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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 11.17.10] movie news

I like social media. I make my living off it, and a good one at that. So please don't mistake this post for naysayism, or worse, party-pooperism. But, I sit in meetings about social media. I know what gets discussed in those meetings. Yes it's "transparency." Yes it's "engagement." Yes it's "influence." But it's also "fantasy" and "dreams" and "ego."

Amazon just launched a new website called "Amazon Studios" where users can sign- up, upload their scripts, movies and storyboards, then evaluate each others work to get it shown to Warner Brother (who has an exclusive "first look" deal with the site). Apparently it's also giving away over a million dollars a year in monthly prizes to the best received work on the site.

Okay. Social media enthusiasts will say this is great news. Democratization of filmmaking has arrived! Amazon will boast that the site is a bis success. But it's all bullshit. It's just proof that social media is becoming the new reality tv. Because let's face it, reality TV is genius. Pay nobodies nothing for the chance of being famous or rich, then pay ONE of them a measly million dollars at the end. This is the business model behind this site. Trust me. Amazon will get the page views, Warner Brothers gets free ideas and the one stooge a year that sells his movie (which will likely never be made) gets paid, what? Maybe a million? If that.

Don't fall for it gang. As someone who is now involved in the movie business (hopefully more on that later) I can attest to just how complicated it is to get movies financed and made. It's certainly not as easy as upload scipt, engage and fullfill your dreams. I wish it were. Believers will tell you otherwise, but it's just like when people try to convince you to play the lottery. They say "you can't win if you don't play" and flash you a shit-eating grin. Because they know they just ate shit and liked it.

Buyer beware is all I have to say.

Original news via /Film

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Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

man you gotta not spell genius wrong


Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

Maybe it's the Canadian spelling, eh?


David Byrne (11 years ago) Reply

I must say as a budding screenwriting trying to make a name for myself these contests always tempt me to enter... but I have learned my lesson. From personal experience, this will only cause headache and heartache for those who submit material. There once was a contest between MySpace and Fox to develop the next great television show. The top ten would get to pitch their show idea to Fox Executives. Well I made the top ten which was a great accomplish, but then the organizers of the contest scrapped all ten winners because they found someone in the top ten hacking the system to get more votes.

That's just one example. These contests usually start off innocent, but then you realize that there are some really crazy, vindictive people. These people will usually start smear campaigns against your submission and send negative ratings with hopes of burying your idea amongst the other riff raff. If there isn't a smear campaign against you then you will realize that this one guy got his entire 1,000 person friend base to sign up and vote / comment on his project.

Then the contest no longer becomes fun and becomes more of a job. I find myself going to the website 10 times a day or more just to make sure no one has sabotaged my hard work, and then I begin the horrible task of trying to always make my submission seem like the best and most popular out of a 1,000 or more. Usually I end up with more alliances than a season of Survivor.

As Agent Orange stated, after all of the hard work these projects pretty much never get made. Yes you might get a little money out of it, but if you are trying to be a filmmaker or screenwriter because of the money then you are in it for the wrong reason. The goal is to actually have your ideas transcribed on screen and then enjoyed by your peers and hopefully reach and inspire the masses.

Contests can work and projects can get made, but when you open the moviemaking process to a democratic selection process you will ultimately see the worst in people. Just look at every political campaign. Commercials always start off sincere, but then one candidate creates a smear campaign which leaves the other candidate with no choice to stoop to their level and respond to the smear.

And as a side note, movies like much other forms of art are solely based on personal experiences. My brother-in-law seriously thinks Shrek 4 is one of the greatest movies ever made. Who am I to deny him the joy of watching something he loves because if Shrek 4 were opened up to a democratic process it probably never would have gotten made. The same can be said for most of the films promoted on this website.

So, I have to agree with Agent Orange when he says, "Buyer Beware".

Getting off my soapbox,

David Byrne


uncleB (11 years ago) Reply

Johhny Fairplay got tossed by the ginger kid from the partridge family. FAIL!


Anglebender (11 years ago) Reply

Amazon is set to rape themselves with this. Social media is the telegraph of the 21st Century, and given time, it will become the next telephone or even the next television. Limited thinking in three dimensions is what created this misinterpretation. Let's watch the fireworks and laugh because we're not involved :D


Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

When two giants of industry partner to offer us an oportunity like this I'm usually skeptical. A community that begins organically with the intent to share and inspire is one thing (Deviant Art comes to mind). There, cream rises to the top because it springs from geniune engagement and creativity.

But in this case I agree with David Byne. It runs the risk of being overrun by desperation to get noticed.

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