I was looking for another guest for Future140 and I got a hold of somone on Twitter who was attempting something rather inspiring. This person’s name is Ryan Leach and he knows a thing or two about zombies, but what attracted me to him was his effort to channel the power of the collective. His project depends on one thing in order to succeed, collaboration. It is called “Lost Zombies” and it combines zombie roleplaying with social networking and croudsourcing media in order to produce a film like none other that I’d ever seen. I was intrigued.
He left me a short message about his project. I uploaded it on Future140 as a micro-podcast (in 140 seconds or less (listen here!) ). He really inspired me.
How is it that the Lost Zombie community of amateur filmmakers, photographers, actors, writers, and other creatives came into being? Was it just their fascination with exploring a skewed time-line of reality where a Zombies actually came into existence due to a virus? Is creating a film in this way really possible?
I looked at quite a few of the clips and the crowdsourced media is not always high quality, but sometimes it’s pretty dang spooky. Look at what these gutsy folks pulled off in 24 hours! It’s impressive.
Maybe it is possible. I certainly hope so. Leach’s creative initiative is something I’d like to have more of. He has certainly got dedication. The project might not be moving along quickly, yet he is sticking with it. What is it that is pushing him along?
So, I’m thinking about crowdsourcing.
I’m thinking that the first thing one needs in order to make a crowsourced project is a catchy hook. The possibility of being a part of something innovative has often lured me, but what lures most people is recognition. Social networking is simple way of giving and receiving recognition. These little morsels of recognition for our words, photos, videos, and profiled preferences are what drives many of us. Just look at all of the media that people generate on YouTube. It’s ridiculously inspiring how much nonsense is being generated. Leach’s hook is more than just about these small recognition exchanges, it’s really about getting into the big time. The prospect of attaining a lot of recognition -or fame- for being a part of something new and different is quite the hook.
Now, when you bait that shiny hook with a zombie, you’re onto something. That’s what Leach did and it just wouldn’t work if he had chosen dentists instead of zombies. I know dentists are spooky, but there are a lot more zombie fans who happen to have video cameras than there are fans of dentists. (Are there fans of dentists? Never mind.)
Secondly I’m thinking one needs passion if they want to get their allies hooked on collaboration. The crowd won’t always show up unless you’ve got some serious fire shooting out of your eyes showing them what to focus on. If there is no fire, then people won’t believe in what you’re doing because they won’t see where you’re looking. Leach has got the fire in eyes. He’s got the zombies on a hook. Now all he needs is enough decent media in order to piece together to make a film.
These kinds of projects are important. I too believe, like Leach, that crowdsourced projects are the wave of the future. The message of rebellion against main-stream, top-down, politically charged productions is one that Leach seemed to preach to me on the micro-podcast. He’s tired of seeing the same old Hollywood formulas. Yes, I know we all love movie stars, but their club is kind of our reach.
With efforts, like Leach’s, the club in the stars can be brought down to Earth. For some, their 15 minutes of fame might involve starring in a zombie film. For others, it might involve something completely different. Either way, those of us who would never have had the resources to make a feature length film might still be able to be a part of one. It’s just a matter of crowdsourcing our time, creativity, resources, and passion in order to project new possibilities into existence. When we start collaborating an explosive will can be revealed.
The collective will of a bunch of zombies is very predictable. That is their weakness. They all have only one thing on their mind, “BRAINS!” They don’t have the ability to stretch their imaginations like some of us do.
The vastness of the creative will can make old paradigms crumble. Some people have lost their passion. Their eyes are glossy, dazed, and tired. Yes, I know they’re not zombies, but they are sort of lost. You can’t really collaborate with these people in meaningful ways, because they’re always wandering from one brain to the next, looking for something to consume.
I have to admit that sometimes I’m a bit of a zombie. Surfing the web can be a pretty zombie-like activity. From time to time I find myself mindlessly consuming, rather than fanning the flames. I think we are all guilty of being gluttonous little zombies from time to time. I’ve found that when my vision is lacking it is best to reflect upon the times when it was burning like hell. I also find that taking time to collaborate with others who are passionate about what they are doing also helps. Either way, the zombification must stop.
Will Future140 get there?
Well, for now it is just me and a few friends. We’re not much of a crowd. We have our issues with zombies and the zombification process from time to time, but there is something burning on the horizon that is drawing us toward it like moths.
To say that my intellectual fascination with the singularity and the methuselarity are the likely culprits would only reveal my preference. Whatever it is, I’m betting that it will de-zombify us all. In the exciting days ahead, instead of collaborating with zombies we’ll be collaborating with _______ (you name it), but it’ll be HUGE.
With our blazing eyes aligned anything is possible. In the meantime each of us just need to find our inner fire. If you’re not sure if you’ve got what it takes to turn your desire into a big old blaze, I say give it your best shot anyway. This clip explains it all.