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Tiffany Shlain Explains How and Why Non-Profits and Others Can Crowdsource Film Production for Free

By Tiffany Shlain | Indiewire May 6, 2013 at 11:01AM

Tiffany Shlain, who has been a player in the Bay Area tech scene for over a decade and who directed the 2011 Sundance film "Connected," is currently promoting her cloud filmmaking project, a way for organizations and others to get filmmakers all over the world to contribute to collaborative film projects on specific topics. Shlain also recently announced that she would be creating a web series, "The Future Starts Here," about connected life, for AOL
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The other thing I started working on, I didn’t want to shoot again, I told you from Zoli’s Brain that was a traumatic experience for me, but I wanted to express complicated ideas without going out on these big shoots. I spent a lot of time with great animators to develop these ideas, like how do I show innovation.

We spent 2 years on that animation. It was really fun for me and my team to think of ideas and try to visualize them.

The other thing was that my father finally came around to the idea of me being a filmmaker, and I actually invited him to co-write this movie, and my co-writer’s in the audience, Sawyer Steele, and I said, “Dad, you know you wrote about the history of connectedness, write a movie with us!”

We were in the middle of this big movie about connectedness in all of civilization and looking at where this connectedness came from and why we have such a desire to be texting and emailing all of the time. Where does that come from? Why are we doing this so much? That was my big question.

In the middle of production, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer and given 9 months to live. The same week, I found out I was pregnant. Suddenly, I was thinking about connectedness on a whole different level and I realized our film did not have anything to do with emotional connectedness. I realized, it was my 8th film, that I had to enter the film. Because to look at why we were texting and emailing, it’s all about our desire to feel connected. And where do we learn how to feel connected? It’s from our parents. Whether it was good or bad, that’s how we learn. All of this technology is about this oxytocin rush and feeling loved and connected. So we took apart the film and weaved back and forth between the history of humanity and my own story of connectedness. Here is the trailer for that film:

In a lot of ways, Cloud Filmmaking really came from putting the ideas of Connected into action. In the film there is an emotional climax and then there’s an intellectual climax which come together around the question, “What is the world going to look like when everyone’s connected online?” It’s not that far away, that everyone’s going to have access. What can we do with that?

So at The Moxie Institute, we thought, lets make a movie with all the people that we can. The last line of the film was, “perhaps it’s time to declare our interdependence.” So we went to a visionary funder and I say that because it was such a hunch, it had not been proven. And I said, ‘we have a hunch that we could try to make a movie with people from all over the world and here’s our experiment,’ and they beautifully supported us. We wrote a 1 page script and this is what it was...

We put the script out on Twitter and Facebook and asked people to record themselves reading it. We also worked with the artist community at Talenthouse and asked them to illustrate the words/sections of the script. We got entries from Haiti, Africa, India and more. It was so exciting.  Here is the 4 minute film that resulted from this. This was our first experiment in Cloud Filmmaking...

Link to A Declaration of Interdependence.


So that was our first cloud film. We were so excited by this, it was like the whole world opened up to us. Then we worked with dotSUB and we said, “Lets invite the world to help us translate this movie.” Within 6 weeks we had it translated into 65 different languages by volunteer translators through dotSUB. I had a short film that had played at Tribeca and a lot of other festivals, and maybe it got translated into 5 languages over 10 years. So to have all of this happen and go so wide in 6 weeks, it was so beautiful.

This article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit: Technology, Filmmaker Toolkit, Documentary, Crowd Sourcing, Crowd Funding, Kickstarter , Indiegogo






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