One year ago today a friend of mine pointed a Gametrailers Video contest out to me. I had entered the previous one and didn't even get so much as an honorable mention, but I got over that. The video I had entered for the previous contest was slapped together in three short days from existing content I had on my HDD; it was the Shadow of Chaos trailer.
But this time, I had a good two weeks ahead of me. The contest was about the lesser-known siblings of Gaming's finest stars. At first, I thought: Hey, I'm a Sonic fan. I'll do Sonic, right? No. Wrong. I hate pinning myself as that sort of guy, the sort of guy who focuses on one thing and then never veers from it. I didn't want to do Sonic because I didn't want to be pinned as the sort of guy who only does Sonic related things. So, I settled for the next best thing: Mario. I sat down, wrote a script, and began the slow process of animating and voicing the entire clip. This was, truthfully, one of the biggest projects I had done in the shortest amount of time. Three minutes of footage in two weeks.
As to not overexert myself, I chose sprite animation. It is much faster and much easier to move 32x32 sprites around a screen and animate them properly than it is to do full screen 640x480 animation. Plus, it was Mario - what better way to paint Mario's world than as the 2D Sprites everybody grew up with? I worked harder and longer than I ever had. For somebody as shy as I am, the decision to voice the whole short myself was also a pretty big deal. Could I even act? I was about to find out. Surprisingly, after two weeks solid of work, I managed to submit the short on the final available day of entry. In the end, I had to cut a whole scene out.
And then began the waiting. I poked around, looking for the other contest entries. Some of them were good - worryingly good - some were embarassing. The one I felt most threatened by was a live-action short done by the Mollick Brothers. It was about Tetris Pieces, sort of a "Where are they now?" The Mollick Brothers were good. But, my friends re-assured me: "No, really, it's not that funny, dude. You've got a good shot."
That only made the wait longer.
A week passed. Eventually I started getting messages from other entrants, "Have you heard anything? When are they announcing the winners?" Nobody knew. I didn't know. Everything was silent. Another four days came and went, still nothing. Until, one day, slowly, entries for the contest began to show up on the "Featured User Movies" section of Gametrailers.
Every one but mine.
Curious, I posted about it in the forums: "What does it take to get featured? Is it views?" One of the staff responded, "We feature videos we like. They are hand-picked by the staff." This got me down; did they really hate my short this much? Surely I did well enough to get featured, right? Why wasn't I getting featured? In retrospect, I feel kind of like an ass for wondering that. Two days later I recieved a confirmation email: I had won the grand prize. A $1000 EB Games gift card. Despite some trouble finding an EB Games near my house, I eventually ended up buying a PS2, DS Lite, Xbox 360, and a dozen or so games. And good times were had by all.
Well, except those dudes who didn't win. Sorry.