A Movie About The Web, By The Web
What will the web look like in 50 years? Will it continue on a tradition of openness and transparency, or will corporate interests transform the network into a closed platform built to serve a powerful few? By gathering a broad spectrum of stories from the "fringe" of the network, global stories that are emerging right now from people pushing the Web in new directions, the Web Made Movie will document how the networked world is changing our lives.
As much about what the web is now as what it will become, the project will show the ways in which people are using the power of networks to create community and transform society in unexpected ways. The Web Made Movie will focus on what the Network looks like offline - to show how it is connecting community, altering our relationship to knowledge and power, and re-wiring our brains. The WebMadeMovie will ultimately celebrate how the Internet is less a machine created by a select few brilliant minds, but is in fact shaped by everyone.
The WebMadeMovie is an umbrella project for multiple initiatives that aim to produce not one but multiple films, interactive documentaries, short-form episodes and software projects. It is an initiative to encourage commons-based production and develop the tools to make that happen.
The project will be bootstrapped by a team of international documentary filmmakers who will shoot initial episodes and serve as moderators of key episodes. Each filmmaker will bring a slant, a vision and a community to the project in addition to the original material that they will shoot and produce for their respective episode.
They will manage the communities that sprout up around their episodes and bring their own communities. In this way the project will have a pluralized, international spirit with wildly divergent aesthetics, processes and perspectives. Just like the web.
In addition to the series of episodes, a "release" version will be edited together to create a feature length film, which will be toured to international film festivals and broadcast on TV networks and spread to P2P networks in a finished state. If the community building the film is large and lively enough, multiple releases may be made over time.
Platforms + Communities
The collaborative filmmaking website OpenSourceCinema.org will be used to solicit uploading and remixing of video, images and audio material from web users. Using the task-based system of Open Source Cinema each episode will be built in a participatory manner. The WebMadeMovie will benefit from the 5000 strong Open Source Cinema user base, a group of passionate collaborators who already succeeded in creating the award winning "Rip! A Remix Manifesto:.
Joining this community will be thousands of Mozillians who join the project from Mozilla Drumbeat - an international effort to "enable internet users to understand, participate and take control of their online lives". Leveraging this vast userbase, the project will have a global reach and impact, and empower Mozillians to create a participatory culture project with the same ambition and scope as Firefox.
OpenSourceCinema.org is currently in active beta and will leverage the WebMadeMovie to improve integration of the Kaltura web-based editing software. Functionality currently exists to upload and edit audiovisual material, import from youtube + flicker. Open Source Cinema also has an efficient task-based collaboration system for soliciting and tracking contributions.
The WebMadeMovie will also produce a robust data layer on top of video. Working with developers to create software to take advantage of HTML5 video and other technologies, the project will allow viewers and community members to mix video, social media and data from across the web in real time. Annotating video with URLs, tagging videos, and integrating data from feeds, and things we haven't thought of yet are ways in which the data layer. The goal will be to keep nimble and generative: as open video practices and technology evolve, so will the project. The blue sky vision would be the creation of a living documentary, a wiki-type experience that can be changed and morphed through user contributions.
How does this make the web better?
As it unfolds, this 'web made movie' will:
- Remind the world that the web public commons by focusing on everyday people creating things at the edge of the network. It will NOT be interviews with web stars and geeks - it will be every day people who are building the web by using it.
- Show the creative potential of open HTML5 video by building a high profile participatory project that blends video clips, social media and data from across the web. At both the technical and creative level, it will demonstrate the online video is more than 'tv on a computer'.
- Advance the field of 'open source cinema', pushing the envelope of collaborative online movie by drawing on experience from RIP, GCBC and Mozilla.
- Contributions from working filmmakers
- Recruited from colleagues, "professional" filmmakers will seed the project with exciting and engaging work
- Creating core story lines and episodes to prime the pump
- Editing and refining materials into compelling media experience (release version and episodes)
- The filmmakers become DJs or curators of the whole experience
- Contributions from "amateurs" (those who do it for the love of it)
- the soundtrack
- storylines and shoot suggestions
- edits and remixes
- subtitles and localization
- Everyone on the web
- Participating via all sorts of social media
- Layering on annotations, tweets, images, etc.
- Communities and conversations form around episodes
Content and Episodes
Drafting the content and focus of the project will be a community effort, and specific effort will be made to ensure episodes are diverse and global. Stories we are searching for are character based, in the "real world", and focus on action and verité rather than strictly interviews.
Some examples of content areas currently being researched:
- The Iranian twitter revolution
- China's firewall
- Brazil's Pontos de Cultura
- Homeless bloggers in Vancouver's Downtown East Side
- Studies of Digital Natives at Harvard
- Rise of the IndieRock Super Star
- MakerCulture invents the Replicator
Donation Target and Ask
- Dollar amounts and campaigns TBD
- Online fundraising via Drumbeat
- a loose goal of 20% of the project raised online
Toolset and Platform
- Project mgmnt, publicity, community recruitment and fundraising using Drumbeat
- Participation, production and distribution on OpenSourceCinema.org
Timeline and Milestones
- Tied in part to Drumbeat rollout
- First call for participation and trailer Q1 2010?
- Fundraising push follows this
- First 'episode' Q2 2010? ROFLCon?
Current challenges and questions
- Film projects are expensive. It needs support from broadcasters and funding agencies, who are typically scared of Open Video
- Open Video technology is immature - need support in developing tools to make a truly collaborative documentary a reality.
- This means having both film and open web tech people on the lead creative them. At least one smart open web hacker has to be a core part of this team.