2,532 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
During this Rennaissance period of crowd creation, ambitious projects are being initiated both from the top offices of global corporations and from the grassroots of huge online communities.
Amazon, which offers some video streaming to customers, is moving into more direct competition with services like Hulu and Netflix and it's looking to crowdsource some of that content. Last week Amazon Studios put out a call for proposals for original content. Anyone can upload an original script and Amazon will take 45 days to review and decided if it's worth moving forward on.
This model isn't anything wildly original, but Amazon is also leaning on the crowd along many other steps of the production process. Currently, the company's studios are looking for proposals on how to rewrite and improve a script that's already been approved and is in process -- for example, whoever has the best ideas for how to transform a project titled "I Think My Facebook Friend is Dead" from a "comedic suspense film into more of a quirky road trip comedy" will win the contract worth $33,000.
Amazon is also making use of contests, offering prizes to the director that creates the best trailer for the above Facebook project. In the past there's also been contests and prizes award for things like Best Actor and Best Dialogue Track.
Overall though, Amazon's investment in sourcing content from the crowd remains modest. The company plans to put out $10,000 per month in accepting submitted scripts with the most potential, with more distributed through other contests and contracts to develop projects that are already in the production pipeline.
This top-down model is really just opening up some of the steps of the production process to open solicitation, which is a big step for a traditionally closed and difficult to penetrate industry like Hollywood. But an even more fascinating experiment in bottom-up creation is taking place over on Reddit, where the community is attempting to crowdsource a Top 10 pop music hit from scratch.
The Reddit "Top of the Pops" collaboration is a sub-section on the community that seems a little chaotic at first to sort through, but there's actually a very detailed roadmap that numerous community members are pitching in on:
- We all nominate starter backing tracks, ones with the most potential in this thread: http://tinyurl.com/c9vkm9j
- Have producers make a polished versions of the backing tracks
- Have lyricists write lyrics
- Have singers record lyrics
- Have mixers mix the backing tracks and the recorded vocals
- Have masterers master the final mixes
- Have videographers create music videos
- Register as a charity
- Have a host release the EP online
- Collect and distribute royalties accordingly
- Bask in glory
This is certainly a project worth keeping tabs on. It will be especially interesting to see if it crosses over into the mainstream. Right now, even with its all-volunteer crew, Reddit's Top of the Pops seems to have just as good a chance at success as any project coming out of Amazon Studios.
What do you think is a bigger asset for a crowd-powered creative project - the backing of a major brand with a direct distribution channel; or a passionate and engaged community that can source its own labor and promotion at low or no cost?
- Eric Mack is a contributing editor for Crowdsourcing.org. He also currently contributes to CNET. In the past, his work has been featured by NPR, Wired, the New York Times and other outlets. You can contact him at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter and Google+. Also be sure to follow Crowdsourcing.org on Twitter.