Top 5: Wonderful Video Contest Winners
by Dan
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


This is it, the last round of winners of the Wonderful Video Contest. The first two rounds of winners were here and here, but these are the top 5. This is the biggest contest we've ever had, and we've gotten some of the most incredible submissions, it's been truly inspiring. So, here they are, 5 special artists that I know you'll love as much as we do. Please do let them know.

5. Octopus Project - "Queen"
video by Paul Bullock
scriptdistro @

Paul Bullock's film was one of the first that we received, and with it came the fluttering, glinting sense that holy hell, this contest might turn out marvelous. It's a video that says so much, so lightly (and its star has a face that says so much, so unguardedly). We asked for people to make videos they loved for songs they loved; to glue to the screen the tingles and sparks of a song touching their lives. Well let Paul's work be a lesson: You can write a poem with scraps of 8mm film. You can paint a love in shades of remember-when.
(awarded the Sub-Pop prizepack)


4. We chose to award the pair of videos submitted by Steven Cochrane. They each benefit from the existence of the other, they make each other stronger, you'll see.

Mecca Normal - "Arsenal"
video by Steven Cochrane
wreckingball @

In "Arsenal" we're seeing the strange wreckage of a strange world. The sky, with two constant suns, has somehow flooded the earth, broken through windows and now lies in a rippling lake in all the bedrooms, staterooms, ballrooms, and beds. A loud and harsh serenity, a cold hug.


Jolie Holland - "Damn Shame"
video by Steven Cochrane
wreckingball @

Songs are like seashells. When we hold them to our ears we hear other things. We hear the gulls circling, the wind blowing, the waves coming in. It's what we try to write about at Said the Gramophone, and it's what Steven Cochrane so beautifully, patiently, does here. He shows us the song inside the song. The hidden part. And through the window, all the wind and trees.
(awarded Sennheiser CX-300s, Young God prizepack)


3. Justice - "Waters of Nazareth (Beast of Dance)"
video by Ninian Doff
ninian.doff @

This gets the "best video made under a loophole" award because it's jaw-dropping, electric, unnaturally amazing and a wonderful idea, but to an abridged version of the song. In his email, Ninian wrote "there's nothing in the rules that says it has to be a whole song!" And it's true, there was no rule against partial songs, but that was this piece's biggest hurdle. Of course, it clears that hurdle with a giant leap, with extendo legs, and super spaghetti arms, and runs off into the woods. This one holds a special place in my heart because it, like some of my favourite things, makes me wish I'd thought of it.
So Ninian, we're giving you this prize foremost as a prize (for beautiful, buzzing, friction-based fun) but also as an incentive to finish the song. It has such amazing potential to be the best video for that album.
(awarded the Matador prizepack, Oddica prizepack)


2. Joanna Newsom - "Book of Right-On"
video by Benjamin & Stefan Ramirez Pérez
b.ramirez.perez @

If you weren't already sure that this contest has brought together literally the best fan videos in the world, this just seals it. Benjamin and Stefan Ramirez Pérez completed their Joanna Newsom video (and their other equally fucking amazing video) in time to submit to the contest, and we're honoured to share it with you now.
It's delicately constructed out of 6,000 frames (each containing window frames or picture frames) like a house of cards. The clarity and achievement of vision kind of speak for themselves, so I'll just say that my favourite part, when the grass grows black out of the pictures that have fallen on the floor, gives me chills every time.
These young men (19!) have an extremely bright future with talent like this, so I'm not at all concerned about their success, I'm just glad we got to be around for the beginning.
(awarded Sennheiser CX-300s, Dead Oceans prizepack)


1. Animal Collective - "Peacebone"
video by Luke Wilhelmi, Heather Petersen, Natalie Alanante, Jessica Downs and Junelle Taguas
oddsmarker @

The winner of the Wonderful Video Contest is by four girls and one boy and it is all hand-sewn glee & hand-squirted horror and it's wild whimsy & weird wonder, and it made us laugh and it made us gasp, and it surprised us all over its every turn, and it made us smile so wide, and it made our hearts leap with the pleasure of a good song,
and you know it made us return to the song called "Peacebone", forgotten & neglected, and it made us like it better than we ever had before; and we love the look of the puppets and the dances of the puppets and the guy that says "Bonefish", oh we love him every time, because this here's a video like a flower to your eye, like a stupid
& gorgeous & joyful face for a song that's no less happily dumb. Thank you.
(awarded the Grand Prize)


Thanks again to our sponsors: Sennheiser, Absolutely Kosher, Vice, 4AD, Dreamboat, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans, Oddica, Merge, Rough Trade, Misra, Secret City, Secretly Canadian, Sub-Pop, Young God, Polyvinyl, Matador, Arts & Crafts, and The National Film Board of Canada.

and see you tomorrow.

Posted by Dan at March 3, 2008 12:32 AM

So, was it a requirement to upload the video to vimeo? I know the rules didn't say anything about where the video should be hosted. I suppose it was nice you threw in two tokens, one from You Tube and one from Daily Motion.

Posted by Jack Vimeo at March 3, 2008 1:10 AM

Hey, thanks for advertising the site!
*Two big thumbs wayyyyy up!!!*
Good doing business with you!
A++++++++++ Transaction

Posted by Jack Vimeo at March 3, 2008 1:15 AM

I didn't want to delete these comments because I didn't want this person to think for a second that they might be right.

Dear "Jack Vimeo", I'm sorry that you're angry. I don't know who you're angry at or what they did to you. Is it the innocent people who submitted to this contest? Or is it the innocent people who held this contest?

You don't need to answer these questions.

Dear everyone, comments for the artists about their work from now on, please. Angry, destructive comments from bridge trolls will be deleted.

Posted by dan at March 3, 2008 2:43 AM

I love the "Octopus Project" video! And not just because the girl is so cute... ;) It reminds me of the artwork of Vikki Jackman's "Of Beauty Reminiscing". The video very nicely captures a warm and nostalgic atmosphere. Well done!

When I read that a puppet video won the contest I rolled my eyes, I mean, come on, a puppet video?! But then I watched it and it completely won me over. It's just too funny! And it matches the song perfectly on all levels. It's a very well thought out video with some clever solutions to visualize different elements of the music, the internal camera at the end is just genius. A well deserved winner!

Big thanks to the Said the Gramophone crew for running this contest. I love it when a blog tries to do something special and have its readers participate. I’ve really enjoyed myself watching all the magnificent submissions. This contest is proof of what a wonderful and unique place this is, I don’t think with any other blog it would have resulted in such a marvellous batch of lovingly made videos!

Posted by Bubbachups at March 3, 2008 6:33 AM

i can't believe the work people put into these videos. it's amazing and awesome.

Posted by george at March 3, 2008 9:19 AM

There is a problem with the title of video #5. Should be "Queen" by The Octopus Project, not "Octopus Project" by Queen.

Posted by Patrick at March 3, 2008 9:57 AM

I dunno, I was a little upset that the winning video was puppets. No offense I just fucking hate puppets. Fits the song though, sure.

Posted by ssssssss at March 3, 2008 12:17 PM

I love the Joanna Newsom video. I can't even imagine how it was done. Brilliant.

Posted by Ainsley at March 3, 2008 1:34 PM

the "Octopus Project" video was incredible. it made me smile smile smile. great job!

Posted by v at March 3, 2008 2:50 PM

wooa! >.wooa! >.

ok... number 1 does fit the song, but Queen was sure

bet it was really hard to choose a number one among all of them =)

Posted by A:K at March 3, 2008 4:31 PM

Totally excellent contest! I loved all of them in my own way. Loved the puppets, moon landing, crazy coming-to-life photos. The work gone into these has been incredible. Well done to everyone! The only downside - IT'S OVER!!!

Posted by Boy Nada at March 3, 2008 6:07 PM

the whole time i was watching "queen" i kept thinking i wished i made home movies like that- random and meaningless but meaningFUL and great.

"book of right-on" is SO... i want to find a way to compliment it properly but i feel like any word i use would insult it. thank you for making it, it defies standard praise.

"peacebone" made me laugh out loud- i love the little yellow sock back-up singer! it felt like an 80s video to me, so fun and silly and great.

"damn shame" was my favorite of this batch. at first i was a little, well, unimpressed. it was so simple. nothing was happening. but as the candle burned from both ends there was something so right about it. you described it perfectly, it's the extra stuff you hear in the song. and the end, when the tiny stub of candle falls behind the chimney of the little house and you can see the reflection of the flame for a few seconds before it dies and there is the snake of smoke, left me aching in a desolate, wonderful way.

okay that's way too many flowery words to talk about music videos. i'm done! great contest!

Posted by rae marie at March 3, 2008 8:00 PM

The "damn shame" video recalls the time I sat down and just watched a full transformation from bright sunny day to pitch starry black. A certain rare slowness, rewarded but really a reward in itself... Also in response to a previous comment I would like to fully throw my support behind puppets, their general use in any and all activities including--but not limited to--music-video making, and for the winning video in particular.

Posted by eric at March 3, 2008 9:24 PM

amazing contest!

personally, the video
for devendra's "dragonflys"
was my number one.

and the puppets in the number
one really did fit the song, and it grew on
me the longer i watched it---but it still
didnt seem like as much work went into
it as many of the others---like the joanna
newsom one or the dragonflies one.

love the blog, by the way!

Posted by alexander at March 3, 2008 10:40 PM

jaw-dropping, flabbergasting, utterly wonderful. Each one i saw of the last five, and i watched them in order, i said, they made a mistake, this one has to be the best one. But they just kept getting better.

thank you to everyone who put this out there for us to see.

Posted by stretch at March 3, 2008 11:17 PM

each one posted (and I am sure all the rest in between) were wonderful. thanks so much to all the filmmakers and their helpers for allowing such lovely pieces to be viewed so critically. I really did enjoy it.

on a side note, is there any way that a playlist of all the songs used in the winning videos could be put up for our listening pleasure? There were a few I had never heard before and I completely understand why so many would call them favourites.

Posted by camille at March 3, 2008 11:52 PM

#2 was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. and they are only 19?! amazing. it seriously left me speechless. one of the most beautiful things i've ever seen. WOW.

Posted by jo at March 4, 2008 1:48 AM

I don't agree with STG's picks, but I'm glad they had the contest.

The swaying trees moved me most of all.

Posted by Sarah at March 4, 2008 1:47 PM

The first one made me nearly cry, it was so wonderful.

Posted by Sarah at March 4, 2008 5:19 PM

This whole thing turned out pretty sweet. It would be really cool if links to the other submissions were posted. I was only able to find about 30 when I searched various sites and it would be really cool to see the other 70+.

Posted by Steve at March 4, 2008 9:09 PM

the peacebone video was my favourite when i started googling stg videos and found a few, and it's still my favourite now after watching the top 15.

Posted by bleep at March 5, 2008 12:19 AM

at first i was also unhappy with the picks but ultimately i was pleased with the winner.

what resonated the most was how easy it seemed.

don't misinterpret that.

what i mean to say it that the number one was possible to anyone with genius and a camera and puppets.

number two (though assuredly brilliant, and made better by the fact that that wasn't even their best submission to the contest [leaf house being amazing-er, if possible]) was not possible to a grand majority of people, not just due to talent but to means.

i shudder to think how much effort, time, and resources were put into that one.

basically i'm happy that the everyman video won, the one that's downright possible by regulars. NICE JOB people.

i'm still not sure what the blood was about, though.


Posted by karpe at March 5, 2008 12:31 AM


hands down awesome.

Posted by missEmish at March 5, 2008 12:48 AM

Favorites: #2 was absolutely staggering w/r/t the amount of work, intricacy, and vision it required.

#5 was kind of an sentimental, wistful punch in the kidneys. In the best kind of way.

The dragonfly video, although I don't even care for the song, was surprising, delightful, innovative, and kind of perfect.

Finally, the winner didn't have me until near the end, but I love how they captured the sort of pop-slapstick feel of the song.

Congratulations to all the winners,

Posted by steve at March 6, 2008 9:00 AM

WOW! good picks! I really like the won that one! and the one one the lined paper withall the drawings :D It was my favouite! You should try to post links to other entrys becuase I'd love to see EVERYONES work!

also, was there a reason why all the videos were posted on vimeo?

Posted by Chantal at March 7, 2008 10:21 AM

um, you're mistaken. many of the videos were not posted on vimeo. those which were are just coincidence - probably due to the fact that it's the nicest interface and community.

Posted by sean at March 7, 2008 11:37 AM

I live in a square room too and "arsenal" left me speechless.

Posted by (Maryam) at March 9, 2008 11:21 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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