Monday, February 08, 2010

The video contest

I sort of want to label this a Monday Moron post, except that I'm not really sure who is the moron in the story, unless maybe it is me, and I was the moron last time.

Anyway, several months ago (I think it was September, though it might even have been August), I found out about a certain contest. The idea was to video a bit about what you could do with a certain amount of money, and then you post your video on YouTube and this other site, and then people would leave comments about the videos and vote on the videos, though the contest was supposed to be decided not by the public votes but by a panel of judges.

I had never made a video before, but I had a few ideas, and I noticed that there were not very many entries. There wasn't a big money prize either, but I thought that I might as well give it a try. First place was five hundred dollars, second place was three hundred dollars, and third place was a hundred dollars. With less than a dozen entries, the odds were good.

Now if I could just find a video recorder.

First, I thought that I would borrow my brother's. Now, he didn't have a problem loaning me the camera, he just said that it was old now and didn't have an easy way to convert to digital, which is what I would need to get the video on YouTube, so I decided to look elsewhere.

Dmarks pointed out that I probably already had a video recorder on my husband's digital camera. I didn't think so, but it turns out that Dmarks was right. Making videos with the camera was not recommended and did not produce videos of high quality, but it would probably be good enough for making short videos for YouTube.

My husband and I made the first one together and uploaded it on his account, cause I forgot the password for my account, and then I thought of a few more videos that I could make on my own. We put up two more videos on my account, though these were not as good as the first. Then we waited to see if we won anything.

The deadline for the contest ending was pushed back several weeks, cause there just weren't many videos. This upset me a little bit, because at the time the public vote had our first video in third place, and if the panel of judges agreed with the public we would have won a hundred dollars. At the time, I really wanted that hundred dollars. I planned to buy Christmas presents with it. If the entry deadline was postponed, there might be a new video that was better than mine.

But, there was nothing that I could do about that. I re-edited the two videos that I made myself and added a third one. The entry limit was five, but I couldn't think of another one. And I emailed the people having the contest, explaining that my husband and I had worked on the first one together, so that I really had four entries, though probably we could have gotten away with making five videos each and entering ten videos. I asked for some clarification on that and some of the other rules, but I received no reply. We both got a few automated responses for stuff like the entry deadline being pushed back.

There were more videos posted, but there still weren't a lot. Our first video stayed in third place. The second deadline passed, and we waited to hear if we won anything. This was in October.

And for about a week, nothing happened. And then my husband got an email saying that we had won third place. I sent an email thanking them and sent our address and phone number and such, and waited for our prize money to show up in the mail.

Another week went by, and nothing happened.

I then received an email thanking me for the three videos that did not win. Actually, I got three emails, one for each video, though all the emails were the same. I was told that I would receive a small prize for participating. I wondered if I would receive one prize or one for each video. I emailed back, again with our address and phone number, again explained how my husband and I had worked on the first video together and I had done the three others by myself, and I didn't want anyone to think that we had in some way cheated, cause the limit was five videos, and this only gave me a total of four videos. And I asked if I would still get the consolation prize since I had already won third place, or would my husband get third place and I would get one consolation prize, or would my husband get third place and I would get one consolation prize for each of the other three videos?

And I waited, and I didn't hear anything for another week. Finally, my husband received an email saying that he would receive the third place prize after he filled out some forms, and there was a fax number where to send the forms. And I received an email that said I would receive a consolation prize for each of the three videos that did not win, again after I filled out some forms and faxed them. One of the forms needed my our social security numbers, which I really didn't want to send if it wasn't necessary (which they said that it was needed for tax purposes), and if it was necessary did it have to be sent by fax? Both forms had the wrong amount, and I asked that they be changed, and then I saw that I could change the amount myself and did so, and I emailed about the change and that I would rather not send a fax, and I filled out the forms and waited for an email confirming that I could send the forms by regular mail.

I waited about a week, and nothing happened.

Okay, fax it is. I think that there is a fax on this printer, but I couldn't figure out how to work it. But, we had a new printer (sort of a spare, which we had put back in the box after printing one or two things with it), and that seemed easier to use, and I sent the fax.

And I waited about a week, and nothing happened. It is now November.

I was about to send yet another email to complain, when it occurred to me that the mistake might have been mine. So I again took the new printer out of the box and tried to send the fax. This time I see that it doesn't work, that the line is busy. I figure that they are just busy, that it is a Monday morning, and they probably just get a lot of faxes on Monday morning. I try again later in the day, but I get the same message. And I try again several times later in the week, but the same thing happens regardless of the day of the week or the time of day. Line busy, line busy, line busy.

I decide that the problem is on my end and give up trying to fax with that machine. I will have to pay someone to fax this thing, which I don't want to do. We aren't talking about a lot of prize money, and I can't even think of who does that sort of thing, other than hotels and maybe Kinko's and the places that rent mailboxes and such. Those places were not near my house, they were near school, and while I used to make that drive everyday when I was in school, I didn't want to waste an hour doing that when I had no other reason to drive there.

My husband had a few out of town trips, so I thought maybe I would use the motel fax. Except that most of the trips were to the middle of nowhere and he stayed at cheap mom and pop motels where mom usually doesn't speak much English, and I don't think that they had fax machines for us to use. But there was one trip in a city at a nicer motel, and I just assumed that I would send the fax from there, but I was told that they did not have a business center.

It is now December. I figure that I will find something while I am out Christmas shopping. I get busy with other things. I forget about the whole fax thing.

After New Year's I was in the grocery store getting some lottery tickets, and I notice a sign that says the fax machine is being repaired. I didn't know that they still had a fax machine. They used to offer fax service, and bill paying services, and copying services, but the copier has been gone for a long time, and they had stopped doing a lot of the bill paying services, so I had thought that that whole service thing had been done away with because most of us could do the same thing ourselves on our home computers. Not so. The copy machine was gone because it was just too big and they needed the space for something else. The bill paying stuff was mostly canceled, not by the store, but by the companies they were forwarding payments to. The fax machine was still there, just it wasn't used much.

I went back the next week after the machine had been repaired and paid to have the fax sent. And I got the little printout that says the fax was successfully sent, instead of "line busy" like I kept getting when I tried to send it myself.

I went home and sent an email explaining about the delay but that I had sent the fax.

While I was looking for the email address, I found an unopened email confirming that I could send the forms by regular mail and confirming the mailing address and such. I wanted to send the forms regular mail from the beginning, I just didn't want to do that without them confirming a mailing address, and here it was. The email just didn't show up on the day that it was sent. By the time I got it, I had a bunch of other emails that I hadn't deleted, so I couldn't see the email a few days later, cause the way the email is listed it appears in the order that it was sent instead of in the order that it was received.


Okay, but that doesn't matter, cause I've already spent money to have someone send the forms by fax.

And I wait a week, and nothing happens. And because I have to think that this is mostly my fault and that they are not trying to cheat me, I wait another week. I still don't have my money. But I now have a confirmed mailing address, so I will send the forms yet again, this time by snail mail, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.

1 comment:

Ananda girl said...

Yikes! You deserve a prize just for putting up with all the paper work!
Good luck laughing. I hope you get something nice.