Posts tagged ‘filmmaker’

Getting the Crowd to “Make” Your Film – e.g. “Lost Zombies”

Crowdsourcing has become an exciting concept in the business world.  (I’ve explored the concept of Crowdsourcing many times before – if you’re interested in my views on the topic, the best place to look is my One Degree series.  Other posts on the topic can be found in the “Crowdsourcing” category of this blog)

What’s exciting is that some innovative filmmakers are also making use of this concept.

Several projects are now getting content from the crowds (e.g. Lost Zombies), Crowdfunding (e.g. My Million Dollar Movie), and even making an “open-sourced” feature film (e.g. Swarm of Angels (I wouldn’t recommend the latter tactic, btw, but I’ve been wrong before).

The beauty of this is that engages the audience – creates a dialogue:

“I believe the Internet has created a kind of conversation that we are all involved with.  We‘ve gotten used to that level of interaction. It‘s rewarding. Now we want that experience from our media.” Lost Zombies encourages its fans to document their own zombie encounters. In just a matter of weeks the community has grown to more than 400 active members with contributed materials flowing in from all over the world.” (- Lance Weiler.  From Filmmaker Magazine: “When The Audience Takes Control : Lance Weiler breaks down the new models independent filmmakers are using to create a fan base.”  Read this, btw – it’s excellent)

In this TCIBR podcast – Lost Zombies & Skot Leach (co-director of the film – along with his brother Ryan) (Listen on the Workbook Project site)

(Source: The Workbook Project )

Notes:
(Questions asked by Lance Weiler, responses provided by Skot Leach)
(FYI, I am paraphrasing a great deal here)
- Community Generated Zombie Film
- Film made my the crowds “Zombie Documentary”
- Audience looking for more involvement, engagement
- Wanted to get people to contribute short bursts
- Chose Zombie theme – figured that could work, be enjoyable

- Call to action?

  • Zombie site – Created in Ning
  • Users Create Profile -
  • Submit Zombie encounter in whatever format (video, pictures or any media type) – Zombie outbreaks
  • All encounters considered rumors, until more “outbreaks” of each location are submitted then considered “confirmed”

- Structure? Storyline?

  • There is a structure, storyline
  • All will be compiled into an overall film with these media
  • Will also be influenced by audience
  • Process?

-How to organize/rights w/ such a large crowd?

  • Timeline – will look at what is appropriate
  • Not clear re: distribution track, esp. w/ rights issues, will look at when complete and possibly go back and talk to content creators

- Building a community (as with gaming) economies come around them, could be release for free, but could monetize content around it?

  • Leaning towards that
  • Original vision involved ending up

- Explain Ning to those unfamiliar?

  • Blank template, like Facebook, allows you to build entire social network, invite your own users, define interface
  • Can add widgets to tweek to your needs

- Open Data portability issues? Can you pull user data, so you have it?

  • Simply put, Yes.
  • Provided Framework, but users info is yours
  • Some people joined just to be part of social network (loved Zombies), without contributing
  • Audience before content
  • Compelling enough with Ning to retain audience while you flesh out story
  • Double-edged sword – Want to tell story, point of site, and don’t necessarily want people to be so caught up in the social aspect that they ignore story

- Dealing with crowds – what has been interesting, surprising?

  • How quickly people “got it”
  • Knew ARG community likes to piece things together – wondered if horror fans would get what they should do
  • Very quickly people start
  • Tweeted Ning’s feature re location – renamed “outbreaks”
  • And then people started really working with that, posting photos, videos
  • They also found news items and related (“someone bit at a party, this seems odd? – Could this be zombie related?)
  • People discovered they could contribute in their own unique way (asking question, posting audio files, drawings, video)
  • Like a conversation

- As project grows, any plans, ideas of breaking into “real world”

  • Exploring:
    • Possibility of live video editing/mixing, remix story – so each time you see the film it’s pulled in a different way
    • Interested in “Zombie walks” – a final event where site culminates in a final live event e.g. Zombie Apocalypse where zombie walks the world (people participate by documenting etc.)

- How to get involved with this film?

  • Go to LostZombies
  • Sign up
  • - Participate – submit items or even direct story by asking questions

- Interactivity becoming norm?

  • More immersive progression. Videogames, ARGs rise shows that the audience is ready to experience these types of things
  • Audience members can determine the pace, level they participate (observe, do a little, do plenty)
  • Playful, interactive quality

- These are social experience – like theatrical -  Commununal Experience.  People falsely believe that online = alienation.  But now people are their own media company (can publish, upload video etc. and immediately can be seen around the world – just a matter of aggregating audience to it.  Mirrors theatrical, 2-way communicational.  These types of projects are very exciting.
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Want more articles about artists? I have a whole series here.
http://monicahamburg.wordpress.com/category/artist-series/

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March 4, 2009 at 7:40 am 2 comments

The System is Flawed, Please Try Again

Jeff Howe has posted another excerpt from his book (and if you’re interested in Crowdsourcing and you’re not reading it – bad puppy, bad, bad puppy. Frankly, it’s just so well written and interesting.)

Howe provides the example of M dot Strange a filmmaker who made his own film and career and used blogs, Youtube etc. to propel himself and his film into notoriety. Here are my thoughts on Howe’s excerpt:

The statement “fuck the system” (thank you Belmont) is not so much anti-establishment, as a comment on how the system is extremely flawed. As you wisely pointed out, choosing not participate in the system is a far cry from choosing not to participate at all. Many people have made and established their presence and careers online – outside of the mainstream conveyor belt.

OK, I am being a bit harsh and my opinion is, of course, somewhat biased – I am basing it on my own (and some of my friends’) experiences navigating the performance world for many years But it is impossible to ignore the fact that rather than being a potential vehicle to bring in exciting new content and performers into the arena, the system often becomes an obstacle course – stacked strongly against originality in every form. It is less about “what you can do” than weeding people out based on assumptions about what they can’t do and what they are not. It’s a viciously hierarchical system – and what someone can offer is an afterthought, frequently a non-consideration. There’s too much noise for the signal to get through.

What is wonderful about Crowdsourcing (and Social Media, in general) is that a part of the artistic obstacle course is being removed. Certainly this concept began, as you mentioned, with the advent of more accessible means of production (digital cameras, video recorders etc.) but the exposure wasn’t entirely there until Web 2.0. The value is becoming about what you do, rather than “who” you are or who you know. E.g. is your design any good (Threadless)? How about your music (Sellaband)? Failing that, is it popular? So, certainly there are pointless cat vids and frat stunts on Youtube (that’s no different than the mainstream which has no shortage of enduring stupidity – “Americas Home Videos” and the like, anyone?) – but the beauty is that a talented creator can get all the exposure he needs with a carefully executed social media plan. A talented and personable filmmaker, who doesn’t have the backing or funds to publicize and get his films into theatres can do what Belmont has so aptly demonstrated: make his work and profit outside of the mainstream. And if you don’t want to go it entirely alone, there are options as well – an unsigned musician can use something like Sellaband to fund and record her album with top people, which might have been untenable without the site and the opportunity it provides.

Most aren’t saying “Fuck the System” because that’s cool – they are saying that because they feel left out – and with good reason. For most participating in Crowdsourcing and social media, they aren’t necessarily eschewing the advantages of “a” system – they are advocating the need for more participation, greater openness, less restrictions – and being able to produce and/or watch material that has meaning to them. Amen.

April 21, 2008 at 1:37 pm 3 comments


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