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BAN Berlin International Film Scoring Competition (BIFSC)

DanniDo

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This is why the Berlin International Film Scoring Competition (BIFSC) should be banned.

1. For 30 Euro you should get 30 words of feedback no matter if you got in the finalist or not.
2. Because the above does not happen, there is Zero transparency they are even watching all the entries.
3. They demonstrate zero respect from their silence when you raise questions after the competition, even to individuals that have won previous competitions!
4. This competition has got some reputation from just a nice web page and few names of people nobody knows. I wonder if I make a competition (Transparent Awards), and I give ALL FEES RECEIVED, with full transparency, to the 10 first winners and have a panel of University Professors and Artists, with the condition the participants never use BIFSC again, if that would be a good idea (stay tuned).
5. I wonder if there is any trace of the monies they receive, and if they declare all to the related tax office. We have the right to know, so does the Tax Service.
6. They seem to have no face (there is really no name, just guest panel of judges), nobody knows who the BIFSC are, it is just a page that looks nice with gold wings, but in the end, it looks like only for the purpose for cutting a giant profit for unknown people and purposes, and you are the sugar daddy! I don't know, we have tried to get in touch with them and they don't reply, so I start making my own conclusions.
7. They refuse to make any comment to journalists that have attempted to contact them (upcoming documentary that includes BIFSC and the likes of them coming soon).

Stay tuned on your favourite stream service, this is an investigative documentary for all similar organisations and not jusat BIFSC. It is time few people come together and take some action. Lot of great artists have to say a lot, and we did already but will try again to get the BIFSC side to comment.

We are replying to most comments here, but this is beacuse your comments are constructive and the production team feels this is the right thing to do (this is a forum after all). If you can help us in any direction please do by leaving a comment or sending us a private message.

Two valid questions have been asked to the production, as we are approached by, and we approach more people.
1. Will the documentary happen if BIFSC and any other organisation presented in the film prove to be legit? The answer is YES. We took the decision to finance this production given some concerns we have, and we feel under the freedom of speech, we have the right to know if something is wrong in this world. But while we have strong evidence that something is wrong here, we will not be biased, and if we prove the otherwise, we will encourage people to the right direction, any direction that might be.
2. What about the earning from this production? It will only pay the costs of production, minimum hourly wage for everyone that has worked (according to their country law, as our crew is international for some operations), and any profits will be given to a charity related to Film and Music Education.
3. Is there really a plan for the TransparentCompetition? Yes. A seperate production is organising this as it has been explained above.


@BIFSC: You can still comment and appear on the documentary. We emailed and will email you again, because you know, there is no phone to call!

Update: For those who asked about the .org name please read this article, that explains that the .org domain can be used from people that only seek profit and it is "not related exclusively" to non-profit, charity or other noble cause. BIFSC seems so far to be a money-making page (which is not illegal) with a bad design and no real people, but we are here to confirm the truth one way or the other. We have no feeling one way or the other, we are here to find the truth (if people pay money for the wrong reason, those running the page people give zero hours into it, and participants get nothing in return).

This is the link about .org: https://charitycheck101.org/a-dot-org-website-doesnt-mean-its-a-charity/

Further to this matter, we have sent emails and are in contact with several Tax Offices including Greece (particular interest to the people appearing from this country in the panel, as Greece has a very strong Tax invasion system).

We also want to thank all the people who are investing time to trace and confirm leads to support the production investigation, as well as for their help to locate the government bodies to reach out about this matter for the involved countries and their contact details.
 
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Manfred

Human
One thing I noticed about the current BIFSC sound design competition is that two of the top three winning scores added their own dialogue to the film…which is not in keeping with the “official rules” of the contest, which states that ”only foley and SXF” should be added to the film. Dialogue is a separate (often most important) aspect of films. Dialogue is not SFX! The dialogue added by the entrie’s was very good and added immensely to the telling of the story, however, I’m sure if we were all given clearance to add dialogue if we wanted to add that element, most would have given that the lack of dialogue weakened the original film. Clearly the contest judges found the dialogue a plus in the winner’s, given that both the #1 and #3 spots had added it (all else aside, such dialogue helped their sound design by making the film’s story clear). I emailed BIFSC about my observation and they have yet to reply. The quesation is: How does breaking the contest rules still make a entry eligible? (Nothing against the winning entries, their sound design work was very impressive, my observations are with how BIFSC is running their contest and upholding their own rules).
 
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DanniDo

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One thing I noticed about the current BIFSC sound design competition is that two of the top three winning scores added their own dialogue to the film…which is not in keeping with the “official rules” of the contest, which states that ”only foley and SXF” should be added to the film. Dialogue is a separate (often most important) aspect of films. Dialogue is not SFX! The dialogue added by the entrie’s was very good and added immensely to the telling of the story, however, I’m sure if we were all given clearance to add dialogue if we wanted to add that element, most would have given that the lack of dialogue weakened the original film. Clearly the contest judges found the dialogue a plus in the winner’s, given that both the #1 and #3 spots had added it (all else aside, such dialogue helped their sound design by making the film’s story clear). I emailed BIFSC about my observation and they have yet to reply. The quesation is: How does breaking the contest rules still make a entry eligible? (Nothing against the winning entries, their sound design work was very impressive, my observations are with how BIFSC is running their contest and upholding their own rules).
Thank you for the comment, we will add this to the list of questions for BIFSC and a specific panel of professionals that will be featured in the documentary. If you wish to be credited on the closing titles please send a private message with your name.
 

Manfred

Human
Thank you for the comment, we will add this to the list of questions for BIFSC and a specific panel of professionals that will be featured in the documentary. If you wish to be credited on the closing titles please send a private message with your name.
No need to credit me. Just sharing my observations with the vi control community and the general music/sound design community. I look forward to your documentary.
 

wlinart

Member
2 years ago i entered, and made my score for it. It was a really nice video to work with. And that was worth €30 for me personally. I really liked the experience. Did i win? Not even close. But i don't care. It's a nice way to practice scoring a high quality video, and i can use it on my reel. And after the competition i just asked for feedback and got a 114 word written feedback, which was actually really useable.
 

Manfred

Human
2 years ago i entered, and made my score for it. It was a really nice video to work with. And that was worth €30 for me personally. I really liked the experience. Did i win? Not even close. But i don't care. It's a nice way to practice scoring a high quality video, and i can use it on my reel. And after the competition i just asked for feedback and got a 114 word written feedback, which was actually really useable.
I agree that the videos BIFSC use are exceptional and a fantastic way to score to picture (and have them for ones reel). Easily worth the $30 to have them. Getting the personal feedback sounds great, I’ll try to do the same.
 

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
I agree that the videos BIFSC use are exceptional and a fantastic way to score to picture (and have them for ones reel).
I tend to disagree : for years, all movies are about scifi plants-covering-planet stuff.
I stopped entering this competition not because of fees but because the movies are boring (to my tastes).

Some other competitions have far more interesting material.
 
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DanniDo

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I agree that the videos BIFSC use are exceptional and a fantastic way to score to picture (and have them for ones reel). Easily worth the $30 to have them. Getting the personal feedback sounds great, I’ll try to do the same.
Sadly, paragraph 3.4 of the rules, state:"BIFSC does not grant any further permission to composers to distribute the film with or without their added work."

You cannot use the video for your reel, only your composition. This is what the rule state, what we have been told from 5 (so far) previous participants who asked this permission (reel, youtube channel etc) and they were referenced to the rules.

Just to make it clear, you cannot use it with the video we have been told, and we have confirmed that with people who have their composition on Youtube, Vimeo, mention the competition but have no video. But that defeats the purpose of a reel, having just sound and telling people you did it for something they cannot see but only hear.

This happens to be a question for BIFSC, but its common practise for most competitions. Winners are allowed to share the whole work, in few cases the finalists too, certainly not those who won’t make it within the finalists.
 
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DanniDo

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I agree that the videos BIFSC use are exceptional and a fantastic way to score to picture (and have them for ones reel). Easily worth the $30 to have them. Getting the personal feedback sounds great, I’ll try to do the same.
Please see reply above, you can not use it for your reel. You can confirm it with BIFSC.
 
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DanniDo

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I tend to disagree : for years, all movies are about scifi plants-covering-planet stuff.
I stopped entering this competition not because of fees but because the movies are boring (to my tastes).

Some other competitions have far more interesting material
This is true. The whole thing lacks anything refreshing. And paying $30 to get the video sounds like it is a statement not well thought: you can get the video from anywhere after published and remove the sound. Because you cannot use it in your reel anyway. Also, there are lot of animations available to purchase and use for you reel, equal and above the quality that BIFSC provides.

If you are kind enough, please mention the other competitions, we are curious to compare the organiser behaviour with as many as possible. It would help the investigation to have as many suggestions as possible from people who take part is such events.
 
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DanniDo

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I agree that the videos BIFSC use are exceptional and a fantastic way to score to picture (and have them for ones reel). Easily worth the $30 to have them. Getting the personal feedback sounds great, I’ll try to do the same.
2 years ago i entered, and made my score for it. It was a really nice video to work with. And that was worth €30 for me personally. I really liked the experience. Did i win? Not even close. But i don't care. It's a nice way to practice scoring a high quality video, and i can use it on my reel. And after the competition i just asked for feedback and got a 114 word written feedback, which was actually really useable.
Nobody has got feedback from the people who have provided us with statements. Most people can not get any kind of contact after the competition. At this point your claim is not a fact but hearsay. We will however pass this comment to people who have asked for feedback, to provide us with evidence when they asked for it and we will pass this to BIFSC for comment. We will keep this comment for our production notes. Thank you.
 

Manfred

Human
It would be interesting to inquire if using (any) rescored video for your reel/website/YT/etc. is permitted, and the “non-use” is with regards to distributing for $$$profit or claiming that you are the original composer/sound designer(?). Giving credit to the original creative team of course. So many of entries to a lot of different competitions seem to end up on YT and Venmo (often required to do so as part of their advertising goals). Not sure how to interpret the word “distribute“, does that indicate monetary gain or simply sharing your rescored efforts to attract potential colleagues for future work?
 
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DanniDo

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It would be interesting to inquire if using (any) rescored video for your reel/website/YT/etc. is permitted, and the “non-use” is with regards to distributing for $$$profit or claiming that you are the original composer/sound designer(?). Giving credit to the original creative team of course. So many of entries to a lot of different competitions seem to end up on YT and Venmo (often required to do so as part of their advertising goals). Not sure how to interpret the word “distribute“, does that indicate monetary gain or simply sharing your rescored efforts to attract potential colleagues for future work
All the things you said above is what everyone would have thought. However, we have seen replies to participants that they can not use the video, only the composition or sound design. However, the text is NOT clear and can be interpreted either way as you correctly said it above. This is part of our questions to BIFSC to clarify. Having said all that, yes people do put their work online, in fact in too many places, but, are they safe doing it? or one day you will get an email about it with a demand fee? The bottom line is, do you want to know if you break the agreed terms or you just hope you don’t?

A good example of clear terms for competition are the one for the FilmSupply.com competition (we choose to use an example that is not rival of BIFSC, as FilmSupply is about VideoEdit). If you read their terms, you will realise that BIFSC terms is like something done on a coffee table at best.

Hopefully, this and many more answers will come.
 

Macrawn

Senior Member
I would never "pay" to enter a contest. Art galleries do that kind of thing all of the time. It's just a way for them to raise money. In my opinion any "contest" that requires an entry is bogus. But people can do what they want. The winner gets some benefit from entering but mostly the organizers get the benefit of the $$$$.
 
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DanniDo

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I would never "pay" to enter a contest. Art galleries do that kind of thing all of the time. It's just a way for them to raise money. In my opinion any "contest" that requires an entry is bogus. But people can do what they want. The winner gets some benefit from entering but mostly the organizers get the benefit of the $$$$.
True, the amount the organisers are getting is so high, but also invisible to the untrained eye. Or to someone that wants to get something out of this, but what is this competition in question really has to offer to anyone, except from making a ridiculous profit for few people in the BIFSC?
That is why as part of our investigation we are seeking access to tax records. And more records that will prove how many applicants paid a fee, and if the two records (tax and received applications ) match!
And sure, all participants are adults to make their own choices (or are they?), sure. But who are the winners really? Are they somehow connected with BIFSC? And who are BIFSC? Maybe the same people from the panel of jury?
We have the right to know. In those times, those BIFSC people are making hundreds of thousands, with what looks like false promises to composers and sound designers who struggle, even to pay the 30 euro for a chance to be discovered. And it seems, the number of entries is not possible to be evaluated in the time frames they give.
The people who take part in that event, and they are rejected with a thanks, no feedback and a “come back next year” have the right to know. And they will.
 

Scalms

Senior Member
2 years ago i entered, and made my score for it. It was a really nice video to work with. And that was worth €30 for me personally. I really liked the experience. Did i win? Not even close. But i don't care. It's a nice way to practice scoring a high quality video, and i can use it on my reel. And after the competition i just asked for feedback and got a 114 word written feedback, which was actually really useable.
Same experience for me. A couple years ago I did the same, asked for feedback and got meaningful reply. Now did they listen to my score before I asked for it? who knows, but they took the time to give me valuable feedback and I appreciated it
 

Pappaus

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I would never "pay" to enter a contest. Art galleries do that kind of thing all of the time. It's just a way for them to raise money. In my opinion any "contest" that requires an entry is bogus. But people can do what they want. The winner gets some benefit from entering but mostly the organizers get the benefit of the $$$$.
I completely respect your opinions on this matter. I have a few differing ones. One benefit I get from a contest is listening to the other entries. There are plenty of ways to skin a score and it is nice and often informative to see how others think and handle a score. Also I think there are some expenses involved even if it is only download bandwidth. I go into the few contests I have entered with the full expectation that the only things I’ll get out of it is what I put in. So I never enter anything with a major entry fee (for me that’s capped at about 20-30 dollars and for that I think twice). But I do agree with you that there are some major scams and cash grabs out there. But that Is music for you. When I was younger and played in at lower tier rock cover bands it was the same thing. The lower tier bar owners hired bands knowing that you would bring your friends and coworkers in to see you. And if you didn’t deliver, that was the end of your gigs at that bar.
 
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DanniDo

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I completely respect your opinions on this matter. I have a few differing ones. One benefit I get from a contest is listening to the other entries. There are plenty of ways to skin a score and it is nice and often informative to see how others think and handle a score. Also I think there are some expenses involved even if it is only download bandwidth. I go into the few contests I have entered with the full expectation that the only things I’ll get out of it is what I put in. So I never enter anything with a major entry fee (for me that’s capped at about 20-30 dollars and for that I think twice). But I do agree with you that there are some major scams and cash grabs out there. But that Is music for you. When I was younger and played in at lower tier rock cover bands it was the same thing. The lower tier bar owners hired bands knowing that you would bring your friends and coworkers in to see you. And if you didn’t deliver, that was the end of your gigs at that bar.
All opinions are respected and we should not expect to hear our own thoughts reflected back to us. However, I would argue that Art is subjective, there is no right or wrong, and having this kind of no-feedback rejection, it puts you in a place that someone else is good and you are bad at what you just did, which is not what Art is. No composer will tell you they listen to others work, including Hans Zimmer, John Powel and every single composer out there. Again, if that is the way you operate, nobody will say it is right or wrong.
 
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DanniDo

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Same experience for me. A couple years ago I did the same, asked for feedback and got meaningful reply. Now did they listen to my score before I asked for it? who knows, but they took the time to give me valuable feedback and I appreciated it
Just to say again, we have evidence (emails and on camera statements) that people did ask for feedback and got no reply. This includes a winner of a previous year for a later entry. Having evidence and statements from people who won is enough for the production to believe BIFSC does not reply to requests for feedback for those who did not make it to the finalists.

For all we know at this point you could be someone from BIFSC just spreading hearsay, but if you want to back this with evidence and be part of the documentary you are welcome. We have several people who are positive toward BIFSC and have offered themselves for an interview, anyone can do the same, we will shortly make a webpage available with details to get in touch with the production.

We investigate on the basis of facts and critical thinking and we are actively trying to get in touch with BIFSC to comment on that and other serious claims.

The bottom line here is, if your work was seen, and your 30 euro taken gave you a fair chance to win? From your reply you stand where all people we have spoken so far do: if they were not in the finalists, they simply dont know.
 
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Axilleys

New Member
Although I follow the forum posts regularly, I have registeered today to reply. First of, the dialogues for the last sound design compeition are totally unacceptable and break the rules. if you ask me this was the way to make winners their own buddies. second i have asked for feedback and got the silence treatment. i read here people say they asked and got feeedback, with all respect i do not believe you and you sound like someone who is related to that organization. i gave 40 euros [late enttry] to get nothing back and on top of that i read here and other places that we can not use the film for our social media pages or reel. looking forward for hte documentary.
 
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