Video Contest Sites: Top Online Resources for Cash and Prizes

by Elizabeth Blessing

In this review of video contest sites, we look at some of the top online resources that will help you find and track competitions.

You'll notice that each of these sites has a different take on video contests. Some sites are aggregators, which means they list a variety of contests you can enter.

Other video contest sites connect the filmmaker with commercial brands looking for new creative talent to help them launch a campaign or develop a marketing strategy. Some sites have contests looking for a specific kind of content, such as music videos or educational videos.

Video Contest Aggregator Sites

One of our favorite aggregator sites is Online Video Contests. This attractive, easy-to-use site has a great search feature that allows you to find contests based on different criteria you select.

For example, you can search for contests based on the type of prize offered: cash only, trips only, prizes only or all prize types. You can narrow your search by the type of judging, the location of the contest and participant age requirements. You can also sort by prize amount, most recently added contest or due date.

Once a week, Online Video Contests posts a YouTube video to the site with their top video contests. Each contest listed on the site includes complete details on how to enter the contest, deadlines, eligibility requirements, prize information and links to contest sponsors.

Video Contest News is a blog that offers tips on how to enter and win video contests. They do list some new contests, but their primary focus seems to be to provide insights on how to create winning videos. 

Site owner, Dan L., is a self-described "video contest addict." His addiction has paid off to the tune of over $100,000 in prizes. His writing style is informative, fun and useful. He shows samples of videos he's entered in contests, including commentary on what makes them work and what sometimes doesn't.

Video Contest Sites Linking Filmmakers with Brands

The video contest sites in this category link filmmakers with commercial brands. 

Zooppa is one of these sites. They offer a platform where top commercial brands can list their video contests, which they call "creative challenges." On the day we looked at the site, Zooppa said there were 246,554 active users and over $3.5 million in prizes assigned.

Some of the top brands posting creative challenges include 3M, Verizon, Siemens and Zappos. When we visited the site, Staples was running a $25,000 video contest for the best entry that demonstrated the "shopping cart dance."

The site allows video creators to sign up and create an online profile. They can then review contest details, enter contests and vote on other people's video entries.

Tongal is another video contest site that connects the creative community with brands looking for a fresh approach to promoting their products.

They use a multi-step approach for their video projects and contests. This allows participants to contribute and potentially make money in a variety of ways.

For example, members have the opportunity to earn cash from sponsors by submitting a great idea in 140 characters or less. From this pool of winning ideas, filmmakers create a pitch on how they would make the video.

If the sponsor likes what they see, they'll give the filmmaker money and time to produce the video. These videos then compete with one another for prizes from the sponsor. The sponsor pays the winning director and then distributes the video on TV and/or on their website and social media.

Mofilm is a site that connects social causes and big brands with video producers and musicians. Their list of clients include the American Red Cross, The Nature Conservancy, AT&T and Coca-Cola. Their grand prizes include a wide variety of lavish trips to exotic locales. You can learn a lot about how to create a winning video simply by viewing the videos produced by their top contributors.

Contests for Music and Educational Videos

If you like making educational videos, then you'll need to check out Project ED. This site offers contests with an educational twist. They host competitions which encourage teachers, students and filmmakers to create videos on topics from math, science and English.

Currently, they're running a series of contests for videos that provide a one-minute definition of a specified word. This contest offers a youth prize of $1,000 and an adult prize of $1,000.

If you've ever envisioned yourself as a music video producer, then you'll need to check out Genero.TV. Several of their contests give you the chance to create the official music video for a song. They also have contests where you submit a treatment for a video of a specified song.

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