I don't have any ideas for an in-house "contest" as such, but I do have a thought about how people in the community, along with Tar and the lads at the FXhome Super Secret Fortress of Solitude might get some free viral marketing going and boost the user community and product sales. There is, in my opinion, a huge marketing opportunity using the huge communities of YouTube and possibly MySpace video in the area known as "vlogging" or "video blogging." Some of the popular vbloggers have an audience of thousands of regular subscribers and their download numbers drive their blog entries onto the default "Most popular" and "most viewed" pages. One thing I note about these vloggers is that most of them actually know little to nothing about the finer arts of making good looking, professional feel video and absolutly nothing about special effects, compositing, etc. One of the biggest, The Boring Dispatcher
(who has a massive audience) honestly appears to know little more about video than how to shoot the static film of himself, download into something like WMM, cut out a few bits he doesn't want, and export a (likely .wmv) file to upload to YouTube. The same can be said for TipToe Chick
and a host of others.
It seems to me that some of the fxhomers could do some seriously high quality "response" videos to some of these folks (which almost immediately draws a fair number of hits) and make sure to include some "Gee! Wow!" special effects, tricks, etc. and just casually drop in the fact that the fxhome product line was used to make them, slip in the URL, etc. If it's a helpful, positive (dare I say even complimentary) video entry which catches the hosts attention and they mention/link to it, the exposure could skyrocket.
Additionally, if the FXhome folks themselves wanted to start producing a regular video blog and uploading it to YouTube, talking about some things happening on YouTube while simultaneously demonstrating some of the effects of the products and mentioning the site, product suite, etc. that could also produce some massive marketing hits if they picked up an audience. (Getting a good looking girl to help host the video blog entries wouldn't hurt either, by the way. Sad to say, but it's true.) It wouldn't have to be the same person doing it all the time either, to save on the time load. Various employees and/or forum moderators, experienced members, etc. could share a single YouTube account and create some of these to generate some buzz.
I mean, talk about hitting your target market! These are almost all people who either watch, or in most cases, themselves *make* videos which they want to expose to the widest audience possible and impress people. Lots of them are adults, and even the younger ones might pester mom and dad to pick up "that cool software" for them if it's only 100 to 150 bucks to start.
Just something to think about, anyway.