Let me be the first to say that I’m not someone who likes competitions, especially popularity ones where people have to get all their friends to vote for them. However, I’m putting aside my own personal, painful high school memories to ask -- no, plead -- no, BEG for your vote!
My little website, Sophie’s World, has been entered into Staples’ Small Business Push contest, and it could really help us out if we win! Voting for us is easy. You have to either already be a Facebook member, or join Facebook. Then, click this link. If you’re not logged in, you’ll be prompted to do so. Then you’ll be taken to the Small Business Push app; click “Go to app” to be taken straight to our video. Then click “Vote for Us!” That’s all there is to it! I know it’s a bit of time out of your day, but it could help Sophie’s World continue to bring you tons of crafts, games, and activities for some time to come -- and that would be sooo awesome.
Okay... Have you voted? Now I can tell you the story behind it all.
About a month ago, I got an email from Staples announcing that they were holding a contest where the Grand Prize was $50,000 in free advertising. All of us here at Sophie’s World got excited. A free ad -- of any kind or size! -- is worth competing for. We quickly formulated a funny little 15 second plug as per the contest’s rules. Our plan was to show how creative one could be with almost anything -- even office supplies. Freda and I brainstormed ideas, and she created the most amazing props out of office supplies. This included a birthday cake made from Post-It notes and highlighters, a hat made out of a file folder, and a happy birthday banner made out of various envelopes.
We came up with what we thought was a cute and clever little commercial. But then there was our first obstacle: we had to find a place to shoot it. Our offices are just too jammed with stuff, and we needed an empty space. Luckily, our next-door neighbor said we could shoot in his offices, which are in the process of being renovated. He agreed to give us a half an hour on a Friday morning. We were stoked.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. As it turns out, our neighbor’s contractors were actually installing cabinets on the morning we were supposed to shoot. When he saw our disappointment he begrudgingly agreed that we could have 15 minutes, and sent his team off on a coffee break. We raced in and started shooting, only to have a huge CRASH! ruin our first take. Evidently not everyone was on their coffee break. The rest of the shoot was a race against the clock. We raced through as quickly as we could, finally calling it a wrap when the cleaning team came through for the third time, and the foreman started holding an incredibly loud conversation just outside the door. I was a frazzled mess, but I prayed that the video would be good enough to at least get us into the competition.
My husband Scott edited the piece and Simone tried to submit it, but the system kept rejecting it. It kept saying the video was too long! Scott, who makes films for a living, was certain the piece was under 15 seconds (the allotted length of the video), but the Staples entry system just kept kicking it back. Finally, Scott took a machete to the video and shaved off a full second, and Staples finally accepted it. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief... until two days later, when we got an email saying that the video was rejected on content grounds. They said we hadn’t followed the guidelines, which were vague, and after viewing a few of the other participating videos we couldn’t determine what we had failed to do...
Our first attempt at an entry video
We had to go back to the drawing board, and re-shoot fast. Time was slipping away, and we only had five days left to enter. Luckily, we had a regular webisode shoot scheduled, so we decided to combine the two shoots and redo our commercial. We rewrote our script to follow each and every contest rule to a T, and I rehearsed and timed myself over and over and over until I could hit 14.03 seconds every time.
It was nerve wracking. Even when I was a young actress, 25 years ago, learning lines was always hard for me -- and here I was, having to spout an extreme amount of dialogue in an incredibly short amount of time. It probably took us 10 takes, but in the end we got something pretty good...
And now we just have to get everyone we’ve ever met to vote for us. I swear, I feel like I’m back in high school, running for student counsel!
If we could get this, it would be a huuuge boost for Sophie’s World, and give us what we need to keep going. It would mean the world to us. So please, tell all your Facebook friends! We’d really appreciate your support. I can’t promise we’ll be crowned the homecoming queen, but I can promise that we’ll make the best-looking tiara.