As part of its Ultrabook Experience campaign promoting its line of Ultrabook laptops, Intel and creative partner Vice have linked with W Hotels and writer/director Roman Coppola for short film competition, "Four Stories."
Entrants have until August 30 to submit screenplays that have to include a W Hotel as the setting and feature an Ultrabook as a central "character." Chosen by creative execs from Vimeo, W Hotels, Intel, and Vice, as well as actors Chloe Sevigny and Michael Pitt, the top three scripts will be developed into 10-minute shorts by Coppola’s production house The Directors Bureau, with Coppola himself writing and directing a fourth film.
Although he admits he hasn’t started on his short just yet, Coppola (writer of Moonrise Kingdom and director of the upcoming A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III) does know what he wants from other contestants. "I’m looking for audacity—something striking and very individualistic," he says. "Life is too short to do something half-assed and boring."
Coppola is hoping filmmakers will meet his expectations of originality by finding the limitations inspiring, not confining. "The hotel automatically suggests adventure—when you stay at a hotel you’re usually in a foreign place, so it suggests a surprise or unknown, which is good for a story," he says. "The computer is a more curious element—I can see how it’d be odd or strange, but hopefully people will take that and run with it."
What’s really important, he continues, is recognizing when those flashes and fragments of inspiration that tend to strike are worth exploring, blowing them out beyond their scope, and then paring them down to what’s essential.
"With any kind of creative idea, you get a little bit of a tingle, an image, a feeling and if it’s strong enough and you can see it clearly enough, you follow that thread—but you have to be honest with yourself with what fits," he says. "Sometimes I find when you describe the project to someone you’re close to, in my case my sister [Sofia Coppola], you start to eliminate the tangential and zero in on the idea."
The launch of "Four Stories" launch as part of The Ultrabook Experience is the latest of many initiatives that have seen Intel creating content with and for creative communities as part of the brand’s mission of powering innovation. From appointing Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am as director of creative innovation to the ongoing art/tech mashup that is The Creators Project with Vice, the tech giant has been conspicuous for its efforts to push beyond traditional marketing avenues. "We want to make sure we’re driving the conversation of our content and context in a surprising way," says Johan Jervoe, VP of Intel’s sales and marketing group. A hopeful wish for all brands, yes—but Jervoe notes that with a project like "Four Stories," part of creating that surprise for consumers lies in allowing brand content to serve as a relatively quiet supplement to the larger goal of fostering creativity for artistic up-and-comers.
"This is not meant to replace the 30-second spot—it’s reaching out in the firm belief that if you do the right thing, you can impact people’s lives," he says. "If I was a young director, this would be a thing I would never forget, and I think leaving that mark on a person is saying something about a brand."