WHAT WE DO
MOD Films is developing content and subscription services to support interactive story applications. We're a bit like an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) studio - part content, part software design but working in a largely undefined space between the film and game industry to create sustainable "Film Worlds". The aim to generate new (modern) ways to circulate, evolve and generate revenue from stories for longer.
The vision is of an evolved digital story-telling approach, benefiting the film business itself, which leads to new kinds of mainstream convergent titles. After three years of prototype development, and to ease the pain somewhat of operating constantly on the bleeding edge, we recently decided to shift the focus to web services. We're not ready to launch yet but our virtual (extranet) studio system has been supporting story productions since 1993 (MOD Films was spun off from thequality.com in 2004). We want to provide a useful community platform and pass on many lessons learned so more people can produce experimental media for fun and future profit. This is a long term venture - many in the big media predict that a market for games you can plug into films will become clear in six years. So what do you think?
The first product we're planning for launch is a web service you could describe as a "license and re-use registry".
http://modfilms.net (very much in alpha)
Here you will find some charts powered by a database of relationships between story titles. Register an account and add the details of any titles you wish to track for yourself. The distinction with this database over others is that we're modelling relationships between open and traditional copyright licensed material, between films and their constituent parts (e.g. library assets). We're looking to collaborate with the various government and industry pilots looking at interoperable licensing in a digital age.
The second product we're working on is a "re-mixable film edition" format for next-gen devices such as Blu-Ray. The pilot for this project is at the VFX production stage. Here is the opening line of the project brief from way back in 2003 - "Film sampling will one day be as common as music sampling. Film audiences will be able to play with film as easily as they would play a musical instrument or play with recorded music."
WHY MOD FILMS?
Most of us reading this have moved a LONG way from storytelling around a campfire. Not without consequences. But now technology and online culture have irrevocably changed the relationship between film-makers and their audience. There are benefits to giving audiences more control over stories. Architecturally it is time to start leveraging Internet and game technology more explicitly to do so. Re-interpretation keeps the more relevent stories alive.
Personally I've been very inspired by the homebrew scenes that operate on the edge of industry - the 80s demo scene, the game MOD'ers, the A/V artists, the Second Lifers, you name it… so much uncredited creativity influencing the mainstream. More attribution is a good thing. How many people worked on the Matrix sequels without a credit? How many TV formats has Endemol developed and trademarked based on Internet content? More experiments are a good thing. More interfaces between communities and story systems. This somewhat lame term "user generated content" is none-the-less driving unprecedented awareness of something really exciting. But let's not analyze it too deeply. Otherwise this re-mixable interactive entertainment Web 2.0 thingie might just disappear right up its own arse…. Why MOD Films? Because it's fun and very human to play…