The explosion of mobile photography and user-generated content has turned practically everyone into a professional creative these days, or at least that's what Canon hopes to convey in its newest project.
Today, the camera maker and Grey in New York launch Project Imagination: The Trailer contest, which encourages consumers to submit 60-second film trailers—essentially vignettes about their lives— through April 29. This is the third year of the campaign, which has added an online editing tool that lets consumers customize their videos with voiceovers, music and titles.
Hollywood producer Ron Howard and actor Josh Hutcherson will then select one spot to inspire a short film. The idea is that the small, everyday aspects of life can lead to some of the world's most interesting stories.
"My suggestion is: Document your life," Howard said. "I think people will get a huge kick out of beginning to feed us what aspects of their life look like—that's what a trailer does."
With development and production company Freestyle, Howard will work with Hutcherson—famous for his role in The Hunger Game series—to star in the short.
While Howard has been a mainstay in Canon's previous two campaigns, Amy Tunick, president of Grey Activation and PR said Hutcherson is meant to appeal to younger consumers.
"This year, it was really about appealing to the massive, everyday public and also focusing a little bit more on that millennial group of 18- to 34-year-olds," Tunick said.
The clips will be judged on originality, creative characters and storytelling and must fit into one of six categories: comedy, drama, children/family, action/adventure, suspense/thriller, and sci-fi.
Michelle Fernandez, Canon's director of marketing, said the campaign goes beyond pushing Canon products. While the movie trailer will be shot using Canon's Cinema EOS cameras and lenses, Project Imagination's bigger idea is to foster new or unknown talent.
Canon's microsite also lists a number of photography tips and resources.
"At the end of the day, it's really about how we're trying to show people that they're empowered with their creativity," Fernandez said. "[We want people to] put down that smartphone and pick up an actual camera to get their creativity and their vision across the way they originally intended."