4 Competitions/training

This week I would us to consider how we might modify our competition offering and thus increase the involvement of members.

BFVS added a new dimension to this in their Q2 response where they drew attention to the CEMRIAC Training and Competitions.

Another very timely input arrived in todays post.  In the IAC magazine, on page 27, Alan Colegrave outlines how NTRIAC introduced and ran online competitions.

This week can I invite you comment on how we might  reorganise/expand the SoCo appeal to motivate more clubs and members to participate in our activities.

I look forward to hearing from you.

On 25th February Brian wrote:

Not sure I have too much to offer on the topic of competitions but thought if I share my thought process it might engender some input and comment. In our first exchange of input I was very surprised to learn there were 29 member clubs falling within Soco – if pressed I might be able to name 10 or so, so if I am typical then more than half the member clubs are unknown to one another and if the clubs are unknown to one another then the members certainly won’t be very aware.

I like the idea of on-line competitions, but the management of these is not something to be taken lightly. If people compete they will want feedback and constructive criticism and if you are going to try to get club members to participate it is the clubs that will have to promote it. An individual’s first question is likely to be “what are you offering and what’s in it for me?”

Should we take one step at a time therefore and initiate a Soco inter-club competition. Ask each of the 26 member clubs to submit one film to represent their club and get  judges from outside the region. Its then down to the clubs to generate internal interest amongst their members. If there was sufficient interest in similar arrangements in other regions then we could reciprocate by judging their entries.

I have not thought this through in any detail but it seems to me that the key issue is how you communicate with individual members of member clubs and the gatekeeper in all this are the clubs themselves.

Sorry this is such a rambling reply, hopefully others have a more succinct solution, but hope this may engender some thoughts.


On 26th February Ivan wroteGreetings.  Here is my response to Q4:
Competitions:  I refer you to what I said in response to Q1 – ie “It has to be said that there are those in TFMC who question the value of competitions (both internal competitions and competitions on a wider regional basis) – how can you judge a 20 minute documentary against a 3 minute comedy, or (regionally) a film made by enthusiastic but not very skilled amateurs (which may be the best film they have ever made) against films made by clubs which have a number of retired professionals amongst their members? The one big benefit of competitions that is always cited of course is that they prompt people and clubs to get out and make films that otherwise might not be made – a good thing I guess. I know that’s a controversial subject but its one that often crops up in Teignmouth. “
The evenings when most members bring films along are those that are NOT competition lead but “challenge” lead.  For the past three years now we have set a 28 day challenge in which members are challenged to make a film of any length and any style within the space of two club meetings (ie 28 days).  The challenge is that within the film a designated ‘prop’ (chosen at the start of the 28 days) must be visible somewhere within it.  It does not have to be about the prop item but must include it.  Recently we were invited to the Tiverton Camcorder Club who set their members the challenge of making a short film to represent a phrase, or saying (eg “if at first you don’t succeed try try try again” or “who’s a pretty boy then?”)  our club members were invited to join in the fun a bring films they had made.  Both of these “challenge” evenings turned out to be fun and interesting – seeing how different members approached the challenge.
Regionally:  I am not sure what regional competitions achieve (see my comment above).  It is very nice when we have entered a film for it to be placed of course.  Having said that, one of the main objectives, surely, is to bring people together to build relationships and share about our absorbing hobby, as well as encouraging clubs to make films to the best of their ability?  The BIG problem we have here in the SW is of course distances.  TFMC will NOT be running the Teign Cup this autumn as we have been getting fewer and fewer people from other clubs coming to the screening (most important part of the competition in our view) as it has been usually held in October/November and people just do not want to travel those long distances during those months.  Have no fear though the Teign Cup is not dead as we plan to find a date in April/May 2020 for our next Teign Cup in the hope that a spring date will encourage more people to come along.
Competition by email or on line defeats one of the main objectives of bringing people together in our view but with the difficulty of long distances I am not sure what the alternative is. I have to confess that members of TFMC rarely get to the SoCo Competition screening.
Well. enough from me.  Hope this is helpful
All best wishes

On 1st March Lee wrote:

My bit re question 4 and in response to Ivan in particular…. 

“Competitions”: Ivan’s comment Ref: “how can you judge a 20 minute documentary against a 3 minute comedy, or (regionally) a film made by enthusiastic but not very skilled amateurs (which may be the best film they have ever made) against films made by clubs which have a number of retired professionals amongst their members”? 

Films of any genre should NOT be judged against those of other genre’s….Every film should be judged on its own merits and not as a comparison – that’s what I / we did when I ran the late lamented cost busted funding stopped Cotswold International Film and Video Festival. Also films were submitted and placed in categories Amateur …Professional…..Student and never mixed or compared with the other categories which brings me back to Mike Szewzcuk’s letter in the December edition of SOCO NEWS!!! 
Regards,  LEE.

On 1st March Ivan wrote:

Thank you for your contribution, Lee.  Unfortunately, competitions such as the Teign Cup do not have the luxury of entry numbers to categorise films in to “amateur”, “professional”  or “student” (they have to be all classed as “amateur” or they would not be accepted into the competition by the administrators – even those made by retired professionals).    We have also resisted categorising films into groups  such as “best drama”, “best documentary” or “best editing” or “best soundtrack” etc.TFMC recently had a question about what was deemed “professional” and/or “amateur” about a club project and we looked up the criteria for entry to BIAFF run by IAC and it read thus:
“This competition is for films made by individuals or groups for pleasure and not for commercial gain. The following are, however, permissible: • Films made by IAC regions and clubs for the benefit of those organisations. 
• Public or private exhibition and sale, where the proceeds are solely for the benefit of clubs, regions or bona fide charities. 
Any sponsorship must be used only to cover production costs and the expenses of the production team and actors, and not for paid assistance from video professionals, either for filming or post-production (apart from the making of copies). Members of the production team, including actors, should not be paid for their time devoted to the production, other than expenses. 
If it is discovered, either before or after making any award, that the film has infringed these requirements, the organisers will have the right to disqualify it, revoke the awards and reclaim any prizes.”

So I read from this that if a club enters a film that has been made by retired professionals (made for pleasure and not for sale or profit or payment of any kind) then it qualifies as “amateur”.  This point however, does not answer my initial question which was “how do we judge differing types of film made by differing groups against one another – its a bit like me entering an amateur running race and discovering that Usain Bolt had entered as an amateur now that he is retired.  I think Mike Szewzcuk’s letter in SOCO News is actually asking the same question.  Perhaps awarding “handicap points” to those whose films included the services of ex-professionlas is an idea to be thought about?
The other point I would like to make about your comment Lee was surely that in a competition of course ALL films are judged one against the other – that’s the nature of a competition – which is the best?
Good to hear from you and good to enter into dialogue about this thorny topic.
All best wishes

On 1st March BFVS wroteCompetitions – an inter club competition if there are 26 clubs in SOCO seems an excellent idea. Every club should be able to rustle up one film. A good start 
It seems to us that now we have all initially answered the first few questions that some conclusions need to be drawn or at least the debate moved to the next stage. Should clubs now be asked:
If there was a SOCO inter club competition would their club enter?
If such a competition held would their members be interested in principle in attending the show (subject to location of course)?
If SOCO held a CEMRIAC type training session would their members be interested in principle in attending (subject to location of course)?
For both the where do they suggest would be a suitable location(s) (City / Town / General Area) excluding their own home territory – in other words where would they be prepared to travel to?
With any of these would their club and / or its members be prepared to assist in the running of  an event

On 4th March Tony wrote:

Another great exchange of views t -thank you for that.

Just to clarify the membership numbers.  There are 29 clubs registered within the IAC  SoCo Region. However, of these, 13 are Photographic Clubs, none of whom responded to the invitation to join this group. I am told that the main, if not the only reason for joining the IAC is obtain the copyright free music licence for their own internal and national competitions.

So that leaves 16 video clubs.

Regards to all

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