Here’s why Dota 2 Short Film Contest is the most underrated part of TI

May 17 2019 6 min read

Here’s why Dota 2 Short Film Contest is the most underrated part of TI ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!

For the past few years, Valve has been holding a creative short film contest for those talented creators among Dota 2 players who are capable of making something unique and entertaining. This is a great way to promote the game as well as its major esports event – The International.

Yesterday, Valve announced the inevitable continuation of the annual contest, and you can already start preparing for the participation. The submit page in Steam Workshop is currently redirecting you back to the main hub, but you should be able to apply for the contest soon. We expect to see some wonderfully executed and – hopefully – hilarious shorts, as humorous videos are always the best ones given the fact that Dota 2 doesn’t take itself seriously enough in the first place.

Moreover, the game has deep lore as well as specific traits, features, little details, and other stuff that is only understandable by those closely familiar with Dota 2. In other words, it’s sort of an internal thing overall, although the contest is not only a celebration of love towards the popular MOBA title but is also a direct way for Valve to show the importance of the community for the company.

And while it all sounds great, we do believe that the event is fairly underrated – but first things first.

Dota 2 Short Film Contest “trivia”

The general idea behind Valve’s creative competition is to shoot films depicting anything you can imagine to be connected to Dota 2. The videos should be really short – it’s more than implied in the very title of the contest. No longer than a minute and a half this year, to be exact. Now, many of you would consider it’s not enough to tell a legitimately engaging story, but truly talented creators are capable of fitting in even tighter limitations, and previous years clearly showed that.

Now, Valve has a set of rules and guidelines for the content creators to stick with, but there’s nothing exceptionally difficult. You can read the technical aspects yourself via this link, and the rules allow the filmmakers to use any technique of shooting and any software they want and/or feel most comfortable with. This is a celebration of creativity at its finest after all, not a prison. Still, the videos should be free of any copyrighted content (using Valve’s IPs is allowed, though.)

How to win?

Well, that’s a fairly hard question. As a community event, the annual Short Film Contest is mostly managed by the community of Dota 2. It means that ultimately, the players decide who wins, and Valve simply gives them the opportunity to do so. We’ll cover whether it’s a reasonable attitude or not a bit further down the article, so let’s not dig into that too early.

The previous years were marked with excellent works, so what we should do now is to take a look at few of them. We’ve included the best shorts from 2018 and 2017, while you can find a lot more videos back from 2016 and 2015 via the respective links. They can also serve as guidelines of quality if you decide to test your skills. Click on the spoiler below and enjoy!

Best shorts of previous years

Why even bother?

Well, let’s not forget about the main motivational factor for content creators – the prize pool. This year, the top ten players will be rewarded with reasonable sums of money to recognize their hard work and encourage them to continue making what they are good at. The winner will get $25,000, while the 2nd and the 3rd place winners will receive $10,000 and $5,000 respectively. The occupants of places 4th-7th are going to get “consolation prizes” of $500 each.

While money obviously matters a lot, there’s at least one another reason to participate, promote, or simply share the information in regards to the contest. If you love the game, you shouldn’t even ask yourself why to bother; otherwise, you should think of the importance of the event for the filmmakers, the idea of fame and recognition. You might not be talented and gifted enough to participate in the contest, but you can at least help the community by spreading the information and voting for the winner. You have the power in your hands, so let’s make Dota 2 great again!

So why underrated, you ask?

The sad truth is that Dota 2 Short Film Contest is more of a supplementary event right now. It is being held in the wake of The International to promote it, so it’s rather predictable that the tournament itself draws a lot more attention than the competition dedicated to a very specific kind of entertainment. Two events are tied together, as the works of the winners are always shown as part of the tournament broadcast. And the viewers of TI will obviously appreciate the shorts they’ll watch this year, but they are taking it for granted – whereas the creators behind the best shorts are not recognized enough.

Once again, the contest is a great way to show your talent and spread the love for Dota 2 around the world while promoting the esports part. But strictly speaking, The International doesn’t necessarily require such a promotional campaign, because even your grandma might’ve heard of the event – not to mention your dog. The name of the tournament speaks for itself nowadays; it’s even bigger than some regular sports events. At the same time, Dota 2 Short Film Contest is small but nonetheless a self-sufficient event and this leads us to the opinion that Valve drastically reduces its value by connecting the contest to TI.

In other words, the event indisputably needs more recognition. It might be considered as more of a gift from Valve towards the Dota 2 community, but it simply can’t be enough for the creators. Perhaps, to show the importance of the contest Valve should not only organize the event itself and provide the prize pool, but also make an internal jury of Dota 2 experts (it shouldn’t be hard to find a few of them among the developers) to choose the winners. By doing that, Valve will give the contest a much-needed meaning and will show that it values the work put into the film shorts.

And yes, Dota 2 Short Film Contest should definitely become a separate event so that it can be a true celebration of talent and creativity. Actually, a lot can be done to make the contest more meaningful. Something like the annual Steam Awards might work, but there could be in-game events dedicated to the contest, interconnection with the game itself by referencing the best works in Dota 2, etc. And after that, why not show the short films at TI after they’ve been recognized enough?

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