September 12, 2014 at 2:46AM

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Open source screenwriting?

Hey all... this idea has been bouncing around in my head for a bit and I was wondering what y'all think.

What if there were an open-source github project for screenwriting? i.e. the original premise creator would be in charge of authorizing changes (i.e. "pull requests")- but anyone can submit their changes and the project as a whole is open source. If someone doesn't like the way it's going they can fork it and be in charge of authorizing that fork.

Do you think this sort of thing could work, is it something you'd be interested in experimenting with?

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OK, I put a project up on GitHub. It's not the best idea ever, would only work for a very niche market, and it depends on familiarity with a particular culture/religion... but it's one I'm happy donating to the public world out there.

Haven't done anything with it at all yet besides the premise and technical file structure type stuff...

Decided to use Scrivener instead of a totally open format like plain txt files... besides it just being awesome in every way, that also sortof means a basic level of commitment, that readers are probably contributors too

Link @ https://github.com/dkomer/A-Yiddishe-Kop

I think a non-proprietary format like plain text files marked up with Fountain and Markup would be a great approach too. If anyone starts a project like that, please post here, I'd love to check it out :)

September 12, 2014 at 6:02AM

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Years ago I wrote a short screenplay I never ended up making myself. I put it out there on a film board I was on and told anyone they could use it. I even used the words open source as you did here.

It ended up being a positive experience for me since a first time filmmaker decided to use it as the basis for her first film. Her and her team rewrote about half of it and retitled it, but the same basic story was there. It was a micro budget short film so no one got paid for it, but they did complete it and ended up giving me an original story credit (on IMDB and the flm itself) and also sent me a DVD copy and a t-shirt.

In the end I got to see my basic story make it to the screen and in turn gave someone something to start with that they only needed to tweak. Since it it open source, I can still go forward and make my version of it one day if I wish.

I think the idea of a database of such screenplays is great. But I do question how many screenwriters would be willing to give up their stories for no pay. Especially if those that make the film end up making some decent coin off the final product and the screenwriter doesn't see any of it.
I consider myself a filmmaker first and screenwriter second, so for me it was no big deal to open source a simple little short story I threw together over a couple of days. But if I put a lot of time and energy into a feature length screenplay, I wouldn't open source it unless there was some kind of profit sharing involved if the movie(s) made any money. But that is not open source.

September 17, 2014 at 2:22PM

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Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker
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