I got rejected from Sprint…and Michael Bay

Here is a video that I made for the Sprint competition: Epic Video Contest! ...judged by Michael Bay. Too bad I was rejected.

"Rejected," you say? The video doesn't seem that bad...panties are weird...but still cool. Well, let's start from the beginning...

About 3 weeks ago, an email reached the USC student body announcing this Sprint competition. An email thread with the subject "EXPLOSIONS" circled among my group of friends and I took it seriously. I came up with this panty idea and ran with it. I asked my roommate, Brigitte, to be the director of photography. I asked a friend to find all of the sexiest actresses she could find and I asked a lot of my colleagues to volunteer their time for the shoot.

Filming the Epic Movie

On October 19th, we all came together to film. Brigitte pulled in a lot of favors to get enough lighting to make this epic music video-like hallway scene. I pulled in favors to get different sized tripods (so the camera can be lower). I then went to Target and bought 5 different colors of panties to see which three would look best on camera. They were $20 all together...not too expensive...but definitely an expense! I bought snacks for the crew and that totaled the whole production to be $40.

Behind the scenes of "Epic Girl Time."

The bathroom doubled as the make-up room...of course!


And...can I just say...it was kind of fun directing the panty drop. I mean, how often can you tell an actress "drop the panty slower?" I do realize an entire industry of filmmakers have made millions on this one "direction," but I will not be one of them...


So then the editing began. We filmed about 30 minutes of footage and I had to cut it down to 30 seconds. I started editing while on set of a friend's music video. I edited during breaks from class. I edited while sitting in bed after a long day of work/class. I found those 1/2 hour segments here and there to edit. Then the "errors" happened. Files would not import properly and I had to restart my entire computer. That happened about 7 times. Then the drive would randomly eject itself...that was another computer restart.

On a side note, I'm using the DGA Scholarship money to buy a new computer for Avid and ProTools. One day I'll be able to afford ProTools...but at least I'll have something to put it on!!


Then came the composer! Once I had an almost final edit, I contacted my friend Phil from UNC-Chapel Hill and asked him to make some sexy/epic beats for this short film. He created about 5 different versions incorporating various notes, and that's the music you hear today! He worked incredibly hard mixing the music and re-mixing.

Final Cuts

As hard as I tried and as often as I re-cut, I couldn't get our original gag to work. It just wasn't funny. The woman at the end was supposed to hear her phone ring after sitting on the toilet, pick it up and say "it's happening." It just was not playing right! It may have been a time issue or a performance issue...but I genuinely think it was a sound issue. I could not get the line to sound as if it was coming from inside the bathroom. It just felt out of place.

I recut the short so the music stopped as they exited the hallway - as if it was all in their head. But then the bathroom sounded too dead. So then I cut back in a phone ring and my own voice saying "uh hello?" That was actually working for me...until I screened it for friends on Halloween. They didn't get it. They didn't get why the music stopped.

Long story short, I made the phone ring seem as though it was the music they were also dancing to...sorry to Phil for making his music seem like a ring tone...it's definitely better than that!!

That worked for me, and I posted the film. The film was due Nov 1st and I posted Oct 31st at 8pm. VERY last minute...but I thought I was VERY done!! I thought I actually met the deadline!

The Rejection

At about 2 in the morning...remember this was Halloween...I went back onto the Sprint Contest YouTube page and no video submissions were showing up. I read in the comments section that people were receiving emails when their video had been entered into the contest. I never received one. So I re-uploaded the video. It bounced back, saying the video was too long (it didn't bounce back the first time I uploaded that video!) So I made it shorter. Titled it "Epic Girl Time" once again and waited for an email. Nothing. So I fell asleep.

At 7am (we had registration for classes at 7am), I checked my email once again. Nothing. I fell back to sleep. At 8am I woke up for work. Saw two emails. Both of my uploads were rejected with the following email:

Thank you for submitting your Epic Mini Movie. Unfortunately, your video is out of the running. This doesn't mean we didn't like it; in many cases, it means that your video included a logo, song or product that we don't have permission to use. Feel free to submit another Epic Mini Movie at sprint.com/epic — just be sure to check the guidelines. Good luck.

—Your friends at Sprint

Okay...so I thought "oh crap, maybe they think I stole the music?"

I had to work at 9am that day, so while I ran to help students edit in ProTools, I too did my own editing. I confiscated a recording stage to record Sprint ringtones off my phone in order to put those in as the music. I started editing those in, when a friend of mine watched it and said "I bet it's the posters." Crap. So I found every Avid tech working on campus to help me figure out how to blur the posters. Granted, I learned a new skill, but wow it took forever!!

I blurred...and blurred...and blurred some more. I even changed the edit so the blurring wouldn't be needed as much. Yes, this little short film has about 30 different versions!!

Finally I was done. At about 12noon I went to post the film on YouTube. The "submit" area no longer worked. In fact, nothing on the website was working. Every link took me back to the homepage. I was in Firefox, so I thought "maybe it's a Firefox issue?" So I opened up Safari and there were no "submit" buttons on their YouTube page at all...explain this to me??

I tried to submit on both pages with no avail. I had missed the competition.

The Aftermath

After mourning my loss for about 20 minutes...mourning the time, stress and $40 I spent...I looked on the bright side - with the help of my mom and friends - "This looks good on my reel. And I can blog about it."

So read up. Tell me what you think. Was this totally lame or what??

Below is the original file I uploaded for the competition. Tell me...are you REALLY looking at the posters behind their heads? I mean...really?


1 Response

  1. Jen

    I’m sorry you were rejected! I thought it was a very clever take on the subject! The end did throw me a bit, but it reminded me of the days when the music and lights would start every time my friends and I retreated to the ladies room. 😉 It looks like it was a blast to work on that set, and I agree -this is a nice piece to put on your reel!

    Personally I think it would be less awkward at the end if the panties fell a little faster; like how the doors slammed one after the other right before, with the music beats to mirror the action. Just a thought.

    Great job Ashley, can’t wait to see what you come up with next!