Lauren Loveless | staff writer
On March 30, the East Asia Institute at the University of Texas San Antonio hosted the sixth Annual Japanese Video Contest. Japanese students Amber Lewis, Brennan Mohrer, Alfredo Ruiz, and Tyler Clifton competed and through hard work, won first place.
“The video in question for the contest had the requirements of having a maximum of 4 minutes in runtime, a limit that we, as well as other groups, exceeded to provide a more satisfying, detailed, and overall superior product,” participant Alfredo Ruiz said, “The lines of the skit had to be spoken in Japanese, and with English captions inserted to enable the non-Japanese speaking audience in understanding the plot and dialogue.”
The plot of the skit was very unique and funny, which was more than enough to capture the judge’s attention.
“The plot itself was chosen for its universal themes of medicinal fears and simple archetypal character humor,” Ruiz said, “In it, the protagonist, played by yours truly, is diagnosed by a doctor (a doctor who appears to be less credible and more fraudulent) with an unnamed eye infection that if left untreated, could possibly kill him.”
Moreover, the group’s chemistry and familiarity helped them achieve their win.
“The group was very efficient, as a matter of fact. Some of us had known each other for years, and had worked together previously,” Ruiz said, “Others, although less familiar, were still no strangers, and the cooperation was done in a close and friendly environment.”
Although, the contest was no walk in the park.
“From the beginning, the plot of the video was in question,” Ruiz said, “Filming was also a big issue – ensuring that the final cuts were adequate enough, with proper pronunciation and believable character actions. Time was a huge problem. We underestimated the amount of time necessary to film the scenes, and we had to schedule an additional day for filming.”
In fact, the group was not worry free and didn’t expect to win.
“When the video was finished, we knew it was comedic, largely thanks to the laughs obtained, but we certainly did not expect to win,” Ruiz said, “a feeling slowly lost as we noticed the admittedly subpar other videos presented in the contest.”
However, despite concerns, the group was able to pull it off and gained a significant prize.
“Our reward for winning the competition was a group photo, a total of $400 to be shared amongst the group, and, of course, the joy and pride in winning such a contest,” Ruiz said.