April 28, 2007
Xbox Live Originals Contest Looking for Pilots To Be Made into Six-Episode Series

An initiative that launched earlier this month might be of particular interest to readers of the Convergence Culture Consortium Weblog is Microsoft's plan for a user-generated content contest for an original television pilot through Xbox Live.

The contest comes in conjunction with the New York Television Festival, who hosts the official Xbox Live Originals Contest Web site.

The contest's winner will win $100,000 to make six episodes of their show. The pilots must last from five to 15 minutes and can be either animated or live action or some combination of both. Entries must be submitted by 29 June 2007. The winner will also receive a featured screening of that pilot at the 2007 New York Television Festival.

That festival will be hosted from 05 September to 10 September 2007.

Starting in July, the top finalists will be featuredo n the site, as Brandon Boyer with Gamasutra points out.

This links to the series of posts I wrote last week about other user-generated content contests from official media outlets. For instance, Comedy Central has launched a campaign to recruit stand-up comedians for a chance to appear on a show on their network and $10,000 in cash. About that contest, I wrote, "Many of these contests have been attempted in the past year, and they seem to provide substantial interest whether they actually solicit meaningful longtime talent for the industry or not."

TBS and MySpace launched a similar campaign I wrote about last week called Stand Up or Sit Down, in which "amateur" stand-up comedian Steve Byrne won $50,000 and appeared on TBS and was featured on MySpace.

The most directly comparable contest, however, was the contest from Comcast Ziddio/Endemol called Ten Day Take. As I wrote last week, though, contestants were dismayed that there has still not been any official word announced as to the contest's outcome, just a notice that says "stay tuned." That contest promised to let the winning user-generated pilot submitted get a $50,000 budget for a full pilot that had to be produced in 10 days, and of which the production would be turned into a reality series, providing content for Ziddio with the original contest, the reality series, and the final pilot itself. However, with no word still being released on the winner nor specific plans for the reality series, some fans and contestants are angry that the contest has been stalled, and conspiracy theories are circulating that no one will ever actually be announced as the winner.

The takeaway for Xbox? Make sure you follow through with the series and keep the audience informed of exactly what is going on rather than a stock note that does not elaborate and stays up for weeks at a time, or else a user-generated content contest meant to generate positive energy for the brand could instead backfire by frustrated contests like the anonymous poster who wrote about the contest here on our blog.

Thanks to Ivan Askwith for informing me of the Xbox Live contest.



By the way, I just wanted to note that the Ten Day Take winners were finally announced, and the series depicting the winner making her show is available here. Looks like Ziddio will be having a second round of the Ten Day Take contest now.