Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Life In a Day

On Saturday, July 24, 2010, Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald, working in partnership with YouTube, asked people all over the world to record [1] themselves doing whatever they would ordinarily be doing that day and then send them the footage.  To ensure more global participation, they sent many cameras to areas that do not have ready access to YouTube or the Internet.  From the footage they received, they will edit a documentary showing how people all over the world spent their time and lived their lives on this one day.

On this particular day, I had exactly three things I needed to do:  (a) do laundry; (b) go to the dentist and get a temp filling removed and replaced with a crown; and (c) go to the gym.

I suppose I could have asked my dentist if he would allow me to film and if he would sign a release, but I figured that a medical professional doing anything more than a routine exam would be an idiot to open himself to a huge potential liability by allowing a patient to record a medical procedure taking place.  So I didn't even bother to ask.

Our gym has signs all over the place saying, "No photography, not even with your cell phone."  So I didn't even bother to ask.

This just left me with one possibility:  Record myself doing laundry.  But, hey, they said in their instructions that it did not matter how mundane or boring you thought your video was, just record it and send it to them.

So that's what I did.  I turned out to be exceedingly lucky.  The laundromat was completely empty when I went there.  The whole time I was doing laundry, only one person ever came into the laundromat with me.  He emptied his dryer and left again immediately.  So I did not have to either (a) explain what I was doing or (b) ask anyone to sign a release form.

It really is quite boring -- an hour of footage that starts with one of our cats having a love affair with one of my dirty shirts as I was gathering the dirty clothes (she alternately wriggled and writhed on it, and sat still and licked it), then moves on to me putting clothes into washing machines, me putting coins into slots, me adding detergent, me putting clothes into the dryer, me watchin' the clothes go 'round, watchin' the clothes go 'round, me playing "Scrabble" on my iPhone while waiting for the clothes to dry, and me folding clothes.

I uploaded it in full HD glory in three ten-minute chunks to YouTube (I had mercy and cut some of the really long parts down) and submitted them to the "Life In a Day" YouTube page.

Today, I had a small odd turn of events.  I checked my blog stats and saw that someone from England had arrived on this blog from my YouTube channel.  So I went to check my YouTube channel to see if they had left a comment or something like that, and I noticed that there was a new message in my YouTube Inbox.  "Life In a Day" had written to me this morning to inform me that my footage made it into the cut of 100 hours of footage that would be used for the final film.  They give no guarantee that any of my footage will make it to the actual final cut, but they wish me to upload my camera-original footage to them for editing.


[UPDATE: Here's my reconstituted video.]

The coincidence about this is that if hadn't just happened to check my YouTube channel, I might not have noticed the message for weeks or months (because I just simply never look there on the off-chance that someone's trying to reach me), and I would have missed this chance.  But instead, I managed to see it very shortly after it arrived.

Of course, I suppose it's entirely possible that the person who checked my blog was someone from "Life In a Day" trying to find a way to contact me other than through my YouTube channel.  If that's the case, then it worked.

One little snag, though.  The laundromat is a completely unattended operation.  I need to track down the owner or manager to get him/her to sign a release form, as well as the owner of the building.  I guess I'll have to leave a note and ask someone to contact me.


[1] A semantic issue:  the word, "film," seems inappropriate because no film is involved; the word, "videotape," seems inappropriate because the video is recorded onto a hard drive or onto flash memory; using the word, "video," as a verb seems just plain wrong; and the word, "record," seems insufficiently descriptive.  Oh, the pain of semantic dilemmas!  Any suggested alternatives?

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