Just read an article from the UK Daily Telegraph (carried in The Age here) about the latest in film-making – audience participation. This ranges from studios paying attention to blog comments right through to “open source” projects, where anyone can take part in refining the script and even editing the movie.
Another variant is the completed movie you can download and re-edit to suit yourself. A possible future option is to write yourself into the movie. (This is not about the completely DIY music and video of MySpace and YouTube – this is about organisations allowing access into their factories.)
Just after reading this, I received my irregular email newsletter from the delightful Connie Person, publicist for Ross Ryan at Coathanger productions. They are putting together a new CD compilation of Ross’s music (dating back to the 70s). The newsletter is calling for members of the mailing list to vote for tracks to be included on the CD. (Although I wonder how much longer CDs will be sold before downloads take over completely.)
Of course, Wikipedia is a prime example of audience participation, and the software industry has been doing open source for years, so the media and entertainment industries may be late entrants into this field. But what are the future possibilities? How many other industries will allow their consumers access to production?
This goes beyond market surveys – it potentially goes right to the heart of the creation process. It is not only tailor-making a product for yourself – it is having an impact on the product that everyone else buys and/or uses.
Will banks allow customers to set interest rates? I can’t see that happening yet, but what about open-source fashion design? Or car development? Would the rev-heads take over and develop a gas-guzzling V8, or would the environmentally aware tone it down into an efficient hybrid?
The success of these scenarios probably depends on a number of factors – the level of expertise of those that have the level of interest to participate, and the unit price of the finished product. Open source car design would be much higher risk than – say – greeting cards.
What other organisations could open their doors to DIY design?