in the top nine.


Here’s the longer version of the genesis of this project.

In late July, my apprentices (Justin Raschen and Evan Sivil) and I decided a fun training project would be to enter some online video contests.  Entering an online video contest in this way does a great job at simulating a client experience.  You get the specifications about the contest, and then you start brainstorming ideas.  We considered several contests and brainstormed ideas for many, but quickly realized that we had some great concepts for the TMZ on TV video contest.

TMZ (for those of you unfamiliar) is an irreverent celebrity news website that also has a successful daily TV show.  TMZ is most known for being the news source that first announced that Michael Jackson was dead.  Their mandate for this contest was to create a :12 or :27 second promo for use around the country (on shows like “The Simpsons”, at least according to their promotion of the contest).  The theme of the spot needed to be “We love Hollywood, we just have a funny way of showing it.”

We spent an afternoon throwing around potential ideas and ultimately settled on the ones you see.  Over the course of the discussion, it was clear that each of us had one idea in particular we were most passionate about, so I took TMZ Superfan, Justin took TMZ Roadshow, and Evan took TMZ Toyz.  Over the next couple of weeks, we each developed our ideas and contacted talent for the spots and then the week before the contest deadline, we set about shooting and editing the spots in between production of real client work.  It was a challenge, but we managed to get everything shot early in the week and that gave us a few days to edit.

We uploaded on deadline day and waited.  We really liked the spots we had put together and felt confident about our chances, but as with anything where there are people judging it, anything can happen (we’ve done lots of video contests and had yet to win one, so we were confident, but pessimistic).  We had better hopes for this one because we knew the judges would be the producers of TMZ itself, including the founder and president, Harvey Levin, and we were pretty sure we had not only matched the criteria they had laid out for the contest, but had done so in extremely creative ways.  Because we knew who the judges were, it allowed us a slight bit more leeway on how specific and/or obscure we could make the references in the spots.  We knew THEY would get and appreciate all the little details we included.  

The contest deadline was Monday, August 9th, and they said they’d announce a winner by the following Monday, but that day came and went.  We spent a lot of time refreshing the winners page, but they eventually put up a notice saying that it would be an additional week due to problems getting the contest entries to the TMZ people for judging.

We continued to wait and refresh the winners page all day the following Monday, but still nothing.  Finally out of the blue on Wednesday the 25th, the winners page started filling up, and TMZ Superfan #1 took first place!  We were pretty excited then, and even more excited now.  

Even if we hadn’t won, we would have been extremely proud of the work we had done.  Great jobs by Justin, Evan, John, Dave and everyone else who helped out in front of or behind the scenes.  

Here are the other spots that made the top nine, but didn’t win any prizes.  These additional TMZ Superfan spots and additional TMZ Roadshow spots were made using extra footage and ideas that weren’t used in the primary spots.  We had additional gags for the TMZ Toyz spot, but not enough to produce an additional version of the spot.

TMZ Superfan

TMZ Roadshow

TMZ Toyz






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