Write a screenplay, win prizes and grow to love Vista

Love Microsoft or hate Microsoft, you have to admit that it can often rise to genius level when it comes to marketing.

Whereas Cisco has created a completely dorky videogame and has organized a big cash-prize tournament for the game to promote its latest router, Microsoft's scheme to promote Vista has more panache. It launched a "collaborative" film competition called Ultimate Video Relay. Award-winning director, Kyle Newman, has begun a film (Act 1: The Cube video) Contest entrants are invited to submit an Act 2 to the script that continues the story (by May 19). Later the contest will call for entries for Act 3 (to be submitted by July 21).

The Ultimate Video Relay was created in conjunction with the UltimatePC site, a Microsoft site dedicated to convincing folks how cool Vista is.

Six finalists per act will be selected and Microsoft will outfit them with what they require to bring their script to film.  Then, in true reality TV style, voters will choose the final videos as winners (registration is required to vote). Arstechnica reports that the prizes include a Falcon DRX laptop, a Sony HDR-SR11 Handycam, Pinnacle Studio editing software, and of course a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate. Both acts must be 2-4 minutes in length, must be in 16:9 aspect ratio, and must be filmed and edited using the prize package provided.

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