I have to agree with kiarrens. Getting a video into a contest requires both knowing the audience and knowing the general demeanor of the judges. You have to choose your battles. You'll either need to change your editing style/concepts to be better in their eyes or change to which venues you submit. When the time comes that you can evoke the audience's feelings strongly while doing it with integrity, all of us will thank you for it.
I consider AB to be part of the big leagues and have not entered until this year because in my on/off entries and practice work I have not felt them to be worthy of the venue. xxDrew2, I have watched your team's work after your comments here. While they are in high volume and better than the median, they usually drop pacing around minute one, I see a lot of embraces and visual tropes that say "relationship" but nothing that makes me really relate with the characters or invokes emotion from their time on screen. Most of the time the best sections of the videos you've produced are closely related to action based sections with a lot of beat sync. Which is saying something very positive that is usually missed by many starting out in the art.
I honestly did not think my video would hold up to HD videos on screen, I didn't plan it to. I am still honored that I was put up against those with the determination or the hardware to edit on that resolution. With luck, the video held some modicum of interest. Especially with only the first minute of effects being completed at the time*cough*
After seeing tehninjaness' work it made me realize a few preconceptions that have been holding back my videos due to "classical" movie edits. The video effects are easy enough to deconstruct but that doesn't stop them from having impact. They have pop and good screen presence. Before now I had very little respect for transition effects thrown onto a video. It has made me appreciate and start researching plugins and generated effects to reduce my production time while increasing my quality. My video was primarily custom work, masking, and direct redraws of cells that became added on top of the clean cuts.
I still don't know how you mask quickly theninjaness but I know each frame takes me 20 minutes to go from nothing to a clean, crisp mask for one to two characters. At least, it does now that I've had to do over 200 or some stupid, similar number after this video.