Many aspects of the idea behind (bottom-up community-driven independent film production project) A Swarm of Angels really fascinate me:
It’s a massively collaborating environment: Both resources (funding, tech support etc) and creativity come from the supporting crowd. The community aspects here are almost ridiculously strong! The movie is paid for and produced with support by the community; Swarm members can contribute directly to the movie at all stages, both in terms of organization and creative input. As a swarm member, you get pretty direct access to the producers and script writers.
The copyright thing / Underdogs rule
As the whole movie will be produced independently by and for the crowds, it’s gonna be owned by the crowds as well. Only this time, it’s gonna be made by reputable and cool producers with the potential to kick some serious Hollywood butt. It’s gonna be released under the Creative Commons license, allowing for remixing, thus allowing all the weird spin-offs, follow-ups and mash-ups one can hope for. If this works out, then there’s proof that it really is possible to produce even expensive stuff like high-quality movies without a restrictive Hollywoold studio. The Campaign
Being a campaign nerd, the aspects of how this campaign (if you wanna called it so) is planned and run particularly fascinate me. As far as I can tell at this early stage, they just got it right, as you say.
The campaign is sub-divided into stages of growth (5, so far). Stage 1 raised funding to set up the technical infrastructure for the rest of the campaign, emails were seeded and bloggers engaged. Smash, hit! Currently we’re in Stage 2: Script development, fund-raising for teasers. And so on. Excellent planning there.
The Number One rule for campaigns should always be: It’s the Community, Stupid! Without a strong community of supporters, your campaign is gonna be a waste of money. (Exceptions are possible, of course, but very, very rare.) Here, the community is particularly important, as the campaign doesn’t only need it only to get known better, but also for very concrete input in forms of creativity and cash.
The Swarm community is involved in all development stages at various levels, from (passive) donations to (actively) spreading the word and (interactively) giving creative inputs. More importantly, the community is growing step by step, allowing for adjustments and the development of rituals. Any community needs rituals to develop an identity, and to allow for the development of sophisticated roles. (Or elders as they’re sometimes called: People within the community who are respected and/or seen as somewhat authoritative, in a good sense.)
As we’re expected to donate money, it’s fair to ask how it’s spend etc. Every aspect of what’s done, how it’s done and by whom it’s done are available on the website. More detailed information can be asked from the producer in the Swarm Members’ forum: Complete transparency.
I’ll definitively keep a close eye on this one. Everybody interested in online campaigns can learn a lot here!
update: A Swarm of Angels is also nominated for The Next Big Web Thing.