At the early stages of the development of Digital Cribs we knew that we wanted to do a project with several leading film schools to see how aspiring filmakers would interpret the”Digital Cribs” mission. We very quickly settled on two of the top programs in the world, NYU Kanbar Institute of Film & Television and USC School of Cinematic Arts.I recently visited both campuses to attend the students treatment pitches. For two days I felt like a high-powered production executive with the ability to greenlight a project or doom it to an early death. This feeling of power was short-lived when I couldn’t find anyone to get me a soy, double mocha latte or secure me a reservation at the Rainbow Room or the Ivy. Nothing brings you back to earth faster than realizing you don’t have any”people” to do your bidding. Alas I returned to my normal life as a Cisco marketer.A project like this is fraught with uncertainty. You’re relinquishing control (and final edit) and placing it in the hands of a group of people that certainly have potential for great things and budding capabilities, but lack the inate understanding of the program and the eventual audience. On the other hand, you are able to release the creative energy of a diverse group of emerging storytellers capable of taking the program in a fresh new direction. The problem is that at the outset you have no idea which of these two outcomes you’re going to get. As a result it gets a little stressful.Thankfully I was very impressed by the performance of the students. They were able to develop compelling story arcs and pitch their ideas in creative ways. Most impressive was the casting decisions that the students had made. By leveraging their personal networks and in some cases cold calling strangers they were able to line up an impressive list of subjects including:1. An Emmy award winning composer2. A New York Times best selling author3. An up and coming Hollywood director4. A rap group on the rise5. A popular comedianetc.The students have until mid-December to complete and submit their final film. In total they will create (16) episodes. To determine the winners from each school we will be hosting community voting on the Digital Cribs site from mid-December to the end of January. Prize money awarded will be proportional to the percentage of votes that each film receives from visitors to the digitalcribs.com site.Click here to check out the current episodes of Digital Cribs.