There are quirky contests and then there are quirky contests! The recently announced Make me a pro! contest from Quantel and London post house LipSync is one of the quirkiest. Well, quirky may not be exactly the right word; it’s a pretty straightforward contest as far as the entry requirements go. But the overall idea of someone winning a short “work placement” at an established, working post house is the first contests of this type that I’ve ever heard of. It was dreamed up by Quantel, a recognized name in broadcast and post-production, as well as LipSync, a London-based post house that provides services for film and television.

Entering the contest is pretty simple. According to the Make me a pro! site, all entrants have to do for the first round is email Quantel “250 words or less [on] why you should be picked for the placement and why you are going to be the next leading post-production pro.” Suddenly that simple entry requirement becomes a bit more complex if you want to sum up in only 250 words everything that you’ve done so far or hope to do. (I’m already close to that word count at this sentence.) The best entries will be posted for everyone to read.

For those that make the cut, the second round will be the most fun: an interview and a visit to London. Here’s the fine print on stage 2:

a) Stage 1 competition winners must be able to come to the second stage interview in London at 10:00am on1 November 2011.

b) Stage 2 will be conducted in London and will comprise an interview before a panel of judges in order to win the two-month work placement working at LipSync in London. Quantel will reimburse reasonable travel and reasonable sustenance expenses on the production of valid receipts for the interview.

c) The panel of judges will be provided by Quantel, LipSync and Neoco, in addition to an independent judge.

d) Judges will rate candidates according to their passion, creativity, skills and enthusiasm.

e) Following the interviews, one candidate will be chosen and deemed the final winner of the competition and the work placement. The final winner of the competition will be announced on the Quantel Facebook page ( on 3 November 2011.

If you’re interested in entering and don’t live in London, then pay particular attention to item b as you might be able to get travel expenses paid for. The fine print also defines exactly what the prize entails: “The final prize for the competition is a two-month work placement working at LipSync in London. Duties will include bit scanning, recording, and running. The winner will also be expected to take part in blogging and other promotional activity during their placement.” I’m not sure if the winner will receive an actual salary but if you decide to apply, be sure to dig through the fine print on the contest website for more details about reimbursement during the work placement.

This really is a great idea and I hope it’s a big success. Film/video production and post-production can sometimes be hard to break into. People will often beg to work for free just to get a foot in the door. Beyond that, a contest like this will hopefully give someone a real opportunity to see post from the inside out. The work descriptions of “scanning, recording and running” make it sound a bit like an internship to me, making this ideal for someone just starting out. You have until October 28 to submit your stage 1 entry, so start thinking quickly about how to wow the judges with your 250-word submission. Ah, look at that: I’ve more than doubled that word count in this post alone.

And a couple of comments pointed out item 4 in the fine print:

4) The competition is open only to UK residents aged over 18 who are eligible to work in the UK. Proof of eligibility may be asked for, and entries received from people residing outside the UK or people not eligible to work in the UK will be disregarded.

Important info to know for our non-UK readers. Thanks to those in the comments for pointing that out.