Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been helping Brett Gaylor and Henrik Moltke write up a movie concept. The idea: a documentary about the web, by the web. People around the world would contribute ideas, clips and remixes. The best stuff would roll into a core storyline with regular releases or episodes.
A part of Drumbeat, the goals for this movie project are pretty clear. 1. Help people understand how the web works and why its open nature matters so much. 2. Push the envelope on cool uses of HTML5 <video> and on the open source filmmaking process. 3. Give filmmakers, musicians and artists an easy, fun way to contribute to making the web better.
What’s harder is the storyline. Of course, much of this will come from the people of the web. That’s the point. But you need to start with something. A thesis. A point of view. The small bits of stuff we’ve written on this feel a bit stodgy and unsurprising. Good stories about the internet for sure, but stories we already know.
As a way to insert some creative juice into the process, I did a little experiment at #nsc1: I asked people to put themselves in the casting director’s chair. Each person I talked was invited to propose one character for the movie. Here are some quotes of what people suggested:
- Peter Pan. Because the internet is alot like Neverland.
- The transformers. They’re pretty geeky, but also cool. More to the point, they have the same sort of open ended adaptability that the internet has.
- Web spiders. DNS. And other invisible agents that make up the web under the hood. Bring them to life as characters.
- Doug Englebart and Ted Nelson. Focus on the unsung pioneers and thinkers behind the internet, not just the names we’ve all heard of.
- My grandmother. That’s who I am trying to help when I try to make the internet better and simpler. She should be in the movie.
- Myself. I am a part of the internet. I help make it when I use it and contribute content. I should be a part of the movie. And so should everyone else on the internet.
- Anonymous. Our anonymous identities are just as much a part of the web as our public identities.
This was a really fun — and useful — session to run. So fun that I want to keep it going here. I’m extending the invitation to you: if you could cast one character in the movie version of the web, who or what would it be? If you have an idea, please post a comment.