<videovortex> next ten years of film

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Thu Feb 8 14:03:56 CET 2007


The Next Ten Years of Film

Here is the next and last post by Michela Ledwidge focussing on how 
film will transform itself and us in the next ten years
  Where will film-making be in ten years? No doubt it will be 
everywhere, a mode of communication that everyday people can apply in 
their personal and professional lives. But what’s not clear is what 
will happen to the big budget end of the film business.

A few years ago I wrote up one approach that I’d like to see, calling 
it “MOD the movies – sustaining the story through live performance”. 
Here’s an excerpt from a chapter published as part of this book, 
Alternative Media: Idealism and Pragmatism


A ‘remixable film’ is a film YOU can meddle with. Its form is 
influenced by game design, online media and mash-up culture. It 
pre-empts a future for film distribution that is more coordinated with 
broadband entertainment, based on reuseable and syndicateable film 
assets. Online, a film becomes a stage. Backstage, the remixable film 
exposes more information about the content then ever before, to 
facilitate reprogramming of the experience.
  What you do with a remixable film is up to you – that is the point – 
but this is what we are planning …


Let’s play a game called ‘MOD the movies’. Anyone can play – film 
people, game people, music people, acting people, hecklers, anyone. 
Anyone who wants to interact or perform. In this game your film DVD 
becomes the stage. How long can you keep people entertained, onstage 
and offstage?

A ‘MOD’ is computer game jargon for a modified version of a game, 
usually one that has been created by a small team of regular players. 
MOD software tools are distributed free of charge by many game 
companies (e.g. level editors) in the knowledge that whoever tinkers 
with the game is extending its shelf-life.

However, MOD tools often appear spontaneously for the most popular 
games, even without official support. Gamers love control. In 2003 the 
most popular online game in the world was Counter-Strike. Its author, 
Minh Le, modified the first-person-shooter Half-Life (Valve Software, 
1998) and created his own MOD with new art and code. In 2004 Half-Life 
2 was released, bundled with Counter-Strike. No longer just a free 
internet download, Counter-Strike is also a shrink-wrapped PC and Xbox 
game that has since sold millions of copies. The MOD is now a product 
in its own right and its creator is a star.

MODs are a great example of internet culture in action. Fan behaviour 
has evolved somewhat since Beatlemania. These days, fans of games like 
Half-Life, Quake and Unreal can spend weeks and months creating and 
distributing their MODs, completely transforming the look and sound of 
the games they admire, often purely for comic effect.

‘MOD the movies’ is about transforming a film in similar fashion. The 
film-maker relinquishes control to encourage remixing as a playful 
artform. People like control. New creative business opportunities will 
emerge to support the urge.

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