I have a crazy idea. I’m not sure if it will work, but I’m going to try and see if I can’t make it a reality. I want to make an open-source film, in a fashion I don’t think has been attempted.

I should probably explain what open-source is before I get to far ahead of myself. Open-source is a concept that is heavily used in the programming world. The idea is that all of the source code for a program is available for anyone to download and tweak however they want. In programming it is also a way to have multiple groups working on a single project from a variety of areas to get the best possible result. Beyond all that open-source allows anyone to take the project, modify it, and redistribute it, as long as credit is given back to the people that originally made it. It’s share, and share-alike.

The idea of an open-source film is not a new one. In fact a quick search on Wikipedia will give a decent sized list of open-source films. Heck, Wikipedia will even give you a list of the requirements to be an open-source film. As I was reading though the list though one particular item caught my eye as something that could be played with in a different way.

  1. The movie and its sources are made publicly available via an online download or by other means that are either free or with a cost that covers reasonable reproduction expenses only.(1)

It makes sense, the media should be available, and open, for anyone to look through. But, what if the media that was available for everyone was more than just the media we used to create the final film? What if there was more story than the final film? What would people do with it?

A film usually has one script, that is the story, period. In development the characters all have back stories and motives that are decided, and used in writing scenes. My thought was to take that one step further. Each major character in the story would have their own script. Each character will exist independently of each other, as well as supporting each other. A film so interwoven and disjointed it could be the story of any or of all the characters.

My plan is to develop a story with several key people connected to each other and write a script. Then from there develop a script covering the same amount of time for each character, showing their motivations and reasons for the things they do. And since open-source is all about communities working together once the initial drafts of the scripts are done, we would publish them online, available for anyone to read, and for anyone to tweak. The hope would be that people would send us revisions and adjustments they would like to see happen, and as a community we would finalize all of the scripts.

Armed with multiple scripts we would prepare and shoot all of the stories. Nothing would be missed and all of the character stories would be shot. And because all of the media we record would be made available for anyone to download, if someone really wants to focus on a story that perhaps we don’t in our final film, then they are free to take our media and scripts, and make the film they wanted to be shared with everyone else in the community.

A final film based off of the comprehensive script would be made, but hopefully that would just be the beginning. I want to see people downloading the media and creating something of their own. Creating the other stories of characters too often left on the side. Creating stories we may not have seen otherwise. Sharing their creations, and letting more people know about the things they have done.

Like I said, it’s sort of crazy idea, but one that I hope pans out to something. Open-source is a concept that I have enjoyed and thought about for some time, and I love the idea that it could be applied to something like filmmaking. Here’s to a crazy idea.

For more information on open-source, and open-source licensing you can read here Open Source Initiative