Bryony Is Making A Zombie Movie
Bryony is the YouTube star Paperlillies.
I'm not sure I can accurately describe what she does, but for the uninitiated, a good starting point could be "Britney Spears: Jamie Lynn Childcare Tips". It made me and another two million people laugh.
Anyway, Bryony decided to make a zombie movie and she asked YouTube to help. I would image she was surprised at the response; I certainly was when I saw it. The level of enthusiasm, commitment and lack of cynicism in the responses was really impressive.
A few days after her post Jonathan Davenport from Hat Trick TV Production company approached controller of BBC Three Danny Cohen and me with an idea for a documentary about Bryony's experience in making the film.
Here is how he described it:
Bryony Makes a Zombie Movie is a big cross-platform summer event that celebrates ultra-low budget film making by following the ups and downs of YouTube star Bryony Matthewman, as she marshals an international online community striving to create a user generated zombie movie. Not only does she have to make the film a reality, she also has a deadline to meet - Halloween 2008, when we'll expect her to throw a huge premiere party involving as many contributors as can make it, all dressed in their finest zombie clobber. The clock is ticking...
The online documentary coverage will take the form of two webisodes per week over a 17 week period. As much as possible, we'll follow the real world journey, racing around the country as Bryony seeks mentor advice, meets key members of her community who have volunteered to help and makes sure they do what they said they would do, and blagging all manner of things from actors to fake blood to locations. We'll also be covering squads of volunteers working abroad (there's already talk of a New York and Sydney unit) and rounding up all user suggestions and videos (auditions, make up tests and so on). Finally all 34 episodes will be edited into a 30 minute documentary for broadcast on BBC Three.
We forgave Jonathan the use of the word "webisode" as it is left over from Have I Got News For You, where the teams use it to some comic effect... and, to be honest, he could have said "blogumentary" - as I did... once... never again.
We have no idea about whether Bryony will be able to pull it off and I am quite nervous about the format of near real-time documentary, as it doesn't leave much opportunity for "fixing it in the edit".
Everyone has been working flat out to get it ready as soon as possible, as Bryony is already pushing ahead and we will be launching something similar to what you see below on Tuesday.
I know this isn't the first user-generated movie ever (whatever that means); according to MySpace MyMovie Mash Up winner is due for release this September and Beyond The Rave is certainly doing some great stuff in a similar genre. I guess what makes Bryony's project so interesting is the spontaneity, the scale and the risk she is taking.
I should stress that the BBC Three interest is in just following what happens and in trying out something new; we are not involved in the production of the film but we wish her all the best and hope it works - otherwise it's going to be a long quiet 17 weeks.
If you want to get involved in the movie, the place to start is at the Internet Zombie Movie site - or if you just want to see how it unfolds, then you can watch the documentary every Tuesday and Friday at on BBC "Zombies" where they will be posted as near to 3.33pm as possible and on YouTube the following day.
Martin Trickey is Commissioning Executive, Multi-Platform, BBC Vision