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Competition Rules

An insight into our judging process

At the Shark Awards, our ambition is to recognise the best work of the year and create awareness of those
individuals and companies responsible for creating it. Our awards are judged by expert individuals at the top of their profession and whose collective experience, knowledge, skill and talent provide the necessary proficiency to make that call. Our judges are briefed to look for the outstanding, most distinctive, most courageous work that elevates, engages and cuts through the daily morass, whether it's in the quality of the idea or the individual craft of the execution that is being assessed.

Our method is not unique but follows the principle that all key selection decisions are best negotiated in-person, face to face, in a room together. This may seem a little old-fashioned these days but we firmly believe that bringing the various judges panels together, to sit in a meeting of minds, chew the cud, discuss, examine and to fiercely negotiate with passion, eyeball to eyeball, ensures the selection process is thorough and fair, with no stone left unturned.

First, each judge must look through all the entries online, in their own time, usually over a two-week period. They are asked to make an initial score based on their own individual perception of the piece and the category to be considered. This is done in isolation and without discussion with the other jurors. Work can only be considered for the category for which it was entered and cannot be moved to any another. Therefore care should be taken when choosing your categories.

Once the online round is over, we bring the juries together, usually over 2 days for the final awards decision making process. This is why we use Kinsale & Brighton: inspiring locations away from everyday distractions. By the end of the first day we expect the panels to have selected their shortlists, sometimes referred to as Finalist. Every entry is collectively considered, but the cream always rises to the top. Usually there is good debate about where the bar for 'shortlist standard' sits, but we (The Sharks) do not set any targets. If it is a good year there will be multiple pieces selected for shortlist standard, but in some years the panel may feel only a handful of entries are worthy of that accolade (or, even none at all). The shortlist results are immediately published online.

 

On the second day, having slept on their thoughts, the judges will re-convene to determine the winners. In Advertising, Design, Digital & Social,  we give Bronze, Silver & Gold. However in Short Film, Branded Content & Music Video the jury are asked to select 'winners' only (ie; no bronze or silver awards), albeit they can select more than one winner if there are two (or more) pieces that are equally brilliant. Please note it is possible (as sometimes happens) that there may be a Shortlist produced but NO winners are subsequently selected for award. At the Sharks we don't run a 'Best In Show' principle - we're proud that it's not easy to win a Shark!

Once the winners have been determined the various panels are asked to select an overall Grand Prix from their particular section: Advertising (idea), Digital & Social, Advertising Film Craft, Design, Music Video, Short Film & Branded Content. 

The organisers of The Sharks are not present during deliberations but are on hand to advise of any technical issues or clarify any questions that may arise regarding our rules. However, the sessions are attended and monitored by an independent professional who also keeps detailed records of the decisions.
 

For the avoidance of doubt, the judges reserve the right not to make any award in any category if the creative standard, as set out by the collective panel has not been met. Furthermore, the decisions made by the judges are their personal subjective opinions and for reasons of confidentiality we do not provide further comment on individual entries.

To be selected as a Finalist or Winner is a real accolade and one of great value and benefit. The work and list of accreditation is published in perpetuity on our website for reference purposes and is free to use.

BRANDS, AGENCIES, LABELS, PRODUCTION COMPANIES & REPS are now using our Sharks Search Tool to seek out award-winning talent for their next projects. 

For more details on the rules please refer to the Sections below

Advertising . Digital . Social

1. We open for entries on 1st May 2024. 2. We close for entries on 31st August 2024. 3. Each entry must have appeared in the public domain between the dates of 1st May 2023 and 31st August 2024 and only work which has been commissioned by an Advertiser may be entered. 4. Speculative entries are not permitted, and the Kinsale Sharks board may seek further proof that an entry has run publicly, at any time before or after judging. We retain the right to request proof that the work was used commercially in space paid for by the Advertiser. 5. Work entered at any previous Shark Awards Festival may not be entered, even if it was in a different category than the one that is now being considered. 6. Entries which have had a complaint upheld by an Advertising Standards Body, Broadcast Standards Body, Online Standards Body will not be accepted. 7. Please be aware that all entrants from UK will be required to pay VAT.  8. Any entry that has not been paid in full before the first round of judging will be withdrawn. 9. Hard copy entries are not accepted.. 10. International Agency, Irish Agency & International Network of The Year awards are calculated on a points system and includes shortlisted work. 11. Irish Agencies may enter work into both Ireland and International categories. These are two separate competitions. The Ireland section is a National competition, whilst work entered into International will compete against International entries. Only work entered into the Ireland section will count towards Irish Creative Agency of the Year. 12. Definition of an Ireland Entry:  Work should be produced in Ireland by an Irish company for the Irish market only, otherwise it must be entered into International. 13. Creative Agency of The Year (International and Ireland) - Entrants must achieve at least a minimum of 1 Gold, and a total of not less than 3 different pieces of work for different clients/brands/products. Shortlist (1), Bronze (3), Silver (5), Gold (7), Integrated (10) or Grand Prix (15) in the Advertising & Digital Categories. At least 1 Gold is required. Cut-downs, re-edits or versions do not count. Design, Short Film & Music Videos do not count. Craft entries are awarded at the rate of 50%. In the event of a draw, shortlisted entries will be counted (1).  14. Network Agency of the Year is awarded to an agency network with at least 3 international offices. Entrants must achieve at least 1 x Gold and not less than four different brands/products/services at the following levels; Bronze (3 points), Silver (5 points), Gold (7 points), Integrated (10 points) or Grand Prix (15 points) in the Advertising & Digital Categories. Cut-downs, re-edits or versions do not count. Design, Short Film/Branded Content & Music Videos do not count. Craft entries are awarded at the rate of 50%. In the event of a draw, shortlisted entries will be counted (1). 15. The jury reserves the right not to make any award in any category if the creative standard, as set out by the collective jurors has not been met. 16. The decisions made by the jury are their personal subjective opinions and for reasons of confidentiality we do not provide further comment on individual entries. 17. Entrants agree that any work uploaded to our entry system and put forward for judging may also be screened publicly to an audience at The Kinsale Shark Awards Festival, and on the Sharks website and Social Media pages. You agree that all copyrights and permissions have been obtained and that you have fully complied with all regulatory bodies.

Design

1. We open for entries on 1st May 2024. 2. We close for entries on 31st August 2024. 3. Each entry must have been produced between the dates of 1st May 2023 and 31st August 2024 and only work which has been commissioned by a Client may be entered. 4. Speculative entries are not permitted, and the Sharks board may seek further proof at any time before or after judging. We retain the right to request proof that the work was used commercially in space paid for by a Client. 5. Work entered at any previous Shark Awards Festival may not be entered, even if it was in a different category than the one that is now being considered 6. Any entry that has not been paid in full before the first round of judging will be withdrawn. 7. Hard copy entries will not be returned to the entrant unless specifically requested and paid for. 8. Design Agency of The Year is calculated on a points system and includes shortlisted work. 9. A minimum of 1 Gold, and a total of not less than 3 different pieces of work for different clients/brands/products. Shortlist (1), Bronze (3), Silver (5), Gold (7), or Grand Prix (15) 10. Irish Companies may enter work into both Ireland and International categories. These are two separate competitions. The Ireland category is a National competition, whilst work entered into International will compete against International entries. Only work entered into the Ireland category will count towards Irish Design Agency of the Year. A minimum of 2 Golds for different pieces of work is required. 11. The jury reserves the right not to make any award in any category if the creative standard, as set out by the collective jurors has not been met. 12. The decisions made by the jury are their personal subjective opinions and for reasons of confidentiality we do not provide further comment on individual entries. 13. Entrants agree that any work uploaded to our entry system and put forward for judging may also be screened publicly to an audience at The Kinsale Shark Awards Festival, and on the Sharks website and Social Media pages. You agree that all copyrights and permissions have been obtained and that you have fully complied with all regulatory bodies.

Short Film & Branded Content

1. We open for entries 1st May 2024. 2. We close for entries on 30th November 2024. The Shortlist (Finalists) will be published on our website by 20 January 2025. 3. The Film must have been “completed” and “aired" no earlier than 1st January 2023 4. You agree that The Film may be screened to a private audience at the Sharks SF Awards Presentation. 5. We do accept films that have been published on the internet as well as films on the short film circuit. 6. The Film should be no longer than 25 minutes excluding Opening Titles and Credits. No Colour Bars or Black Sequences before or after The Film. 7. We operate a rounding up and down system -films that are marginally over length will be rounded up or down to the nearest minute. 8. Any film that has been entered into a previous Sharks Shorts festival is not eligible. 9. Optional: English Subtitles will help the jurors “understand” Films submitted in their Original Language. 10. Irish companies/individuals may enter work into both Ireland and International categories. These are two separate competitions. As a national show, work entered into Ireland categories will compete with other Irish entries only. Work entered by Irish companies/individuals into the International categories will be judged against International work. 11. The jury reserves the right not to make any award in any category if the creative standard, as set out by the collective jurors has not been met. 12. The decisions made by the jury are their personal subjective opinions and for reasons of confidentiality we do not provide further comment on individual entries. 13. There is no pre-determined minimum or maximum number of films required to make a shortlist. The jurors are tasked with selecting work that is well above standard quality as the bar for their selection. Equally there is no pressure on the jury to find a winner. At The Sharks we do not operate a 'Best in Show' principle, so if the jury feel the Gold standard has not been met this year, in any particular category, then it is possible that no prize will be awarded.  14. Best in Category may be awarded to more than one winner. There are no Bronze or Silver awards, we go from Finalist to Winner, with the successful entrant receiving a coveted Gold Shark. 15. You grant us permission to use a still image and/or the video entry for publicity purposes on our website and social media pages. 16. Irish Entries should be directed by an Irish Passport holder and produced in Ireland by an Irish production company. 17. Refunds will only be made in exceptional circumstances, and may be subject to a deduction for our expenses.

Music Video

1. We open for entries on 1st October 2023. 2. We close for entries on 29 February 2024. 3. For the 2024 competition the MV must have been “completed” and “aired" no earlier than 1st January 2023. 4. Films previously entered at a Shark Awards Festival are not eligible even if it was in a different category than the one that is now being considered. 5. The jury reserves the right not to make any award in any category if the creative standard, as set out by the collective jury has not been met. 6. The Shortlist (Finalists) will be published on our website 3rd May 2024. The winners will be announced by 16th May 2024. 7. Best in Category may be awarded to more than one winner. There are no Bronze or Silver awards, we go from Finalist to Winner, with the successful entrant receiving a coveted Black Shark. 8. Irish companies/individuals may enter work into both Ireland and International categories. These are two separate competitions. As a national show, work entered into Ireland categories will compete with other Irish entries only. Work entered by Irish companies/individuals into the International categories will be judged against International work 9. The decisions made by the jury are their personal subjective opinions and for reasons of confidentiality we do not provide further comment on individual entries. 10. YYou grant us permission to use a still image and/or the video entry for publicity purposes on our website and social media pages. 11. Irish Entries should be directed by an Irish Passport holder and produced in Ireland by an Irish production company. This can be a co-production with an international company. 12. Record Label, MV Production Company of the Year (selected from all categories), MV Edit House of the Year (selected from the editing category only) & MV VFX/Post House of The Year (selected from VFX, grading & animation categories) are calculated on a points system and includes shortlisted work. A minimum of 2 winners for different music videos is required. Shortlist 1 point,  Best in Category (winner) 3 points, Grand Prix 5 points. With exception to Record Label points are awarded to entrant company only. 13. Best MV for Low Budget may also be entered into Best MV category (two different entries).  14. Best New Music Video Director - the work submitted must have been completed no earlier than 1 Jan 2022 - the Director may not have directed any other music videos before this date, otherwise he/she cannot be considered as 'New'. There is no age limit in this category.

Best New Talent

1. We open for entries 1st May 2024. 2. We close for entries on 31st August 2024. 3. New Director - must be under the age of 30 as at 30th Sept 2024 4. New Music Composer - must be under the age of 30 as at 30th Sept 2024 5. New DOP - must be under the age of 30 as at 30th Sept 2024 6. New Editor - must be under the age of 30 as at 30th Sept 2024. 7. New Colourist - must be under the age of 30 as at 30th Sept 2024. 8. New Sound Designer - must be under the age of 30 as at 30th Sept 2024. 9. New Producer is open to both agencies and production companies. The nominee must be proposed by Head of TV, ECD Company MD or equivalent. The submission must include a reel (can be 1 ad), a bio and a written proposition on the merits of the nominee. For the avoidance of doubt, work that was overseen by an Executive Producer can not be considered.  10. Work submitted for consideration must not be part of a collaboration with other individuals. 11. You may enter more than 1 piece of work, but must be submitted as part of the same video file. 12. Work can include; test or spec spots, TV or web commercials, music videos, and any web content. Reel must be under 7 mins long. 13. Please keep your entry as short and succinct as possible, the jury are not impressed by volumes of work. Please enter your best work only. 14. Best New Director is a Delegate Award, chosen by the audience at Kinsale. The overall entries will be pre-judged by our Best New Talent judges to create a 'Shortlist' for our Delegates to judge in Kinsale. 15. Irish individuals may enter work into both Ireland and International categories. These are two separate competitions. 16. We do not operate 'Best In Show' practice. The jury reserves the right not to make any award in any category if the creative standard, as set out by the collective jurors has not been met. 17. The decisions made by the jury are their personal subjective opinions and for reasons of confidentiality we do not provide further comment on individual entries. 18. The Shortlists will be published on our website by 15th September. 19. The winners of Best New: DOP, Editor, Colourist, Sound Designer & Music Composer will be revealed on Saturday 28th September in Kinsale. 20. You grant us permission to use a still image (of your choice) for publicity purposes on our website and social media pages. 21. All best new entrants must be under the age of 30 as of the 30th Sept 2024, but The Sharks reserve the right to show fexibility if an entrant is a few minutes/hours/days/weeks/months past our deadline.'

Young Shark

1. We open for entries 1st May  2024. 2. We close for entries on 15th July 2024. 3. Shortlist will be published 1st August 2024. 4. The winner is announced 8th August 2024. 5. Entrants must be under age of 27 at 31st December 2024 (ie age 26 or under. 6. You can be employed, un-employed or studying. 7. By entering your work you grant us permission to use your entry for publicity purposes, regardless of whether the entry wins. 8. The entries will be judged by a senior Creative Director from a major Network advertising agency. 9. We reserve the right not to make any award if the creative standard has not been met. 10. The decision made by the Creative Director is his/her personal subjective opinion and for reasons of confidentiality we do not provide further comment on individual entries. 11. By entering your work, you grant us permission, free of charge, to execute the winning idea into a finished piece of work that may be used to promote The Kinsale Shark Awards in any media. 12. A selection of shortlisted entries will be published on The Shark Awards website. 13. The winner will receive the coveted Young Shark Award trophy which will be sent via courier to the recipient and the winning piece will be promoted on Social Media and in a global newsletter. 14. The competition is FREE to enter. 15. Your entry should be sent to info@kinsalesharks.com and clearly marked Young Shark Entry 2024 ​

Advertising Production Company of the Year

1. Entrants must achieve at least three different films at: Bronze (3 points), Silver (5 points), Gold (7) or Grand Prix level (15) 2. At least one film MUST be Gold. (cutdowns, re-edits don't count). 3. In the event of a draw shortlisted entries will be counted (1). 4. Only work entered into the Advertising sections can be considered.  To be clear: Short Film, Branded Content, Music Video, New Talent awards do not count. 5. Companies with multiple offices in different countries count as one. 6. We will only count 1 company in a co-production arrangement - the lead company who holds the contract, unless it is a joint live action-animation venture. This should be declared on the entry form. 7. Work entered by other *entrants cannot be counted. 8. Production Companies gain points in the Advertising sections and Advertising Craft Categories (if named as the entrant) 9. If the production company is responsible for the script then Best Writing will be included.

Post Production/VFX Company of the Year

1. Entrants must achieve at least three different Films at: Bronze (3 points), Silver (5 points), Gold (7 points), Grand Prix (15 points). At least one film MUST be Gold. 2. In the event of a draw shortlisted entries will be counted (1). 3. Post Production Companies gain points in the following Craft Categories (if named as the *Entrant): Colour Grading, Post Production, Title Sequence, VFX & Animation 4. Best New Talent Awards do not count. 5. Companies with multiple offices in different countries count as one. 6. Work entered by other *Entrants cannot be counted. 7. The Editing category may be included for Ireland ONLY.

Edit House of the Year

1. Entrants must achieve at least 3 different Films at Shortlist (1), Bronze (3), Silver (5), Gold (7), At least one film MUST be Gold.(cutdowns, re-edits don't count). 2. In the event of a draw shortlisted entries will be counted (1). 3. Edit Houses gain points only in the Film Craft Category 'Editing' & 'Editing of Stock Footage' (if named as the *Entrant) Best New Editor awards do not count. 4. Companies with multiple offices in different countries count as one. 5. Work entered by other *Entrants cannot be counted.

Music Production Company of the Year

1. ​Entrants must achieve at least 3 different Films at Shortlist (1), Bronze (3), Silver (5), Gold (7) 2. At least one film MUST be Gold (cutdowns, re-edits don't count). 3. In the event of a draw shortlisted entries will be counted (1). 4. Music Companies gain points in the following Craft Categories (if named as the *Entrant): Best Original Music & Best Re-Record of Licensed Music(radio & tv) 5. Companies with multiple offices in different countries count as one. 6. Work entered by other *Entrants cannot be counted.

Sound Design Company of the Year

​1. Entrants must achieve at least 3 different Films at Shortlist (1), Bronze (3), Silver (5), Gold (7). 2. At least one film MUST be Gold.(cutdowns, re-edits don't count). 3. In the event of a draw shortlisted entries will be counted (1). 4. Sound Production Companies gain points in the following Craft Categories (if named as the *Entrant): Best Sound Design, Best Original Music & Best Re-Record of Licensed Music (radio & tv) 5. Companies with multiple offices in different countries count as one. 6. Work entered by other *Entrants cannot be counted. 7. Best New Sound Designer does not count.

PLEASE TAKE CARE WHEN ENTERING WORK - INTERNATIONAL or IRELAND.
Definition of Irish: work that is originated in Ireland and used commercially in Ireland

   DUPLICATE TROPHIES

Duplicate Shark Head trophies are only issued on merit. For example, a music company is not entitled  to a copy of an award given for editing.

Trophy Cost = £310 + delivery + VAT (if applicable).

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