Topic: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

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Welcome one and all to the twelfth Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest! (Or THAC for short.)

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THAC is a brickfilming contest that lasts for exactly 24 hours. All the idea-making, writing, recording, animating, editing and submitting is to be done within the time limit. It's a challenge, it's frantic, and it's a lot of fun!

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The contest will begin on Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 12pm (midday) GMT and will run for 24 hours. It will end on Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 12pm GMT. You can see what that is in your time zone by clicking here.

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Everyone who has been a member of BricksInMotion.com for at least 1 week before the official start of THAC XII (January 3, 2015) may enter. Judges may participate but are disqualified from being ranked and from receiving prizes. Joint productions are allowed, but it is up to you to divide up the prizes if you win anything.

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  • Your entry must be entirely made and submitted during the 24-hour period. To prove this, mod elements must appear in every shot of your animation (more information below).

  • Your entry must consist primarily of LEGO (or similar building-block toy) stop-motion animation. Live-action, CGI, hand-drawn, or other forms of film or animation may be used to supplement your entry, but stop-motion animation must be the primary focus.

  • Your entry must consist of at least 30 seconds of stop-motion animation. There is no maximum time limit.

  • No mature/explicit content is allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: swearing, excessive/gory violence, overt sexual content, and blatant drug references.

  • You must not make your entry public until the deadline has passed.

  • The entry you submit to the judges must be the entry made publicly available to everyone else. You cannot create a version of your film that includes the mod element to send to the judges, and then publicly release a second version of your film that has the mod element removed.

  • Use of copyrighted material (including music) is allowed, though discouraged. Use of copyrighted material will not affect the judging of your entry. There is no direct score deduction but a film that uses preexisting IPs will not be viewed as favorably as a film that creates something entirely new. Using a preexisting IP is like writing a paper but half the paper is quotes from other people. - Thanks to Aquamorph for the clarification.

  • While copyrighted/trademarked properties are allowed, you are discouraged from basing your movie off of pre-existing franchises (Star Wars, Marvel, etc.). Its not original, and could affect the judging of your film. Copyrighted music may be used, due to the time constraints for this contest. If you do not wish to do so, you are permitted to create original music beforehand. Original music does not have to be created within the 24 hour time limit.

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To prevent cheating, the contest theme will only be announced when the contest begins. You can brainstorm ideas beforehand but you could be way off what you're meant to make. In addition, "mod elements" must be present in every shot of your film. These mod elements will also be announced when the contest begins. The first mod element is a color mod. This will be a combination of two random brick colors connected together (for example, a white brick connected to a grey brick). The second mod element is a letter mod. This could be any of the 26 letters of the modern English alphabet. You may use the uppercase or lowercase version of the letter, but the letter must be recognizable as that letter.

To prove that you made your film within the time limit, at least one of the mod elements must appear in every shot of your animation. You do not need to use both mod elements. You can combine these mod elements in any way that you see fit, so long as at least one is present at all times. You could choose to use just the color mod or just the letter mod, you could choose to use both, you could alternate between scenes, or any combination of the above. All that is important is that at least one of the mod elements be visible in every shot.

  • The letter may be upper or lower case, but it still must be clearly that letter. The letter can be rotated but not mirrored. Again, it must be clearly identifiable as that letter. It may be written or printed on a piece of paper or sticker, drawn directly onto a brick, printed on a piece, or built from pieces and even integrated into the set.

  • The letter mod element may exist on a printed LEGO piece, but it must clearly be that letter. An eyebrow or wrinkle on a minifig’s face, or a fold in the shirt on the minifig's torso are not letters.

  • The mod element must be physically present in the shot. Mod elements cannot be added digitally in post-production.

  • Minifig parts (for example a red torso attached to grey legs) can count as the color mod, but bricks connected to or touching baseplates do not.

  • You do not need to include either mod element in the titles or credits.

  • If a shot must be clarified by changing the shot in anyway (changing brightness, black and white to color, etc) to be able to identify the mod element, the shot will be not counted as containing the mod element and the entry will most likely be disqualified. See next rule for one exception regarding the cropping of the image.

  • For particular shots where including the mod element would be disruptive to your artistic vision (such as extreme close-ups and shots with very low depth of field), you may include a legal mod element in the shot and then crop the mod element out in post-production. You then must provide an uncropped frame from that shot and explain in detail the cropped shot in the submission email. You will have to provide separate proof for each shot.

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The judges for THAC XII are:
Nathan Wells
Timothy R.
AquaMorph
Funsucker
Smeagol

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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.  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.

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This year, like earlier years, we will be offering a prize pool of three prizes. This means that 1st place gets to choose which of the three prizes they want, 2nd place chooses from the remaining two and 3rd place gets whichever one is left over!

#71007 - Collectable Minifigures Series 12 (2x)
#4431 - Dump Truck  - Donated by JonnDThunder!
#70804 - Ice Cream Machine

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Don't worry, this THAC is not radically different from years past! Smeagol and I have worked together to tighten up and clarify a few rules, which are repeated and emphasized below. These rule revisions are mostly designed to clear up confusion on what and what does not count as the mod element. We don't want you to be stressing over your mod elements, we want you to be focusing on making a film in 24 hours! Make special note of the general mod element rule: the mod element only needs to be in every shot, not in every frame like previous years. This should make including the mod element a lot easier!

  • Your entry must be entirely made and submitted during the 24-hour period. To prove this, mod elements must appear in every shot of your animation.

  • The entry you submit to the judges must be the entry made publicly available to everyone else. You cannot create a version of your film that includes the mod element to send to the judges, and then publicly release a second version of your film that has the mod element removed.

  • The letter may be upper or lower case, but it still must be clearly that letter. The letter can be rotated but not mirrored. Again, it must be clearly identifiable as that letter. It may be written or printed on a piece of paper or sticker, drawn directly onto a brick, printed on a piece, or built from pieces and even integrated into the set.

  • The letter mod element may exist on a printed LEGO piece, but it must clearly be that letter. An eyebrow or wrinkle on a minifig’s face, or a fold in the shirt on the minifig's torso are not letters.

  • If a shot must be clarified by changing the shot in anyway (changing brightness, black and white to color, etc) to be able to identify the mod element, the shot will be not counted as containing the mod element and the entry will most likely be disqualified. See next rule for one exception regarding the cropping of the image.

  • For particular shots where including the mod element would be disruptive to your artistic vision (such as extreme close-ups and shots with very low depth of field), you may include a legal mod element in the shot and then crop the mod element out in post-production. You then must provide an uncropped frame from that shot and explain in detail the cropped shot in the submission email. You will have to provide separate proof for each shot.

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Can't wait!

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Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Nathan Wells wrote:

Entries below 10th place will not be publicly ranked.

I'm still not a big fan of this change for the contest, however, I think changes like this are understandable now with the Documentary and BiM Collection in production.

Overall, everything else excites me. The prizes are well chosen, the date of the contest lines up for me, and changing the rule to: "...mod elements must be visible in every shot." will give entrants much more 'elbow room' for artistic interpretation. mini/smile

Question: Would Alpha Team, Johnny Thunder, or Chima count as "Existing Franchises" when filming? I'd assume so, but, would just like to be certain in my assumptions before I rule out basing my film on any LEGO-owned themes...

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

I'm pumped, one of my favorite things of the year.

Use of copyrighted material (including music) is allowed, though discouraged. Use of copyrighted material will not affect the judging of your entry.

I don't understand this rule though.  How is it discouraged, but it won't affect the judging?  It then says that copyrighted material is okay here, but then says that it will hurt you here.

While copyrighted/trademarked properties are allowed, you are discouraged from basing your movie off of pre-existing franchises (Star Wars, Marvel, etc.). Its not original, and could affect the judging of your film. Copyrighted music may be used, due to the time constraints for this contest. If you do not wish to do so, you are permitted to create original music beforehand. Original music does not have to be created within the 24 hour time limit.

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Ok, so every shot, but not specifically every frame?

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Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Gentrystudios wrote:

Ok, so every shot, but not specifically every frame?

Yes. As long as the element is present at some point in the shot, the requirement is met.

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Greenshirt wrote:

I'm pumped, one of my favorite things of the year.

Use of copyrighted material (including music) is allowed, though discouraged. Use of copyrighted material will not affect the judging of your entry.

I don't understand this rule though.  How is it discouraged, but it won't affect the judging?  It then says that copyrighted material is okay here, but then says that it will hurt you here.

There is no direct score deduction but a film that uses preexisting IPs will not be viewed as favorably as a film that creates something entirely new. Using a preexisting IP is like writing a paper but half the paper is quotes from other people. Sure you put some effort into but not as much as someone who used 100% of their own ideas and words.

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Neat! I can't wait. This will be my first THAC. I'm so excited.

Dyland wrote:

Question: Would Alpha Team, Johnny Thunder, or Chima count as "Existing Franchises" when filming? I'd assume so, but, would just like to be certain in my assumptions before I rule out basing my film on any LEGO-owned themes...

I hope not. That would cut down on a lot of story telling possibilities. I can understand about licensed themes, but original LEGO themes? Say it's not so, Nathan...

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Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

YES!!!!
And the last major holiday of the year approaches!

I'm glad for some of the rule changes like every shot, and not frame, and making only one version of the film.
Plus, the clearing up of printed minifig details not being elements was really nice. (Allowing that always confused me.)

Dyland, Johnny Thunder is an in-house Lego theme, thus, it wouldn't be as discouraged as a licensed theme. (Like Star Wars) But it's still pre-existing, and depending on the judge may still be unfavorably viewed. So I highly encourage inventing something new and original.

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

rioforce wrote:

I hope not. That would cut down on a lot of story telling possibilities.

I disagree. You can still tell the exact same story without having to rely on pre-existing names and designs, and a little originality will benefit you anyway.

Anyway, I'm very excited for my first THAC in 6 years! Can't believe it will have been that long. I already have a THAC warm-up idea planned to get some practice in again. This will probably be my first no-sleep THAC so I hope I can get a really good film made in time.

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Pritchard Studios wrote:

Dyland, Johnny Thunder is an in-house Lego theme, thus, it wouldn't be as discouraged as a licensed theme. (Like Star Wars)

What?

The suggestion to avoid preexisting characters is a suggestion to strive for originality, which will be rewarded in the judging process. Johnny Thunder, Luke Skywalker, Superman -- all preexisting characters created by somebody else. All the same problem to me. I agree with Greenshirt that the wording's a little unclear.

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Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Dyland wrote:
Nathan Wells wrote:

Entries below 10th place will not be publicly ranked.

I'm still not a big fan of this change for the contest, however, I think changes like this are understandable now with the Documentary and BiM Collection in production.

Expect to see this change stay in place for future official BiM contests. It is extremely time consuming to rank 70 or 80 films with no benefit: there really isn't any difference between 21st and 22nd place, let alone 64th and 65th! It comes down to completely arbitrary ranking. As a judging who participated in having to rank 50+ films, it definitely resulted in a bunch of random ranking after 10th place. Also, there's no more silly competitions for "last."

Dyland wrote:

Question: Would Alpha Team, Johnny Thunder, or Chima count as "Existing Franchises" when filming? I'd assume so, but, would just like to be certain in my assumptions before I rule out basing my film on any LEGO-owned themes...

LEGO franchises definitely count as "existing franchises," and is equally discouraged as Marvel, Star Wars, etc.

AquaMorph wrote:
Greenshirt wrote:

I'm pumped, one of my favorite things of the year.

Use of copyrighted material (including music) is allowed, though discouraged. Use of copyrighted material will not affect the judging of your entry.

I don't understand this rule though.  How is it discouraged, but it won't affect the judging?  It then says that copyrighted material is okay here, but then says that it will hurt you here.

There is no direct score deduction but a film that uses preexisting IPs will not be viewed as favorably as a film that creates something entirely new. Using a preexisting IP is like writing a paper but half the paper is quotes from other people. Sure you put some effort into but not as much as someone who used 100% of their own ideas and words.

Aqua nailed it. I have edited the original post to clarify the point further.

sillypenta wrote:
rioforce wrote:

I hope not. That would cut down on a lot of story telling possibilities.

I disagree. You can still tell the exact same story without having to rely on pre-existing names and designs, and a little originality will benefit you anyway.

Sméagol wrote:
Pritchard Studios wrote:

Dyland, Johnny Thunder is an in-house Lego theme, thus, it wouldn't be as discouraged as a licensed theme. (Like Star Wars)

What?

The suggestion to avoid preexisting characters is a suggestion to strive for originality, which will be rewarded in the judging process. Johnny Thunder, Luke Skywalker, Superman -- all preexisting characters created by somebody else. All the same problem to me. I agree with Greenshirt that the wording's a little unclear.

I agree with Penta and Smeagol here.



Also, just something to keep in mind everyone: answering questions is fine, but only answers coming from me, the contest runner, or the judges should be considered official answers.

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

I don't think I can enter this year.  Animating Welcome to Darkmoor is more important at the moment.  But I'll try to stay around to help people with ideas and voicing. if anyone wants my help.

Nathan Wells wrote:

The entry you submit to the judges must be the entry made publicly available to everyone else.

I don't think I really could enter even if I wanted to with this rule.  As I've never been able to render at a quality decent enough for public viewing withing the time limit thanks to my annoying computer, and then the HD render which takes several hours could never be made public.
Why has this new rule been implemented anyway?

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Nathan Wells wrote:
Dyland wrote:
Nathan Wells wrote:

Entries below 10th place will not be publicly ranked.

I'm still not a big fan of this change for the contest, however, I think changes like this are understandable now with the Documentary and BiM Collection in production.

Expect to see this change stay in place for future official BiM contests. [...] Also, there's no more silly competitions for "last."

To elaborate on this point, there's been a consistent feeling that films below 10th place are typically shades of mediocrity -- it becomes very hard to distinguish one as superior to another. The point of judging is to celebrate the best entries, not create hard feelings by saddling somebody with 87th place.

It's very unusual for a film contest to announce results below third place, and I think that's probably wise. The whole point of announcing winners is to celebrate the finest entries. However, given the traditions here and the high volume of entries, we've gone for a top 10 as sort of a middle ground.

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Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

I'm really excited for this one, especially since I won't have to drive 2 hours from Louisville back to my house to participate!

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Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Can't wait! I really hope I can join.

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

I agree with Squid if the video is EXACTLY the same bar an improved quality an exception should be made. Internet speed could give an advantage of 1 or 2 hours for some.

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Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Squid wrote:
Nathan Wells wrote:

The entry you submit to the judges must be the entry made publicly available to everyone else.

I don't think I really could enter even if I wanted to with this rule.  As I've never been able to render at a quality decent enough for public viewing withing the time limit thanks to my annoying computer, and then the HD render which takes several hours could never be made public.
Why has this new rule been implemented anyway?

If having to actually finish rendering your film in its final form would preclude you being able to enter, then you need to budget more time for the rendering process. It's not as though it makes sense to have us judging a film that is rendered out in less than "decent quality," anyway, that's self-sabotaging.

The problem we've had in years past is that judges have often seen the touched up, higher quality versions of peoples' films before the judging process begins. It also shapes public perception, resulting in the feeling that the judging was misguided or unfair, when in fact the version judged was presented in potato quality and had unfinished sound design. It's hard to separate that from one's perception of the film when it comes time to judge.

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Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Squash wrote:
Gentrystudios wrote:

Ok, so every shot, but not specifically every frame?

Yes. As long as the element is present at some point in the shot, the requirement is met.

This is absolutely correct! Let me explain this point further:

You are now allowed to have the mod element partially or completely obscured for a period during a shot as long as the mod element was clearly visible at some point. This includes panning the camera onto or away from the mod element, having a minifigure walk in front of the mod element, and having the mod element move or walk into the frame.

Re: THAC XII - Coming January 2015!

Man, I wish I could enter this year, but it's literally the day I make the 5-hour drive back to university. If only it was a week, or even just three days later (though I understand the date is set during the holidays so there's a greater chance of people being able to enter). Maybe next year.

Good luck to everyone who enters! I always enjoy watching peoples' THAC entries. It's amazing what peepz can do in just 24 hours.

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