The New York Times Video Contest

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The New York Times Video Contest

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By Elliot Pending & Alvin Birmingham-Monroe

For the sixth year in a row, the New York Times has hosted their annual Vocabulary Video Challenge. The NY Times has been posting a word of the day since 2009, and in 2013 they announced the Vocab Video Contest. The challenge you are tasked with is to make a 15-second video describing a word.

Although this may sound easy, there are a few guidelines. First, the word must come from the New York times Word of the Day list and the word must be pronounced, defined, and you have to give the part of speech. You may work alone, with a partner, or in a group but there must be at least one submission per student. Like was said before, the video has to be at least 15 seconds but it cannot be longer than that. You then have to post the video on youtube and paste the link in the New York Times comment section with your name. Disqualification will occur if you fail to meet all of these expectations. For inspiration, the NY Times suggests taking a look at their previous year’s winning videos.

From Nex Gen’s Sophmore participation in this contest, the top Vocab Videos come from Liam Johnson, E. Pending, Amanda Nichols, Orli Resnik, and Alvin Birmingham-Monroe. What makes these videos stand out is their creativity and the execution of presenting their chosen word.

1st Video Liam Johnson

The first video on this list comes from Liam Johnson. For his video, he chose the word smithereens. The video starts off with a note card with the word, part of speech and the definition. Then we watch as the note card is torn to shreds demonstrating the definition of his word. The video is then reversed and the card is whole again, set alongside his voiceover repeating what the card says. All of this action happens as intense music plays in the background getting more dramatic as it ends. His video stuck out due to the well-timed music and the perfect ending point right as he finishes the definition. The video link.

Elliot Pending

The second video comes from E. Pending. He chose the word enigmatic. His video consists of many different students and teachers alternating in a chain explaining the word, the part of speech and the definition. As the faces go down the chain they each say a specific word in the chain. In the end, he has all of the people involved leave off on the ending word in the chain. This video stuck out due to its creative and interesting way of demonstrating the definition. The video link.

3rd and 5th Videos Amanda Nichols and Alvin Birmingham

The third video on our list comes from Amanda Nichols. The chosen word was Flay. Her video starts off with an adorable dancing potato on a color changing the background. As the potato dances, the silhouette of a hand comes from the corner and snatches the potato up. The potato is then boiled in water before being peeled, establishing the definition of the video. After the peeling, the requirements are displayed and a narration of the word goes off in the background. The video stuck out due to its creative animation that is adorable one second before taking a dark turn. The video link.

4th Video Orli Resnik

Next on the list is Orli Resnik whose word is swerve. With upbeat music in the background, the first image we see in the video is a light blue slide where the text of the definition and other requirements pops onto screen letter by letter as Orli reads aloud what it says. To further explain the word, the visual given is Orli being briskly pushed in her wheelchair by Liam Johnson, with a quick and abrupt turn with audio of the screeching sound of a car. The video link.

Lastly is Alvin Birmingham-Monroe. We start with a landscape view of two clay people walking along a path. The two people then enter a dark and gloomy house. Thunder strikes in the background and screen goes black every time it does. When this happens something in the scene changes. A ghost appears, then thunder. Now the green person is gone. Another ghost appears to terrorize the other person. Now there are two ghosts, then there’s thunder again and the blue person is gone. Finally, the screen goes completely black and the definition of macabre is shown in white text to keep the theme of said word. The video link.

We’d like to thank all of the top 5 entries as well as everyone that participated and helped out.