by Larry Magid
(This post first appeared on Forbes.com)
Fake contests are almost as bad as fake news, but this one is real. It’s called What’s Your Story? and it’s sponsored by Trend Micro. I’m one of the judges in my capacity as CEO of ConnectSafely.org. The subject of this year’s videos is: “How do you know if something online is real or fake?”
The contest, which is now in its sixth year, awards $10,000 to the student winner and another $5,000 to both the best U.S. and Canadian school entry. There are also runner-up prizes of iPad Pros for individuals and schools.
It’s really two contests, one for individuals and another for school projects. The competition is open to both K-12 and college and film students in the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec as well as K-12 schools. Click here for full eligibility requirements.
Videos can be between 30 seconds and two minutes long and, though quality matters, you don’t need high-end equipment. A well-crafted smartphone video could very well take home the grand prize. The advice from the organizers is to “Be funny. Be dramatic. Be creative. Use live action, stop action, animation, music or none. Whatever you do, be real.” Videos need to be original work and any music, logos, photos and other media can only be used with the copyright holder’s permission.
The judges care about accuracy. If you’re going to make a claim, make sure it’s based on real data. Don’t exaggerate or instill fear based on what you may believe to be true. Make sure it IS true. There is a resource page that includes sources for accurate data as well as places you can find music, images and other materials that you are allowed to use without violating any copyrights.
Entry deadline & past winners
The entry deadline is April 10th and the winners will be notified on or about May 7th.
There have been some great past winners, which you can watch here. My favorite, from a few years ago, is Flame Fart Kid. Some adults might not find it all that funny, but I’ve shown it to several middle school audiences and they seem to love it.