(As interviewed by Julia Mann,
Social Media & Creative Consultant for Film By Democracy)
Film by Democracy is a Melbourne-based group co-founded by Monte
Macpherson, a writer, producer and director of independent film. The project’saim is to engage people around the world to vote on every aspect of a proposed 10-part webseries – from genre and location to character profiles,
names and plot lines. So far, the genre, sub-genre, underlying theme and
language have been established.
On Tuesday 17th April the group opened a 3-week window for people to
submit a 20-word logline summarizing a basic plot for the webseries (currently called ‘Project A’). They will be put to the vote and the winning logline will inform the direction of ‘Project A’ and future votes. At the end of this lengthy process the results of all polls will be brought together in the production of the series.
FbD team member Julia Mann asked Monte Macpherson a few questions
about the project:
Q. What is Film by Democracy?
A. Film by Democracy is a new, experimental way of producing films where
the audience submit ideas and then vote on them to develop projects. We
vote to decide on everything from the genre, story and character profiles to
what music we will eventually use.
Our first production, ‘Project A’ (until we vote for a name), will be a 10-part
Q. How did Film by Democracy come about?
A. Having submitted films to film festivals all over the world, which then play to half empty theatres and never get the opportunity to connect with the
audience, I figured there must be a better way. The final straw was after
having spent thousands of dollars on entry fees and countless days posting
DVDs, the first festival that screened my last film listed me (the director) as
Jane somebody in all the press material!
I have since pulled together a group of film enthusiasts, from writers and
production managers to social media gurus and film geeks, all with the shared vision of creating something unique in the current media landscape.
Q. What has the response been like so far?
A. The response has been generally good. Almost everyone says they think
it’s an interesting concept and can’t wait to see how it turns out. There are
always people keen to say “it can’t be done”, perhaps they are right, but that
won’t prevent us from trying!
We are steadily building up a strong community of passionate people who
are engaging avidly with the process, by voting and submitting ideas for the
direction of our first project.
Q. How is ‘Project A’ shaping up? What has already been decided by the
A. After four polls it has been decided that ‘Project A’ will be a Contemporary Urban Fantasy Drama (think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Amelie, or Black Swan). The votes have also determined that the series will be in English, and feature a sub-text of inequality and/or corruption.
Q. What’s coming up for Film by Democracy in the next month?
A. So far we have been voting on generic options in order to give ourselves a framework. Now the process begins to get really interesting as we invite our community to get creative.
We are currently asking people to submit a basic 20-word plot idea. It could
be about absolutely anything, as long it fits within the genres that have
already been decided. We can’t wait to see what ideas come in!
Then submissions will have to be put to the vote (it’s the democratic way!),
and the one with the most votes will become the foundation of our series.
Q. How can people access Film by Democracy?
A. It’s all online and free. The best place to start would be our website —
www.filmbydemocracy.com — where we run all the polls. From there you can vote, enter competitions and view our fun promo videos. Don’t forget to hit up our FbD Plus Blog or subscribe to our e-newsletter.
Q. What are your hopes for ‘Project A’? For Film by Democracy?
A. It’s such a unique and crazy idea that we dare not have too many hopes.
We would love to create something interesting and engaging, while always
staying true to the Film by Democracy principles of being Open, Democratic, Transparent and Experimental.
It will be especially sweet to defy negative people who say ‘the online
community is dumb and only want to watch cats doing stupid things’. We
ourselves are part of the online community and we are not dumb (AND
we like cats). There are people out there who have higher standards and
expectations – those are the people we want to engage!