Talk:Film project aims to raise £1 million to make a Creative Commons-licensed film
Original Reporting edit
Interview with Matt Hanson edit
Your answers. Hope you like...
What was your inspiration behind the project and why did you decide to ask for donations?
Two things really: one, the idea of Web 2.0, and the evolving social and collaborative communities on the Internet, and two, the first book I wrote which is a sort of manifesto on the future of film in the digital age, called The End of Celluloid. I wanted to put into practice what I’ve been preaching as a film futurist for ten years (I created the world's largest digital film festival back in 1996 which is still going) and the technology and Internet infrastructure has just really caught up with that vision now for me to put it into practice.
I’m not asking for donations, but offering a £25 subscription to the Swarm: rather than the ‘many producer’ model, this is more of an ‘smart consumer’ model: people get access to a range of project media, from the film itself as well as spin-off podcasts, video and merchandise. Members can also help implement and bring their expertise into play so become more actively involved in the production. They are buying into an experience, taking part in a media art experiment, rather than simply handing over £25 for a couple of CDs, or a special edition DVD.
How important do yout think it is that your finished movie will be available for free distribution and for other people to remix?
I want A Swarm of Angels to be a landmark project in remix culture. Digital technology is so good at replicating data/media, and the younger generation is far more used to being involved and interacting with entertainment. So why not free it? Reinvent film, so people can remix it freely (they are already doing this with the Phantom Edit, the Star Wars reedit, and all the Trailer mashups online – but A Swarm of Angels makes this far more fundamental to the process, and legal). At the end of the project I would love to have an event that showcased five wildly different versions of the film, different visions from people other than my definitive initial edit. I’ve produced VJ events in the past that created ‘live films’. So this is an artistic experiment, that other people can utilise too. By giving it away for free for personal use we are showing that you can create a new type of commercial model for filmmaking (commercial use isn't free: so tv stations for example still need to pay for rights to show it)
How much of the project will be your own creative input and direction, and how much will come from members of ‘the swarm’?
My vision will lead the project forward and define the parameters, but the Swarm can influence that (and indeed offer improvements or insights one might not think of alone). Remember filmmaking is always a team effort. Whether you are Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick or Jean Luc Godard you promote people within the project that will complement and bring something extra to the vision of the film. Give it more life. With the Swarm we are making that process more democratic, and giving a wider range of people an opportunity to shine and have creative input. Even if you have no filmmaking expertise, you still get your voice heard, and can make an impact by voting on key creative decisions, such as which of the two initial scripts go forward into production.
If your project is successful and you get the million pounds, do you envisage lots of other films copying your model, and how sustainable do you think that would be?
I think the project is already successful—we’ve gathered over 600 subscribers already in the most difficult stage of the project when the film is at its most ‘intangible’, and the only promotion has really been through select blogs on the Internet. We haven’t touched ‘mainstream media’ yet. This is a deliberate way to get to the 1000 mark of a 'development community'. We are scaling it up gradually. The membership rounds and funding go in phases. But to get to the target of a million pounds which needs 50,000 members, momentum needs to pick up once more of the script and creative elements are in place. Getting to the 1000 mark is the hardest of the phases actually, closely followed by the next phase, up to 5000 members.
Of course, I already expect people to copy the model we are inventing with A Swarm of Angels. It’s a perfect way to create cult media, where the director gets more creative control and organically funds a project, and the Swarm and fans of the project get more involvement within it. It becomes a much more immersive and rewarding experience for everyone.
Definite limits to the model exist though: I don’t know how it would scale up from a million pounds, even though a million pounds in the sense of this project with the savings that can be made from going the all-digital route make it equivalent to a $3-4 million dollar film. But that’s a decent budget for an indie film. If the market gets too crowded with these projects, then they’ll have to be packaged differently to stand out. But that’s what traditional film and media projects need to do anyway.
Also, just in terms of me gathering information for the piece, what kind of film do you think it will be, and rougly how do you think the budget would be spent?
The film will be a thriller with soft science fiction elements – this suits our target audience, and everyone likes a thriller (it’s the most common genre). But it will have an indie edginess to it, and be far more visually inventive than you would get with a ‘normal’ British independent feature. I found a great term for this type of film on Wikipedia applied to books – slipstream literature. It falls in the gap between mainstream literature and science fiction writing, and is most defined by having a ‘strangeness’.
In terms of budget: it will be the same as a ‘normal’ professionally produced film, except for the fact we can get more value for our money by using cutting edge digital technologies, and using an all-digital route to our audience. We don’t have to worry about distributing it, or making celluloid prints: that belongs to the last century.
Will you be employing professionals on the project, or using entirely volunteers? And will you be shooting on digital or film?
Professionals have already signed up to the Swarm: we have screenwriters, set builders, visual effects and animation people, cameramen etc. They are as interested in this new way of working as the people outside the industry. Priority will go to qualified members of the Swarm in terms of crewing the pic, but we want to give the volunteers (who if they get chosen for a role will get paid like the pro’s) a chance too. This is a great way to break into the movie industry for people. I’ll be using professional actors, and filling in the gaps in the production if I can’t get the right person from the Swarm.
Of course, we’ll be shooting digitally, and distributing digitally – this is filmmaking for the digital age after all. I expect the film to be projected digitally too. The Film Council is just putting into place a digital projection network in the UK, and most other countries are doing the same. But unlike many other filmmakers I’m not wedded to cinema projection as the ‘be all and end all’. I’m much more excited about people viewing remixed versions on their video ipods, and downloading the film through bittorrent and p2p networks.
Talking to some members of the project edit
-I'm writing up an article on the Swarm of Angels project for Wikinews and -BBC News online.
-Can I just ask why you decided to become a member? What was your main -motivation, when you can get the finished film for free anyway?
I'm sorry if I missed your deadline...I hope not.
Like I told Matt, I came across the project on BoingBoing.net, which I recently started reading with more frequency. The post focused on the collaborative aspect of the project, but also name-dropped Warren Ellis, whose writing I love (Transmetropolitan, in particular). His faith in the project is one thing, but I really took to the project description on the page, and see the potential in this new way of producing media.
I had participated in a similar project that the German industrial band, Einsturezende Neubauten did to produce their (second?) last album. The creative process wasn't as open, and I don't remember even taking advantage of all the exclusive online recording session videos, or special rereleases of unreleased material, etc. I believe that for that project, I just felt it was important to contribute monetarily to realize a project by a band that I enjoy under new conditions. In the end, it became apparent that they had undertaken the process a bit willynilly, and the resulting original copy of the album (including a poster with our names on it) was lost in the post. Disillusioned, yes, but if it's done right, I think this sort of process might lead to much better (or at least more appealing to my friends and me) media. Think of it as opensource production.
If we look at it economically, though I'm hesitant to put an artistic venture in this light, imagine the financial contribution as the added value derived from a product. For example, the movie Serenity, or even Ellis' Transmet, two projects I LOVE, are worth much more to me than the going market- rate for such products. I'm willing to invest my time and money to see these artists realize their vision, even if I'm an unemployed expat in South America. With Ellis and the Kleptones on board, their sign of appro- val gives me some sort of faith that Matt can make something really good, independently of the collaborative process, which adds another layer. So, it comes down to this process filling a consumer niche for cultural/art works in much the same way those sites that bring together venture capitalists and inventor-entrepeneurs do. It's just that I'm willing to forego future profits, because I'll enjoy the work so much more.
I'm also looking into this type of process to get a good idea for a website I'd like to realize in the near future...nothing so complex as ASOA, but it serves as good inspiration.
Sorry to be so long-winded. Again, I hope this helps.
Which cc license? edit
- Since it sort of emphasizes the cc part, should we mention elephants dream somewhere in it? Bawolff ☺☻ 20:05, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
"licenced" => "licensed" (in BE the verb is "to license" and the noun is "a licence". Typo is in the title as it is used as a verb there; in the article itself it is used as a noun) Van der Hoorn (talk) 23:35, 17 March 2009 (UTC)