Life in a Day seems like a filmmaking dare made in the wee hours after a determined effort to kill brain cells. The concept behind the “historic cinematic experiment” is that on July 24, anyone with a video camera can film and then upload footage to YouTube, with the hope that it will then be incorporated and edited into a cohesive feature documentary about mankind. “One World. 24 Hours. 6 Billion Perspectives,” is how it’s being sold. (Watch a promo below.)
Intriguing. But my soul weeps for filmmakers Kevin Macdonald and Ridley Scott, the brave chaps who’ve volunteered to cull the exhausting clips of footballs to the groin, dancing babies, and endless navel-gazing talking heads to concoct something meaningful. A reasonably sober Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) doesn’t seem to have any second thoughts about the imposing assignment, saying, “It’ll be kind of like a time capsule, which people in the future…could look at and say, ‘Oh my god. That’s what it was like.’
But what are you supposed to shoot? Does executive producer Ridley Scott, the man who filmed Gladiator, really care to see my four-minute short about my Schnauzer’s ability to reliably pick the winner of college football games? Macdonald, who’ll serve as director, suggests that ambitious amateur filmmakers should focus on three questions: What do you fear most in the world today? What do you love? What makes you laugh? Done, done, and done. I look forward to my section of Life in a Day being about carnies. (You know, circus folk. Nomads. Smell like cabbage. Small hands.)
Are you interested in participating in this project? Are you eager to see the finished result when it premieres next winter at Sundance? And at what point will Scott and Macdonald regret their decision to open the floodgates to hopelessly amateur Hitchcocks like you and me?