The 54 Hour Movie Project is not so much a competition as it is a way to encourage creativity among people interested in making videos by restricting its participants to a particular idea. On the first Friday of every month, a sentence is released by the 54 Hour Movie Project at 6PM, and the deadline for submitting videos is 12 midnight that Sunday.
The project was created by new media enthusiast Luke Ferdinand (who also hosts the blog Luke and his Dad and the podcast Digital Citizen), in the summer of 2005, with the release of the first sentence in May of that year.
In order to participate in the 54 Hour Movie project, one must form a video making team, and register on the site. Some past contributors include Reverend Barnacle Stackhouse, Veterans of Tooth Decay, and Peter Frampton’s Crypt of Delights.
Then all it takes is a sentence, anything from, “Don’t worry – we’re all in this alone,”, to “They started an online gambling web site,” or “She looked fearfully round, her face burning like sunset, and, seeing nobody, stooped to pick up the flaccid lumps.” Whether it’s Life in Oblivion from TRSG Productions, or ‘Round the World in 365 from Human Noodle Soup (both responses to the February 2006 sentence, “So I must ask you, is ‘indefinite limbo’ redundant?”), the quality of these videos can vary from the well produced to what looks like something filmed on a small digital camera, but nothing generally runs longer than five minutes. It isn’t necessary for every team to respond to every sentence; in fact some months only receive a few video responses. For instance, the sentence, “The crab is enemy to the oyster” elicited three responses that featured a candlelit room and a creepy old man, a guy playing acoustic guitar wearing various costumes, and a wheelchair.
This eclectic range of style is testament to the theory effectiveness of theory behind the 54 Hour Movie Project: that creativity can flourish in incredible new ways when one is given even a small idea off of which to work. What is most interesting about this project, however, is the fact that no team is vying to beat the other teams or obtain some kind of winning prize. They participate in the project simply to develop their craft of filmmaking, have fun, and give one another feedback.
Have you seen those commercials for that bizarre medicated stick known as Head On? Apply Directly To The Forehead! Apply Directly To The Forehead! Apply Directly To The Forehead! Imagine being trapped in that world forever, and check out team Goblim Showers’ interpretation of “Some things have to be believed to be seen.”