[Who We Are Title]

Sundance 2011

Sundance 2011 is the third film festival for which I have volunteered. Working for Sundance is the height of my winter. This year even more so.

One of the Sundance corporate sponsors is Canon, the camera company. As part of their Story Beyond the Still project, Canon were giving away a 60D digital SLR camera kit each day of the Festival. To do this, their street team visited the various venues giving away keys that might (or might not) open the lock to a chest that they had at their booth in the Sundance Co-op. Get a key, open the lock, win that day's camera. Simple.

I saw the street team on the first Friday of the Festival and got my first key. I had just gotten out of the noon screening of Knuckle at the Holiday (my venue) and had enough time to pop up to Main Street, try the key in the lock, and get back before my shift. So I did.

At the Canon booth (actually a small room upstairs in the co-op building), there was the chest (really an antique steamer trunk) with a big old lock on it. Nothing for it but to get down on my knees and try my key. The key went into the lock, turned to the right but there wasn't a click or any resistance so I turned the key to the left. Still no click or resistance so I gave the lock a tug and it opened right up. This, much to the astonishment of the Booth Team and to me. I was astonished because I never win things like this. Never. As for the Booth Team, I think that their astonishment happened because I was, if I was not the first, I was certainly among the very first to try the lock.

Because I never win things like this and because they said that they had just put something in the chest, it seemed appropriate for us to relock the lock and for me to try again. After they ensured that the lock was well and truly locked, I tried again. This time I could not open the lock. See? I don't win things like this.

When I got back to the Holiday, the street team were still there so I got to tell them this story. In fact, I told the story several more times throughout the Festival.

The Street Team must have been sympathetic because a couple of days later one of them gave me his Canon logo scarf. I wore the scarf for much of the rest of the festival but almost lost it in a quick dash to catch a bus. Fortunately, someone at the bus stop saw it fly off and handed it into the bus just before the doors closed. I then got to tell the story again to my seat companion.

On Thursday 27th January, Susan and Patti spent the day at Sundance and used the Volunteer Guest Vouchers that I get as a full time volunteer. They had a good day. So did I.

That Thursday, as I stood in the ticket-holder line at Holiday waiting to see the 1130 screening of Little Birds, the Canon Street Team guys came through the tent handing out keys. They asked me if I wanted to try again. I tried to put them off: I'm going to see this film, then I'm going to get lunch, then I'm going to work my shift, so I won't have time to get up to Main Street to try the keys. They gave me keys anyway: "Check it out," they said and then took my picture.

The real key was obviously the real key and it was in my hand. But now my conscience was troubled. Because the real key is obviously the real key, the Street Team must know, without a doubt, when they give it away. So they get to choose to whom they give the key. Were they thinking that I should have gotten a camera on the first day when I opened the lock even though it hadn't been properly secured? Were they then "making up" for that? Was it right for them then to give me the key to ensure that I got the camera? Am I making too much of this?

Unable to come to an instant decision, I stayed in the queue, saw the film - I wasn't able to give it as much attention as I should have - and then ducked out of the theater before the Q&A and headed off to catch the bus to Main Street. My conscience still bothering me, I turned back before getting to the bus stop, had my lunch, and reported for my shift.

Many of my team members in the tent thought that I should have gotten a camera on Friday and it was this that persuaded me to ask for time off during an idle time in my shift so that I could go to Main Street and try the key that I knew would open the lock.

First I checked to make sure that the lock was really locked. Then I turned the key to the right. The lock did not open. Then, as on the Friday before, I turned the key to the left. This time there was resistance and a click, and I pulled the lock open.

It would have been nice to hang around and savor my luck but I did need to get back to my shift. So, after a few photos and some paperwork, I left with the promise that Canon would contact me. At the time of this writing, 2011 Feb 06, I haven't yet heard from Canon. I would hope that they haven't forgotten me and that I will hear from them in the next week or so. Failing that, I will try to figure out who at Canon to talk to.


[What's the Story Beyond this Key?] [What's the Story Beyond this Key?] [Opening the Chest on the First Friday] [Another Key to Try] [This Time the Real Key]
[Showing the Real Key] [Unlocking the Lock] [See? It's Unlocked] [The Official Unlocked Lock Photo] [Canon's Facebook Wall Photo]
[And the Paperwork]


Update 2011 Feb 28:

I've heard nothing from Canon. There is some evidence on Canon's TSBTS Facebook page that I am not the only one who hasn't been contacted though at least one has been. I sent an email to a public relations email address I found on their web site this morning. Guess we'll see what happens.

Update 2011 Mar 07:

Still nothing from Canon. This morning I sent another email to the public relations email address with a copy to wherever their web webform mail goes. I did get an automated response to that one so I know that that message was received by something.

Update 2011 Mar 08:

When I got back from running some errands there was a message on my answering machine from Canon Customer Relations. I'll call them back tomorrow.

Update 2011 Mar 09:

Added photos of the key that opened the lock on the first Friday. Called the phone number that Canon left on my answering machine. We're playing phone tag. I did not receive a call back today. On Canon's TSBTS Facebook page today, two of the winners report that they have just received their cameras.

Update 2011 Mar 10:

Got a callback from Canon Customer Relations. Lisa is hot on the trail. I hope.

Update 2011 Apr 04:

Yay! Got an email from Hayley at a place in New York called Alliance Agency. Alliance is Canon's promotional agency. She had sent this same email on 2011 February 08. Unfortunately it went to rio.oso.com so, of course, I didn't get it. More paperwork that had to be notarized. I've sent that off so my prize should be here soon. Alliance's Canon:TSBTS Facebook page.

Update 2011 May 06:

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! It's here! Yay!

The camera actually shipped on 22nd April and arrived at my Salt Lake address on the 26th - one day shy of three months since I opened the lock way back in January. Didn't know that it was there until today. So now that it's here, the battery is charging as I write this but there's still a problem: no memory card. The camera kit doesn't include a memory card. Argh! Now I've got to figure out what and where to get memory cards. Bother.

Some of the pictures on this page were lifted from Canon's Story Beyond the Still Facebook pages.


Last modified: 2011 Sep 19 1517:40 UTC