A Swarm of Angels (ASOA) is a collaborative film project that aims to make the world’s first Internet-funded, crewed and distributed feature film. The project is a new idea for the funding, creation, and distribution of a £1 million film using the Internet to gather 50,000 people (the "Swarm of Angels"), each paying £25 apiece, to attempt and create a new type of movie.
This feature film and associated original media project embraces the Creative Commons notion of copyright, to permit people to freely download, share, and remix the original media made for the project.
People can choose their level of involvement. The project aims to ‘build a better movie’, enlisting the support of writers and creatives to enhance the script, storyboards, in an unheard of cinematic collaborative experience. Members of The Swarm communicate via The Nine Orders -- the project bulletin boards.
The basic process is FUND / FILM / FLOW.
Fund the project. Call for collaborators. Publicize and create marketing materials. Gather the first 1000 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. Publicize. Burn. Upload. Seed. Download. View. Remix. Share.
Together, these stages create a film in a new way, using the power of the Internet and social networks (both local and global). Cinema is an inherently collaborative process in any case, and the ASOA project is attempting to update that for the Internet age.
Hanson desired to make a feature film, in a pioneering, future-focused way. Additionally, his belief that it is impossible to control media in the modern day and the popularity of "remixing" of film, video, and music has suggested that building a feature film from the ground up to be ready for such remixing (easy to view, ready to share, and perfect for download) is a possible filmmaking method of the future. Therefore, as much of the project as possible will be licensed under the flexible ideas of copyright embodied by the Creative Commons licenses.
Participants are asked to donate £25 (a nominal fee: the price of a couple of CDs, a DVD or a magazine subscription) partially to fund the overall project, and partially to provide emotional "buy-in" to the project. However, participants believe that "the Halo effect" -- the idea that A Swarm of Angels, as a project, will give as much as possible to people for buying membership or donating -- will far outweigh the cost in terms of the social and networking benefits of The Swarm, access to and participation in the filmmaking process, and access Swarm-only merchandise.
The Film Itself
The film is as-yet (May 9, 2006) unwritten -- which is part of the interest of the experiment.
However, there are some loose parameters in place: the genre is likely to be thriller based with soft sci-fi elements, and it will probably be edgy (like the films of Darren Aronofsky or Wong Kar-Wai). Two scripts will be written and developed for members of The Swarm to dissect and improve upon (script doctor, and rewrite) via a wiki. Th Swarm will then vote on which script to produce.
The ethos of the project is to leverage the creative community that can be brought together through the Internet. Anyone can contribute if they have the motivation, technical skills and creative talent (preferably all three). Job opportunities will be posted at appropriate times in the project, with priority going to members of the Swarm. The best way to get a job on ASOA is to become actively involved in the project and join as early as possible.
The main stages of FUND, FILM, and FLOW all inherently use digital-age technologies as an integral part of the process. In this way, it is believed that the Swarm can make the equivalent of a $3-4 million budgeted traditional feature film for $1.75 million (the dollar size of a target of £1 million).
Milestones in the project will be related to funding targets. Funding will trigger further development and the next stage of the project. Membership will be rolled out in waves to coincide with stages of the project.
Get 100 members. Target: £2,500 infrastructure and email seeding, followed by web/blogger engagement. ACHIEVED.
Open to 1000 members only. Target: £25,000 project and script development. Teasers.
Open to 5000 members. Target: £125,000 trailer and pre-production planning.
Open to 25000 members. Target: £625,000 pre-production/production.
Open to 50000 members. Target: £1,250,000 production/post-production/distribution/limited edition products.