The Anniston City Council recently allocated up to $5,000 for the winners of the City of Storytellers Video Competition. The goal of the contest, organized by Tim Brunson and his wife Annie of the Anniston-based BuyersUSA Consulting, a business consulting firm, is to positively promote the city to the rest of the country.
"I see it as being a community economic development project," Brunson said.
Brunson said he hopes to collect more than 400 minutes of footage that promotes the past, present and future of Anniston, which will eventually be posted to YouTube, an Internet video sharing website. The project will focus on obtaining video from students enrolled in Anniston schools. However, college students and area residents are also invited to participate.
The Brunsons will focus on organization and publicity of the project, along with video education with area students through Nov. 15. Video submissions will be accepted between Nov. 15 and Jan. 15. Both juried and popular judging will take place from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15. Participants are expected to produce videos between 1 minute and 5 minutes in length.
"Videos that go viral on the Internet are typically between 3 minutes and five minutes long," Brunson said.
Millie Harris, Anniston city councilwoman, said she and the rest of the city council supported the film project.
"Students learn in different ways and hands-on project learning is how many people learn best," Harris said.
Harris said the project will also benefit the city. She said she hopes that when the project is complete, that anyone who searches for Anniston on YouTube will find more positive stories about the city than negative ones.
"It will be a real marketing tool for the city," Harris said.
Pete Conroy, a Jacksonville State University staffer and president of the Northeast Alabama Entertainment Initiative, which has a film studio in Jacksonville, said he will meet with Brunson later this month to see if he can help with the project. Conroy said uploading many short YouTube videos could do much toward improving Anniston's image.
"I think it's an absolutely terrific idea," Conroy said. "Professional videos are costly, but these home-grown YouTube downloads shared on Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites ... at the end of the day, if shared enough, could be better than anything."
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.