The hive mind makes – er, pays for a movie

Matt Hanson has launched a Swarm of Angels, an effort to create a film through massive collaboration.

He wants 50,000 people to help him make a £1 million film. He plans to release the final film online under the Creative Commons licence, which will allow anyone to recut it.

What does the help entail? Primarily a donation of £25, although Matt plans to open the scriptwriting process to a wiki style group project. In addition to joining a mob of script doctors, you’ll also be able to take part in marketing and other creative decisions.

How will this work? Let me quote from the FAQ:

We started the project with a deliberately unpackaged project — to make it clear I wasn’t paying lipservice to the idea of members influencing the content — but we had some loose parameters.

The genre was to be thriller based with soft sci-fi elements. We are now developing two scripts, The Unfold and Glitch on the forums, based on member input into initial drafts written by me. Angels will then dissect and improve upon (script doctor, and rewrite) via dedicated script wiki’s. A vote will be taken by all members to decide which script is chosen for production. This is what we talk about when we say as a member of the Swarm you involved in MAJOR creative decisions.

I see ASOA as a benevolent dictatorship, so I will endeavour to give/take as much creative input as possible from The Swarm to make a better movie, and in so doing, I also expect The Swarm to give me a similar level of respect to make creative decisions and flex my own creative freedoms to make what I believe will be the best film possible.


Hanson is known for his study of film, but his IMDb portfolio is suspiciously thin.

Am I too cynical?

Here is the forum thread with the story-breaking of “The Unfold“.

I don’t have high hopes for this. On the other hand, the project involves talented folk like Cory Doctorow and Warren Ellis (“Global Frequency”) – acting as advisors.

Can the hive mind build this movie? That’s not the right question. The right question is: will they pay for it to be made by someone else?

2 thoughts on “The hive mind makes – er, pays for a movie

  1. Is there anything to this? I know I was kicking around the notion of writing a feature in a day/week by taking a premise and thirty bloggers and someone start the story rolling and writes a 3 page blogger writes next 3 pages, etc. etc. and see where it ends up – just for a fun experiment.

    But this is more than a fun experiment…hmmmm

  2. Warren Leonard (see the link to his Screenwriting Life blog) did something like that last year.

    He asked the scribosphere for one page apiece. It was choas. Fun, but chaos, and completely unfilmable.

    You can download the thing here:

    My contribution was noteworthy for the use of the word “ovipositor”.

    The Swarm of Angels project will be more dictatorial, and so the story will make more sense, but how much is any participant going to contribute beyond the cash gift?

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