We live in a user generated world. On average about 40,000 new videos are uploaded to youTube everyday and millions are viewed. The quest to write the next great novel has been replaced with the desire to become the next great filmmaker. Traditionally the funding, production and distribution of movies has been an elitist pursuit which required large amounts of resources well beyond the reach of the average individual.
The digital revolution has made filmmaking possible for the masses. These days most computers ship with some type of video editing software. Thanks to improvements in imaging technology and falling prices, HD resolution cameras are becoming more common.
With all the advancements in technology the one side of filmmaking that has lagged behind is the concept of web based collaboration. Sure directors assemble a core team of collaborators, writers, producers, actors, editors and composers to name a few, but the current trend in social media has resulted in mostly passive user experiences until now.
An interesting emerging trend, is challenging the concept of how cinema is created. In the true spirit of community, some filmmakers are turning to “crowdsourcing” as a way to fund, produce, and distribute their movies.
One such cinema 2.0 experiment is a project entitled, A Swarm of Angels by UK filmmaker and author Matt Hanson. A Swarm of Angels is a “crowdsourced” filmmaking project where a community of people work together to create a feature length motion picture.
The movie is funded by the community itself. For a small subscription fee it is possible to become an Angel and collaborator to the project. Angels have a say in what happens from script to screen and in some cases may become cast or crew members when the project moves into production.
Currently, the project is in the script phase. Two rough scripts have been developed and the community will help to select one. Once a script is selected the Angels will assist in the fine tuning of a shooting draft.
Throughout the process there are multitudes of ways for Angels to be involved in the making of the movie. In some cases, Angels will fill various positions lending their expertise in exchange for pay. In others Angels will have a say in creative decisions based on community votes.
When the movie is finished, all the Angels will assist in distributing it for free over the internet. One of the goals of the project, which is distributed under a Creative Commons license, is for the assets to be viewed, shared and remixed. The heart of the project is http://www.aswarmofangels.com, a community site that features forums, podcasts, photo streams and an evolving narrative storyline that will eventually become the shooting script.
A Swarm of Angels offers a rare opportunity for those who have ever wondered what it would be like to make a movie. It is not often that one can collaborate freely without any financial risk.