The second brain

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As you may know, our production has for several months been present at the Wreckamovie.com (WAM) portal for collaborative filmmaking. In short, it’s a site where anyone can sign up for a project and help out with solving specific tasks, given by the film’s creators. It’s a great, real-life example of crowdsourcing. There are currently over 160 projects you can contribute to on the site! Not only movies, actually. Various series projects, comics and books have also started popping up.

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I thought I’d offer some notes on what we’ve learned so far from being a part of WAM. As of writing this, there are 85 people signed up for “Kommandør Treholt & Ninjatroppen” at wreckamovie.com. Out of these, 20 or so are somehow connected to the project, so we’re left with around 65 people we didn’t know from before, who have each made a choice to help our particular project, for free. That’s already a very cool thing.

Our “wreckers”, as the site’s users are known as, come from many different countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, USA, Switzerland, Ireland, Ukraine, Netherlands and Poland. This means we’re getting perspectives and reactions on the project from outside its Norwegian origins – in addition to the help found in solving actual tasks. WAM is thus an early, international audience for our project – something I like a lot.

When the project was launched at WAM we were still in development and asked for help with reference material like Youtube clips and links for some specific things.  A lot of good stuff came out of that, to further feed our work on the film’s visual style and VFX especially.

Then, after this initial launch, things died down a little. We had (and still have) some tasks that didn’t get any responses. I think this is directly related to how much attention we ourselves gave to the community, and the precision of the tasks themselves. For a period we had to work really hard on the final financing and development of the project, and that meant less activity at WAM on our part. At the same time, some of our tasks were quite general and wide-reaching. The lesson became: being specific helps a task get done, and you have to follow up.

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Screenshot from our project page at Wreckamovie

One thing we’ve seen is that most of the activity so far comes from a handful of people. And that’s fine. I think I’ve seen this pattern at every internet forum I’ve ever frequented: roughly: 90% of the content comes from 10% of the community (or should that be 80%/20% to harmonize with the 80/20 rule?). This means you have to reach a certain level of community members to get the ball REALLY rolling. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but as the project starts to grow its online presence, I think we can recruit many more members. In fact, helping us with that is a task we’ve set – and there’s even a prize!

I recommend anyone with a project they want help with to list it at WAM. It’s totally free, and the developers are very responsive if you need help or have questions. Last but definitely not least, the community as a whole is pretty damn great. There are thousands of volunteers there already, from all over the globe. With the right marketing of your project they can help YOU. Also, if you just want to chip in and use your particular skills to help someone else – browse around and chances are you’ll find a project that intrigues you.

The bottom line is a principle I think applies to all social media, whether you use them privately or as part of your business: there’s no free lunch. To get something out, you have to put something in. In our context: the rewards of using a platform like WAM regardless of whether it’s from a project manager’s side or as a wrecker will be proportional to how much effort you put into it. It’s as simple as that.