Movies 2.0

Acorn Hats! Marvelous


From Halfland – Shelley Noble who appears to be making an entire stop-motion movie out of… stuff. It looks amazing – and you can send in your own fish to make cameo appearances etc.

The Great Work if ever there was one. One of my favorite hobbies is going to film school for no particular reason (I go to film schools a lot). The most I’ve ever managed to pull off is a little 10 minute thing – and the amount of work that went into that was daunting to say the least. Taking on a whole feature-length movie (where you’re creating an entire world from scratch) leaves me feeling slightly faint.

There seems to be a bit of this going on at the moment – open-sourcery of film-making I mean. It’ll be interesting when things start hitting the screen.


I have this nagging doubt about Movies 2.0 though. Having spent about a decade on a stage, standing (with spindly legs) between a Statocaster and a load of massive amplifiers, I’m a believer in chemistry….

…in music. There’s something about music where the sum is almost always greater than the parts – and the parts don’t even need to like each other, or be playing the same song (in their minds). You often need the clash of personalities for it to work.

This (almost) never happens in painting. Writing?… sometimes (the smaller the group the better). Serial-killing?… yup, often happens in pairs; Movies?…

… movies need a lot of people. Robert Rodriguez may have been able to get away with 3 back in the day, but… generally, movies need a lot of spare hands. This isn’t the same thing as crowd-sourcing though. Although movies need a lot of people, you still need insane geniuses driving it, otherwise artwork-by-committee syndrome kicks in, and/or nothing gets done. Another thing I’ve noticed (and this may well be down to the politics of the business) with most of my favorite films the director is also the writer.

I’m not sure that movie making as we currently know it is a democratic process really – in fact I suspect it might be the LEAST democratic process that (in The West at least) we allow.

Web 2.0 it ain’t. There are strong drives (and incentives) though towards… turning this avalanche of innovation and expression that’s currently blossoming all over the place into some sort of conduit for stories which have more cultural/narrative value than a billion people ranting at webcams. It’s starting to happen I think… people are trying things.

The reason all this has come tumbling out is that I’ve been trying to get my head around the Purefold thing.

It’s… err…. “Purefold is the first product conceived by Ag8 and developed in partnership with Ridley and Tony Scott’s newly launched entertainment division Free Scott. Purefold is an open media franchise designed for brands, platforms, filmmakers, product developers and communities to collaboratively imagine our near future.

There’s a video on the link above, which explains it a bit more, but every time I go back, I get more confused about what it actually (once you get past all the brand-speak) “is”. As far as I can tell (through these cynical eyes) right now it’s a Friendfeed group (which covers similar ground to this here blog) which is skimmed by the production company for ideas/scripts or whatever to make product-placement films out of… which are fed back to the subscribers, taking the role of focus-groups.

Personally I think it will work… which is to say, it will work in the way that all this crowd-sourced creativity works, and that is, a small number of insane geniuses float to the top – and the crowd-sourcing of focus-groupery has a much greater chance of picking winners than Hollywood normally does – partly because it’s a type of focus-groupery that also contains its own built-in viral evangelising (which is cheating). The focus group becomes the sales team.

yea, ok. I couldn’t resist it either : ) from Christina Spangler, via Shelley

I quite like the idea of a whole world being created as well – not just a set/setting for a story, but a world in which multiple stories can unfold/interweave. This was the first thing that sprang to mind when I saw Shelley’s thing. If you’ve got all these characters, all this scenery, all this material – it seems a shame to limit it to one story. It’s an extension in some way to the increasing immersiveness trend we’re seeing in films… swimming closer and closer to video games.

I mean why should all the Harry Potter stories be about Harry Potter? (the little git) There’s a whole world to play with there.

So anyway, there it is. A handful of thoughts, thrown like straw up into the wind.

2 Comments » for Movies 2.0
  1. YES! You get it exactly, Nick! Same setting, interwoven stories, online collaboration. In my sanity defense, I can add that each vignette will only be about :10 in length, with an ongoing creation process of about 20 vignettes per volume, with two volumes planned out. That means all of Halfland will only be about 6:60 minute running time, with fades ups and outs in between.

    But hopefully it is a world with some clever visual puns and an interesting, original folktale. Time for a new one I think.

    That being said, I could use practical help finishing building the set and setting up beautiful lighting, etc.. I will do it al myself if I have to. It’s a personal passion project that I liken to an oil painting, just that this one takes place in four dimensions, with time and music included.

    It’s nothing if not a radical test of the unprecedented creative artistic expression powers in our hands today. I echo your questions about it, can “movies” be made as intimately as paintings once were?

    Thanks for watching and thinking with me.

  2. admin says:

    Ah… I was going to suggest the vignette thing actually – there’s this web movie called The Corporation who have craftily edited their movie so each “bit” is small enough to be viral-able.

    If you look for any movie on youtube at the moment, there will be “favourite bits” that people have edited together – and it’s acting as free advertising. People are making their own trailers… and some of them are truly god-awful. The Brits have cottoned on and release little highlights for movies / films etc.

    The Loop is an example… “The Crossest Man in Scotland” etc. There are normal trailers as well, but these have gone beyond hyperbole now… Every movie trailer I’ve seen for as long as I can remember could be a satire for how unbelievably over the top and disconnected from reality movie traliers are. The user-created stuff is (unless you get into DIY pop-video-land) a lot more authentic.

    I think if you can create a kind of dual-narrative… something that makes sense in 5 minute blips, and something that keeps drawing people back over the longer term, then you can make it easy to go on about how great you are.