It's an exciting time for phoneography: production companies like Ghost Digital Cinema are shooting mind-blowing short films on the iPhone, we're developing custom high quality lenses with Kenko Tokina Ltd., and the FiLMiC 'Tangerine Dreams' Short Film Contest is upon us again!
FiLMiC Pro is arguably the most popular filmmaking app for iPhone and Android. It's no secret that their app has been used for the biggest phoneography hits thus far, like Sean Baker's Tangerine and Matthew A Cherry's 9 Rides, which premiered at the Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals, respectively.
The Tangerine Dreams Short Film Contest is going BIG this year, with over $25,000 in prizes from Sennheiser, Zeiss, Movi, iBlazr and, you guessed it, Beastgrip. We had the chance to speak with FiLMiC's Susan Roderick to find out some history, advice, and what the judges are looking for:
BG: Where did the idea for the FiLMiC Contest originate from?
Susan: Neill Barham, the founder of FiLMiC Inc., had the idea to do a short film contest last year. We both love seeing the content that's created using the app by our global community. We thought a contest would be a great way to have users create more incredible content and we were absolutely blown away by the films they submitted - we're excited to see what people will create this year. As a company, we spend a lot of energy building the most high quality performance app possible, so it was great for us to see the unbelievable things it can do.
Music Video category winner from last year's FiLMiC contest
BG: What are some of the most important things that the judges are looking for in the films?
Susan: Obviously, the quality of the production is important, but I think the amount of time and effort put into storytelling can really make an impact. As a rule of thumb: the more thought you put into your film, the better it will be. "Pretty footage" goes a long way, but a great story will go much further. Audio is also very important - people will watch shaky footage before they will listen to terrible audio [laughs].
BG: Do you have any advice for the applicants? (in general, i.e. story, promoting through social media to increase odds, etc.)
Susan: I recommend being careful with basic things like stabilization, using enough movement, and paying close attention to your audio - all of these things can make a big difference. I think if it really came down to a hard decision between two films, and one had thousands of views and the other did not, it wouldn't have an effect on the decision [laughs]. We try not to judge films on their social media impact, but rather, on the quality of the film.
Fiction category winner from last year's FiLMiC contest
BG: Besides a bunch of amazing gear, why should someone enter the contest?
Susan: Last year's contest brought an amazing community of filmmakers from around the world together. Our category winners were from India, Philippines, United States, Greece and Ireland - it's a great experience to be part of that. Contests also push you creatively and technically. Once you "up your production game" on a film, you bring that knowledge to all of your future projects. It's good to push yourself, and when you submit a video to the FiLMiC contest, hundreds of people will be watching your film.
BG: When you think of the future of phoneography, what do you see?
Susan: I create films with both my DSLR and iPhone. I still use my DSLR for professional jobs, where I need to shoot a lot of shallow depth of field from 200mm away, but I do think we will get to the point where you can do this with mobile gear. FiLMiC Pro is at the forefront of iPhone video creativity and quality - I think the day I take my mobile gear on professional jobs is near. [Right now], when you shoot with an iPhone, clients are hesitant to pay big rates, but I think that will change very soon...
To view the amazing prizes, rules and enter the contest, visit the FiLMiC website here. Submissions are due by May 27th, 2016, so get to work! For more filmmaking tips and tricks, take a look through our blog for full-length interviews with award-winning filmmakers like Sven Dreesbach and Matthew A. Cherry.