Real Stories

Show off your filmmaking

What are Real Stories? They are compelling stories about entrepreneurs. Told through both video and words, they allow business owners to share insights with other business owners. Do you know a small business with a compelling story? Film them, and you could win our contest.

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The deadline to submit your videos is today, October 12 at 4:00pm PDT. If you forsee any trouble uploading please email us before 4:30pm.

Show off your filmmaking

What are Real Stories? They are compelling stories about entrepreneurs. Told through both video and words, they allow business owners to share insights with other business owners. Do you know a small business with a great story? Film it, and you could win big!

To get started, download the assets

Video examples

Check out last year’s award-winning Real Stories videos.

About This Contest

This contest gives small-business owners a voice, and in doing so, helps the small-business community learn powerful lessons about entrepreneurship. Business owners learn directly from other business owners what it’s like to start, build, and protect a business and satisfy customers. Business owners get tips on how to select the right technology and solve a variety of challenges involving finances, operations, staffing, and marketing. In short, it’s business owners helping other business owners live the American dream.

Your Mission

Through two-minute videos, capture authentic stories from business owners who are passionate about what they do and show how technology helps them grow and succeed in business. It’s a bonus if they are using technology in creative and innovative ways. Real Stories videos are part biography, part success story with technology. You are encouraged to upload multiple entries. Make sure to focus on a business with fewer than 100 employees that doesn’t have a fulltime IT staff. Ideally, you’re interviewing the owner or someone senior in the organization who makes technology decisions.

Questions to ask:

In our third iteration of this contest, we’re trying to find different angles to on how business owners use technology. These questions are new, and we’d very much like to see at least 2-3 of the answers to these be present in your story.
  • How does technology allow you to operate with a high degree of precision while quickly adapting to changing needs and conditions?
  • How has technology created opportunities for your business? What would your business reach be without technology?
  • How has it enabled you to serve a new set of customers, a new market, or a new geographical area?
  • How has technology boosted the efficiency of your business operations or employees?
  • What kind of technology do you leverage for enhancing your productivity?
  • How has technology helped you collaborate with each other or your customers to innovate or arrive at solutions quicker?
  • How has technology helped you serve your customers better?
  • How has it helped you increase revenue via sales or reduce costs?


Please DO:

  • Capture all your video footage at 1080p minimum (720p videos will be rejected)
  • Download the Real Story asset pack and follow the instructions
  • Visit Business Circle and study past Real Stories
  • Ensure you have the business’s permission before filming
  • Ensure you are asking the business technology-specific questions
  • Encourage the business owner to wear clothing with no logos (otherwise you will have to edit them out)
  • Get permission from the artist if any wall art (posters/photography/paintings) appears in your video, otherwise it must be blurred. Videos with excessive blurring will not be considered for awards.
  • Follow project rules
  • Interview one business per video you submit

Please DON’T:

  • Show or discuss any other wireless carrier brands
  • Discuss specific manufacturers or brands (HTC®, Samsung, Apple®, etc.)
  • Embed the business’s logo as a graphic in the video; show it in the video itself
  • Include anyone in the video unless that person has signed a model release form

Fifteen-second teaser video requirement

In addition to the two-minute full video, create a fifteen-second teaser video for AT&T to use on its social channels so it can promote your video. The teaser must NOT use the AT&T end slate, and only the business name requirement from the Real Story video should be carried over (don't work in the business owner's name). Focus on sharing the most visually interesting piece of footage from the video; something that will encourage users on social channels to want to learn more.

Technical Requirements

  • Two minute fifteen-second maximum for main video, fifteen-second teaser video
  • 1080p 20mbps minimum quality / 30mbps maximum quality
  • YouTube-ready H.264 video codec in MP4 container (.MP4 file format, not MOV)
  • 16:9 aspect ratio, no letterbox or alternate aspect ratios
  • High-quality audio (minimum 128kbps stereo)
  • The 6 winning filmmakers will be required to provide the raw footage shot for their video. Filmmakers will be compensated for the footage and hard drives and shipping costs will be provided and paid for.
  • Winning filmmakers will be required to submit talent releases for all individuals who participated in the production of the video.

For a full overview of Zooppa project rules, please view the Membership Agreement, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Project Rules.

Award Criteria

  • 25% compelling storytelling
  • 25% compelling answers to technology questions
  • 50% production quality

There will be two weeks of voting on from October 12 at 4:00pm PDT - October 26 at 4:00pm PDT to determine the winner of the Zooppa Community Award. All videos are eligible for this award so be sure to rally your friends and family to vote for yours.

For the official winners, a panel of AT&T judges will select their 6 favorite videos and hold their very own voting round on Business Circle to determine the final placement of the 6 winners. The awards for the official winners will be split between the videographer and the business owner.

Take a look at the prizes page for more details on the awards breakdown.