Warning: The following article contains familiar words now redefined for the internet generation by addition of the "2.0" suffix, references to Wiki and the phrase "internet technology enablers". Those of a nervous disposition are advised to look away now.
Anyone with 25 quid to spare and a penchant for the movies might be interested in investing in the Swarm of Angels project, which aims to knock together a £1m movie and give it away to one million people in a year - all via the net.
Yup, we're talking the reinvention of the "Hollywood model of filmmaking to create cult cinema for the internet era" - aka "Cinema 2.0" - as project founder Matt Hanson puts it.
The idea is simple enough: 50,000 netizens stump up £25 each to finance the film, thereby becoming angels in the virtual "Swarm". The process is:
- Fund the project. Call for collaborators. Publicise and create marketing materials. Gather the first 1,000 members. Develop the project and infrastructure. Start script development. Open the project up to more members.
- Film. Collaborate. Develop scripts using a 'wiki'. Crew through The Swarm. Funding drive for pre-production/production/post-production. Create marketing and final materials.
- Flow. Master materials. Create spin-off materials. Publicise. Burn. Upload. Seed. Download. View. Remix. Share.
Simple. As. That. Hanson reckons sign-ups are currently over 100, and he's now pushing to reach the 1,000 angel mark.
Which is all well and good, but what's the film actually about? On this subject, Hanson is a bit Vague 2.0™. Despite our best attempts to extract some detail, we were referred to the FAQs (further warning: may cause blindness in those sensitive to references to "bloggers", "creative commons", "copyfighters" and "Halo effect") which state:
If it was already written and packaged, this media experiment wouldn't be as interesting. But I do have some loose parameters. The genre is likely to be thriller based with soft sci-fi elements. I will write and develop two scripts that the members of the Swarm can then dissect and improve upon (script doctor, and rewrite) via a wiki. They'll then be a vote on the script to go with. This is what we talk about when we say as a member of the Swarm you involved in MAJOR creative decisions.
Those of you who are by now wondering whether 50,000 potential screenplay writers and editors is not a recipe for artistic Crash 2.0 and Burn 2.0 are reassured that Hanson himself will be behind the camera, and promises something "edgy, like the films of Darren Aronofsky, or Wong Kar-Wai".
He further pledges: "This isn't going to be Billy Elliot or Calendar Girls..." - an assertion we wholeheartedly believe since we suspect the final script will be a sort of Bladerunner meets The Matrix with Natalie Portman and Carrie Anne Moss, either clad entirely in black leather or entirely unclad, battling virtual Empire Stormtroopers and Gigeresque dribbling aliens for control of Wikipedia. Time will tell. ®