CHAMPAIGN – You could say Joe Taylor and Bill Kephart are enjoying a satisfying result in their first video contest.
The two, with actor Thomas Nicol and others, created a 30-second ad for Snickers candy bars that placed among the top three in a competition facilitated by Poptent, a Web-based group of filmmakers who contact companies that might want to sponsor ad contests.
Taylor and Kephart won a $5,000 prize. They'll use the money on future film projects and share some of it with Nicol, who played the lead in the winning spot, "Share the Love," and in most of the other five video ads submitted by Taylor and Kephart to the contest. One of those placed in the top 25.
All of their submissions may be seen online at www.poptent.net/user/sleepycreek. Taylor is co-owner of Sleepy Creek Vineyard in Fairmount.
The three winning ads were posted Thursday at www. poptent.net/blog/. Altogether, 313 ads were submitted.
Taylor and Kephart don't know whether M&M Mars, which owns the Snickers brand, will use any of the spots.
"When you win, they're buying the rights to use them in whatever way they want," Taylor said.
One of the contest guidelines set by M&M Mars, owner of Snickers, was that the ads target males age 18 to 34. Because of that, Taylor and Kephart knew they had to use Nicol, a 22-year-old University of Illinois student who studied acting.
He plays Jake, who shows up at a 12-step addiction support group meeting led by Kephart, who asks Jake to introduce himself. He does and then says, "I really like Snickers."
"Actually, this is a support group for people with sexual addictions," Kephart replies.
"I'll stay," Jake says.
The video closes with the group members sensually biting into Snickers candy bars and Kephart's elderly mother, Gladys, also a group member, winking at Jake.
"We ate a lot of Snickers in the making," Taylor said. "That's what we'll do with some of our winnings – pay off our candy-bar bill."
Taylor, Kephart and Nicol met through Champaign Movie Makers, which formed a year ago.
"I would not have known any of these guys before that," Taylor said.
The next meeting of Champaign Movie Makers will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the fourth floor of M2 at Neil and Main streets in Champaign.
The presenter will be Robin Christian, also known as Robin Peters, who produces feature films through his company, Dreamscape Cinema.
The meeting is open to the public. For information, visit http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/champaignmoviemakers/.