Saturday, November 3, 2007

Jathia's Wager: Open Source Social Movie Making

The opening scene in the first draft of Jathia's Wager shows a group of people is led by an old man to the edge of a dark forest looking outside into a new world:

EXT. GRASS FIELD - DAY: A dark forest sits at the end of a perfectly maintained sea of grass. Small clusters of buildings shimmer in the distance. A huddled group of people slowly walk through the grass toward the edge of the forest. Their faces turn deadly serious as they get closer to the edge. An old man with flowing gray hair leads the pack. He stops abruptly and holds up a fist. OLD MAN: This is as far as we go.

Change this old man with a young passionate dude, the forest with our existing life and the new world with the Internet and you might figure out the same metalanguage metaphor I see here, as Jathia’s Wager will be no ordinary movie.

Defined as "an open source collaborative filmmaking project" this project invites Internet community to re-interpret, revise, produce, reuse distribute and redistribute a movie for free. Officially announced on July 16, 2007 by Solomon Rothman Films the short Sci-Fi is planned to be telling the story of a "young man living in an isolated community of humans, who must make a life changing decision about his future and his species."

Other than being a cool movie buff and an avid blogger, Solomon Rothman is an American filmmaker living at Los Angeles who has already used the new challenges of online video revolution and released a full movie online. Boy Who Never Slept tells the story of a stagnant insomniac writer who meets a beautiful teenage girl online and falls into an "unlikely love story wrapped in hard reality" and with some sex. As Youtube only allow a maximum of 10 minutes per clip Rothman distributed it in 20 pieces. Took me a while to dig it out but here is the first piece, you can get the rest by searching Solomon Rothman on YouTube:

According to Rothman his hopes are that the new project of Jathia’s Wager "will fully explore the concept of open, collaborative filmmaking and inspire people to create a true open-source filmmaking community." We sure hope so too. It is not yet clear how "fully" it will really be at the end as it seems to be quite a new concept with many edges still remain unsolved. Yet, I think Rothman already deserves my applause for helping us take the first steps into... mmm... how shall we call that? Open Sources Social Movie Making? OSSMM?

Jathia's Wager is not the first collaborative open source movie. A Swarm of Angels, by Steve O'Hear, was recently announced to be moving into its next phase, which "should see the community grow to 5,000 paying members" from just under a thousand in June this year. This interesting article on titled Can open source methodology make a movie? claims the folks behind The Digital Tipping Point (DTP) are betting it can.

Main Jathia’s Wager page
First Jathia's Wager draft
Official press release

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