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Creative Commons Filmmaking Remixes Modern Cinema 114

mjeppsen writes, "Filmmaking experiment A Swarm Of Angels aims to create and distribute the first collaborative film released under a Creative Commons license. The project is using community participation and funding to make a film that would traditionally cost $3–4 million for a mere $1.75 million. The entire filmmaking process will be collaborative, from Wiki-based script creation to community voting on creative and marketing decisions. Is this just a scheme by the filmmakers to get funding for a pet project, or is it Hollywood's worst nightmare? More importantly, can 'open-source films' develop into a sustainable financial model?"
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Creative Commons Filmmaking Remixes Modern Cinema

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    With half of the 50.000 expected contributers buying a DVD, a shirt or something like that they'll make already quite a lot of money. Sounds doable!
    • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:44AM (#16575392)
      With half of the 50.000 expected contributers buying a DVD, a shirt or something like that they'll make already quite a lot of money. Sounds doable!

      We call that the "Community Theatre" model. You figure that every kid in the cast has at minimum five friends/family members who will be buying tickets. (The old mantra "Everybody gets a part" really means "We want to make as much money as possible.")

      Which is to say, yah, it's a valid business model, but is it valid entertainment?

      Since I'm about as anxious to see a wiki-communal-collaborative-online-cluster-film as I am to see the Podunk Town Players put on "Oklahoma!," my guess would be no.
      • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:54AM (#16576048)
        "Community Theatre Model" - well pointed out.

        I think you slightly miss the point about community theatre, I don't think it's just a money making dodge. I think there's consciousness that it's more than just the entertainment and that the show offered might be less polished than a professional performance but there are other side benefits. People in the village/community and the participants know there is a reason for not just hiring a professional group - they are getting something out of it, whether its fun, having their 5 minutes of fame, job training, peacemaking between sub-communities that are in conflict, therapy etc. I think people generally appreciate their six months of one night a week rehearsals isn't going to make them as good an opera singer as Maria Callas. Sometimes people involve everybody to make more money but I'd day usually any money made gets ploughed back into the community or pays central crew a little bit for their time. I don't see many 'community theatre workers" in Forbes rich list.

        So I think you make a good parallel - is there a similar process at work here -do the participants get to learn film making, get their 5 minutes of fame? But this doesn't necessarily mean it will be as good entertainment for non-involved viewers. Let's see. Wildcards happen.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 )
          I think the point that is missed is:

          Who gives a flying fuck about a business model? I mean, really... if every participant involved enjoys what they're doing, they collectively get the equipment without sacrifices they aren't prepared to make, and they produce entertainment or art that people can enjoy, who cares if there's a business model? Not everything has to be a business.

          You know... what should be expected is that good non-commercial art WON'T be appreciated by everyone. Only pulpy Hollywood crap t
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
        answer is no. Sorry but when shooting a film the brunt of it and the biggest expense is the shooting, and you cant do that all over the planet, nothing like having the protagonist character being played by 30 different people all dressed the same way.

        you CANT do this on a film that will have any semblance of continuity. your core cast must be in the movie from beginning to end and even switching DP's will screw up a films feel. you need the same guy running the camer the same guy doing lighting, etc... o
        • Sorry but when shooting a film the brunt of it and the biggest expense is the shooting, and you cant do that all over the planet, nothing like having the protagonist character being played by 30 different people all dressed the same way.
          Depends on the character. Chewbacca could very well be played by 20 different people without it having much of an impact (aka "the Chewbacca rebuttal") :)

          Or maybe it all happens at the bottom of a well and all they have is one match...
        • by Znork ( 31774 )
          "and you cant do that all over the planet,"

          Wanna bet? Personally, I can recall a certain zero budget film that even had shots in space.

          Or, wait, did they use CGI and bluescreen?

          Technology has advanced to the point where most films could plausibly be made in a livingroom. You could get away with scenes with actors who'd never even been in the same room, or even in the same country. Maybe not fistfights or lovescenes yet, but within a few years you'll probably even be able to paste on the appearance of a sp
      • by Anonymous Coward
        If you read a few posts you realise members get much more input into the filmmaking process, but that all the decisions are filtered by the filmmaking team, and they have veto power.

        So it is not a free for all of community ideas, but a member cluster that help influence and feedback on the directors vision. It plainly says he is writing the 2 initial scripts, but then members can present edits on a wiki and propose ideas/discussion on the forum.
      • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:19AM (#16577512) Homepage
        I'm sick of those rich community theater fatcats running the whole town...

        'The old mantra "Everybody gets a part" really means "We want to make as much money as possible."'

        I've worked in community theater. The mantra is more like 'we want to have a snowball's chance in hell of not going bankrupt on this production
      • You'd be surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

        by wsanders ( 114993 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @12:47PM (#16580288) Homepage
        You'd be surprised how many of these "Hey Kid's Let Put on a Show" productions are commerically viable.

        In my area, ALL of the "ethnic" (Indian, Filipino, Balinese, etc) music and dance productions are run this way, and the production values are top notch. This isn't the Podunk Town Players - for example, Austin Texas has (or used to have) a world-class Gagaku (Japanese) ensemble.

        Maybe THIS is an example of "The Long Tail" (for which I got a mod point once for arguing that it applied to the Real World as much as the Internet). No, the local high school isn't going to produce "Lethal Weapon VI" or a Madonna album, but who needs that junk? There is more joy in producing than consuming.

  • One (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wellington Grey ( 942717 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:22AM (#16574808) Homepage Journal
    Wiki-based script creation

    I don't doubt that you could get an OK or even good script by committee, but I think to get a great movie, you need one mind unhindered by others. (But you also get A LOT more junk that way)

    -Grey []
    • I don't doubt that you could get an OK or even good script by committee, but I think to get a great movie, you need one mind unhindered by others. (But you also get A LOT more junk that way)

      I think you can produce a workable script through committee writing, but there are going to be serious tradeoffs when you produce a script this way; most really stupid ideas will be noticed early on and eliminated (the immaculate conception of Darth Vader), but at the same time the more people you add the more generic th
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      1. Some kind of hybrid approach might be interesting; start with the actors and a character profile for each, then throw the plot events at them sequentially, and record what they say.
      2. Editing follows, tweaking the dialogue to be more "in character". You could just record a good RPG session, and then make a script.
      3. Can I get a business model patent on this?
      4. ...
      5. Profit!!!
      • Re:One (Score:5, Insightful)

        by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@yahF ... m minus language> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:50AM (#16575442)
        1. Some kind of hybrid approach might be interesting; start with the actors and a character profile for each, then throw the plot events at them sequentially, and record what they say.
        2. Editing follows, tweaking the dialogue to be more "in character". You could just record a good RPG session, and then make a script.
        3. Can I get a business model patent on this?

        Pretty sure Mike Leigh would have prior art on you, as this is the way he's been working for 20 years.

        The "problem" is all of these approaches have unintended consequences. In Mike Leigh's case, some consider his films beautiful pieces of humanistic character studies, while others have noted that the characters resulting from this method of writing and directing all seem to be comprised of a series of tourettes-like tics rather than real character traits. Even though he works with some of the best actors in the world, it's apparently difficult for them to resist trying to define their characters through idiosyncracies. It makes them harder to relate to.

        Still, though, Mike Leigh's way of working still relies on singular artistic vision - his for the film as a whole, his actors' for the characters and dialogue. The truly collaborative approach being talked about here is nothing new - in fact it's the standard Hollywood method, and it's why we end up having so many generic action movies in the summer. Not every Hollywood film is the same, but the big-budget ones all end up with about 50 people getting their hands on the script before it's done, and while they may have one director, he answers to about 10 different people himself, all of whom have the power to make creative decisions. I don't know the last time the article submitter here checked the credits list on a Hollywood film, but they are all "collaborative" projects and they all involve an endless series of compromises between all the parties involved.

        So I wouldn't say this is Hollywood's "worst nightmare". I'm sure Hollywood couldn't care less, but if they did, they'd probably be saying "welcome to our world". That budget is going to balloon, there's going to be endless bickering, and in the end I doubt this film is going to get made. If it does, it will be as generic as any Hollywood summer schlock. Because this isn't the anti-Hollywood method, this *is* the Hollywood method.

        Look at it this way. Out of any 100 people, 5 may be truly creative. 1 out of those 5 may be both creative and have leadership qualities. The film made by that one person would be amazing; the film made by the other 4 out of the 5 creatives would be uneven but still interesting, the films made by the remaining 95 would be dreck. That's an ideal world. When you put all 100 people together to work on one film as true equals, the 95 uncreative people are going to drown out the 5 creatives, and you're going to end up with crap. Or nothing. But there's no possibility of getting any quality out of this. It's always better to rely on a singular vision in art, even if you have to hunt for the true gems.
    • Clearly not true. The script for Wikipedia, the movie [] is coming along great

    • Or lots of minds thinking the same way...

      Heroine: "I've arrived at last"

      Hero: "I can't help feeling things are just starting to get hot"

      Hero: "Do you want grits with them?"

      Heroine: "yeah right, only in Soviet Russia would you say that"

      Hero: "but in Russia, all your bases belong to us now"

      yeah, maybe we shoud stick to the tried and tried and tried Hollywood formula plots.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      Wiki-based script creation

      I don't doubt that you could get an OK or even good script by committee, but I think to get a great movie, you need one mind unhindered by others. (But you also get A LOT more junk that way)

      I wish them luck, but this seems like an incredibly bad idea to me for a variety of reasons.
      1) Most of the public will never hear about this. This means that those who do know about it and participate are unlikely to have what for lack of a better term I will call "common tastes". I can just
    • "I don't doubt that you could get an OK or even good script by committee,"

      Not really a problem as the script doesn't appear to be that open to involvement from the swarm. I joined the project when it made it onto Digg a couple or three weeks ago (and this isn't a dig(!) at Slashdot because I question whether it should be getting a mention anywhere.) and looked through the forums. I was member 780-ish of the proposed 1000 before membership is closed for phase 1. I went on the forums that constitute the bulk

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      If you want a good rule-of-thumb in film criticism, it's this: The more writers that are involved in the script, the shittier the end result will be. 1,000 mediocre writers working together DO NOT compare to just one GOOD writer working alone.


    • Did you know the number of angel swarms [] has tripled in the past six months?
    • by sootman ( 158191 )
      Wiki-based script? Sweet! At least it'll have lots of nudity!
    • Agreed. Just a few days ago, Jimmy Wales asked what works we should wikify for $100M. Many people listed research papers and classic novels. What they forgot is that public domain (something everything should be in after the author dies) and wikification of original works (mutilating an artistic vision by havign 20 different ones in one work) are not the same thing. Wikis are for "just the facts, maam."
  • by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:25AM (#16574844) Homepage
    The entire filmmaking process will be collaborative, from Wiki-based script creation to community voting on creative and marketing decisions.

    Filmmaking by committee. I smell success already.
    • Filmmaking by committee. I smell success already.

      ...and you think Hollywood movies are made by individuals?
      • ..and you think Hollywood movies are made by individuals?


        But neither do you have to be an academic to understand what is distinctive about a John Ford western or a Hitchcock thriller.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:29AM (#16574864)
    Your time is now.

    Get on over to that script wiki, treat us to some nice hot grits and make cinema history with goatse.
  • came under both a scripted hacking attack which meant the forum had to be restored from scratch

    Looks like they could do with help from some open source sysadmins.

  • With 1.75 million dollars, you could create some good nerd pornography. Imagine some big mainframe (1.000.000 dollars), a decent hosting environment (500.000 dollars), some specialists setting it up (200.000 dollars), fast food for weeks (40.000 dollars) and some street hookers serving the eyegalls wearing identification models in front of terminals (I'd write "priceless", if it weren't for all the asking I'd get about locations).

    Writing a script for that shouldn't be all to hard, recursively searching th

    • I'm sold. Who should I make the check payable to?
    • Add in:

      Sharks with lasers (action sequence)
      Natalie Portman (hottie)
      Hot Grits (food)
      Petrification (horror)
      a deja vu scene (dupes)
      an Apple/PC commercial (flamewar)
      beowulf reference (classic poetry)
      basements .... etc

      Okay, you can leave out, thank you very much.
  • Probably not. Some things are better done by consensus - running a country comes to mind. Creative endeavours do not come to mind as one of them. At best, small groups of like-minded individuals working together might achieve something remarkable but anything larger will end up diluting the original thinking of the few in favour of keeping everyone happy. I feel sure that the /. community can name a few successful collaborations between two or more people but usually its one gifted individual making a quant
    • Einstein's original work was a collaboration with Mrs Einstein #1. They got divorced when he won the Nobel. He got the award and she, I believe got most of the prize money in exchnage for staying out of it. Darwin cannot be understood without knowing about his grandfather, Erasmus, who gave him most of his ideas; Darwin basically found the evidence. You didn't mention Shakespeare, but he was an actor/manager whose plays were presumably polished by the actors involved (and he borrowed most of his plots anywa
      • I didn't say that one single individual was solely responsible for all advances in any particular field. I said that gifted individuals are capable of making quantum leaps if unencumbered by committees. The clearest examples of single creative individuals are arguably novelists. Of course they draw inspiration from past writers and knowledge from the society they live in but it is the way they synthesise it that makes it possible to take the next leap forward. Human beings work best in communities and but t
    • but usually its one gifted individual making a quantum leap. Examples might include Einstein, Shakespeare, Darwin, even George Lucas
      Please tell me that last one was a joke.
      • Kind of a joke. George Lucas makes films so bad they're goodddd.... The Star Wars series may totally suck but they have now occupied permanent headspace in my brain... argh...
  • Hah. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by matt me ( 850665 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:34AM (#16574908) []
    What happened to freedom 0? No commercial usage. That's more restrictive than disney. These guys are *afraid* of putting their work in the public domain. What do they think will be done with it, if it's not going to be employed commercially? They've restricted their success, the film won't go anywhere beyond this internet without it. To succeed they must let their work pass from amateur to professional, which means allowing commercial use.
    • by xzvf ( 924443 )
      Not only what you say, but this process agressively pushes out certain voices that speak to the non-wiki crowd. What you'll get is an opinionated troll film. This is off topic, but CC needs to expand it's horizons. The CC presentation at SF LinuxWorld could be argued to be leftist and anti Christian. If you want a political movement you have to mainstream. Electronic voting issues are now national news because it involved populist ideals with liberal geekdom. Net neutrality has gained steam in it's up
    • by arose ( 644256 )
      That's more restrictive than disney.
      Yeah, sure.
    • by fwarren ( 579763 )
      Yes, and amazingly enough, commercial endevors have the right to say "don't pirate our work", or to ask Congress to extend the copyright peroid to keep their cash cows from rolling into the public domain. These people have the right to lock their work away from being used commercially.

      Weather it is really a good idea to do this or not, well, that is another story....

  • Not the first. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:42AM (#16574952)
    They're not the first to do such a thing, "Elephants dream" done by some dutch school is mostly open too: [], and with a lot less budget. Although the people who worked on ithis were selected in advance.
    • Only Elephants Dream was like seven minutes long while the typical hollywood flick is over 60.
      • by orasio ( 188021 )
        Beautiful seven minutes.
        • Agreed, even though I have some reservations on the lip-sync. Read in an interview later that it was because they had done the lip animations before the speech-track, which is an excusable mistake since they're students and their first time doing this stuff.

          Overall I think it was a good thing, hopefully good for the university that did it and that they'll do it again. After all, it had great attention in the OSS-world, largest swarm I've ever seen on a torrent.
  • You have to pay (Score:5, Informative)

    by Adam Hazzlebank ( 970369 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:42AM (#16574962)
    The summary doesn't mention that you have to pay at least 25GBP to become a member.
    • Yea, I gasped when I read that in their FAQ. They want to get 50000 people into the project, which in turn will provide them with the 1 million GBP budget to make this movie..

      As I understand you'll pay 25 GBP (that's 37.29 Euros, 46.93 US$ or 2360.40 Afghanistan Afghanis) to be part of a swarm of people producing a movie that everyone will eventually more or less agree on?!
      • Can you imagine sitting through the credits, trying to look for your name? After all you paid 25 GBP, you expect your name on the credits - along with 50,000 other people + everyone else involved.
        • Hehe, maybe they will hire Peter Griffin who will recite the names of all 50000 people in less than a quarter of a second, though it may sound just like a loud yelp to the untrained ear..

          Or they will have a screen at the end in which each participant is represented by a pixel; and best of all everyone will get to chose which color they want to be, all for just 25.. - they should have gone for 24.99 GBP...

          Sorry for being cynical, but I had high hopes after reading the title. A Creative Commons movie is a
  • by LetterRip ( 30937 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:49AM (#16575016)
    I'd rather fund something like another Blender Foundation film project. With Elephants Dream we got massive improvements to Blender, a large amount of high quality textures that could be used in our own works, production files that could be learned from, as well an 'advertisement' demonstrating that Blender and other open source tools (GIMP, Subversion) were capable of generating production quality work. With "A Swarm of Angels" I don't see it as likely to drive improvements for any creative tools, nor does it appear that it would provide any resources useful for either learning nor as an input of content to other work.

    Is there something I'm missing about "A Swarm of Angels" that would make it a 'good idea'?

    LetterRip (A dedicated Blenderhead )
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      I agree, I have not been into 3d and blender much lately but I still buy their stuff (got 3 copies of the book) to support them. Having used maya, lightwave and blender, blender is the future as it is actually accessable. (here comes the lightwave and maya fanboys to flame me for daring to mention their secret lovers)

      I have to support a project that allows some random kid to start into 3d without havign to become a criminal or mortgage the family home. and that alone makes blender far better than maya and
    • by sk8dork ( 842313 )
      could it not drive development of open source video editing software? they don't talk about this specifically, bit it's not impossible. i've used a couple of open source/free video editing suites and nothing really comes close to the commercial giants thus far. at least i'm talking about software i could run on a basic desktop system and not a linux/unix supercomputer. i could see this possibly doing for video editing software what elephants dream did for 3d modeling software (blender). maybe i'm wrong thou
  • Wrong question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by famebait ( 450028 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:51AM (#16575040)
    is it Hollywood's worst nightmare? More importantly, can 'open-source films' develop into a sustainable financial model?"

    is it audiences' worst nightmare? Can 'open-source films' develop into anything watchable?

    I guess it might, but only because individuals with a vision are allowed to mess with the material afterwards and do it again, properly. Of course by then the title will be tainted and noone will discover someone managed to make something good out of the turkey.
  • What's next.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sifi ( 170630 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:53AM (#16575058)
    Collective musical composition... Collective painting... I agree with the the posts saying that being creative by (a large) commitee is a non-starter. A better system would be to have a large number of people suggesting ideas and have a small number (one?) actually writing the script
    • Or maybe better: a small number of person doing the script and the takes, but lots of persons painting sets, creating models, doing some CGI.

      The script part is only a small fraction of the job, you should keep it consistent (and make sure that it is something the actors and director are actually wanting to shot), then look for volunteers to create what you need from sketches or detailed description. That way, you can use your talent+idea+leadership+hard work and the talent+pride of the geeks to make a good
  • The answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kentrel ( 526003 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:58AM (#16575084) Journal
    can 'open-source films' develop into a sustainable financial model?


  • So, They're only saving half the cost of the production?? With no big-name actors and 'community participation', I would have expected them to save a lot more. Maybe the real secret is that the funds are being used to pay their salaries, and it's not truly a work of the community as they suggest.

    But even if that's not true, and they're really spending so much money to rent the sets and equipment needed, what do we gain here? We've got a plot-by-committee, which is pretty much guaranteed to be even more c
  • by misterhypno ( 978442 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:24AM (#16575266)
    It's called "The studio system," where a bunch of people get together and form this "company," see, and call it a "studio."

    The "Studio" then hires a bunch of people who do the job of something called "writers," who actually write the initial form of something called a "treatment" which is the description of what the "movie" (which is short for moving picture, or motion picture) will be.

    The "Studio," actually, the people who own the "company CALLED "the Studio" then hand the "treatment" over to some OTHER people who then re-write the "treatment" into a form called a "script," which is what the actors and the guy who tells everybody what to do on the "set" (which is really everywhere the people from the "Studio" go to film the "movie") use to tell the story IN the original "treatment."

    The "Studio" then takes the "script" and gives it to ANOTHER bunch of people who then re-write the "script" to make it "more marketable," meaning that it is less like the original "treatment" or the original "script."

    This is done until the final "script" has NO resemblance to the original "treatment" or "script."

    Sometimes, a Studio will even take something called a "book," which is a story that is found printed on a bunch of pages glued together on one side to hold them together for easy carrying and reading.

    By the time the "book" has gone through the process above, it often has little similarity as a movie to the story in the book. For examples of that, see "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" from Disney Studios where the tragic ending in the book was changed to a HAPPY ending in the cartoon version and JFK starring Kevin Costner, which has only passing similarity to reality.

    Lee Darrow
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by jrobinson5 ( 974354 )
      Yes, I "totally" (completely, entirely) "agree" (a word meaning to concur or coincide) with "you" (misterhypno).
    • ...something called a "book," which is a story that is found printed on a bunch of pages glued together on one side to hold them together for easy carrying and reading.

      I'm going to call shenanigans on this one. Putting glue on one side of each page seems like it'd make reading this "book" thing even more difficult. Or perhaps it's a low-tack adhesive, like you find on sticky notes? I suppose that could work. And it sounds just like something the "studios" would come up with. After all, you wouldn't

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Infonaut ( 96956 )

      All of which makes you wonder how the good films get made. Usually, it's because someone with a really insistent vision, a buttload of money, and enough backing from the studio that they don't get messed with, is at the reins. This seems to be the exact opposite of the studio system so eloquently described by Lee, and of the collective method espoused by those wacky collectivists.

      Open Source offers great advantages. That doesn't mean it can be shoehorned into every situation.

  • by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:30AM (#16575310) Homepage
  • 1. Setup something to use this "open model" people preach,
    2. Don't really care about it, you don't want it to do well,
    3. It flubs/is canceled,
    4. Yell about how openness is useless,
    5. Pass laws,
    6. Profit!

    I maybe too cynical, but it's not like it's that far out-there. The RIAA has done worse.
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:35AM (#16575334)
    Because we all know that artistic and technical talent are democratically distributed throughout the teeming masses! This is taking democracy way too far. Didn't anyone learn from Snakes on a Plane? You need to find good, talented writers, not give every schmuck his or her chance to take a crack at it. How about using the wiki as a way to submit your work for review to see if you can make it as a contributor instead?

    But... but... that would destroy the democratic idealism!
    • I think you confuse democratic with communistic. In democratic, the works are submitted, voted on and done or not. In communistic, the works are submitted to a committee, they are mashed together into an unrecognizable mush, then they are continually revised by everyone until it mires in the mud and dies.
  • I'll just make the 'Making Of...' documentary of this...

  • Ok, the idea open source software I understand. The name and idea are derived from having open source code.
    What is an open source movie?
    Whats next, open source pet supplies?
    • Actually, the next big thing might be the open-source coke [], released under GPL. For those of legal age, I recommend the free (as in "free speech") beer [].
  • Ask Terry Gillham(sp?) whatever happened to his Man from La Manchia film. Better yet, watch the documentary "Lost in La Manchia'. And, that was with professionals.
  • For example, Napoleon Dynamite was made for around $500K, as was Brick. This isn't unsual at all. In fact, $1 million is the comfortable minimum for producing a low-budget movie shot on film.

    As for this "film production by committee" approach, I already since a disaster, especially with how they plan to develop a script.

    A better idea would be to hold a screenwriting contest. People submit their screenplays for consideration. A judging panel selects 10 finalists, which are chosen based on quality and ability
  • ... but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
    -- Bill Cosby

    Art by commitee rarely works. Yeah, you can finish the project, even make some money, but it probably won't be art anymore. Hollywood scared? Hardly. They invented the process.
    • Open source works because the cream can rise to the top

      I think this would make the program better, you think that would make it better. We can talk about it in forums, others can argue and debate about it. Then we can both sit down and code. You can add my patch, and see what you end up with. People can add your patch and see what they end up with. We can fork the project, people can apply patches, our pataches can be accepted or rejected. No mater what happens, be it by merit or politics, everyone can ha

  • Robert Rodriguez did his award-winning film "El Mariachi" for U$S 16.000 []. He did it by using a minimum crew that worked for free, using stuff he already had at hand, using cheap lighting, university facilities, and some other technical money-saving techniques. Most of the money went to buying and developing film... so it could be argued that if he had access to a digital video camera at the time the movie would have cost almost nothing.

    Kevin Smith did the award-winning cult-classic movie "Clerks" for U$S
    • Robert Rodriguez did his award-winning film "El Mariachi" for U$S 16.000. Kevin Smith did the award-winning cult-classic movie "Clerks" for U$S 27.000.

      You forgot the part about where Robert Rodriguez got the investment capital. He got the money taking weird drugs as a guinea pig for a Mexican pharmaceutical company. Not recommended for the average Pedro. As for Clerks costing $27,000: that was just to pay for the sound track at $1000 a song, the going rate. Everyone worked for free on that job, but you can
      • by radicimo ( 33693 )
        You've obviously never made a movie before. Hollywood doesn't throw money around willy-nilly. Every penny is budgeted and accounted for. Everyone knows their job and does it right the first time -- and they are well rewarded for it because Hollywood appreciates a good worker and has no time for fuck-ups. Bringing a movie in on time saves money, it doesn't waste it. Every day that a movie goes over budget costs a small fortune. Real movies (not garbage shot in mom's basement) cost real money. I sugge
    • by demi ( 17616 )

      Both films were completed with money far in excess of these "original" and oft-quoted budgets. This completion money was critical to producing an actual viewable, marketable film from each project. Clerks's budget was more in the hundred-thousand range and El Mariachi's I think ended similarly. I don't know what that is in 2006 dollars but I'll grant it's still a lot less than 1.7M, assuming the 1.7M refers only to production costs.

  • Ever read one of those novels written by a large number people?
    They tend to be poor and uneven. A creative effort needs a strong leader. I'm guessing the same will be true for a collaborative movie.
  • Freeborn has been created somewhat with this model. Their forums and the werewolf fan community have contributed quite a bit to what they want to see in the movie so in a sense they are open with certain aspects of it.
  • Star Wreck was something (tho not exactly) like this.

    It was worth the time I spent to watch it and I got some intentional laughs from it.

    The key is the writing. It was decent but a little sophmoric in SW. Some parts were brilliant- truly brilliant- fresh new concepts- well delivered. A few parts were stale and cliched and probably should have been rewritten a few more times.

    Then you need good actors to deliver the writing. While no one was a pro in SW, they were never wooden. Too camp for my taste but
  • Mel Gibson and Homer Simpson's remix of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
    • Homer: The villain should be a dog!
      Mel: A dog? But then no one will know what's going on!
      Homer: They will if you give him shifty eyes. Then they'll suspect the dog!
  • Oops, I mean Scott of the Sahara.
  • This is similar to an existing project we've been working on over at []. We've been talking about this for a few months now.

    Budget? So far, $0.

    There's at least 10 people involved from at least three countries (USA, Canada, UK, maybe more).

  • the main failure here is that they'll get all of this (potentially) amazing user input, and in the end they'll only create ONE movie.

    that's a fairly Hollywood idea - get a lot of talented and experienced people into a room to make a movie, then invite a bunch of people from the streets to a Recruited Audience Screening, get their unbiased and unprofessional opinion, and then remake the movie to address all of the recruited audience comments.

    If they really want to be experimental and daring and non-Holly

  • I can see it now...


    [Enter Main Character]
    Main Character: Have you heard you heard that the population of African Elephants has tripled over the last few months?

  • There are plenty of talented independent filmmakers who are capable of making a film for far less than that. I'd think that one of the primary benefits of trying this hybrid open source model for filmmaking would be that costs would be kept down substantially. Seriously, why not set a goal of making a film using this collaboration methodology for sub $100,000? Good films can be made at that price point, especially if you don't have to pay talent to act and don't need to rent a lot of gear. Are they plan
  • by GWBasic ( 900357 )
    Filmmaking inherently borrows many aspects of open source. For example, there are generic plots, generic characters, and re-use of music. How many different times has "The Seven Samurai" been reworked into a different movie? How often is a song used as a cliche to describe a character, time, or experience? How often is the same charachter type re-used as a means of avoiding exposition?

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."