Topic: Summer Contest: Darkness & Light
The theme of BricksInMotion.com’s 2015 contest is Darkness and Light.
The contest will run from June 1st to September 1st, and we have an exciting collection of prizes thanks to our contest sponsors: Dragonframe, Brickstuff, and an anonymous donor. We hope you’ll join us for this competition. If you’d like to do so, the rest of the details are as follows.
‘Darkness and Light’ can be interpreted a variety of ways, and we hope that entrants will take advantage of that.
Story is the most important building block of nearly any film, and it will be a vital consideration in this animation contest. Light and dark have various potential implications for story, from metaphors of good and evil, to philosophical ideas like Plato’s allegory of the cave, to any number of other possibilities we won’t try to spell out here.
This theme also has implications for style in a film. Many brickfilms are shot with flat, even lighting and while this is fine for some kinds of stories, it limits the potential for visual drama that is possible with more artistically designed cinematography that makes use of shadow just as much as light. We want entrants to explore new avenues in stop motion cinematography and create films that are as compelling to look at as the stories they tell.
In order not to shape how entrants approach their story ideas too heavily, we’ll refrain from providing story examples that fall along the lines of this theme. Visually, there are clear examples. Many of them come from film noir, or other visual art that makes use of chiaroscuro lighting techniques, but you need not limit yourself to the film noir genre. Any kind of story can make use of the motif of light and dark.
There are great visual examples of using dark and light to dramatic effect from art throughout history. We’ve compiled a few examples, but please don’t feel like you must limit your inspiration to this small number of works!
For this contest, we are offering a prize pool of four prize bundles. This means that 1st place gets to choose which of the four bundles they want, 2nd place chooses from the remaining three, 3rd selects from the remaining two, and 4th place receives whichever prize bundle remains.
Dragonframe - Software License and Controller
Plus #60066 Swamp Police Starter Set
Dragonframe is the premium stop motion animation software that captured Laika's ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Disney's Frankenweenie. This software is easy enough for a beginner to learn, but offers a wealth of advanced features sure to meet the needs of any stop motion animator. Software and controller included. For Mac OSX and Windows.
Brickstuff Lighting Effect Starter Kit
Plus #60077 Space Starter Set
This versatile kit includes 6 light boards and a controller that will allow you to create a wide variety of effects with the lights. Based in Minnesota, Brickstuff custom manufactures a full line of lighting and automation products for LEGO builders. Brickstuff lights are the smallest commercially available lights for LEGO bricks, so you can put them right inside your bricks, and the wires are thin enough that you can snap your bricks, plates, and tiles right on top of the wires-- no need to modify your bricks or builds! Best of all, you don’t need to know electronics to use this system—everything fits together (just like LEGO bricks!), and you can start small and add lights and effects as your collection of creations and MOCs grows. The lights are perfect for use in brickfilms to create just the mood or effect you need.
Blue Snowball Microphone
Plus #60091 Deep Sea Starter Set
A quality and versatile USB-based condenser microphone, the Blue Snowball makes an excellent choice for animators looking to improve the quality of sound, music and voice recordings compared to more basic microphone options. Compatible with Mac and Windows.
Plus #60072 Demolition Starter Set
This kit includes a bundle of useful tools for improving the lighting and rigging in your films. Lee filters' Master Location Pack is included: these are high quality colored gels that can be attached to nearly any light (with the help of c-47s) to create a wide variety of colorful light effects in your sets. This is complemented by a roll of cinefoil, sometimes called black wrap, a flexible, poseable aluminum wrap that blocks and absorbs light and is very helpful for directing light and shadow in your shots to create more artful, controlled results. Finally, this kit includes a set of helping hands, which are ideal for rigging black wrap, gels, or even LEGO minifigures and pieces to position them exactly how you want.
Entries will be judged on criteria including originality, production values (animation, set design, cinematography, sound, etc.), story, and creative interpretation of the theme by the 5 judges. Rather than judging on categories individually, judges will examine how all these elements work together to create a complete film. Films will be discussed and ranked collectively by the judges until a consensus is reached. The top 4 films will eligible for the prize pool. Entries below 10th place will not be publicly ranked.
We’ve assembled a panel of judges for this year’s competition with a wide range of filmmaking experience and achievements. Here’s a look at each of them (listed alphabetically):
Philip is an American director and producer and has worked on films and videos at a professional level for eight years. He currently is directing the feature length documentary Bricks in Motion, and has served as the owner and administrator of BricksInMotion.com for the past seven years. His brickfilm work includes Unrenewable and The Oven.
Maxime is a French documentary filmmaker who has studied video and communication and worked in a production agency. He’s also a stop motion enthusiast who began making animated films for fun in 2007; in the brickfilming community, he is known for his Henri and Edmond series of films. He loves film scores, and is currently directing a documentary about Hans Zimmer, for which he interviewed the composer.
Maverick Moore is an award-winning live action filmmaker from Texas. After directing and editing narrative films as a graduate student at Baylor University, Maverick headed to Dallas where he is based today. His most recent short film, Shotgun, has screened at nearly 30 national and international film festivals, including Palm Springs International Short Fest, the Short Film Corner at Festival de Cannes, and the Nashville Film Festival, where Shotgun opened for master filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s newest film, Goodbye to Language. Currently, Maverick remains a self-confessed cinephile who continues to nurture his passion for making films.
Nathan is an American graphic designer and stop-motion filmmaker. He is currently running the BiM Awards with Zach Macias, producing the Bricks in Motion documentary, serves as a moderator on BricksInMotion.com, and ran the 12th Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest. He also founded the Brickfilm Archive and helped create the Brickfilms Wiki. His brickfilm work includes Alex and Derrick: Five Years Later and 30 Years: The Story of the Minifigure.
Dylan is a Canadian filmmaker who has has been brickfilming for eight years. He has hosted numerous BricksInMotion.com events including the BiM Awards and THAC, and has made brickfilms for Ed Sheeran and The LEGO Group. He won "Best Animation" at the Tongies for his film Unto the Breach. Dylan is currently studying film production at university.
All entries must be primarily composed of stop-motion animation. 3D, Flash, or other animation techniques may be used to in addition to stop-motion as long as the finished product is at least roughly 70% stop-motion animation.
Entries should use LEGO or similar building toys as primary elements.
No mature/explicit content is allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: swearing, excessive/gory violence, overt sexual content, and blatant drug references.
Minimum runtime is 1 minute, including any titles and credits. There is no maximum runtime. Remember, it is better to focus on quality and attention to detail than to make a very long and ambitious film, but let the quality suffer. A highly-polished three-minute movie is better than a ten-minute movie that falls apart because the director ran out of time to do it the right way. The judging system won't favor a film for simply being longer, but low production values will hurt a longer film when competing against a shorter film that is better made.
Submitted films must be new films, created specifically for this contest.
Entrants may only submit one entry per person.
Films may not be posted publicly until after the contest deadline has passed.
The entry you submit to the judges must be the entry made publicly available to everyone else.
Entries must contain only images, sounds, music, and story material which you have the rights to distribute -- no copyrighted content to which you do not have the rights may be used. No trademarked properties which might be confused with commercial enterprises may be used. This means you can not use storylines based on characters from Star Wars, Marvel, Ninjago, or other trademarked series. You cannot base your work on copyrighted material; however, old works that are now in the public domain are acceptable source material. All material included in films submitted must be original, or content that you have expressed permission to use. If you use content that is not your own, you must be able to provide proof that you have received permission to include it in your film. All music must be credited, even if you made it yourself.
The deadline for submissions will be Tuesday, September 1st 2015 at 12 am GMT.
Films may be submitted as early as the beginning of July 1st 2015, though they cannot be made public until after the deadline has passed.
To submit your film, send a link to your entry to our Darkness and Light forum account by private message.
Our preferred method of submission is unlisted YouTube links. If you do not have a YouTube account, we also accept password-protected Vimeo uploads.
Q: Are we allowed to use the contest logo in our entry? In the credits of our film, for example?
A: Yes, although this is not required. If you want a high-resolution version of the logo to use for this purpose, here's a link to the logo on a transparent background for that purpose.
Q: May we ask contest judges to voice act for our entries?
A: Because of the limited number of people on this site with experience in voice acting and access to recording equipment, we've decided to allow it. Please refrain from involving them in creative roles beyond this, however.
Q: Should entries focus on a particular genre?
A: Your film can fall into any story genre you like, as its story ultimately fits the criteria laid out in the theme section. The examples are just examples; there's no need to stick to film noir, science fiction, or any other particular genre.
Q: Can we collaborate with others to create an entry?
A: Yes! Collaboration is encouraged. However, we won't be able to divide up the prizes evenly for you, so you'll have to determine who receives the prizes in the case of a win. Entries may be submitted on the basis of one entry per director, so you can help with someone else's entry and still enter a film you've directed.
Q: May we post trailers, images, or other work-in-progress elements of our film publicly on the forum?
A: This is encouraged! Feel free to post about the progress on your film in the forums. You can even make a thread devoted to your progress on a film if you like.
Q: Can we use some non-LEGO elements in building our sets and characters?
A: Yes. The intention of the rule is to put the focus of films made for the competition on LEGO animation.
Q: Are we allowed to release alternate versions of our films at the same time as the version submitted to the contest? (for instance, a version with profanity or other restricted content)
A: In order to maintain the integrity of the judging process, please only release the version you are submitting to the contest publicly at the time the deadline passes. Entrants who violate this rule may be disqualified. If you want to re-release a revised version of your film, you may do so after contest judging is completed and results have been announced.
Q: Are we required to include any "mod elements" like BiM's THAC contest?
A: No. Those are used in THAC to ensure films are created in the 24-hour period. You have three months this time. Even if you did submit a film you began working on before this competition was announced, that would be fine as long as you haven't released it anywhere before this contest, and it fits the theme of this contest.
Q: How fast and loose should I play with the content restriction rules?
A: Ultimately, we want winning entries that won't earn us angry emails from parents, or concern from contest sponsors (present and future) if they win and are celebrated throughout Bricksinmotion.com and our social media postings. This community has members of a diverse variety of ages and backgrounds in it, so for a competition we want to be respectful of that. These rules are undoubtedly going to be limitations for some filmmakers, but we believe it's still possible to make compelling, even dramatic stories within these limitations. Potentially, one could approach them as creative limitations that empower the filmmaker to find more original, inventive ways of conveying ideas in a story.
Q: When can we share our films publicly?
A: As soon as the contest deadline passes; here's a countdown clock.
We'll continue to expand this section as we receive questions. If you have a question, feel free to reply in this thread to ask. Nathan Wells and Philip Heinrich will be running the contest.
A final list of qualifying submitted entries:
Brick Block Animations
Infinity Prime Studios
pumkin muffin productions