No really, what's this all about? (the longer version)

Posted by John / on 08/07/2009 / 0 Comments


Back in 2004 I was making a film called La vie d'un chien. For that film, I needed various very specific photographs of Paris street scenes. Night-time, deserted streets, old brick buildings... not the kind of thing you can find on a stock photography site.

Not having the budget to go to Paris, I used the internet. Placing ads on, I recruited photographers who actually lived and worked in Paris. I emailed them animatics - animated storyboards. These little Quicktime movie files represented sequences from the film.

The photographers went out, found suitable locations, matched the angles, and shot photos. They emailed them to me. They got their name in the film's credits and ten dollars for every photo I used. I think my budget for Paris location photography was $110.

And so, I realized the power of the internet. For me, it made every aspect of making a film easier: finding cast, props, locations... and for staying in touch with cast, crew, and fans, as the film played festivals around the world.

Since 2004, the whole social-networking thing has exploded. Also, there are a burgeoning number of online services that are offered for free. For instance, this one that we're both using right now. There's also Google Docs, unlimited file hosting... there's even a free version of Adobe Photoshop that's web-based.

So that's the concept. It's the old saw that many hands make light work. Married to social networking. If enough people out there think my idea is a good one, the film will get finished.


So, why a Star Trek cartoon? A few reasons:


A) I think it's a good little script and would be a funny film.

B) There's a built-in fan base. I can tap into that fan base to find my crew... and when the film is finished, I think we'll get about a bazillion hits on YouTube.

C) it's a good project to test the virtual studio concept on, since by its nature ST:JAN is a strictly noncommercial project... a fanfilm. There's no possible way I could make money off this so we pre-empt any "why should I work on your film for free" kind of objections.


And that last one is my not-so-hidden agenda. This film is a proof-of-concept test of the "virtual animation studio" concept. Once the network and the methods are built - and the film is finished and successful -  doing another project will be WAY easier. Hell, maybe we can even figure out a way to pay people next time.


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