London Girl Geek Dinners had an interesting event last week in collaboration with the Sci-Fi Film Festival in the city. Anna Higgs, a producer and co-founder of Quark Films and Leilani Holmes, who runs the collaborative filmmaking forum at OTT Films, spoke about using crowdsourcing and new media in their endeavours as filmmakers.
I particularly liked what Anna Higgs had to say about engaging with the audience right at the beginning of a project, rather than just asking for their money (when it is crowdfunded) and then showing them the project at the end. That applies to pretty much any digital work nowadays, if you ask me, because of the ease of access to a widespread audience.
Quark Films created the documentary The People vs. George Lucas by actually soliciting content from the huge group of people scattered across the world who are Star Wars fans – to start the process off they used a few clips sent in by fans, which then motivated thousands of others to send in theirs, which all happened over the period of one year. If I remember right, she said they eventually got over 700 hours of footage to edit. The film was premiered at SXSW Film in 2010. They also asked people where they wanted it screened via the Crowd Controls tool which allows filmmakers to assess demand for their films, and as a result, for every one person who said they were interested they got 4 people watching the film because of the tendency of people to take friends with them, especially if it is such a niche subject – which is great for the producers.
Currently, they are working on another documentary titled The Real Social Network about the recent protests by UK university students about the rise in tuition fees. They are raising funds via Indiegogo (there’s just a month more left for them to achieve their total). It was fascinating to hear about how the protests were organised by the students, who used University College London as their base. I didn’t know about the Sukey webapp, for example, which the students used to spread news of where the police were kettling demonstrations. Obviously with a documentary, you know the story in advance but this one looks like the narrative is shaping up very well, which I think will make for a great finished product.
Check the trailer out (embedding permissions mean I can’t embed it here).