Lights! Camera! Action!
Are you an aspiring filmmaker or a small-screen producer of YouTube hits? Do you spend spare time creating storyboards or videotaping interviews?
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 real money.
And unlike writing essays, videos can be fun to produce! Just follow the rules and be aware that no two contests are alike.
Some might 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 explaining “the value of credit union membership,” with a deadline of March 31, 2015.
Like 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 Sustainability Champions Scholarship, which is open to incoming freshmen who have completed their applications for admission.
National competitions include the following ten opportunities for budding filmmakers:
AFA Teens Video Competition: This is an opportunity to reflect on why Alzheimer’s disease is becoming an increasingly important worldwide issue. Videos, along with an application and 200-word autobiography must be submitted by December 1, 2014. Details are provided on the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America website.
Bridgestone Teens Drive Smart Video Contest: This contest usually opens in early April with a very quick entry period ending in mid-June. Scholarships are generous, and the top ten finalists will receive a set of tires for their innovative videos.
C-SPAN’s Student Cam: Students are asked to create a 5- to 7-minute video documentary on “a policy, law, or action by either the executive, legislative, or judicial branch” that “has affected you or your community.” All documentaries must contain a small amount of C-SPAN footage that relates to the chosen topic. Submissions must be received by Monday, January 20, 2015.
Courageous Persuaders Video Scholarship Competition: Students are asked to create a 30-second TV commercial warning against the dangers of underage drinking. Open to all high school students, the Courageous Persuaders entry deadline is February 12, 2015. 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. There are several different deadlines corresponding to different events. This contest is a little complicated, so check with the website for details.
‘My Mentor Was Me’ Scholarship Video Challenge: High school seniors produce and upload an original 1- to 3- minute video identifying and describing the impact a mentor has had on the pursuit of success and the importance of mentor-mentee relationships. Contestants must have an account on the mentoring site, and videos must be posted on their site by July 31, 2015.
NACE Corrosion in Motion Video Contest: This contest is open only to full time students currently enrolled in high school or an accredited college. To enter, upload a video (no more than 4 minutes)showing the effects of corrosion to the contest website by no later than December 31, 2014.
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, 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 60-90 second video and submit your video as a YouTube link and win up to $15,000. Entries are due no later than March 16, 2015.
World of 7 Video Contest: Create a short video public service announcement (PSA) that shows the connection between world population at 7 billion and one of several specified issues. All high school students are eligible and all videos must be submitted by Thursday, February 19, 2015 (5:00 pm Eastern US time).