Search form

AniBOOM's Radiohead "In Rainbows" contest controversy

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
AniBOOM's Radiohead "In Rainbows" contest controversy

Hello folks, I'm new to the board, and I'm here right now to try to draw the attention of animation fans, music fans, or people who appreciate the encouragement and mentoring of aspiring animators,

Please Digg this:

It was written by experienced independent video and music video creator Alex de Campi, in case anyone would think that amateurs are the only ones complaining or being "sore losers". Her YouTube channel can be found here:

On March 17th, AniBOOM announced an open submission contest, occuring in three development stages, to create an original and unique animated music video for any of the songs on Radiohead's album "In Rainbows". They were partnered with the band and the band's new label. The Band will not be involved in the judging until the final stage.

The first stage, which was to be a storyboard submission, ended on April 27th. On May 6th, the ten semifinalist selections were announced. The ten semifinalists were to be determined first and foremost by page views and site member votes, with the jury only mediating the selections at this stage.

One of the announced semifinalists is Dany Saadia, who submitted an 8 shot, 56 second re-edit of footage which had apparently been animated by other people long before the contest began. Dany Saadia is a director, by his own account, and not an animator. He gave no credit to who animated the footage, or when, and for a long time refused to answer whether the footage had been animated for his commercially released film "3:19". He now claims that the footage was not used in that film, but still has not said who animated it, for what or when.

Another semifinalist submission titled "16 tracks" was an art installation which had been produced long before the contest began and featured a completely different soundtrack. It was re-edited and a Radiohead song was pasted over it.

Another semifinalist, 15 step, claimed to have been entered by an individual, but it has been discovered was actually previously animated footage created by a Japanese production company, who had created the setting and characters long before the contes began, and again, represented no more work than simply an editing project with a Radiohead track thrown over it.

Another semifinalist is Paul Beck's team, famous for his work on Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, theirs consisted, again, of mostly pre-existing footage re-edited for the contest. Paul Beck has apparently already produced a music video for Radiohead, which they have released on a DVD.

All of these entries appear to have violated the rules and spirit of the contest by not creating something original and inspired by the music of Radiohead. AniBOOM has remained officially silent about the problem. The information about these entrants is as accurate as we can determine, as most have not been offering much response yet.

If this were only an issue of selecting entrants based on a finished look, instead of storyboards, that would be one thing. If this were only an issue of industry-insider nepotism, with established, financially backed friends of colleagues of the site administrators getting guaranteed slots to advance, that would be one thing.

But what has come to pass is that a site which claims to be devoted to the production of independent, cross-platform ANIMATION, has awarded semifinalist positions to at least three established industry professionals who did not create original ANIMATION, and submitted re-edit projects, as though the music in question was totally arbitrary. I suppose one could call them audition submissions, to demonstrate the technical ability to accomplish the animation, but this was called a storyboard stage, and the whole point of the next stage was to produce one minute long, full animations. The band doesn't even see any submissions until the third stage.

And what is worse, is that even after promoting and advertising this contest heavily to amateurs and music fans, including television ads on Adult Swim, and after claiming that it's purpose was to not only build the site's community, but also encourage and develop submissions from aspiring unknowns- AniBOOM has awarded the meager $1,000 in funding for semifinalists to professionals to whom it will not in any way be substantial, and in several cases simply cannot be used to further develop their submissions- since their submissions will only develop based on how much more re-editing they want to sit through.

Many of these show great animation, might make an excellent music video (at least if a viewer was unaware of the arbitrary nature of their application), I don't want to discredit the quality of the work that was done. But that work was not done for the contest, and I think it is in extremely bad taste for industry professionals to enter this kind of contest with these recycled submissions. And some might say this happens in these kinds of competitions regularly. But this contest was very specifically targeted at amateurs, and Radiohead fans, and was meant to be about community building by having the community ranking be primary in determining the outcome of the first two stages.

They were competing against people who rushed to finish whatever they could from scratch, after actually listening to and focusing on the music, with inferior resources and tools, with non-art jobs and obligations and only themselves or a partner in the same circumstance on which to rely. They had previously funded animation, previously shot on location, HDV-film-lensed footage, and libraries of character and found footage. And it certainly appears that they had some kind of guarantee of advancement in the contest before they ever entered. And so they entered lazy re-edits, showing off their gloss and finish, the price of their hardware and software, the eye candy and the so-abstract-it-works-with-anything. To a storyboard stage...

Please help us to draw attention to this issue, and help to bring some fairness to so many excellent, aspiring animator's submissions at the site. I have already disqualified myself from reconsideration, in case it ever did become an issue, but many more deserve this, as you will see if you look at many of the over-looked, top-ranked, non-winning submissions.

Any Diggs you can offer, or visits to the AniBOOM forum, or comments on submissions would be greatly appreciated. You can see how the controversy unfolds in these threads, and also others:

The only response any of our comments has gotten have been from a single forum admin, and (s)he is implying that (s)he has been told nothing will be done.

Jeff Massie at TAG (The Animation Guild) blog has written a piece about the controversy.

And AniBOOM member Jae Freeman has created a hilarious parody entry here:

I should also note that AniBOOM has a FEEDBACK button on the bottom of their main page, if anyone should feel so inclined:

I'm not going to digg, because I think Digg is a load of c***. When I read about this contest and the reward being only 1000 dollars for 5 minutes of animation, my immediate reaction was, this is either for people desparate to enter the animation industry, or an invite to fraude.

I think that 20,000 dollars would have been a better reward, which is about equal to 18 months at Animation Mentor, giving you much more opportunities entering the animation industry than merely winning this contest. Animation is so undervalued these days. A free subscription to Animation Mentor would have been nice too.

If you set up competition for amateurs, can you complain when people don't behave professionally.

The controversy should not be about the rule-bending of the participants but the soulless exploitation by millionaire musicians of hardworking artists.