Snickers spot pockets $5,000

In a reversal of fortune from what befell the local entrants in Nikon’s recent contest, area video makers Joe Taylor, Bill Kephart, and Thomas Nicol found their golden ticket metaphorically wrapped around a Snickers last week when manufacturer M&M Mars selected their spec spot, “Share the Love,” as one of three $5,000 winners through a competition. In the scenario, Nicol attends a support group led by Kephart, who dutifully clarifies for the new arrival that the meeting is intended to help sexual (not Snickers) addicts. Nicol elects to stay, given the primarily female make-up of the group, and the spot ends with some round-robin Snickers savoring:

“I thought [the contest] would be a good one to enter for a few reasons,” C-U Blogfidential learns from Taylor, who discovered PopTent’s “Tell the Snickers Story” assignment listed on a video contest clearinghouse called “They seemed open to any creative concept, the $5,000 prize amount was higher than most [other “assignments” offered to members], they guaranteed at least three winners, and we could submit more than one . And, I do like me a good Snickers.” Having cut his teeth on previous comedic shorts and one long-form drama, CONNOR’S WOODS, Taylor decided to trade ideas with creative confidant Kephart.

“I knew we could collaborate well on a project like this; that Bill has a strange sense of humor,” jokes Taylor, who first collaborated with Kephart last Halloween on an original play, Coyote, performed at Taylor’s business, Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Fairmount. After tossing about ideas and sacrificial Snickers bars, the pair produced and entered “Brokenback Snickers” and “Snickerbillies,” the former treading where one would expect and the latter featuring Nicol as a camper befriended by Kephart and Taylor as creepy backwoods farmers, complete with ill-fitting plaid and crooked teeth. “We thought they were good but, since we could enter as many as we wanted, we decided to do more and up our chances of winning,” Taylor reasons.

The eventual winner, “Share the Love,” came out of this second effort along with “Snicker Donor,” starring Kephart and Nicol as fellow office workers who argue over a solitary Snickers bar. “I think we had the ideas [for the next two] on a Monday, shot them on a Thursday, edited them together on a Friday, and submitted them on a Saturday which was the deadline,” recalls Taylor. More than 300 entries were uploaded to the PopTent site by the time the contest closed.

Taylor, Kephart, and Nicol plan to split the money prize once it arrives; some of Taylor’s share may go towards a new camera and equipment as well as a budget for future projects. “These contests are a great way to learn,” offers Taylor. “Doing a 30-second spot doesn’t take the time many other projects would, but still involves all the aspects that a larger project would. A site like PopTent lets you see how you stack up against creators all over the country, and there is a chance that you just might win a little money.”

The other two Snickers winners are Dave Kennedy and Corodale Productions for “Survive Hunger,” featuring two men in a life raft hording their sugary sustenance, and Jake and Adam Huber for “Shoulda had a Snickers,” set in a bowling alley. Other recent assignment sponsors include Procter & Gamble (Bounce dryer bars, Old Spice deodorant), Capella University, Vita-Mix, Coors Light, the New York Film Festival, and the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can watch all of Taylor’s Snickers entries at his PopTent profile.

~ Jason Pankoke

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