Distributed Film Production: Artistic Experimentation or Feasible Alternative? The Case of 'a Swarm of Angels'
40 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2009
Date Written: February 1, 2008
Films are powerful instruments to generate and spread ideas. The way such an instrument is produced and distributed affects the freedom of our society. That is why the movie industry has gone through critical appraisals several times. Thanks to the digital revolution, a possible, radical alternative is arising: it is called remixing cinema, it is based on the web, and works as a social peer-production and distribution system. Is it a viable alternative? In order to try to answer this question we developed a case study of 'A swarm of Angels', an ongoing project whose aim is to make a feature film with the collaboration, both creative and financial, of 50,000 people. Even if the Swarm has not yet produced the movie, the community has been active since early 2006 and relevant products are already available. Our initial findings are showing that a movie, as a product and a process, is modular and granular enough to be produced with a distributed problem solving approach. However, the first assessment of the governance of the Swarm and of the underpinning business model underlines the existence of unresolved and possibly critical issues. This is not surprising, because A Swam of Angels is the first experiment in open content movie making with such level of complexity.
Keywords: distributed problem solving, film industry, collaboration, a swarm of angels, open content, film production
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