Crowd-Sourcing – Why It’s The New Way To Get Things Done.

In case you’ve been living under a rock this past decade, there’s this New Thing called “crowd-sourcing” and it’s here to take over how we thought things got done.

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With the world having been so heavily driven by “what’s in it for me” and the Next Big Thing, we sometimes forgot that there were still small groups working on projects that deserved just as much attention as the over-publicised ones. The only reason we didn’t hear about them so much was because the companies who had invested so much money into these projects were seeking the best Return on Investment (ROI: it’s a real thing) and this drove the producers to flood the market with merchandise and marketing to drive us all insane. So what about the little guys? What about the people sitting at home on their computer making their “small time” film, music project, art work, etc etc etc? Where do these guys fit in?

This crowd-sourcing idea is by no means new. Not really. It has just become the latest tool for small groups to get big things done. Basically, it works like this:

Step One: Make people aware of your project.

Step Two: Make sure your project “has legs”.

Step Three: Publicise that you’re looking for extras, crew, make-up artists, costumers, etc etc etc.

Step Four: Get Things Done.

These days there are many platforms for hosting and tracking your crowd sourcing, but why would you want to do it? Why would you want to trust your project to potential no bodies? Wouldn’t you rather just pay people to do good work? Well, the answer is simple. Not always.

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a group of fans, gathering to organise … let’s say … a fan film, based on some kind of awesomeness you all enjoy. You probably don’t have a budget or, if you do, it’s not the blank check the guys from the Matrix had. You still need camera crew, lighting, sound, make-up artists, costumes, sets, locations, logistics, catering, electrical, post-production. Depending on what kind of a film you’re intending to make, you may also need special effects make-up, special effects in post-production, greensmen, pyrotechnics, animal wranglers… Oh, and you’ll probably want some actors too.

Ordinarily a movie budget may run into billions of dollars. At the very least, it’ll be millions. If you can fundraise that much for your fan film, power to you! Let the rest of us know how you’ve done it. Write a book on it and profit from your knowledge! For the rest of us mere mortals, crowd-sourcing it is!

You advertise, generally for the positions not requiring so much technical knowledge. Things like extras, or logistics. You will have, generally, already asked friends and family and friends of friends to the nth degree, for the crew and lead actors. Crowd-sourcing is most usually utilised to fill in the gaps. Going hand in hand with crowd-sourcing is crowd-funding but that, boys and girls, is a story for another day.

So why? Why bother?

Well, you’re a fan of product x, right? You want to make a film that amounts to a side-story. Why wouldn’t you also want other fans in on the action. I mean, ultimately they’re the ones who are going to be buying, downloading or otherwise using your product, so why not get them involved? They know, better than any other Joe Bloggs off the street, what is required in their costuming and, nine times out of ten, will provide their own outfits and make up, saving you money and time: two Very Precious Things.

Interested in seeing what out there has been crowd-sourced? Take a look at a couple of sites:

http://www.crowdsourcing.org/

http://www.crowdsourcing.com/

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.06/crowds.html

The final article is a good piece on other applications for crowd-sourcing.

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