Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club (1999)

The Future of Hollywood… User Generated Films?

by Cineleet on May 5, 2008

This is a guest post written by Darius Monsef. Darius is the Creator & Executive Editor of COLOURlovers.com. He is a creative consultant, entrepreneur and Internet Astronaut.

When a new viral video pops up on the internet it can reach upwards of 20,000,000 views… that’s more than can be said about any of Eddie Murphy’s latest films. Advertising agencies and major brands have begun to tap the creative class for commercials and funny sweded movie remakes… but how far off are we from a completely user generated feature film?

Spike Lee doesn’t think we’re too far off. He has teamed up with Nokia to direct a film made with mobile phone footage from every day people. “You are seeing first hand the democratization of film,” Lee said in a statement on Thursday. “Aspiring filmmakers no longer have to go to film school to make great work. With a simple mobile phone, almost anyone can now become a filmmaker.” More on this project at Nokia Productions [Be warned, auto loading annoying video + sound]

Not slow to embrace the latest trend MTV is running a User Generated Video Contest right now for the MTV Movie Awards. Kids grow up even more and more immersed in this internet rich, user generated content world. It was not too long ago, I was part of the MTV generation, but the camera phone enabled, video & music on demand teenagers are quick to embrace the new technologies that may be creating the next wave of entertainment content. Some teenagers would bury your body in the desert for a chance to go to the MTV movie awards… and now all they have to do is shoot a good 3 minute video.


Feature Films About Making User-Generated Films

Even though Hollywood hasn’t quite fully embraced user generated feature films… they seem to be embracing making movies ABOUT user generated feature films.

Son of Rambow is the name of the home movie made by two little boys with a big video camera and even bigger ambitions…

Be Kind Rewind stars Jack Black who unintentionally erases all the tapes in a video store where his best friend (Mos Def) works. He then devises a plan to satisfy the store’s few loyal customers by re-creating and re-filming every movie they decide to rent.


The Faux User-Generated Genre

While you can look back a few years to the smash hit The Blair Witch Project. Shooting in a handy cam style got some major attention with the recent release of Cloverfield. Both were very successful films despite their nausea inducing camera movements. If Hollywood can make a feature film about people making an amateur film… why not amateurs actually making an amateur film?

Cloverfield

The Blair Witch Project


The Fan Film Epic

And then there is Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, a shot-for-shot remake of the Spielberg-Lucas blockbuster by three 12-year-old boys in Ocean Springs, Miss. It ended up taking 7 years, between 1982 and 1989 to complete the project. (So a full length feature film can be shot by amateurs… if we can only speed up the process 5-6 years.)


A $6278 Feature Film

$1,500 Camera. $3,000 Macbook Pro. $1,300 Final Cut Pro. $478 Coffee. Granted there are a lot of other costs involved with creating a full length film, but make some talented friends with some free time on their hands and creating a 100 minute film isn’t impossible. And make any trip through the aisles of your local video store and you’re sure to find hundreds of films that you and your handy cam easily could have produced with more quality… and with any luck your film might just be horrible enough to become awesomely bad.

Do you believe Hollywood’s future lies in user-generated content? If not, what does? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Jacob Steiner

    I don’t think a user generated feature film is possible or even desirable. The best user generated stuff on YouTube is about real life happenings, amazingly someone has captured a piece of true awe, but for a feature film… even Italian Neorealism has a skilled labor behind the production to make the story sensible… maybe we shouldn’t be looking to the format of a feature film. Entertainment and content is consumed differently today than how it was when the concept of a feature film was invented.

  • http://none Jacob Steiner

    I don’t think a user generated feature film is possible or even desirable. The best user generated stuff on YouTube is about real life happenings, amazingly someone has captured a piece of true awe, but for a feature film… even Italian Neorealism has a skilled labor behind the production to make the story sensible… maybe we shouldn’t be looking to the format of a feature film. Entertainment and content is consumed differently today than how it was when the concept of a feature film was invented.

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  • http://911truth.blip.tv/ chris lester

    it’s the future of journalism and music too

  • http://911truth.blip.tv chris lester

    it’s the future of journalism and music too

  • Pingback: The Future of Hollywood… User Generated Films? | Filmmaker IQ

  • Theresa

    You want to be a part of user-generated cinema? Have a look at this project: http://www.create-dystopia.org
    There are several forms of user-generated cinema in our days.. actually most of them have great ideas but fail by a lack of financing. Whoever is interested in user-generated cinema, should also take a look at the CREATE DYSTOPIA project: It’s based on community ideas and community desicions and will be realized as a professional film by students of the Filmacademy Baden-Württemberg.
    Have a look at enter the filmmaking experience!
    http://www.create-dystopia.org