The Crowd Remakes a Movie Classic
Thousands of science fiction fans create an open innovation masterpiece by remaking Star Wars, 15 seconds at a time.
Starwarsuncut.com, United States
The evil Galactic Empire hasn’t seen anything like it. The force is with the crowd as Star Wars fans from all over the world have created a complete crowdsourced version of the 1977 sci-fi classic – ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ (the first film release of the six-part series).
It was an astonishing achievement that started out in 2009 when the website starwarsuncut.com
began asking fans to send in homemade scenes.
The open innovation project provided clear guidelines for users. It cut the original film into fifteen-second chunks and invited participants to re-film their selected clip in any way they wanted, giving them thirty days to submit their version.
A New Hope
The project was conceived by web developer Casey Pugh and stemmed from his interest in crowdsourcing, in particular a fascination with how the Internet can be used to get people from all over the world to work on a common task.
Word of the initiative spread via social media. Pugh blogged about it and his friends re-blogged the content to their followers. Very quickly it created a viral effect and the interest from fans was huge.
Multiple versions of each scene were submitted and the best of the bunch were selected for the final film.
The Force is Strong in This One
These fan-generated scenes are low-budget, creative and sometimes an intentionally hilarious take on the original, with stop-animation, puppets, store-bought figurines, cartoons and scenes played by people who don’t even bear a passing resemblance to the real cast members. Scenes are shot in bedrooms, back gardens, offices, cars and local parks. Some of it’s rough, ready and amateurish, but other parts look highly polished and professional.
The entire film is a superb homage to the original, and it also changes in real time.
A computer program written by Pugh automatically plays the highest rated version of each scene and it puts these scenes together on the fly, so the movie can change depending on what viewers think. People vote on the scenes they like the most and these are loaded into the player.
A Film Long Remembered
The finished version was a shot-by-shot recreation of the original movie and contained 473 fifteen-second segments. The film was made available on the Internet for free in August 2010 and won an Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. A special director’s cut of the crowdsourced movie was released in January 2012.
So what did Lucasfilm make of Star Wars Uncut? Several months into the project they got in touch with Pugh and offered to fly him out to San Francisco to talk about it. They were supportive of it as a fan film and so there were no legal issues.
Plans are in the pipeline for more uncut movies starting with an uncut version of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, although currently no date has been given for when the project might start.
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