Bazaar-style Movies Revisited

Posted 18 Aug 2004 at 09:18 UTC by shlomif Share This

When I started the Humanity Movie project of trying to make a movie "Bazaar-style", I missed something very essential about the Bazaar-model of development. Namely, that it involved having a lot of peer input and feedback as well as having a lot of peer involvement. This article tries to ammend the previous misconceptions. It will also outline a way for film-makers to truly benefit from the Bazaar-model of development as exercised in the free software world.

It is helpful to actually read Eric S. Raymond's seminal work the Cathedral and the Bazaar, and the rest of the series before starting such a project. If you haven't read it already do, as it will make you fully understand what is a bazaar-style project and how to manage a project properly.

The way I feel a Bazaar-style movie has to be managed is this, which is very different than the "Humanity" project.

First of all, the screenplay writer or writers prepares a screenplay. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it has to encompass the entire movie, and prove that the movie is worthy of production. Afterwards, the script is posted online (preferably in a version control repository) for everybody on the Internet to review and comment on. This stage is in accordance with what Eric Raymond say in CatB that a project cannot be started Bazaar style, and has to start from an initial proof-of-concept implementation.

The screenplay writer's job now is to determine which comments are in place, which patches to accept, (yes! people will send patches) and what changes to make. This will eventually make the screenplay much better than it was at first.

Next comes the casting. While perhaps it can be done with the involvement of the online community, it is not certain that it can. It's also not very relevant here, so I'll skip it.

Next comes the actual filming. Every scene is filmed, and edited until the crew thinks it is good enough. It is then posted online, and people can comment on it. If the director, based on the Internet surfers' comments, believes the scene need to be re-edited or even re-filmed, then the scene would indeed be re-made. A list of changes is probably in order, so people can notice the differences, without making it tired. Also, the iterations should stop after a while, in order to not tire the online reviewers. Every scene will be good enough, after three or four such iterations, anyhow.

Of course, this can be done in a pipeline: several scenes will be filmed one after another, and while they are, the previous ones will be edited and placed online for inspection.

After all that, it is iterated for the whole movie. The entire movie is glued together out of the individual scenes, placed online for people to watch (in an accessible multimedia format), and the film creator's get feedback on the entire film, and modify it accordingly.

This method will probably increase the quality of the final film. Another positive side-effect is that it will create a lot of fuss about it online and offline. By the time the film hits the silver screen, it will already have acquired a great deal of fans. Plus, the movie can cover some of its expenses by allowing local fans to screen intermediate versions of it before its official debut.

It's worth seeing if this method works by trying it several times. For this we need the cooperation of a film-maker. It is naturally not a panacea, but it is a good way for film-makers to harness the power of the Internet to their advantage, a good way for Internet enthusiasts to influence the making of movies, and if used correctly, a good way to increase the value of movies.

Acknowldegements: I'd like to thank Seth Arnold and Omer Zak for reviewing an early draft of this article and making some useful comments.


First off..., posted 18 Aug 2004 at 11:21 UTC by tk » (Observer)

...methinks ESR's CatB is way over-hyped. It's too full of untestable claims, anecdotal evidence, and fluffy requirements. More importantly, it glosses over what may be the key advantage of the bazaar model, as expounded by Linus, namely that it blurs "developers" and "users" into one single group.

If this is indeed the bazaar's main feature, then it's hard to see while this "Bazaar-Style Movie" is anywhere near "bazaar". The `core' folks likely won't be making the movie for their own consumption, and the users know that. Oh well, one can always hope.

Re: First off..., posted 18 Aug 2004 at 13:40 UTC by shlomif » (Master)

Hi tk! First of all, let me congratulate you for the well-rounded, completely rational response. As for The Cathedral and the Bazaar, I disagree. (I liked it very much, and it's still the best document written on this subject.)

As for blurring the line between users and developers - that's true. However, some users will always remain users, and won't even report bugs. Even I, who is fully capable of programming and bug-reporting, sometimes just find a workaround or find a different program, and go on with my life, (albeit, lately I've been doing my best not to).

The reason the movie-making process I described is a bazaar is that you let a large part of the potential viewers take part in shaping it, or contribute feedback. Much like a Bazaar-style open-source project. As for making a movie for other people's consumption: I think it is important that a movie-maker will first-of-all make a movie that he would like to see, and only later a movie that others would enjoy. This is in accordance with what Paul Graham says about programming languages. Naturally, though, you shouldn't take deliberate steps to make your movie unpopular. Again, Paul Graham has a lot to say about it.

Programming may be art, but..., posted 19 Aug 2004 at 01:11 UTC by apenwarr » (Master)

They say that computer programming is an art form, and I even agree sometimes. But I don't think questions of pure art (like making movies that people will like) can be settled the same way software can be.

Your model is not the bazaar model at all; it doesn't include any way for people to contribute to the production, other than to suggest a few script changes or complain about the low-quality screen editing. Reviewers are not selected based on the quality of their contribution, because they have no contribution other than commentary. This is not much more than an extensive, very early "beta" programme for individual scenes of the movie.

And while getting feedback for a few integration details (usually timing, etc) is important, art mostly comes from a single person or two. Anytime you dilute it by asking a committee how it should be done, you'll end up with the average, not the sum, of everyone's opinion... which will be nothing special at all.

Software designed by a committee is terrible. A movie designed by committee would be much, much worse.

The Art of Bazaar, posted 19 Aug 2004 at 18:58 UTC by tk » (Observer)

shlomif: I still say that the CatB is over-hyped, and I can even show exactly why.

apenwarr: That's a much clearer explanation than mine on why this "Bazaar-Style Movies" thingy isn't anything near "bazaar-style". There are probably ways to fix it so that random folks can directly contribute to the production. One may be to forgo the requirement that the actors must be real people (OK, we still need a way to handle the voice part...).

Said it before, posted 20 Aug 2004 at 03:02 UTC by Pseudonym » (Journeyer)

I think my comment from last time still stands.

Replies to people here, posted 20 Aug 2004 at 06:14 UTC by shlomif » (Master)

apenwarr: I agree that what I suggest in regards to movies is different than with software, but this has to do with the different nature of movies to software. In software, you don't have actors, which should be kept the same for the entire movie, and so it's easier. Whether you call it a "bazaar model" or not, does not affect the question of whether it is a good idea or not.

As for the art designed by committee - you are right of course. :-) By all means a movie should have a few writers, and a few directors. What I suggested was simply that they'll get feedback from the entire community, and selectively apply it. Similarly to the fact that Linus Torvalds decides what to put in the Linux kernel and what will stay out.

tk: if you think CatB is over-hyped, feel free to share your reasons for this. I personally found it very enlightening when I read it.

Pseudonym: the way I understand your comment from last time, it had a two-fold purpose: first, tell me that a movie which many people build piece by piece can never work, (that was the previous interpretation of "bazaar" in regards to movies). I don't see it relevant now that I've changed it.

The second purpose was for you to tell me that I should have more experienced in movie making, before I express myself in this regard. I do not claim to be a film-making expert, but I'm certainly entitled to a right to express myself in this regards.

Why CatB sucks, posted 20 Aug 2004 at 07:15 UTC by tk » (Observer)

shlomif: It's not hard to find fluffy claims in CatB. For example, the chapter "Necessary Preconditions for the Bazaar Style" doesn't even talk about hard preconditions, just vague stuff about factors that can "help" towards making a project successful. This is despite that

Early reviewers and test audiences for this essay [CatB] consistently raised questions about the preconditions for successful bazaar-style development, including both the qualifications of the project leader and the state of code at the time one goes public and starts to try to build a co-developer community.

First fluffy statement:

It's fairly clear that one cannot code from the ground up in bazaar style [IN].

"Fairly clear"? Never mind, there's an "[IN]" footnote that's supposed to explain all this, but the footnote turns out to be a 10-paragraph diatribe of more fluffy statements.

I think it is not critical that the coordinator be able to originate designs of exceptional brilliance, but it is absolutely critical that the coordinator be able to recognize good design ideas from others.

So who decides what's a "good design"? God? RMS? ESR? If no one can even agree on what's a "good design", then how on earth does one prove or disprove this statement? And what's with this "I think" from a proponent of Objective Truth? There's a lot of this waffly "I think", "I believe", "I expect", "it helps enormously" stuff in this chapter alone. There's more, by the way.

Yes, you found it very "enlightening", but does it work? Has ESR managed to summarize the lessons of Linux, fetchmail, and other projects into a series of principles that actually have any predictive power? Or can CatB never be wrong, because if you apply its principles and it doesn't work, then you can always blame the failure on something else? Ask yourself these questions.

And, what's with this "I'm certainly entitled to a right to express myself"? That's a generic cop-out for people who have nothing to defend their claims with, similar to "Anyone who can't see that P is true is obviously an idiot", "There's no evidence of P because there are evil forces hiding all the evidence, and there's no evidence of these evil forces either because the evil forces hide themselves well", etc. If your claims have any firm foundation, then you don't need such generic excuses.

Not quite, posted 21 Aug 2004 at 02:55 UTC by Pseudonym » (Journeyer)

My comment was two-fold, but you did misinterpret (or I wasn't clear about) the second point.

My first point was that bazaar movie writing will indeed not work. The nature of stories is that they need to be conceptually coherent in a way that software does not need to be. Unless you're writing sketch comedy-style film, or are putting a whole lot of short movies together (and by that I mean a collection of films like The Animatrix, not multiple/tandem narrative like Pulp Fiction), films are not modular. You can't swap out one part, swap in something else and expect everything to work as it did.

Even in editing, by the way, this is also true at the scene level. Unlike a novel, in a film, timing is critical. If you can't hold someone's attention in a novel, they can put it down and come back to it later. If you can't hold someone's attention in a movie, you lose them. Whether or not a scene works depends crucially on its context within the whole movie and the transitions between the scenes before and after it.

Interestingly, Linus Torvalds said pretty much the same thing in his recent Business Week interview. Unlike reference documentation, which is modular and can be accessed in a nonlinear way, fiction is almost always linear.

Your new proposal is slightly better because it involves doing whole passes through the film rather than piecemeal modification. But even so, all filmmakers know that to get decent feedback, at the very least you need to show the film to a fresh audience. Under the new proposed model, even assuming you could solve all of the other problems, you'd end up with a movie optimised for a specific group of people who had already seen it dozens of times. In software, which is designed to solve some problem, that's not so bad, because people are willing to invest in learning the product if it will pay off later. In fiction, it's deadly.

My second point was not that you don't have the right to have an opinion because you're not an expert. My point was that you won't be able to pull it off because you're not an expert and you don't have an expert handy.

Now I don't want to be all negative, so here's a suggestion: Rather than trying to create something that is inherently linear and non-modular, why don't you try creating something that is non-linear and can be decomposed? How about interactive fiction, for example?

Re: Not quite,, posted 21 Aug 2004 at 13:14 UTC by shlomif » (Master)

Pseudonym: you are right that films require a consistent plot. That's why I specifically said that the first working script has to be written Cathedral-style in accordance to ESR's suggestion in CatB.

As for "Under the new proposed model, even assuming you could solve all of the other problems, you'd end up with a movie optimised for a specific group of people who had already seen it dozens of times. ". IMO, it's just a speculation. It's possible it will happen, or it is possible it won't. You can never know until you try<tm>. Generally, I think that a movie that is optimized for people who have seen it many times, will by nature appeal to new audiences. But I might be wrong.

What is possible, is that I'm thinking in the direction of "cult" movies: movies that people see times and again. Something like nice comedies or films that don't take themselves too seriously.

OK, posted 23 Aug 2004 at 05:52 UTC by Pseudonym » (Journeyer)

If a "cult movie" is what you're after, then you may have more luck. I say "may", because there's only one guaranteed way to make a cult movie: Create a faithful movie version of something that already has cult status. (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, arguably the first "cult movie", is the quintessential example.) Even then you're fighting an uphill battle, because cult followers have their own ideas about what makes a movie "faithful", and they may differ from yours.

Apart from that, nobody knows what movies will end up as cult icons and what movies will not. Plus, as far as I know, nobody who has specifically set out to make a cult movie has succeeded.

Oh, while I think of it, posted 23 Aug 2004 at 07:25 UTC by Pseudonym » (Journeyer)

A movie designed by committee would be much, much worse.

Pretty much all movies over a certain complexity are effectively designed by committee. The catch is that one person (the director) has the final call, though in practice it's usually informed by experts delegated to specific tasks, and in most cases the director just "signs off" on what they do, unless there are some specific comments that s/he has.

In particular: At least the director, the screenwriter, the actor(s), the production designer, the director of photography, the editor and the composer all play some part in designing the movie. Depending on the film, there might be other creative roles who also have a huge influence on it (e.g. visual effects supervisor, choreographer etc). Plus, of course, there's the producer, who often has a huge influence simply because some things can't be done within the budget.

There's an old screenwriter joke (I believe it read it in one of William Goldman's books) which goes something like this:

A studio executive, a producer and a director walk into a restaurant. The exec orders soup. He tastes it and says: "Hey, this soup is fantastic! You guys have got to try this!"

The producer tries it and says: "Hey, you're right! It's wonderful! Here, you try some!"

The director tastes it and says: "You guys are right! This soup is fabulous! Hmmm... but you know what would make it really great? Let's all piss in it!"

Need fresh audiences to watch each revision, posted 23 Aug 2004 at 11:32 UTC by redi » (Master)

I think Pseudonym is absolutely right to say

you'd end up with a movie optimised for a specific group of people who had already seen it dozens of times

When you've seen a movie a hundred times and seen all the deleted scenes and read the script and seen the "making of" documentary and know the names of the cast and crew, then you view the film in a very different way (*). You've always comparing what's on screen with the "missing" bits that you know about, wondering how different it would be. This is completely at odds with the usual audience, who are seeing it for the first time with no preconceived ideas about it and no knowledge of anything that's not on screen. (* this might not apply if you watch the movie repeatedly because you're an obsessive stalker in love with one of the actors ;-)

I can imagine it might work for a "cult" movie, but I'm not sure you can set out to intentionally make a cult movie. I think it happens for various reasons, but not usually because it was intended to become "cult" (i.e. of very limited popularity and only of interest to certain people). Setting out with the intention of making a cult movie is akin to saying "this movie does not work as a standalone entity - it only works within a specific context and should only be seen from the right perspective," which (I suspect) will limit its popularity to the people who helped in its production.

What I meant by "Cult Movies", posted 23 Aug 2004 at 14:07 UTC by shlomif » (Master)

Just a note: when I said cult movies I meant movies that people or at least some people enjoy seeing times and again. Like "The Princess Bride", "Spaceballs", "Speed", "Bring it On" and "The Emperor's New Groove" are for me. Your definition of what is a cult movie may vary.

Re: What I meant by ``Cult Movies'', posted 24 Aug 2004 at 17:37 UTC by tk » (Observer)

shlomif: If you're seriously aiming only for the standard of The Emperor's New Groove, then you don't need a bazaar, you just need to slap some goop together and shove it in the audience's orifice. Really, associating this sort of quality with a development method that's given us a state-of-the-art operating system is nothing short of an insult.

I say, if you're really into it, why not aim for something really high, like Lord of the Rings or Spirited Away?

And, the proposed "bazaar-style" method still doesn't decrease the cost of movie-making by a single cent. Sure, you get somewhat more feedback than before, but when it comes to actually shooting the movie, you still need the exact same resources. So is there much benefit after all?

The fact remains that, to truly harness the benefits of a "bazaar-style" methodology -- to dramatically lower the resources the `core' team needs -- there must be a way to allow users to be developers, not just `help' in the development. Anything less will be akin to ordering a fish burger without the fish.

bazaar style movies already exist, posted 24 Aug 2004 at 18:01 UTC by MichaelCardenas » (Journeyer)

for example, here's one that I worked on:

The Miami Model @ FTAAIMC.org

check that site for a screening in your home town, or order the video online.

The FTAA IMC video working group had over 100 hours of footage shot by tens of people in the streets. individual segments were edited in various cities around the country and in canada. final compilation of segments was done in two cities, posted on the net for review, and then re-edited in san francisco. note the list of credits.

also, other indymedia videos are made like this as well:
Praha 2000
Showdown in Seattle

we make all decisions based on formal consensus and our film is licensed under a creative commons license.

Lord of the Rings?, posted 24 Aug 2004 at 18:35 UTC by mslicker » (Journeyer)

I've seen the production cost of the Lord of the Rings trilogy estimated at $300 million, this is not to mention the combined experience and talent of the people involved.

I'm not a film maker, nor do I pretend to be, but assembling resources on this scale can not be done outside of the existing system of making movies.

As for Linux, that is a reimplementation of a 30-year old system, I never seen the claim that is the state-of-art. By the movie analogy, it might be considered a remake.

FTAA IMC and Indymedia, posted 26 Aug 2004 at 07:17 UTC by Pseudonym » (Journeyer)

I am not surprised that documentaries lend themselves to the bazaar style much better than fiction. Thanks for the links, BTW.

Oh, one correction. I said that The Rocky Horror Picture Show was arguably the first cult movie. That's probably not true; Fritz the Cat (based on the cult comic of the same name) predates it by three years.

Re: What I meant by ``Cult Movies'',, posted 26 Aug 2004 at 18:08 UTC by shlomif » (Master)

tk, tk... you're so cute when you're trolling! ;-)

I don't aim for the standard of "The Emperor's New Groove" - I was just giving it as an example for a movie that I like to see times and again. Your kilometrage may vary, and you may have other movies of this sort.

I haven't seen "Spirited Away" yet, and I only fully saw the first episode of LotR, albeit there was one huge technical difficulty in the fact that the theatre did not give us a single break in that 3-hours movie. From what I've seen in the second episode (not too much) on DVD, it was quite OK, and I'm looking forward to see the third. I found the original trilogy boring, BTW.

The aim of my methodology is not to reduce the cost of making the movie. In fact, it may somewhat increase it. What it aims is to create better movies that will therefore have a better chance of generating more revenue.

As for letting users be developers: well now that I think of it, it is possible that after the script is written, the "co-developers" can film their own independent scenes, based on it, only without the formal actors. This can prove as a test-bed for new ideas and as a debugging aids before the final scenes are being filmed.

Note that in movies there are some limitations of the medium and format which are not present in software development. This is the closest thing we can come to Bazaar-style for movies in the forseeable future, I think.

Animation, posted 26 Aug 2004 at 18:50 UTC by nymia » (Master)

For animation, keyframes can be made by a core group, doing main things like setting up the face, body, etc. Pretty much most of the storyboarding are mostly done by the core as well, then passed on to the animators who convert them to keyframes, which are then passed on to the tweeners to complete the scene/sequence.

You can cut the 'cult' part though. Animation is already an industry and tools exist for each and every task. The bazaar style of producing an animated movie is pretty much there already.

Decisions, posted 29 Aug 2004 at 09:13 UTC by salmoni » (Master)

An interesting idea, but I'm not sure if it's workable.

I've been involved in five films so far (plus one voice-over as the Devil!), 2 of which were feature length, and the amount of work that goes in is quite enormous. The reason that I'm not sure about this idea is that at some point, somebody needs to make a decision. Without this, I would imagine that the process would degenerate into a series of arguments about trivia because, well, we all like different movies.

The first feature length production I was involved with, all the cast and crew suggested ideas during the rehearsals. I think it worked because we managed to point out minor continuity errors in the script as well as coming up with a better ending, but when it comes to shooting, you really cannot have a gang of folks arguing over who does what. In that case, the actors will soon get fed up and go home (artistic types, you see!) quickly followed by the crew. I guess we worked from a general consensus, but once we had reached this consensus, it was about knuckling down and saying "yes chief!" to the director.

However, it sounds like a nice idea, and my skepticism might be undeserved (after all, folks said that a complete OS could never ben written this way). Best of luck!

If you need an actor in the UK, give me a call!

A complete OS was not written that way, posted 2 Sep 2004 at 17:47 UTC by jbuck » (Master)

The Linux kernel, like any good film, had a director; a benevolent dictator who delegated most of the work but imposed his own personal vision on the project.

The OS as a whole was based on the design of Unix, whose design was shaped by a very small group of brilliant people at Bell Labs.

Most of the free software infrastructure was produced by cloning the designs of Unix, Microsoft, and Apple. There are several areas where the free software community did not clone but produced something completely original: Emacs, Perl, and Python in particular. However, each of these is, at the core, the creative product of a single mind, even though each grew a large community to move it forward.

I don't think a film project can be successful without either a single person or a very tight, small team making the decisions. However, almost any film project requires large numbers of people.

And even then..., posted 4 Sep 2004 at 01:16 UTC by Pseudonym » (Journeyer)

..."a complete OS" is modular. You can change the scheduler, the email daemon or the C compiler and, assuming they work, most people won't notice the difference (except possibly their programs running more efficiently). Documentaries are also modular to a degree, but unless they're anthologies, works of fiction are not. They are far, far more coherent than typical works of software.

Consider an animation project, new tools improve feasibility., posted 5 Sep 2004 at 08:48 UTC by mirwin » (Master)

I think you are neglecting the true potential of a community based collaborative approach. Consider using the freely available or creatable tools, freedom of financial constraints, and joyful creativity of a community in small discrete chunks which people can easily volunteer. Also remember the many forks along the way. Only the successful forks and distributions are widely publicised. Perhaps you need hundreds of director wannabes sorting through contributions from thousands of art component submittals to get a few large successes. Is open source about design or evolution? Must a "movie" or audiovisual art form be designed by a master artist or can it evolve?

Disney makes large use of public domain fairy tales, myths, religious stories etc. that are clearly evolved from the contributions of myriads of people who retold them (and modified them intentionally or unintentionally) over a period of centuries. Some of their worst stuff is newly written by individuals or small teams and untested. Consider a wiki to create the screen play. The film editor (project manager, team, whatever) can pick the best starting version at any time or request rewrites. It might take a few years to generate the script. Encourage participants to use the material as bedtime stories and submit refinements or verbal editing back to the site. Eventually a suitable storyline should emerge that can be modified into a visual screen play for animation. Consider a serial such as the tried and true dynasties (Flintstomes, Jetsons, Transformers, etc.) This way multiple combinations of people could work in parallel on many projects .... might get a success even is most are predestined to failure.

Consistency sufficient for audience acceptance might be arranged by having an community library of GPLed 3D models. These could be used as a starting point, tweaked a bit for new scences and clips and then the tweaks along with new clips or sequences posted. It might also be possible for a project to establish a library of sound files that would allow cut and paste of dialogues. Alternatively a text reader with a variable voice synthesizer could be used to maintain some consistency in future episodes. IIRC magpie (a lip synch animation tool) had some primitive voice generation cabability as did a basic voice synthesizor on the Amiga. Unfortunately I have not found a good open source text to voice synthesizer or even an affordable windows based tool.

After a team has committed to a draft screenplay and a starter set of data objects (models, textures, background stills, palletes, voices, etc.) people could start submitting animation and dialogue snippets. It might be necessary to use the first set of iterations to get a draft product adequate to recruit the final team. Probably better to start with ten minute cartoons such as the Pink Panther cartoon vs. 6 (so lucas no claims) film epics such as Star Wars.

Notice the Pink Panther cartoon series had no voices. This might be a good initial option if the community can not attract voice talent committed enough to complete a large lengthy sound track production right away.

Personally I think the best way to get started would be a community based web site or ring using some of the proven approachs. Advogato for work journals. Wikipedia.org for stories, scripts, etc. GPLed objects such as sound effects, standard clips (Wiley Coyote impacts and rocks), backgrounds, overlays, etc. tracked and accessible via some kind of version control and down load system ... cvs like I guess.

A set of agreed upon open formats, tools, credits practices, etc would be useful.

Consider this Operational Scenario Potential open source neophyte (newly bankrupt from attempt to produce independent animation product) disavows forever Microsoft, Autodesk, Kinetics, Adobe, et. al. etc. Despairing of ever being able to keep up with bug conflicts in products routinely created, sold, and supported for the benefit of multi billion dollar commercial markets .... archives all data products, fires all employees (animators, analysts, cad designers, book keepers ... all must go to avoid U.S.G. paperwork and payroll taxes) and gets a new real job.

Stumbling upon the open animation web ring a few months later neophyte decides to maintain skills and interest in animation by participating in the newly established open animation web ring community.

Idle dual processor animation workstation is reconfigured and stable version of Debian is installed as per support site recommendation.

The following open source tools are downloaded and installed .... 3D modeler, image tweaker (Gimp?), image/sound clip sequencer/splicer (Premiere Clone? Director?), sound editor, browser, word editor and others as recommended or necessary to create, utilize data objects in standard formats.

A few mailing lists are joined.

Some archived data products belonging to the neophyte are submitted as newly artistically licensed or GPL'ed objects.

A new project with neophyte in charge (self selected, it is lonely at the top) is established.

Neophyte joins an interesting sounding project that looks busy and prestigious. Attempts a few challenging (or non challenging but useful) tasks while waiting for millions of participants to arrive at his newly established wonder project.

Upon losing a few hours work in a buggy open source sequence editor gets irritated and proclaims to artist community that something must be done. Is informed that a translater from standard commercial tools is available to the community standard data format, might be better to work in professional tools then translate data object for site submittal as an open object to the community. Otherwise feel free to learn python or C++ and go help one of the open source projects sort of in progress develop better open artistry tools. Or even better, send someone some money to fix the bug or add the feature of interest.

Sounds a lot like existing communities such as Sourceforge, or Wikipedia to me.

I think there are ... a search at google on keywords free 3dsmax files yields: http://www.huntfor.com/3d/links.htm this site provides links to sites claiming to provide "free" 3ds models. Getting permission to freely republish the models under some kind of community or artist license might be tricky. I was looking for a translater from 3dsmax files to some other open data format.

Anohter search on keywords "open source 3dsmax 3d modeler" is a little more interesting, yielding: http://www.matkovic.com/anto/linkovi.html A list of available open source tools and projects. Blender is a 3D modeler but AFAIK has a ways to go in the rendering sequences. Probably good for stills and models if other tools have compatible open formats. gmax looked interesting but it is apparently closed source put out by Kinetix (division of autodesk that produces 3dsmax)

Anyway, I dither. I think your idea has some promise. A careful search of online artist communities may discover my proposed adaptation already underway in some form. If you find an open tool oriented community with successful open projects in progress please post the links here.

I would think a key to success in your proposed endeaver is a viable virtual community of enthusiastics amateurs, artists, and software developers. A web community where artistic submittals and edits can be tracked indefinately and somehow credit accrued and accolades given where due might allow one to succeed. Funding is always an issue. I really doubt you can convince a studio or major distributor to finance a competing paradigm. Perhaps a scheme could be developed whereby all micro contributions are tracked such that micro royalties could be accrued from pay for download or cdrom distributions and eventually distributed back to artists and developers. I suspect a better plan near term is to track and provide credits and allow the community an advogato style capability of pointing at and exclaiming over contributions and certifying artistic skills. This might be a useful resume reference for enthusiasts attempting to go pro.

As a starter activity the artist community site might coach neophyte open artists on how to interact productively with open source developers, consider:

1. This software is all screwed up and crashes every other minute requiring me to produce ten second clips and paste them together. How come you twits do not mix these major bugs before making downloads available?

2. I found a bug in the rendering module and submitted the automated bug report but I am wondering if anyone knows any workarounds which can be used until the bug is fixed.

To continue, perhaps a route to your goal is the establishment of an online community where members can easily make small contributions that are automatically licensed to the community or public domain or GPL'ed or whatever and anyone can easily launch projects, use components, and give credit as appropriate. The credits may become larger than the products. They are however essential. Open source developers reuse their software repeatedly so there is a benefit from publishing and getting assistance with development and bug fixing. Movie makers create their product for others and probably need some incentive to give away these efforts. A nice set of credits and derived products which could be referenced for the eddification of potential employers or clients or an ability to sell or benefit from sell of CD collections might be necessary to establish and maintain a thriving open animation community.

BTW This might be a good project for distributed archival, secure reliable identity or public key mechanisms, trust models, etc. Since multimedia is so data intensive and cheating/trolling online is so prevalent, these mechanisms might be necessary to a viable community dedicated to the audiovisual arts. Perhaps the final film cuts are controlled by he who owns/controlls adequate bandwidth, disk space, or organizational skills and distributed assets to get a project completed and submitted. Or perhaps the distributed community storage only provides community approved versions (determined by some trust/polling mechanism) to downloaders. Unworthy data objects and movie versions being deleted after crossing some threshold to make room for more contributions or mutations.

Interesting idea. I look forward to your further thoughts and research results regarding the matter. mirwin

Applicable community site, posted 8 Sep 2004 at 11:03 UTC by mirwin » (Master)

This site creativecommons.org looks like it is exploring and addressing many of the issues raised in this article thread explicitly or implicitly regarding artistic licenses, revenue models, collaboration methods, etc. It looks a little balkanized for my taste, but perhaps that is necessary to get started efficiently.

Other applications, posted 25 Sep 2004 at 17:17 UTC by Malx » (Journeyer)

First 2mirwin:
http://www.rainer-keuchel.de/wince/flite.html - Free Port of FLITE speech synthesis library for WinCE. Contains one command-line executable for speech synthesis.

Audacity - is free Audio Editor.

And the other possibilities are:
- music . You could create independently text, voice, sub-voices and several music sumples. Separate recordins of every instrument will be avaliable, so you could reedit them and make new comined mp3. Or you could re-sing all with the same music. Or you could resign a part.

- multimedia books. That is educational materials or books for kind. BTW. do anyone know the way of creating multimedia content with free tools the way it could be done with Macromedia Authorware, Asymetrix ToolBook or Flash? So it will produce interactive full-screen application with audio-video-animation-images-texts-scripts. I see it could be XUL, but it is too complex for none-programmer to use.

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