Man vs Dog: My Rules For Contests

On May 27, 2022 I published “I got fired so I watched anime, fell asleep, and woke in a new world”. This is the same day it was shown at Anime Boston 2022 in the Other category. In that same category was another video, Contemporary Dog by Hikikomori, which was uploaded a little over two months earlier: March 11, 2022. Both videos have had different levels of visibility and I wanted to comment on that a little.

I submitted my video to one contest, Anime Boston 2022, where it won Best of Show. It was also submitted by someone to the Viewer Choice Awards 2023 where it won Best Use of Live Action Source.

I am not sure how many contests Contemporary Dog was submitted too, but it must be many based on its award list:

  • Best Editing Award at Anime Boston 2022
  • Best Comedy Award at Thy Geekdom 2022
  • Editors’ Choice, Judges’ Choice & 1st Place Comedy/Parody at Momocon 2022
  • “Best Trip of my Life Award”, Judges’ 1st Place (Best in Show) & Audience Favourite at Otafest 2022
  • 1st Place Fun at SacAnime Spring 2022
  • TOS Contest 2021: Creativity Category — 1st Place Visual Effects Category — 1st Place Best Video Best Comedy/Fun Best Original Work Best VFX Composition Most Time-Consuming-Work
  • Best Parody Award at AFO 2022
  • Northern Lights – Best in Show Award at Anime North 2022
  • Winner of Fun Category at AnimeFest 2022
  • Audience Favourite at Animethon 2022
  • Best Conceptual at Abunai! 2022
  • Best Originality & People’s Choice at Otakuthon 2022
  • Winner of Category X, Best In Show (Editors Choice), Best in Show
  • (Audience Choice) at Nan Desu Kan 2022
  • Best in Show at Saboten Con 2022
  • 1st Place at Anime Messe Babelsberg 2022 (Open Category)
  • 1st Place at Connichi 2022 (Expo Category)
  • Best Comedy at PMX 2022
  • Best Technical at Anime Weekend Atlanta EXPO (AWA)
  • Best in Show at Nekocon 2022
  • Best Fan Fiction & Best in Show at Kumoricon 2022
  • Best in Show at Anime NYC 2022

There should also be a few VCA 2023 awards in there.

Therefore, I think it is a not a great leap to assume that if my video won high praise competing with Contemporary Dog then had I submitted this video to more conventions or contests it would have also won a number of awards.

So the question is then: why did I not submit to other contests?

That question has a few answers.

  1. I only like submitting to the conventions I go to. A lot of the value I get out of making videos is seeing it at the convention, judging the audience reaction, and seeing how it complements or fits with the other videos in the contest. Obviously I cannot do this submitting it to a contest I will not be at. It is the proverbial tree falling in the forest. If I am not there to see the contest, why submit?
  2. If the video I submit makes the finals, then I do not submit it to other conventions. I do not like the idea of having a popular video making the rounds and scooping up awards. I accept that contests have to draw from a limited pool, but I want to do my part to avoid having contests become mirrors of each other and allow for the most possible variety in entries.
  3. I am concerned about the “contentification” of art online so I intentionally limit the audience (see above). Mr. Willems does a good job covering this, but a lot of platforms have moved to pushing people to just make “content” to fill time. I never want to be in the mindset of grinding videos just for maximum audience or contest engagement. Therefore, by limiting the number of contests I submit to I can stay out of that trap since it will limit the focus of my videos to specific contests and specific times.
  4. Somewhat riffing on the last point, I am concerned about a video being devalued as it is shown again and again. I would like my videos to be almost like a live event. Experienced once at a specific time and place and rarely again. I even briefly considered never uploading my videos, but cooler heads prevailed. Still, I do think a video seen on repeat at convention to convention loses something, even if it is shown to new audiences.
  5. Likes, views, comments, and awards are a popularity trap. You will never be able to get enough of them. We should be very cautious around doing things designed solely to maximize these metrics. There lies the path to madness.

I present these answers, not as guidelines for others to follow, but merely as an explanation for my peculiarities. I do not expect everyone to follow them, but for me they are helpful guidelines for maintaining a healthy relationship to my art.

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