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Would you walk through a graveyard at midnight? Would you do it on Halloween? Would you try to talk to spirits with a Ouija board? Some people can’t get enough of scary stories and eerie places. Others hope never to meet a ghost. Some believe that on Halloween, as the nights grow longer, the veil between the worlds gets thinner — so thin that a black cat might show you where to cross over … would you follow it?
Look at the eight words below. Choose one. Take a close look at the definition in the brief to craft a story that conveys the word’s definition. Then, make a video, one minute or less, that effectively and creatively teaches the meaning of the word you chose. Are you up to the challenge?
In this challenge, choose one of these eight words: incantation, chimera, fiend, apparition, diabolical, unhallowed, wretch, spectre.
Your video must:
Thought starter: Witches in the movies are always saying weird words as they stir bubbling potions or shake their wands. The incantations they pronounce might make you sleep a hundred years, or turn you into a frog. Make a short video about an incantation with unexpected results.
Pro tip: Incantation comes from the Latin word for “sing” or “chant.” Witches and wizards often chant or sing an incantation in a special magical language.
Thought starter: Have you ever chased after an unlikely dream, only to watch it shatter? Perhaps you pursued a chimera, just like a long-ago alchemist trying to turn lead into gold, or a sorcerer trying to talk to the dead. Make a short video about a dreamer who believes in both wonderful and terrible chimeras.
Pro tip: The original chimera was a mythological monster — part lion, part goat, and part snake. Because this fantastic animal could never exist, writers began using the word chimera to mean any kind of wild fantasy or impossible combination.
Thought starter: Have you heard people talk about guardian angels? A fiend is the opposite of a guardian spirit! Instead of protecting people, a fiend torments us, whispers terrible ideas, tricks us, and laughs at our suffering. Fiends chase us while we live and drag us to the underworld when we die. Make a short video about a fiend that passes itself off as a human being.
Pro tip: The word fiend once meant “enemy.” Christian writers began using fiend to mean “devil” because they thought of the Devil as humanity’s worst enemy. Now fiend can also mean someone who is very enthusiastic. You could be a fiend for horror movies, or for popcorn!
Thought starter: Do you know someone who has seen a ghost? An apparition is a spooky vision you can see but not touch. An apparition might be the ghost of a person, or it might be a ghostly animal or haunted object that shows itself when the time is right. Make a short video about an apparition that only certain people can see.
Pro tip: The root word of apparition is “appear,” and its original meaning was simply “appearance.” Writers still might use the word apparition for any kind of remarkable appearance — not just ghosts, but also comets, otherworldly visions, and surprise visitors.
Thought starter: When human meanness and cruelty is hard to understand, sometimes it gets blamed on devils. A diabolical plot is so terrible it seems demons, not humans, must have invented it. A diabolical grin or laugh is evil enough to fit the Devil himself. Make a short video that shows a diabolical display of human nature.
Pro tip: Writers use diabolical in a slightly joking way to describe something they find outrageously or ridiculously bad. A reviewer might complain about the diabolical acting in a lousy movie, or a babysitter could be amazed at the diabolical behavior of a mischievous child.
Thought starter: Are you ever tempted to explore forbidden territory? Unhallowed areas are those zones outside the safe blessings of society. Folk stories, superstitions, and religions often warn against trespassing on unhallowed grounds or seeking unhallowed knowledge. Make a short video about a student of unhallowed arts — maybe magic, maybe science, maybe rock and roll music.
Pro tip: The words “Halloween” and unhallowed share the same root: “hallow,” meaning “to make holy or purify.” Unhallowed activities like summoning devils might be especially chancy on Halloween!
Thought Starter: Imagine an exile banished from home, washed up on hostile shores with no money, luck, friends, or shelter. This ragged wretch might endure hunger, rain, cold, hatred, sickness, loneliness, or prison. Other wretches might have different life histories, but equally awful fates. Frankenstein famously described his lonely, friendless and awful monster as a “depraved wretch.” Make a short video about a wretch who lives in a graveyard.
Pro tip: Writers sometimes use wretch to talk about children or animals they love and pity: “The poor wretch was so tired we had to carry her to bed.” Writers might also use wretch to talk about people they despise or scorn: “Those greedy wretches on city council stole the taxpayers’ money!”
Thought Starter: Ghosts have many different reasons for appearing. One spectre might replay the scene of its own death, while other spectres might appear with a message of love or warning for the living. A spectre is always a visible ghost, and usually silent. Make a short video about a spectre and its haunting habits.
Pro tip: Writers also use spectre to mean a mental image of something feared or dreaded. The spectre of nuclear warfare looms over every international conflict.
In a video, no longer than 1 minute, you must:
Videos will be evaluated based on the following criteria, weighed equally:
In the event of a tie, the tie will be broken on the basis of the tied entrants’ scores in the “Educational merit and accuracy” criteria.
Prizes per contest vary. In most cases, a grand prize will be awarded to one video in the ‘Youth’ category and one in the ‘Adult’ category. All entries are categorized by age of the submitter. Submitters under the age of 18 are placed into the ‘Youth’ category and submitters 18 years or older are placed in the ‘Adult’ category. All prizes with the exception of the 'Viewer's Choice' award are chose by a panel of judges. In the case of winners under the age of 18, prizes will be awarded to a legal parent or guardian. Rules for each contest explain how and when we will notify you and the date the prizes will be announced. Prizes are awarded at Amplify’s discretion and are subject to the applicable district and school policies. Prizes for teachers may be awarded via DonorChoose.org.
In this contest we will be offering one adult grand prize, one youth grand prize, five finalist prizes, and one viewers choice prizes. All prizes amounts are in USD where applicable.