After reading an article in BusinessWeek on "cloud computing" (unlimited storage and processing power) I began to form an idea. Use this computing power towards a webspace that would become the world’s largest–and independent–film studio. This is how it would work.
Aspiring and existing filmmakers would join for free and submit clips, short scenes or stock footage, to the site. These scenes should be brief and desireably not part of any large concept. As background, the majority of videos on YouTube or MSN Video are self-contained home movies or already complete short films. The scenes on this film studio site would be a more general "piece of a puzzle," with no specific motives on the part of the submitter, as I will explain. There would be three basic types of "scenes:"
- STAND-ALONE: this type of scene would be between characters, or tell a small story, and would be shot in a location rather than against a blue screen
- PIECE: this very important type of scene would be share the traits of a STAND-ALONE but would be required to be shot in front of a bluescreen or greenscreen
- STOCK: this would be nature footage, city footage, car footage, crowd footage, background footage to use as mattes for the PIECES, etc.
When a user submits a scene involving people, he or she would be required to name the characters with a first and last name. In every future scene s/he submitted with the same people, they would again reference these characters with the same first and last name.
Absolutely key to the webspace would be an editing component. Any member could log in and work towards making their own feature or short film by searching or browsing for clips. If she had a character driven PIECE or STAND-ALONE, she could also look up scenes with the same characters. She could of course add her own scenes if they found something missing as part of the larger story they were trying to create. The editing tool would allow the member to select PIECE scenes described above, and replace the blue/greenscreen with STOCK clips, which would be rendered into a complete scene that would appear to be in front of the stock background.
When any film is declared complete, it would be saved as such on a "Produced" section of the site. A link to it could be e-mailed; however, the business model would allow any member to pay to receive a DVD of the film or to download the copy to their drive.
Perhaps most important, when a film is completed, every single member who had contributed a clip would be notified by e-mail that their clip had been used in a film, and provided a link to the product. In essence, this is the point of the site, that users small provide clips/scenes and trust that their work will be used for a greater product; they are then rewarded with the ultimate payoff.
As for adult content, which seems to invariably become a part of any shared site, it would be allowed in a special section protected by age verification. Any adult scenes accidentally or purposely added to the general pool would be reported by users using a link, and moved to the age verification portion. Thus, adult users could also piece together sexual scenes to form a complete adult film, or include single mild sex scenes in their produced films. These films would contain a rating calculated by the site based on a level of sexuality (say, 1-5) described by the submitter, and would be protected from the general public. As before, a user could pay to receive a DVD of the film for their own personal enjoyment.
The most important ramification I have not addressed is legality. For the site to charge for DVDs or downloads, I am sure a special contract would have to exist regarding the independent scenes that had been submitted. But I’m sure such a thing could be done.