Fiverr’s 72-Hour Short Film Contest: Behind the Scenes with Cameron Schiller

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Filmmakers around the world are in a unique position to create stories in the midst of a pandemic.

It can be hard to navigate the absence of open sets and large groups, but to offer some reprieve during a difficult time, Fiverr teamed up with YouTube all-star, Peter McKinnon, to host the 72-Hour Film Challenge. 

The rules were simple: Spend the weekend shooting any type of short film you want from home, with the option to collaborate virtually. Fiverr launches a kickoff email the weekend of the competition outlining the criteria and guidelines, and once contestants receive the email, they have exactly 3 days to complete their short film.

Well, starting the competition and accepting the films was the easy part—the hard part was choosing the winners and organizing a global contest completely online. Thankfully, Camera Schiller, the Director of Influencer Marketing at Fiverr, has some insight to share with us about the process and what it was like for Fiverr and McKinnon behind the scenes. 

Here’s an inside look into how it all came together: 

1. Why Did Fiverr Decide to Host a Filmmaking Contest?

Cameron

Since we began our program, supporting and elevating the photography and filmmaking community has been a goal of ours. 

It has been exciting to see all the Creators who have joined us to create campaigns, and bringing everyone together in a big way was something we’d wanted to do for a whilewe knew this was the perfect way to do it.

2. How did Peter McKinnon Join the Process?

Cameron

Peter is an awesome Creator, and he’s built an incredible following on YouTube for both the young and seasoned filmmakers. 

We’ve partnered with Peter before and knew he was the perfect person to collaborate on this idea.

*McKinnon has over 4.5 million subscribers on YouTube and offers stellar content on filmmaking for all levels of videographers and editors. 

3. How Did You Create the Guidelines for Filmmakers?

Cameron

One of our tenants was to be as inclusive as possible and to open everyone to tap into their own creativity. We really focused on having as few “rules” as possible, which is why we kept the initial launch simple.

Here’s a quick look at what Fiverr sent out initially for contestants to get the scoop. 

By allowing for room to experiment, it really opens up the doors for contestants to use their imagination and break barriers. We definitely strived for creativity, and breaking down barriers of rules and regulations is a great way to achieve that sense. 

4. What Rules did the Filmmakers have to Follow?

Cameron

Honestly, the only hard rule we had was that filmmakers had to keep their short film below 5 minutes in length. Also, everything had to be shot in 72 hours from the start of the challenge. Simple. 

5. Were You Impressed with the Quality of the Films?

Cameron

The quality of the films was amazing. 

We watched all 3,152 submissions. We laughed, we cried, we jumped, we clenched our teeth. What was most amazing was that aspiring filmmakers from all over the world submitted. Our aim was to bring together a global community, and we certainly achieved that. 

6. What Criteria Did Fiverr and McKinnon Use to Judge?

Cameron

We’ve always shared a belief with Peter (and at Fiverr) that “you are your only limitation.” 

When we developed the criteria for judging, we did not consider the tools or equipment anyone used. We wanted to elevate short films that moved us. It was about storytelling. 

In my mind, if you gave Steven Spielberg a flip phone camera and asked him to tell a story that made people cry… he could do it. And you wouldn’t care that it was shot on a flip phone because the story is that good.

7. Did Any Particular Projects Stand Out to You?

Cameron

Yes, absolutely! So much, in fact, that we chose 15 honorable mentions

We went through every short film together with Peter, and we all really believed in the films we highlighted, but there were so many that we could have highlighted a list of 100.

8. Is Filmmaking Something Fiverr Wants to Promote More of?

Cameron

Absolutely, storytelling is such an important medium and we hope to always find ways to support these communities with the talent and opportunities they need to tell great stories.

Fiverr offers all kinds of freelance services in filmmaking categories, like video editing and visual effects, and we foster our online community’s growth with educational courses in a variety of areas on Learn from Fiverr

9. Do You Have Any Other Film Contests or Projects for the Future?

Cameron

Yes, but you’ll have to wait till they’re announced!

11. Where Can We See the Winning Film?

Cameron

You can see the 3 winners and 15 honorable mentions at www.theshortfilmchallenge.com

Final Thoughts from Fiverr

Cameron

This was one of the most fun experiences working with Peter and hosting this challenge, and we can’t wait to do it again!

I’ve been involved with filmmaking since I was young. My father was a filmmaker. I went to film school in Los Angeles, and after I worked working at movie studios, like Sony and Twentieth Century Fox, and for the Ridley Scott’s production company (RSA). Filmmaking is in my blood, and it’s an honor to extend my passion for it through Fiverr’s creative team!

Stay tuned for more awesome projects from Fiverr, and if you’re not a freelancer in the community yet, click here to get started!

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