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Capturing Life in a Day
How do you tell a story?
If you’re trying to tell the story of a particular brand, you start by defining audiences, competitors, differentiators and core messages. You figure out who the story’s for and what you want to say.
But what if you’re trying to tell the story of the entire world?
That’s the challenge facing filmmaker and director Kevin Macdonald.
In 2010, Macdonald and executive producer Ridley Scott put out a call for people around the world to film their lives and upload videos to YouTube. People could submit anything they wanted as long as it was filmed on July 24, 2010.
Macdonald and his team then edited the footage into a feature-length documentary titled “Life in a Day.”
Ten years later, he’s making the sequel.
‘Life in a Day’ 2020 Tells its Story
YouTube received more than 300,000 submissions from 191 countries in 65 languages hoping to be included in “Life in a Day 2020” – all of it filmed on Saturday, July 25, 2020.
That’s about four times as many videos as the first time around. In 2010, the team had to sift through about 4,500 hours — enough footage for one person to watch 10 hours a day, seven days a week for almost a year and a half.
Instead, a team of editors spent seven weeks reviewing the footage and categorizing it based on a five-star rating system. A special sixth star was reserved for “so-bad-it’s-good content.
This time around, Macdonald and his team have even more source material as they face the ultimate storytelling challenge — stitch together a time capsule for this unique moment in history built on thousands of slices of life from around the globe.
Here’s how one editor describes it —
“The analogy is like being told to make Salisbury Cathedral and then being introduced to a field full of rubble. You have to start looking for buttresses and things that connect together.”
Capturing More Voices in a Story
The magic of a good story lies in finding those connections. “Life in a Day” works because it’s built on great stories shared by all kinds of people from all walks of life assembled by a master storyteller.
It’s a powerful reminder for stories in the business world. Stories that include space for perspectives from more employees, more customers and more stakeholders create a more connected and more resonant message.
“Life in a Day 2020” will premiere at Sundance 2021.