Topic: Summer Contest: Movie Magic
The theme of the 2018 BricksInMotion.com summer contest is Movie Magic.
"I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians." -Francis Ford Coppola
Movies are fake! Movies lie! It's up to the director to make those lies convincing, so their audience can share in the fun of believing them! That's why this year the theme of our contest is Movie Magic. What is movie magic? Well, it's those technical details that, big or small, sell the fantasy. Now, don't mistake this for an effects contest- we won't be gifting first place to the film with the biggest explosion! In fact, movie magic can be found in every type of film: from comedy to drama, western to sci-fi, and everything inbetween. To better understand what we mean by movie magic, let's look back at one of cinema's earliest magicians, George Méliès!
Once a theatre illusionist, Méliès pioneered the art of film-making in the late 1800s and early 1900s. At a time before space exploration, his films took audiences to the moon.
Before Jacques Cousteau brought footage of the oceans into every living room, Méliès gave his viewers a glimpse of life at the bottom of the sea.
And Méliès did this all a century before computer editing became a mainstream part of the filmmaking process. He used his imagination and knowledge of stage illusion to bring worlds to life that otherwise never would have been possible with the technology of the era. Layered backdrops, unconventional perspectives, camera trickery- it's this sort of bold experimentalism that we want to encourage with this contest. Think outside the box, try new techniques, and let your imagination run wild!
Not into Méliès? Here are some other examples of movie magic, contemporary and otherwise.
This train scene in Dracula, which was shot with a toy train and a very large book!
And this seemingly death-defying stunt from Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times.
The core idea is to get creative and get out of your comfort zone! Come up with fresh ways of convincing your audience that brickfilms can be more than a few LEGO figures standing around a set. And remember- everything should be in service of the story, so if you really want to blow us out of the water with your movie magic, come up with a great plot that justifies it!
Finally, while computer-generated effects are certainly permitted, in-camera work is more in the spirit of the contest and will be preferred in judging.
Special thanks to all sponsors and judges, to Rioforce for deciding the theme and the contest name, and to Penta for assistance in reaching out to our sponsors.
For this contest, we are offering a prize pool of three prize packages. This means that 1st place gets to choose which of the three packages they want, 2nd place chooses from the remaining the remaining two, and 3rd place receives whichever prize package remains. We're also bringing back the Promising Director prize this year for one talented entrant outside of the top three, the details of which are expanded on below.
PRIZE PACK A)
Dragonframe 4 - Software License and Bluetooth Controller
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. This includes the latest version of the software, Dragonframe 4, plus the new wireless bluetooth keypad controller. For Mac OSX and Windows.
PRIZE PACK B)
Brickstuff Pico LED Light Board Starter Kit
This versatile kit includes eight Brickstuff Pico LED light boards, perfect for fitting into small spaces. 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.
PRIZE PACK C)
LEGO Architecture London Skyline
A sealed copy of the London Skyline set, containing 468 pieces. A great set for filming miniatures (wink wink) that has lots of those special little pieces that make a wonderful addition to any builder's LEGO collection. To quote the ad, "The LEGO Architecture Skyline Collection offers models suitable for display in the home and office, and has been developed for all with an interest in travel, architectural culture, history and design. Each set is scaled to give an accurate representation of the comparative size of each structure, with true-to-life color depiction."
A five pack of Mayka brick tape. Contains two-stud wide rolls of Grey, Blue, Red, Black, and Sand colored tape. This tape sticks to all sorts of things- perfect for putting your LEGO in unconventional places!
Promising Director Prize
Special Effects: An Oral History
Special Effects: An Oral History is a fully illustrated guide to the history of effects work in film, as told by many of the industry's top creators. An excellent book for the filmmaker looking to learn from the past, or anyone simply searching for inspiration and a broader understanding of the history of filmmaking.
A Helping Hands tool
Helping Hands are exceptionally handy for when you need to hold things still during a shot and don't have enough hands to do it. They also work great as rigs for making things fly.
Entries will be judged on criteria including originality, production values (animation, set design, cinematography, sound, etc.), story, and incorporation of the theme by the 4 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 3 films will eligible for the prize pool. Entries below 10th place will not be publicly ranked.
All entries are eligible to win the Promising Director Prize. Many factors will be taken into account to determine the winner, such as the length they have been brickfilming. The winner will be an entrant who may not have the most developed technical ability but is showing great creativity and passion.
In addition to myself, 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:
Zach Macias (aka. Mindgame, ZachMG)
Zach is a long-time member of the brickfilming community. He has worked independently and collaboratively on many projects, most recently an official trailer recreation for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Other brickfilms from his filmography include The Profession and Stranger Than Fishin'.
Legoander (of Silent Frames)
The winner of last year's BricksinMotion summer contest, Spirit of Adventure, Legoander and the rest of Silent Frames have been making quality brickfilms since 2009. Their films run the gamut from comedy to tragedy, and they were recently chosen to make a promotional film for LEGO's Ship in a Bottle set. Be sure to check out their BiM 2017 winning film, Quest For Life!! Thanks for joining us, Alexander!
Benjamin Ely (aka. Rioforce)
Rioforce is the current administrator of BricksinMotion, and a brickfilmer with the laurels to prove it! His film Sola Luna won the BricksinMotion summer contest Darkness and Light in 2015, and in 2016 he won THAC with another excellent film, MECH. He is also a former host of the EASTER contest.
Joseph Hayden (aka. Squash)
Squash hosted the unofficial 2013 summer contest Contrast, and has been a judge for multiple past BRAWLs and THACs. He has also made a few LEGO movies, his two favorites being top-ten THAC entries Face and About.
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.
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. This means you can't submit a rough version for judging then post a polished version you spent more time on as though it were your entry to the contest publicly. You may post reworked versions of your film once contest judging is completed and results have been announced.
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 Monday, September 3rd 2018 at 11:59 am UTC.
Films may be submitted as early as the beginning of July 2nd 2018, though they cannot be made public until after the deadline has passed.
To submit your film, send a link to your entry to our BiM Contest 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 in the credits of your film, here's a high-res version of the poster.
Q: May we ask contest judges to voice act for our entries?
Q: Should entries focus on a particular genre?
A: Your film can fall into any story genre you like.
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. Just remember that the name of the game here is creativity, so if you think you can achieve your shots using LEGO, you might be better off doing that.
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.
Q: Is this a black-and-white movie contest?
A: NO! The clips posted in this thread are just examples to get you into the mood for innovating! Your film can be in whatever style you like.
If you have further questions, feel free to reply in this thread.