Life in a Day, the so-called 'YouTube movie' that was shot by amateurs around the world and then edited together by director Kevin MacDonald and producer Ridley Scott, has gotten a lot of press. With good reason. It's an inspiring project that sought to bring crowdsourced video into the mainstream. It aimed to unite cultures and nations through showing similarities and differences in our daily routines. And most of all, it's a great film. But it's not the only film of its kind.
One Day On Earth
Today I learned about One Day on Earth, a similar-but-very-different film project that has gotten lost in the mass of press given to Life in a Day. One Day On Earth is a crowdsourced film documentary, created by amateurs around the world who each shot their footage on the same day. Sound familiar? Yeah, it did to me as well.
But the guys behind One Day On Earth--Kyle Ruddick and Brandon Litman--say they actually started their project in 2008, two years before Life in a Day was conceived.
However, they're quick to point out that it isn't a contest. They don't feel a rivalry with Life in a Day, because ultimately the two films have different stars, different content, and different themes.
"'Life in a Day' has some really interesting parts to it, but the big relief (for us) was that this is not the vision we had."
Here's a trailer for One Day On Earth:
Similarities To Life In A Day
There are a number of similarities between One Day On Earth and Life In A Day:
- Both are built using footage that was taken by amateur filmmakers from around the world.
- Both films use footage that was filmed on the same exact day. With One Day On Earth, the footage from all participants was filmed on October 10, 2010 (10.10.10); with Life In A Day, scenes were shot on July 24, 2010.
- Both films are embracing crowdsourcing, relying on thousands of individuals working on their own to deliver footage that can be pulled together into some kind of narrative.
Differences Between The Two Documentaries
There are, of course, also many differences between the projects:
- First and foremost, the One Day On Earth crew are on their own. They have some background in short films, but are not Hollywood players. There was no Ridley Scott headlining the project, no experienced director crafting the film, and no backing from the world's largest video website (YouTube). If you need an analogy, then this film is David to Life in a Day's Goliath.
- One Day On Earth is also not complete. The creators are seeking more donations to help fund the project, but no release date has been set--and it's not even a guarantee the film will hit theaters as Life in a Day just did.
- One Day On Earth grabbed footage from every single country on the planet--something Life in a Day cannot claim.
- Life in a Day grabbed 4500 hours of footage from participants, One Day On Earth has 3000.
- One Day On Earth had the participation (and filmmaking work) of nonprofit groups like the World Wildlife Fund and the American Red Cross--oh, and the backing of the United Nations, which surely didn't hurt in securing footage from every country.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly... One Day On Earth aims to become a resource for future filmmakers by turning every bit of footage from the project into a free archive/library that all participants can make use of moving forward. That's pretty freaking awesome, if you ask me.
There's no reason why these two films, despite their similarities, can't coexist in this world. Heck, Hollywood has been putting out dueling similar films for years ("Ants" and "Bug's Life," "Dante's Peak" and "Volcano," etc.). There's no reason that online crowdsourced films can't do the same thing.
The trailer for One Day On Earth is compelling stuff. Life in a Day surprised a lot of people with how good it turned out to be, which might actually open some doors for One Day On Earth and make their job raising the funds they need to complete the film a little easier.
Crowdsourced filmmaking may not be common. It may not even be on the radar of a lot of moviegoers. But it's definitely graduated from the "experimental" stage of its life. With the success of films like Star Wars Uncut and Life in a Day, you can expect to see more and more filmmakers and studios tap into "the wisdom of the crowd" to help develop unique and moving video.