Around this time last year, my co-HQer and the great Geocaching Block Party organizer, Amy, said something like, “Hey Reid, so it turns out we have access to a very large screen for Block Party. What should we do with it?” After a thoughtful pause I said, “What if we hosted a film festival?” Amy did a giddy dance and the Geocaching International Film Festival (GIFF) was officially born. In true “If you build it they will come” fashion, the ambitious idea was a success. We received over 100 submissions from more than 20 countries! After spending three years of telling the stories of geocachers for Geocaching HQ, I was truly inspired to see how the community chose to tell their own. Our inaugural GIFF was such a hit that we decided to do it again this year.
It has now been four years that I’ve been running through forests, crouching into caves, and crawling through sewers to tell the stories of people who love to find and hide geocaches. I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes for good geocaching video, and with the help of the GIFF judges from HQ, I have compiled five tips to up your chances of being one of the finalists for this year’s Geocaching International Film Festival.
1. Less is More
Just because you can submit up to 4 minutes of video doesn’t necessarily mean you should. When I make videos I think, “What is the simplest way I can tell this story?” Then, I add from there if I can’t resist. This will help you focus on what is truly important and keep your audience engaged. Last year’s finalist, Godzilla Goes Geocaching, is a great example of a geocacher who used 1 minute and 32 seconds to tell his story.
2. Global Appeal
How are you going to communicate your love of the game to 9 million geocachers from more than 185 countries? Something that might be amazing for your local community may not speak to the global community. One of last year’s finalists, Geocaching Day, is a story told without dialogue that speaks to the adventurous spirit of geocachers everywhere.
3. Focus on Quality
We understand if geocaching comes before filmmaking on your hobby list—we’re not looking for Hollywood here. We are, however, looking for videos that will look and sound good on the big screen. If you can, use a tripod and an external mic. If you can’t, have your actors speak close to your on-camera mic and use a natural tripod like a tree or your friend’s shoulder. For inspiration, check out last year’s winner for Best Cinematography: Galaxy Cache. For more technical tips, I highly recommend checking out Vimeo’s Video School.
4. Follow the Rules
For real. We had to deny one of our favorite films last year because they didn’t have permission for the songs they used. If you’re serious about being considered as a finalist, I recommend grabbing a coffee, a snack, a highlighter and reading through the GIFF guidelines.
5. Have Fun!
If you’re not having fun making your film, your audience won’t have fun watching it. Though I know they didn’t get much sleep, I’m pretty sure the creators of My Geocaching Addiction had a pretty good time putting it together. Oh, and they just happened to take home the Audience Award.
We are on the edges of our exercise ball chairs over here at HQ to see what you come up with for GIFF 2014.
9 Years, 16 competitors, 1000s of Votes, 16 points
Earlier this month, Hasbro, the company behind the game of Scrabble, held a contest for fans to vote for the first word to be added to the official Scrabble dictionary in nine years. It. Was. A. Big. Deal. The contest began with 16 competitors, but the worldwide Geocaching community made its voice heard and carryied ‘Geocache’ (worth 16 points without any special squares) to the final spot.
First off, from all of us at Geocaching HQ, we want to give you a resounding thank you. You showed your pride for the game we all love and you all came through in a big way. Here’s a quick recap and a somewhat biased play-by-play of the competitors Geocache went up against, and ultimately defeated:
Geocache vs. Bitcoin
Bitcoin may have had the upper hand if voting were only accessible via Tor, but ultimately, it never stood a chance. This obscure, highly volatile internet currency may have been in the headlines recently, but it’s longevity is still unproven. Geocache took an early lead and never looked back.
Geocache vs. Cosplay
Don’t get me wrong—some of the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into cosplay is incredible. The attention to detail is impeccable. However, we have geocache makers who apply that same level of creativity and ingenuity into geocache containers. Plus, after the geocache is created, you actually get to go find it and touch it—which in my opinion, gives geocache the upper hand.
Geocache vs. Ew
This one was a tough battle. At some point, we’ve all probably said ‘ew’ while geocaching. It all came down to this: ‘ew’ isn’t actually a word. While it’s something we’ve all said, you won’t find it in a dictionary. Match goes to geocache.
Geocache vs. Zen
It all came down to this. Zen may be useful in Scrabble, and many people campaigned for its acceptance—however, the Geocaching community was too strong. Zen was a formidable opponent and would have had a significant impact on the game. If it were a person, we’d give it a gentlemanly handshake and congratulate it on a well-fought contest.
On April 10, 2014, Geocache was announced as the winner on the United States TV show, Good Morning America. The story was then picked up by news outlets like ABC, the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal and even TIME. Since then, we’ve seen plenty of people who were following the Scrabble vote who didn’t know about geocaching pick up the hobby we all know and love.
Thanks again for everyone who voted and helped make Geocache the first word added to the official Scrabble dictionary by public vote.
Your vision of geocaching cannot be contained by a simple Facebook photo, Tweet or even a mighty blog post. Nay, we say, your vision deserves much more. You need to tell your geocaching story through the majesty of a short video. Ready your geocaching muse. The Geocaching International Film Festival (GIFF) wants your vision of the adventure of geocaching to take flight in video on the big screen this summer in Seattle. It all happens the night before the Geocaching Block Party, which you should also attend.
Enter your four minute video in any family-friendly genre: narrative, documentary, music video, animation, experimental, etc… Hurry up, the deadline for submissions is July 1, 2014. To show you what it takes, and to enter, we have just what you need: A short film.
There are two steps to any geocache: 1) it’s hidden and 2) others are challenged to find it. As easy as that is, it’s even easier to make sure you’re keeping your geocaching adventures on the up-and-up. Check out five helpful geocaching etiquette tips below or just watch the geocaching etiquette video.
Bring a Pen – It’s like the first day of school. You need to be prepared. Always pack a pen to make sure you’re ready to sign your Geocaching username and the date.
Leave No Trace – Be kind to the geocaching game board, which happens to be the entire world. Make sure to Cache In Trash Out (CITO) when you geocache: pick up litter along the way and don’t leave anything behind.
Write a Great “Found It” or “Didn’t find It” Log – When you find a geocache, or even when you don’t find a geocache, make sure to share the spirit of adventure with the geocache owner and for other geocachers. Write a log detailing your journey.
Put the Geocache Back Where and How You Found It – The geocache owner placed the geocache at a specific location for a reason. Make sure the owner can find it again later and that other geocachers have the same experience as you.
Move Trackables Along – If you remove a trackable, like a Travel Bug ®, from a geocache make sure to post a “retrieved” log and move it to another geocache as soon as possible.
These five steps will have you rocking the geocaching world in no time. What geocaching tips would you add? Post your thoughts on our Geocaching Facebook page. Oh, and don’t forget the sixth step: repeat steps 1 – 5 often!