Fighting the Summer Doldrums with Imagin8ion

How do you challenge yourself to keep your video producing skills fresh when you have no current project to work on? Whether you make video for a hobby or for a paycheck, you need to keep at it to stay abreast of the trends and technology and to keep your skills honed and fresh. But sometimes, especially in the hot dull summer months, you can get a bit bored and not want to do much more than settle in a nearby hammock sipping a fruity refreshment or libation of choice.

Here's an idea to challenge you – why not mimic the "rules" and guidelines of one of those 48 Hour Film challenges or spark the imagination following an idea from Canon's Project Imagin8ion contest to fight the summer doldrums? When you Find Me Project IMAGIN8ION Director Ron Howard was approached by Canon a few years ago to help with a campaign called Project Imagin8ion. The idea was to create 8 themes for a movie and have a contest soliciting still photo entries reflecting ideas of what these themes represent.[image:blog_post:12722] The themes were: Setting, Time, Character, Mood, Relationship, Goal, Obstacle and The Unknown. A participant could enter into any category. Howard's team sifted through thousands of entries and selected finalists in each category, then Howard selected the winning photographs. The movie, When You Find Me, based on the 8 finalist's photos was directed by his daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard using Canon cameras and lenses.

Ron Howard says I loved the concept behind Project Imagin8ion, a very pure experiment that showcased the power of still images on narrative story-telling. When You Find Me was shown at the Tribeca, Sundance and South by Southwest film festivals, among others. The next project was recently announced and will be launching shortly. Ron and Bryce Howard and their team kept pretty close to the look and feel of the characters they selected and they found that they were also inspired and challenged just as much as participants in the contest. In a behind the scenes video, Bryce said that finding a graveyard gate that represents the photo for Obstacle was an obstacle in itself that had to be hurdled, and that's what this project was all about: being challenged.

[image:blog_post:12723] Of course, for most of us, we might have the vision, but not the means to pull out all stops that directors Ron Howard and Bryce Dallas Howard have at their fingertips – but give yourself a challenge of your own: if you're experiencing the Summer Doldrums, find inspiration by digging up a single still shot and telling yourself, "I'm going to make a movie of that photo". Film challenges are fun – they usually set you up with a genre you have to follow [western, romance, Sci-fi, etc.], line that has to be used, ["I have the green ticket..", "What happened to the ice..?", "Put the potato in the bag.." etc.] and a required prop, [chair, ladder, stapler, etc.] and the rest is pretty much up to you – oh, and you have 48 hours to shoot it, edit it and upload it to the sponsor's site.

Stay tuned here for more announcements later this summer on the next Imagin8ion challenge. Meanwhile, similar film and video challenges we've reported on include The 24 Hour Film Challenge and the Almost Famous Film Festival which is getting ready for a new challenge in October. Go on, challenge yourself this summer – I dare ya!

Jennifer O'Rourke
Jennifer O'Rourke
Jennifer O’Rourke is an Emmy award-winning videographer & editor.

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