Power team Meghan Frederico and John Tomma have been killing it on the Tongal Leaderboards. From their winning Wildcard UNO video The Parking Meter to the adorable collection of Lego Duplo spots, Extraneous Noise can now call themselves the winner of Tongal’s largest ever first-place prize purse. Not to mention their Secret Wedding Toast Lady video, which can be seen in movie theaters and Facebook feeds across the country. Ex Noise’s advice for other Tongalers? Carefully read through the Creative Brief, get talent releases signed and, of course, trial and error. Read how bean bag chairs and a stick-on mustache played into their Tongal success – and helped them pay off most of their start-up debts – below.
Since joining last June, Don Broida has taken the Tongal universe by storm. He placed not once, but twice, in his first ever project for Bounty, created a brilliant wining wildcard for Swanson, and just became the 1st Place Production Winner of Tongal Season 2. Beyond the money (he racked up over $90,000 in just 7 months), and the exposure (his winning I can’t believe it’s not Butter! spot is currently airing on national television), Don’s success on Tongal earned him something intangible, which incidentally may the best argument we’ve ever heard for the value that this platform creates for it’s users. In his words, “I have a 7 month-old son, and due to Tongal I have been able to work more from home. Not having to take constant film jobs has allowed me to spend time with him and connect with him in a way that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.” Here’s to more time with family and a prosperous 2013!
Tongal changes people’s lives. Just ask Andrew Adams who has amassed just over $70,000 in winnings since joining the Tongal community in January of this year. Andrew’s Tongal career highlights include first place video wins for the Robert Half “Career Coaching Gone Awry Project,“ the Benjamin Moore “Chalkboard Paint In Any Color Project,” and Viggle’s “Viggle Me This Project.” These high profile wins, along with placing in numerous other projects, made Andrew our first ever Tongal Seasons production winner. Besides bragging rights and a place in Tongal history, Andrew took home the $23,900 Seasons top prize. We had a chance to ask Andrew some questions about his filmmaking background, what it’s like to be a “Professional Contest Winner.”
Want to learn some tips and tricks to making a winning Tongal video? Then watch Damon and Cassandra the beautiful minds behind Mindfruit Studio explain how they made their winning video “Box Girl” for The Duck Brand EZ Start Ship It In Style Project.
Not sure if you’ve heard the great news but NASA made the AdAge Viral Video Chart in September thanks to Brian Adler’s awesome video “Ground Control” for the Zero Robotics Video Project. While the video earned over 1.5 million views online and became a terrific piece of marketing for the NASA, DARPA and MIT co-sponsored competition, it earned Adler $11,900 for his first place win! (Not to mention some fantastic visibility in the digital space and an outstanding sample of work for his reel!) Combine that with the $1,000 he won for the NASA Venus Transit Video Time Capsule Project and it sounds like this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between Adler, Tongal and NASA. We had a chance to catch up with Brian Adler – December’s Tongaler of the Month – to ask him some questions about his winning Tongal experience and our exchange leaves little doubt that he has some serious filmmaking knowledge to share.
CLW – Can you give us a little background about yourself?
ZB – Sure. I’m 15, and I love doing stop motion animation.
CLW – When did you get into making stop motion videos?
ZB – After my parents got me a book on how to do stop motion animation in 2010, I started making stop motion videos with my LEGO collection.
CLW – That must be the single best Stop Motion book ever written if it only took you two years to get here. Is this going to be your job someday?
ZB – It’s a hobby that I like to do for fun.
CLW – What was the first Tongal project you participated in and what was the result?
ZB – It was the LEGO City Stop Motion Project. I made a video, and it won first place!
CLW – Were you nervous about the competition?
ZB – Yes, I didn’t know what I was going up against and was very surprised when I found out I had taken first place! I was very impressed with how well-done the other videos were. I enjoyed watching all of them!
CLW – What does it feel like to win $10,000?
ZB – I feel really blessed!
CLW – How did you come up with the story for Car Crooks?
ZB – Well, I knew I wanted to do a car robbery, and I also wanted to bring my idea of the iBrick into it as well. So I just built a story from there.
CLW – How long did it take you to create “Car Crooks” and what was your process like?
ZB – It took about 40 days from start to finish to complete. First I had to build sets. After that, I did all the stop motion animation, which took the most time. Then, all I needed to do was add VFX, edit, and put hundreds of sound effects in.
CLW – What kind of equipment and programs did you use?
ZB – For my camera, I used the Logitech C910 webcam hooked up to a PC with a free animation program called the “Helium Frog Animator.” I did all the effects in Adobe After Effects and I used Sony Vegas to edit. I also recorded some voices in Audacity with my webcam’s built in mic. One thing that came in handy was a little case for my camera made out of LEGO that held the webcam in place so I could easily stick it onto the LEGO baseplates.
CLW – How many people were involved?
ZB – Just 2 people. I did everything except for some voice acting, which my Mom did.
CLW – Parts of “Car Crooks” are unbelievably cinematic. You’ve got everything in there from focus pulls to shots you could only get in real life with crazy dolly setups or car rigs. Do you storyboard everything out or do you just watch a lot of movies?
ZB – I storyboard almost everything when it comes to doing stop motion. I decide on the final camera angles and lighting setups on set, and I try to get everything as cinematic as possible.
CLW – My favorite part of the video is the when the girl opens up the “Find My Brick” app to locate her stolen car. How did you come up with that idea?
ZB – I actually came up with that a while ago. I wanted to make a LEGO phone, so I took the iPhone, made a LEGO version of it and called it the “iBrick”. I wrote it down, and decided it would be a great addition to “Car Crooks.”
CLW – Got anything else in the works?
ZB – Well, I just finished another LEGO stop motion video for the LEGO City Mini Movie Animations project. It contains a car chase that’s 4x longer than the one in “Car Crooks” and there’s a huge explosion at the end. I’m also working on a video for the Marvel Super Heroes project with my Dad.
CLW – What are some key factors you take into consideration when figuring out whether or not to participate in a project?
ZB – The biggest factor I take into consideration is the connection I can make with the brand. I have a lot of experience in making LEGO videos, so, when I see a LEGO project, I have to participate.
CLW – What have you spent your earnings on?
ZB – More LEGO sets and a new camera.
CLW – What’s next for you?
ZB – I’ll definitely be doing more projects on Tongal, and will also continue to upload videos to my YouTube channel. If you’re interested, check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/ZachFBStudios.”