Friday, August 10, 2007

Chris Barrett shoots commercial for Lending Club's video contest

Earlier this week we profiled rock star Share Ross who made one of the videos in Lending Club's video contest. She's not the only famous entrant to the contest. Chris Barrett is an film director and producer who was featured in the Sundance Award Winning Documentary The Corporation.

Chris has formed a production company called Powerhouse Pictures Entertainment with Efren Ramirez, who is most well known for his portrayal of Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite. The company's first project is a documentary on the teacher student sex scandals called "After School". Chris was also featured as one of People Magazine's 25 Most Intriguing People of 2001 and holds a patent for the invention "My Little Footsteps" which shows children which shoe goes on which foot by using a sticker that goes inside the sole of their shoes.

Chris found out about the contest after it had already been live for nearly two weeks by another competitor, the one who made Raccoon in Da Club. Chris quickly made up for the late start. As an established video producer, the Lending Club commercial that Chris produced received immediate attention. It was featured on Elites TV and in front of the 2,200 subscribers he already has on his YouTube channel.

Chris Barrett's video, complete with an actual script and actors, shows a girl who is getting her Paris Hilton news through magazines instead of the internet since her laptop broke. "I can't believe their putting Paris Hilton in jail," she exclaims to her friend who can't believe she's so behind the news. The friend suggests Lending Club to borrow the money and replace her computer.

The competition is hot with less than 24 hours to go in the contest. One of the top three videos has been pulled from YouTube for copyright violations and the other two have been collecting views at dizzying rates. Chris Barrett's video is one of the two leaders and has rocketed to its position after a very late entry into the contest. Chris Barrett shared his thoughts about the contest and his video with us.

How did you hear about the Lending Club video contest?

I found out about the contest through one of the other contestants. I currently have a video featured on the front page of YouTube and they sent me an email and said I should enter the contest and to check out their video... so I got my team together and we shot and edited the video in the afternoon on Friday. Had it live online and began getting hits right away. I have over 2200 subscribes on YouTube who are always waiting to see my newest videos.

Tell us about how you made the video.

We shot the video in HD, and edited it in Final Cut Pro. We have never used Lending Club but we signed up on Thursday and checked out the site and it looks like a great company that could be successful if the borrowers are borrowing for the right reasons. Like with any loan or credit card you have to make sure you are able to repay what you take out.

What do you plan to do with the $5,000 if you win?

If we win the contest we will put it towards our future endeavors including a mini vacation.

Tell us about yourself.

I was the first corporate sponsored college student in America. We were sponsored by First USA (the former credit card company) and they paid for our college tuition in return we were spokesguys for the company and went on TV speaking about financial responsibility. I ended up in the documentaries The Corporation and Maxed Out which both won awards at film festivals around the world including Sundance. I realized I wanted to make films as a career and formed a production company 'Powerhouse Pictures Entertainment' with Efren Ramirez who starred in Napoleon Dynamite as Pedro as well starring in Crank, Employee of the Month and the upcoming films Ratko and American Summer. I am currently directing a documentary on the teacher student sex scandals happening in American schools.

The Battle of Kruger video was just pulled for copyright violations. Also, the 14-second stakeboard video has also been accused of using music that is not theirs. How do you feel about that?

I believe it goes without question that all of the contestants in the Lending Club contest should adhere to the official contest rules as well as YouTube’s copyright policies. The winning contestant must submit the rights of their material to Lending Club to use as it sees fit. It is impossible to license material that isn’t yours and it is unethical to try. I think the essential issue to consider here is the mission of Lending Club to be an honest, creative, and effective system. I hope that the winner of the Lending Club video contest is the person with the video that will best advertise the company: a video that was created honestly, creatively, and is able to spread the concept of peer to peer lending effectively.

By this time tomorrow we should be able to see which video has the most views. However, the contest will not be over until Lending Club announces the winners "on or about" August 11th. Lending Club CEO has reminded contestants, "that before awarding the winning prize, we will be ensuring that the winner has fully complied with the contest’s rules posted above." He has also said Lending Club is "getting YouTube's cooperation to make sure that no one tampers with the view counts." As I mentioned in my original article announcing the contest, gaming the view counts would be my biggest worry with the contest.


Anonymous said...

Chris Barrett's video should win, it was the most creative, original, and best overall. Efren Ramirez told me to check it out.

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