Vines–those looping, six-second Twitter videos–are great for capturing life’s little vignettes, doing one-step DIY demonstrations, and crafting micro movies (and magic). The popularity of Vine has come from the fascination in testing the app’s time constraints. How much story can fit in six short seconds? How perfect of a moment can be captured? Now, travel website Airbnb is calling on the public to collectively use this micro format to create a short film, complied of many Vines, that embodies the spirit of adventure that’s common among Airbnb users.
Titled “Hollywood & Vines,” the film project is soliciting individual clips from users, to be shared on Vine and Twitter, that will be edited into one cohesive film. From now until Sunday, Airbnb will be releasing shot lists, each complete with a storyboard frame, for specific and slightly abstract shots required, such as “a paper airplane flies through diverse landscapes, left to right” or “a paper airplane flies through several tight spots. It barely makes it!” Anyone whose Vine gets chosen for the final film will receive $100 to spend on Airbnb. The film will then air on Sundance Channel on September 12.
By its very nature, Airbnb attracts a more daring traveler–staying in someone else’s home requires a certain degree of adventurousness. And with that adventure comes personal stories. Whose house is on offer, what’s their personality, what’s awesome about their hood? Conventional travel specs (number of beds and baths) are combined with the renter’s personal story when it comes to booking accommodations through Airbnb.
These stories are at the heart of Airbnb and the motivation behind the “Hollywood & Vines” film. “We’re continually inspired by the stories our community shares,” says Vivek Wagle, Airbnb’s head of brand management. “So we wondered: What would happen if we decided to bring our global community together to create a compelling story? What would that look like? How would it go? And because storytelling appeals to what we call the Airbnb mind-set (that is, people who are open-minded and excited to share experiences), we thought this would be an amazing vehicle to open up an Airbnb story to a larger audience.”
Wagle says when the team hit on the “Hollywood & Vines” idea–created by agency Mullen and executed by digital production company B-Reel–they knew it was perfect. “Hollywood represents the legacy of storytelling via film, and Vine represents its future. Anyone can create a Vine, but the level of creativity needed to record the perfect six-second film is incredibly high. We’re excited to see what ideas those constraints set free.”
While the interpretation of each shot is open, the campaign includes pretty specific shot requirements. And if the shot’s not quite right, there’s near real-time feedback on Twitter. For instance, when I posted a Vine for #S4–“Show a paper towel being picked up. Let’s see a POV of it wiping up a nasty kitchen mess–we kind of missed the whole POV of the towel thing. Within minutes, the @Airbnb account gave us a virtual high-five (“We love it Rae Ann”) and then some constructive criticism (“We’d love to see it from the POV of the paper towel as well! Nice work).
Director Miles Jay says he is essentially directing the Airbnb community over Twitter. “The more we communicate with our users submitting and direct them, the better our content will become,” says Jay. “This principle holds true to Airbnb as communication between a host and a guest is crucial for a successful experience. Most UGC campaigns become a black hole for people to submit to, but we are treating this as a shoot on Twitter.”
“We wanted this project to be accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world,” adds Stephen Goldblatt, chief digital officer of Mullen SF. “And when you look over the shot list, you’ll notice that some are very easy and some are more difficult. We want people to pick the ones they feel comfortable shooting. Some will go for the simple ones while others will want to show off their Vine skills and spend hours crafting their shot, like they are already doing on Vine.”
These unknown variables are what Wagle says makes this project so unique. Despite a well-crafted list of shots, at the end of the day, they have no idea what the final product will look like. “We did not set out to make something perfect like a traditional film, otherwise we would have shot it all ourselves,” says Goldblatt. “We’re embracing the authenticity of things. The edit will be a fun challenge.”
“The beauty of this project is that although we have the framework for a story, the texture and detail are totally dependent on our community,” says Wagle. “This is an opportunity for us to embrace the adventure, work with the mini-stories our community shares with us, and knit it into something that shares the Airbnb spirit in a beautiful, compelling way. It may be stylistically incoherent and visually nuts, but we are confident we will end up with something amazing.”