Friday, August 28, 2009

I think that I'll try this $20.09 contest

As you may know by now, my newest reader is doing the dollar a day thing, and that is how we found each other. I think that he is trying to win a contest. The contest involves the University Federal Credit Union and making YouTube videos about what you can do with $20.09. UFCU is giving people $20.09 for opening a new account, and the idea is to show that you can do a lot with $20.09.

David's plan is to spend the $20.09, and only $20.09, on all of the food that he will eat for the next twenty days. And it is a hard thing to do, but it can be done for limited amounts of time. I tried to do it for a month, and found out how many social things I would have to give up if I wanted to keep doing it, so I ended up doing it for only a couple of weeks. So I did not quite make it for twenty days, but I might try it again.

David is now halfway through his challenge. He has some food left (mostly potatoes), has bought some more eggs and spaghetti, and he now has about five dollars left. So he will probably reach his goal, though at this point he may seriously be looking forward to the end of this project.

So far, there only seem to be two other people in the contest. There is one video showing that two people can go to a restaurant or a club for less than $20.09, so that amount of money could be used on a date. Another video shows an older woman making macrame angels. The contest is over on September 17th.

So I am thinking about entering the contest myself.

It is not a big contest. First place is only five hundred dollars. But since the point of the contest is to show what you can do with $20.09, I would think that anybody who won would be able to do a lot with an extra five hundred dollars.

So, I have about decided to enter the thing, even though I have never made a video before. Now I just have to decide what I'm going to spend my $20.09 on.

I have a few ideas. Most of them involve the garden. I'm also considering something about knitting, but seeing as there is already a video about macrame angels that people already like, that might be too much direct competition.

After reading the rules, it looks like I would be able to submit more than one video, but I have my doubts about having the time to make more than one video. And then, there's the money situation. If I were to make five videos about five different ways to spend $20.09, I would end up spending a hundred dollars, and I don't think that I should spend that much right now.

Then there is one little problem. I don't have a video camera.

About ten years ago, I thought that it might be cool to be Dawson Leery for a weekend, and get a video camera and make a movie with my friends. It seems to me that the easiest movie to make with the sort of equipment I would be able to get would be a horror film, and I had an idea for a script, so I started writing. And I had this idea that I would explain the low budget look of the thing by having one of the characters in the story carry a video camera and recording the whole thing. Some kids go out to make a video that they hope to get edited in time to show next Halloween, and while they are out, they run into some trouble.

I had this whole thing in my head, but I didn't have anybody in mind to play the main characters. The minor characters could have been played my friends and in-laws, but the main characters would have been teenagers, and I just didn't know a lot of teenagers at the time. But I didn't let that stop me, cause I'm sure that the other people I wanted to be in the thing probably knew a few teenagers, and probably a few of them would volunteer to be in a movie.

The plan was to film the stuff whenever I could get the right group of people and be allowed to film at the right locations. And then I would figure out stuff like editing later.

Seems like I knew a lot of people who could have loaned me cameras and such, and I think that was right about the time that my brother bought a video camera. So I was writing this script.

And then we heard about The Blair Witch Project. I stopped writing the script. After this came out I figured that not only would everyone be out with their video cameras making movies, but they would pretty much be making the same movie. So that was the end of my project.

I got another idea for a movie when Survivor came out. But I was very busy at the time, working usually six days a week and being out of town for months at a time. So I didn't get very far into writing that script.

So other than playing around with the camera while thinking about those two film ideas, I haven't really used a video camera, and I don't have one myself. But I knew all these other people who had one, so I figured that I would just ask to borrow theirs.

So I called my brother, and yes, he still had a video camera, and yes, I could borrow it if I wanted to. But it was the same video camera he had ten years ago. He hadn't used it much since then. It wasn't a digital camera, and since it had been so long since he'd used it, he hadn't bought anything to make it possible to transfer it to a computer to edit.

So I figured that was probably the same for most of the other people I knew with cameras. They got the video bug all at about the same time and went out and bought cameras, but most of them probably didn't get used much anymore. The few people who do have nice new cameras probably use them a lot and probably wouldn't want to loan them out.

I wondered what to do about that. My husband has a nice digital camera for still pictures, but not video. So I was thinking that maybe we could do one of those things where you have still pictures and maybe a narration or some music in the background and enter that into the contest. Of the two videos currently in the contest, one of them is a slide show, so I wouldn't be the only one with that idea.

So while we are talking about that, my husband laughs and remembers that there is a camera on the new laptop. So I can make a video with that if I want to, but I doubt that will work out for most of my ideas. I don't think that there is way to change the focus on this thing, or at least, there isn't an easy way of doing it. The camera on the laptop is mainly for blogging and sending messages to your mom, not going outside and making movies. So I think we are back to the slide show idea.

So that is the plan, to make a slide show about something that I could do with $20.09, probably in the garden. Not sure that I will actually get around to doing it, but right now I'm having some fun thinking about it.


dmarks said...

If you have digital cameras around the house that do stills, I'm surprised that they don't also do movies at the same time.

Of three digital cameras I've gotten over the years, all of them do movies. Two of them do movies with sound. Usually there is a tiny red icon of an old-fashioned movie canera somewhere.

But looking into it, it appears that the better digital camera don't do movies. I guess they decide to give you less when you pay more. Go figure.

Anyway, maybe one of your buddies or relatives has a recent simple "point and shoot" digital camera you can borrow. Those should have film/movie mode.

Pretty much all of the video clips in my blog come from a recent point-and-shoot digital camera.

dmarks said...

Also, software wise, you should be all set. For starters, there is something called "Windows Movie Maker" that is actually pretty good and easy to use. If it is not already on your computer, you should be able to download it for free from Microsoft.

Ananda girl said...

I used to make super 8mm films in college. We had a blast doing it. I think you'll have fun even if you don't win.

dmarks is right. Most digital still cameras have a video mode. The kids in our high school all made videos that way last year for their senior projects. You can do a lot more than you may think with one... and the programs like the one suggested above are great for adding effects.

dmarks said...

Not just adding effects, but "Windows Movie Maker" will let you do the basics like cut off stuff and "splice" clips together.

Just make sure to run it on the fastests computer available to you.

David Lee said...

It's great to hear that you consider doing the contest. The concept and the content beat the execution in this kind of contest I've seen. Good thing is that you can submit more than one video as well *hint*.

$500 is not much but look what I did with $20.09 right? Heh.. that was the main concept of my campaign anyway. Just to show people that $20 is not a small amount of money, especially in this economy. Good luck! I am actually thinking about making a video for the contest as well, although I am not eligible to win. But it sounds like a fun lil project.