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Helen Popkin
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msnbc.com
updated 7/8/2010 4:12:57 PM ET 2010-07-08T20:12:57

"On July 24, you have 24 hours to capture a glimpse of your life on camera," announces YouTube's "Life in a Day" Web page. "The most compelling and distinctive footage will be edited into an experimental documentary film," the guidelines continue, best read in the dramatic tone described as "breathless."

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A real-time clock on the "Life in a Day" channel, counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds should help you get in the mood. "If your footage makes it into the finished film, you'll be credited as a co-director and you could be one of 20 contributors brought to Sundance to celebrate" — but not get paid.

The non-get-paid part isn't information readily available in the guidelines. Variety reported that the LG Electronics-supported project won't be sold to a studio, and winning contributors won't be paid.

Viewers won't have to pay to see it either, since it'll be showing for free on YouTube. And with Kevin Macdonald ("Last King of Scotland") directing and Ridley Scott ("Blade Runner" FTW!) executive producing, you know you've wasted minutes of your life and company time watching worse — way worse — on the video-sharing site.

You've also seen some pretty amazing things on YouTube as well, and not just the brilliant "Slap Chop Rap" or "Bacon Is Good for Me — The Remix."

Clicking through all the millions of hours of future "Tosh.0" fodder, it's not unusual to stumble upon someone's videotaped moment in time that will touch even the snarkiest of hearts: A little girl shouting affirmations into a bathroom mirror, a bunny fighting a snake, some dude in a bandana pushing three pugs on a baby swing (which, FYI, was much sweeter without the soundtrack).

Despite a cynic's first instinct to write off Macdonald's video description of the project, a "record of what it's like to be alive on that day," as sentimental, this could be way cool. The project's guidelines are fairly basic: Be imaginative, make it personal, be visual, etc.

Language isn't a problem, but participants are asked to avoid inadvertent product placements, "such as cans of Coke, a mural of Homer Simpson," and to steer clear of copyrighted material including TV, movie or music clips. Also, high resolution footage is best.

Participants can upload videos (as many as you want) to YouTube's "Life in a Day" channel between July 24 and July 31, where others can view your work whether it makes the final selection or not. Go get 'em!

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