The Gong Show
Back in the late 1990's and early 2000's, the MIX festival did a Gong Show program. Anyone could show up and hand in a video on the spot. They would play them one by one, and the "celebrity" panel would either gong them, or if theyplayed to completion, give them a score. At the end, the highest score would win.
I took this challenge very seriously. In many ways, it taught me how to pace short subjects, because if you didn't get the judges attention from the very beginning, you'd get gonged. Every year I would have a proper festival submission for MIX, and a Gong Show entry. I never ranked higher than 3rd, but these represent some of my most creative and captivating work. In fact, a couple of years they ran out of time before mine could be screened, and I went on to submit them the following year, and they were accepted! One even got my name in the New Yorker magazine.
The first video I ever screened at the Gong Show was "Pard' Me" but since that one was already listed as my student film, I'll skip right to the first video that was purpose produced for the Gong Show.