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Robin Hood: Crowdsourcing from the poor to pay the rich.

Ridley Scott directs a crowdsourced movie

Crowdsourcing, if you haven’t heard of it, is also known as the ‘cheap, lazy bastard way to get something done’. It’s a technique gleefully employed by marketers and media outlets to ensure they get the pick of the litter for less. Separate the wheat from the chavs, as they say.

Brendan Jack
Brendan writes, produces, directs and sometimes performs in his online branded entertainment campaigns. “Even if you wanted to ramp a truck off Table Mountain to sell something,... More

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It’s also a great way to interact with global communities and to promote work and ideas. Think of it as a way to expose yourself without being arrested.

Creative and IT-focused industries seem to be the main target of crowdsourcing. There’s a plethora of briefs for apps, music videos, book covers and home-made adverts for chips, but not many calls for accountants to do tax returns for free. Pity.

Twitter has become the ground-zero of crowdsourcing. ‘Hey y’all, what’s the capital of Guatemala? I’m doing hizzle-work. Lol.’ Despite the answer being a few Google strokes away. Guatemala City, obviously.

Into this culture rides Ridley Scott, the maker of Hollywood blockbusters like Gladiator and Robin Hood. Together with YouTube and Kevin Macdonald, director of Last King of Scotland, he’s crowdsourcing a feature-length documentary titled Life in a Day.

The movie aims to offer a glimpse into the daily life of earth’s citizens, by cutting together footage that has been sent in from contributors all over the world. The engaging YouTube Symphony used a similar idea.

The selected film-makers will be flown to the Sundance premiere. Hopefully there’s also a per diem, Park City’s not cheap. The documentary will then be shown on YouTube.

“Can this change the way films are produced?”, I hear you ask.  Hmmn…sustainability would be a problem. This particular project works because it uses the documentary genre and because it’s a novel idea.

Feature films require massive amounts of control, coordination and accountability. Having said that, why not create a feature film sourced by an international community? If someone can crowdsource some funds, we’ll put it together. Ridley?

Good luck to the entrants of Life in a Day. It offers an easier way to get noticed than emailing Hollywood your script about a spaceship landing on Table Mountain. (Working title: District 10.)

Follow Brendan on Twitter @BrendanJack – if you feel like it.