Saturday, March 04, 2006

An Open Letter to Canon

This is an almost-ready draft of the letter I'll be sending to Canon on Monday. Wish me luck.

Canon U.S.A., Inc.

One Canon Plaza

Lake Success, NY 11042

Dear Sir or Madam:

I'm looking for Canon's help. You see, a week or so ago, I had a conversation with a woman who introduced herself as the chief financial officer of a company working with IMAX film. Her company opens and operates IMAX theaters in a variety of locations and has also participated in film production. It was the production part of her work that most interested me, as I am a student currently working toward acceptance into a visual anthropology graduate program within the next couple of years. I have high hopes for a meaningful career in documentary filmmaking.

The conversation moved to how I had discovered my interest and talent in the field, and how I was getting ready to apply to such competitive schools. I told her that I’d done some independent documentary work on any equipment I could borrow and that that work had helped me find a job filming and interviewing for Brigham Young University, where I’m a senior. I also told her I’m trying to best prepare for graduate work by participating in an anthropology field study in northern India, where the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan government are stationed. Moreover, I told her my real objective went beyond just written research: the project merited a film.

Probably thanks to her CFO position, without missing a beat she asked, “Who’s paying for that?” And I had to admit that, at least in part, I didn’t know. On top of taking a full-time course load, I’d been working three jobs – two on campus and one off – to be able to afford airfare and tuition, and at least those two expenses would be taken care of. Living expenses were still up in the air but wouldn’t present too big of a problem. The film equipment, of course, was another matter. Despite my very best efforts, raising the funds for tape, sound equipment, and above all a camera capable of producing satisfactory footage has simply proven impossible.

Her response was, “You should write to Sony!” And after hearing stories of how she’d sought corporate assistance in her professional life and even before, I had to admit contacting a corporation was an excellent idea. But not Sony! My current off-campus job uses Sony’s HVR-Z1U cameras, and while HD was beautiful and all, and as much as I do want to shoot in 16:9 like HD allows, I just hadn’t gotten the same feel from Sony as I had from your XL1 while working for BYU in the past. I resolved to contact you instead.

So even if this is idealistic, I’m asking for Canon’s help. If there’s a digital video camera that your company can spare to jump-start one student’s career, will you consider sending it for this project? My dream is to shoot on an XL2, but of course I’ll appreciate anything you’re able to donate, new or used. I’m afraid I can’t do much, but I would absolutely love to credit you at Canon for your generosity in the film. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.


Nephi (full name withheld)

A Canon Digital Fan

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