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What would you do with some free time and the opportunity to grow your reputation as a videographer or filmmaker? The reasonable answer would be to spend some time marketing yourself. But there’s another option that’s just as reasonable: contests

 
Nowadays, video contests are everywhere, and many offer videographers and filmmakers lofty rewards. Your goal is not to enter them all (you don’t have that time, after all!). Instead, you should aim to enter competitions held by well-known companies that have your best interests in mind instead of their own marketing campaigns. If you do, you could well be on your way to some much-deserved recognition.
 
Here’s a short guide and roundup of some recent video contests for 2013 that offer the best value to you as the video creator!
 
For the Students
The internet is flooded with video contests aimed at students. Look for ones hosted by businesses, colleges, or names you’d want associated with your own, and definitely pay attention to any offering a hefty scholarship prize. Again, avoid those that want to benefit from your hard work that offers nothing but cheap prizes while taking ownership of your intellectual property.
 
  • Cengage Learning and MindTap are hosting “A Slice of Your Life” for students who make videos explaining how they learn differently than others. 
  • First prize is a $2500 scholarship.
  • Deadline is April 19. www.cengagesites.com

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For Those Interested in Causes
If you’re passionate about a cause, it’s likely that one organization or another with a like-minded interest has or will be offering a video contest in the future. Many organizations are trying to expand their reach via new media, and video contests are one way they’re doing so.
 
  • The Institute of Electric and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is hosting a contest for its Global Humanitarian Technology conference, where entrants will make a video based off the theme of “Inspiration: Earth, Humanity, Technology.”
  • First place winners will receive $1,000 and admission to the conference.
  • Deadline is June 17. www.ieeeghtc.org

 

  • World Parkinson Congress wants you to showcase your experience with Parkinson’s disease in video format for their 2013 competition.
  • The grand prize winner will have his or her video premiered at the opening ceremony of the October World Parkinson Congress convention, two nights accommodation, and free admission for the convention’s duration.
  • Deadline is May 8. www.worldpdcongress.org

 

  • Smithsonian partnered with the Smithsonian Channel to bring you their “In Motion” video contest. The highly respected company wants you to document the world around us in a variety of accepted formats.
  • The grand prize winner will received $2000 and his or herr video streaming on Smithsonian Channel’s On Demand.
  • Deadline is May 31. www.smithsonianmag.com
 
For Aspiring TV or Filmmakers
It’s the ultimate dream, right? Having your work discovered by a big-name Hollywood executive and getting your work produced? One easy way to do this is to enter contests held by associations promising you connections in the industry if you win.
 
  • Script Pipeline’s “Great TV Show Contest” promises many rewards backed by a successful history of winners (a previous contestant even wrote the screenplay for Snow White & the Huntsman).
  • The grand prize includes $1,500 and a meeting with executives to explore potential development of your idea.
  • Early deadline is April 1. www.scriptpipeline.com

 

  • Withoutabox.com needs to be in every filmmakers email inbox. Once you have an account, Withoutabox gives you information and access to hundreds of film festivals around the world that you can enter.
  • Prizes vary according to the festival, but most garner you impressive notice and reputation.
  • Deadlines also vary. www.withoutabox.com 
 
These are of course just a start to the types of video contests you can enter. If you do your own searching, always focus on the value the contest can give you, not the other way around!
 
Bree Brouwer is a freelance writer and blogger who loves producing short films, investigating culture, pursuing geek enlightenment, and shopping for deals like a true Dutchwoman. 
 

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Jennifer O’Rourke is an Emmy award-winning videographer & editor.