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DT:TV Case Studies

Live experience of the virtually created

You thought that gamers and MySpacers were geeks and holed-up-in-their-bedroom freaks, right? Well check out the latest LIVE experiences created by and for these audiences: audiences who interact massively online, but who can be tempted out – by massively creative/arts projects offering innovative content! Video Games Live is a live orchestral celebration of video game music past and present – The RNSO and the RNSO Chorus performed the show in Glasgow last night, and it included synchronised lighting an interactive segments played out against a giant TV screen. RNSO also performed Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables last week, attracting a classical and hip-hop audience alike. People are really looking for exclusive experiences.

Faintheart is the world’s first user-generated feature film, premiering tomorrow night at Edinburgh’s International Film Festival. I can’t wait to see it, particularly after hearing about the experiences of the director Vito Rocco and also from James Fabricant, Head of Video and Entertainment, MySpace Europe who discussed the experience of making a movie with MySpacers on a panel at the film festival this morning. MySpace are actively engaging the independent film-making business, and worked with Vertigo Films for produce Faintheart, together with Screen West Midlands and Film4. The team used MySpace, its community, and its democratic voting tools to find a script and director, the movie soundtrack and the cast. The movie has made it from script to screen in year flat – it usually takes 3 years – and MySpacers will have access to exclusive screenings via the “BlackCurtain” screening API – a mash-up of Googlemaps and MySpace voting software, where interested audience members insert their postcodes. MySpace can immediately see where there would be a large enough audience to warrant a screening. These will happen after tomorrow’s premiere, but before its general theatrical release (September).

The film making process and distribution process was fairly traditional – actors got filmed acting on location, the movie got edited, it is launched in cinemas before its released on DVD and sells its other rights, but the content has been steered by the movie’s 20,000 or so MySpace friends. An expert panel and the vision of an auteur ultimately controlled the look, feel and quality of the film, but each part was cast to MySpacers who’d sent in video auditions for specific parts (via MySpace pages set up for those characters, which included the director’s notes on that part and the casting director’s tips on how to do a good audition…). It helped if you looked like a Viking, but of course MySpace is just the place to hook up niche interest groups of people who… like to dress up as Vikings! Any contributors get a credit – the actors got paid, and some of them even became Equity members and plan to continue acting! Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen – I’ll let you know after tomorrow’s premiere 🙂

MySpace users are differentiating themselves from other social networks – its becoming the space for  self-expression and media companies know they can spot and sell indie talent there.

This is a really exciting project for Screen West Midlands to have funded – they took a risk on an idea that as a pitch, had no director, script or cast!  However, they’re hoping to cash in for the West Midlands by the new genre of US holiday makers – set-jetters: keen film audiences who want to come and visit the locations their favourite films have been shot in. I reckon this film will be a cult success – expect a flux of set-jetting Americans at Ludlow Castle after September, folks.