Nov 27, 2015

Lights! Camera! Scholarships!

New York Film Academy

Are you an aspiring filmmaker or a small-screen producer of YouTube hits? Do you spend spare moments creating storyboards or videotaping interviews with your friends?

If so, you might consider competing in any one of many video scholarship contests offered throughout the year.  In fact, with a little time and talent, you could turn a videography hobby into some serious money.

And videos can be fun to produce! Just follow the rules and be aware that no two contests are alike.

Some ask for a promotional video for a product (usually their product) or they might be looking for a public service announcement promoting an important idea or event.

For example, the Credit Union Foundation of MD & DC sponsors an annual college scholarship awards program supporting an essay component as well as a video challenge and a photo-based competition. This year, local college-bound credit union members are being asked to produce a 60-second video that “displays the importance of financial literacy,” with a deadline of March 31, 2016.

Similar to a scholarship essay, a scholarship video will take time and some effort to create. But keep in mind that a good scholarship video may make a cool addition to an arts portfolio if you are considering a film or video major.

Note that a number of colleges are now offering video scholarship competitions, like the Arizona State University ck Champions Scholarship, which is open to incoming freshmen who have completed their applications for admission and must be submitted no later than February 1, 2016.

And some of the more visible national competitions include the following ten opportunities for budding filmmakers:

  • Advocacy in Action.  Create a short 60 second “Public Service Announcement” video that explores the safety of your community from harmful chemicals.  Videos along with all required forms must be submitted by March 18, 2016.
  • C-SPAN’s Student Cam:  Students are asked to create a 5- to 7-minute video documentary on the issue “YOU most want candidates to discuss during the 2016 presidential campaign.”  All documentaries must contain a small amount of C-SPAN footage that relates to the chosen topic.  Submissions must be received by January 20, 2016.
  • Courageous Persuaders Video Scholarship Competition: Students are asked to create a 30-second commercial to warn middle school students against the dangers of underage drinking or the dangers of texting while driving. Open to all high school students, the Courageous Persuaders entry deadline is February 11, 2016. Note that production values in this contest are less important than “ideas.”
  • Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway:  Eligible students with a “one-of-a-kind story” are invited to upload a video explaining how they “want to make an impact” with their degree/education.  The video should include some reference to Dr. Pepper and must be no more than one minute in length. This contest is a little complicated, so check with the website for details. And to compete, you must have internet, email and Facebook accounts.
  • Groth Law Firm Scholarship.  Students are invited to create a 30-second video that creatively answers this question, “How can we make driving safer?” Video submissions will be accepted between September 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016.
  • IP Video Contest.  Students must submit an original video answering one of for questions related to the importance of the patent system. Videos must be no more than 90 seconds in length and must be submitted before August 1, 2016.
  • Project Yellow Light Video Contest: High school students are asked to create a video designed to motivate, persuade and encourage teens to not drive distracted.  You can video yourself or a group or make a cartoon or a music video.  Just keep it to 25 or 55 seconds or less.  The top prize is $5,000.  Teams are welcome, and videos must be submitted by April 1, 2016.
  • Recycling is Bigger than the Bin.  Students are invited to choose an item that is “bigger than the bin” and find a way to recycle it. Then, create an original video, no more than 2 minutes that tells the story of how you recycled your chosen item. All entries must be submitted by December 18, 2015.
  • Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge:  If your friends were going to watch ONE video that made them think twice about making bad decisions behind the wheel, what would that video be?  Create that 30 to 60 second video and submit your video as a YouTube link and win up to $15,000.  Entries are due no later than March 7, 2016.
  • World of 7 Video Contest:  Create a short video public service announcement (PSA) about human population growth that highlights one of three global challenges.  All high school students are eligible and all videos must be submitted by Thursday, February 25, 2016.

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