Open Source Movie

I’ve been wondering for a while what an open source movie would look like, and now I have my answer. Wreck-A-Movie, fresh from its creators’ first mashed-up movie, Star Wreck. Slashdot has a great summary of the history of this site:

“These are the same guys who brought us Star Wreck, the most successful feature-length Internet-distributed film of all time. That film was made by 3,000 people, has been downloaded 8 million times, is under a Creative Commons by-nd-nc license, and made good money both through DVD sales and through an eventual deal with Universal.” 

The guys have been at it again, this time with “Iron Sky,” a movie that tells the story of a group of Nazis that have been stuck on the dark side of the moon since having fled the planet in 1945. The trailer is viewable here:


For those unfamiliar, the Creative Commons licensing system provides a more forward-looking copyrighting structure, allowing some or all of a work to be designated for different levels of use, indicating whether, for instance, items from this blog could be republished by someone else for commercial purposes, or even whether I can embed a particular photo on Flickr.

More interesting to me, though is the way that these folks have applied OSS techniques to content creation. Making a movie is by its nature a massively collaborative process, and using tools such as these to construct both the collaboration and the end product is tricky business. For example, there are lists of “Tasks” made available on the site (including tasks I might specifically be interested in), and a series of shots that will require comments.

Shots, interestingly, aren’t necessarily completed works, rather they’re contributions. For instance, one shot that I followed was a discussion on the appropriate name for the US spacecraft that takes the mission to the Moon in 2018 and discovers the Nazis. Another provides ideas for gadgets the Nazis have developed in their isolated enclave.

All in all, there are some interesting learnings here, and it’s an amazing, if not excruciatingly simple reflection of the creative collaborative process. While the trailer for IronSky exhibits some amateurish qualities, and lacks some of Hollywood’s polish, it’s still a massively successful effort.

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