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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Tiffany Shlain
May 6, 2013 11:01 AM
2 Comments
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Tiffany Shlain Explains How and Why Non-Profits and Others Can Crowdsource Film Production for Free


The last part of of what we call Cloud Films, is to help more nonprofits on a wider scale. If this film was about the highest level, who couldn’t agree with this idea that we’re all interdependent? So we sent the word out to nonprofits that we would change the ending of this movie to their call to action, put their logo and their URL, and we would make a free film for them. They would be able to use it at events, in newsletters, on Facebook, on websites, or however they wanted.

Here’s an example from Hope Phones, we just changed the ending to say, “declare your interdependence by...donating your old cell phone,” and added their logo. We spend a lot of time working with the nonprofits finding what their call to action is and suddenly they have this movie that looks like it’s their movie. For this movie we were able to make a hundred free customized versions in just a year. We’re a small team, but it was so exciting to be able to help so many more nonprofits all over the world and the important work that they do.

We are planning to make 12-15 of these films, about all the things that connect us as humans; generosity, power, money, death, wisdom, happiness, gratitude and so on. We’re going to cover the whole gamut.

I have to tell you that at The Moxie Institute, in addition to making these films and Connected, we also look at the absurdity of our connectedness. I’m going to show you a 1.5 min film that has nothing to do with a cloud film, but you seem like the perfect audience to show you about the absurdity of where all this connectedness could lead.

Now, back to Cloud Filmmaking. The next cloud film we made was about a very complex important issue, on how to best nurture children’s brains. We had all this very exciting research out of Harvard and The University of Washington of how to best nurture children’s brains. And who doesn’t want a better world for their child? This time we asked a lot more of our audience to experiment on this with us. We asked people to send from their cell phones video of their kids running into their arms. It’s a ten minute film and this time we really started to put the cloud filmmaking process into the film itself.

The other thing that happened is, while we were working on the script, is the TED conference approached me to do a book and I thought this would be a really great way to contextualize all  of this research we did on the film and go a little deeper.

So it was kind of backwards with writing my first book, I had a script and I used that as an outline and then showed all the research that was used to create that one line. It was a really interesting process that I had never done. TEDbooks are for the ipad so that allowed us to really stretch adding videos into the text linking out. We also now have a printed version.

It was interesting to think about 20 years later: Remember Zoli’s Brain. That film was made with heavy equipment, I was trying to do it by myself, we had one film, it was 80 minutes, and one language. Twenty years later, Brain Power was made using light collaborative tools, there are hundreds of versions, there was still a cast of hundreds, but they were shooting themselves in their own great locations, they were their own crew, they sent in their beautiful footage.  It was like we were able to direct them from our studio in SF to people located all over the world. It was a shorter film and it will be in 65 languages and it’s also a book.

It’s so interesting how the whole storytelling subject was the same, but how it just evolved in such a way with Cloud Filmmaking.

We’re working on a film right now, The Science of Character that is all about how character strengths are shapeable, malleable and teachable and we’ll be finishing that soon. You can see that movie soon through our letitripple.org site.

If you’re interested in how we make them, we engage a lot of our community.  We would love to have you join us. This is just an example: we were working on The Science of Character film and we were on Facebook one night working on the film, and we asked, “what are ways to strengthen optimism?” We had so many - we have almost 20,000 people on our Facebook page and through Twitter and I encourage you all if you’re interested in making films this way to play with us because it’s very fun, the give and take. We get such creative juice from our community and now at this point everyone knows what we’re doing. It was very hard to explain what we were trying to do so it’s really fun for us.

In just a year and a half, with our small team of 4 people, we’ve been able to make nearly 500 of these free films for the nonprofits and what’s exciting to us is to now show how they’re connected. All the nonprofits in all the different areas, ‘look at all these different people working in these different areas, you’re all interdependent. How can you work together?’ We’re just building this on our website, we have their call to actions on there and how they can communicate. So eventually we will do something with all of them.

2 Comments

  • PapaRon | May 7, 2013 8:43 PMReply

    Awesome new playground. I first heard about your work when I met your camera crew in front of 101 Market. I watched the guy do the back flip off the granite column. I signed a waver and crossed my heart for the camera too. Way to go, love what you've started. Time for the Lovealution. Occupy Heart 100%. paparon, OSF

  • Marian | May 6, 2013 6:49 PMReply

    Thanks for this! Great read!