With an idea in his head, a camera in his hand and a flood of Gatorade in his face, Biola senior Chris Masi set out last summer to make a video.
Now he’s got cash in his pocket.
In December, Masi, a student in Biola’s cinema and media arts program, took the top prize — a $15,000 scholarship — in a national video-production competition sponsored by a Texas-based environmental technology firm. His humorous two-minute film about an overzealous energydrink salesman and an eco-friendly car accessory beat out more than 100 entries in the “Blade Your Ride” contest, including finalists from Columbia, Stanford and George Washington universities.
Masi, who will graduate in May, said he couldn’t help but find the video’s success a little ironic; contrasted with some of his other student projects that have taken weeks or months of work with little or no financial payoff, the prize-winning video was filmed in just a couple of hours and edited over the course of a few days.
“It took me the least amount of time of any major project I’ve ever worked on,” he said. “It just goes to show you that you really don’t need a lot to make a good video. Just grab your friends, grab a camera, and make sure it’s funny, compelling, meaningful.”
For the contest, Austin-based Sabertec asked college students to create a video to promote the company’s Blade product, a filter that can reduce carbon emissions and improve fuel economy when attached to a car’s tailpipe.
In his video, Masi plays an over-the-top energy-drink spokesperson offering a simple way to curb pollution and save money on gas: Drink “Quenchmaster the Thirst Slayer” so you can have the energy to “ride your awesome bike instead of driving your car.” Co-star and fellow Biola senior Chris Hartwell then appears with a more reasonable solution, which, of course, is to buy a Blade.
In November, Masi’s video was selected as one of four finalists — earning him $5,000 and making him eligible for an additional $10,000 grand prize, to be decided by a public online vote. After a month of voting, Masi was declared the winner in December.
“I was pretty excited,” he said. “At first, I didn’t tell anyone except for my girlfriend and my dad. I don’t like to brag that much, so I just kind of celebrated internally.”
He has since decided to split about $2,500 of his winnings with two friends who assisted with the video, Hartwell and Biola alumnus Kyle Kubler. A portion of the winnings also paid for him to participate in an off-campus study program at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah over the winter. Following graduation this May, Masi said he hopes to transition into a career as a writer and producer for television.