Grants/The 26 Screenplays Project

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The 26 Screenplays Project

Applicants: M. Robert Turnage, 26 Screenplays
Affiliation: 26 Screenplays
CC affiliated? No
Contact: M. Robert Turnage
Coordinator: M. Robert Turnage
Project Start: 2010/06/30
Project End: 2011/06/30
Download budget Discussion

Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.

The 26 Screenplays project is twofold. First, it provides a variety of short film scripts under the creative commons license to filmmakers to use in the creation of their own art. Secondly, it provides a viable Creative Commons business model by demonstrating how a company can generate revenue by encouraging derivative works. By selling and strategically donating a book of open-source screenplays for educational and creative exploration, the 26 Screenplays Project hopes to foster a creative community and provide a way for people to hone their skills in the interpretive realm of film directing.

Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).

The products at the end of this project will be as follows: -A white paper on the effectiveness of creating products designed for derivative use -At least one video demonstrating how multiple interpretations of the same script can enliven the artistic experience -A 20 to 30 minute lecture to be presented at academic and art conferences, promoting the free exchange of ideas as a way to develop directorial craftsmanship tentatively titled "Strategies for Teaching Artistic Interpretation through Film"

Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?

The project targets filmmakers, either people in formal film programs or amateurs who are considering pursuing independent filmmaking. The project would benefit the community in the way that certain monologues benefit actors. Actors interpret different speeches in a unique way, just like filmmakers interpret scripts. A single script can be interpreted a variety of ways. Each of the scripts in the book each focus on a different directorial task (a "meet cute" scene, a silent film, showcase an actress, make a science fiction short, etc.) that challenges the filmmaker to experiment and leave his or her comfort zone. This gives the person who prefers romantic comedies the chance to make an action short or the noir aficionado a chance to explore the pseudo-documentary comedy />

What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?

I am a screenwriter and am very active in the local arts and writing community. I am on the board of the Dallas Screenwriters Association and have been involved with the production of several short films. Additionally, I have over ten years experience in a corporate training environment - developing education programs for adult learners and incorporating the results into ongoing best practices. This balance between the creative drive and the business acumen makes me the best choice for this position.

How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?

The creation of art and short films is the primary measurement. If a filmmaking or video production class decides to adopt the book, then the students will have at least 26 projects they can use as assignments, and the instructors will have a deeper level of conversation with the students about their interpretive choices when two groups of students film the same script in different ways. There is a 26 Screenplays Facebook Group, a 26 Screenplays YouTube channel as well as a 26 Screenplays discussion board for the larger community to use for their own benefit. Active participants will have their own short films to use as portfolio pieces, classroom projects, or simply as ways of expressing themselves. The larger community will be able to see the types of films created from this project, and will see how interesting and challenging creating interpretive works can be.

How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?

The project is scalable, and most of the participants will be self-selected. One of the aspects of the projects is establishing an online filmmaking course using the 26 Screenplays book as a textbook and exercise guide. I am currently seeking involvement by strategic donations to significant gatekeepers - video production class instructors, film school professors, as well as people who have established themselves as capable of creating and promoting internet videos. I will sustain involvement by actively encouraging and promoting the work of the participants as well as providing more scripts and ideas for filmmakers to use. For example, I am currently creating and posting a series of 26 'fake film trailer' scripts on the website for people to download and review for free.

Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".

Firstly, the scripts are released under the Creative Commons licensed and are designed specifically to have derivative works made from them. Each script focuses on a specific area of creative craftsmanship (dialogue, montage, etc.) and is designed for a limited budget (few locations, few actors, little-to-no special effects). This way filmmakers can create a large, diverse portfolio of short films and creative works. By not only encouraging creative artists to use Creative Commons to develop their skills, but by freely sharing the resulting products on the internet encourages viewership and more participation.

Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?

The technologies and tools needed in the project are standard film equipment, editing equipment, and a website to present the material. There are no technical needs at this time.

What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?

The initial "nudge" seems to be the biggest obstacle right now. While several filmmakers have purchased the book and are interested in the project, none have created a derivative work yet. By creating a derivative work (or multiple derivative pieces from the same script) and showing people how the scripts can be used, it should encourage people to participate. I plan on overcoming obstacles by creating a series of 30-second videos that promote the book.

How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?

The book generates revenue. After the initial funding has ended, and the book generates revenue, there will be sequels to the book using the 26 Screenplays branding. For example, '26 More Short Screenplays for Independent Filmmakers,' '26 Romantic Comedy Short Screenplays for Independent Filmmakers,' and '26 Horror Short Screenplays for Independent Filmmakers.'

How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?

Because this project depends on the creation of derivative works, whether they be comic books, podcasts, or short films, the derivative works are part of the marketing and scalability of the project. Each derivative work, by the Creative Commons Attribution license, needs to credit the 26 Screenplays website and book as source material. This, in effect, advertises the book to new customers.

What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?

I would love members of Creative Commons to create films using the book.

Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)

The organization communicates through email, the 26 Screenplays blog, Twitter feed, and the Facebook group.