I realized that I haven't yet blogged about ye olde story on how Star Wreck was distributed and spread all over the world.
Image: Tiina Routamaa, Lt Whip, the Helmswoman of C.P.P. Kickstart.
It was around the autumn of 2005, I was the CEO of Magenta, a specialized hosting/infrastructure company that owned and operated networks, data centers and server farms in different cities globally. After talking with Timo Vuorensola and Samuli Torssonen (the dudes behind Star Wreck) we made a bunch of calculations on how much it would cost us to organize a world wide download of the film. Magenta was a stable publicly listed company with enough financial backing and very broad data lines so it didn't turn out to be too much; so we decided to jump in and help distribute the up-and-coming cult legend to worldwide audiences.
This was 2005 and there had not really been any large-scale global legally done distributions of a motion picture. So we were braking new ground here. Eventually Star Wreck turned out to be the most viewed Finnish film to date, with over 8 million downloads and the online distribution itself was the largest of its kind in the history of cinema.
You can still find some old articles about it online here (finnish), and here (finnish).
We started distributing the film as a direct download and as a torrent-file from something like 12 servers globally. New York and London being the primary hotspots. We also set up a torrent to seed the movie files with infrastructure provider -level bandwidth. Needless to say the eager fans managed to cap even our allocated bandwidth ;) the situation eased off when the P2P feed through torrents kicked in.
There's an old archive page here from 2005 that shows the original download content:
It even displays a Magenta -add in the beginning of the clip, saying "download provided by Magenta".
The version with remade effects is amazing, so if you haven't seen the film yet (shame on you) go get the Imperial Edition from here, and enjoy.
Julia Dietze as Renate Richter (from Iron Sky Propaganda department)
What have the guys been up to lately?
Besides a really cool new movie (what could be better than Space Nazis invading the earth?) the guys have also been building up www.wreckamovie.com
Wreckamovie is a platform for collaborative film production. They already have few thousand users and close to 100 different-sized film productions ongoing. One of them is their own Iron Sky, a science fiction comedy about bunch of Nazi invaders that return from their hideout from the Far Side of the Moon to Earth in 2018.
The idea with Wreckamovie is quite simple: a filmmaker can come over the website and set up his or hers film production, and start gathering a community around it. Filmmakers throw "tasks" to the community, and the community gives "shots" in return to them, thus helping the filmmaker to realize his or hers vision.
The advantages are two-folded: first, you get people to help you to realize your film production. And then, you create a very tight, active and close community of advocates for your film, in much more effective ways than most of the film marketing nowadays is done.
Often you hear people dreaming and thinking about creating a strong positive buzz for their upcoming production before it's released for everybody to view; well Wreckamovie seems to hit precisely that spot by providing a valuable tool for just that.
Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring originally invoked a similar strategy. Gordon Paddison, a senior vice president of New Line Cinema together with Peter Jackson and other filmmakers made a very smart decision to systematically include about 400 known online communities, sites and fanclubs of Tolkien and his books to the pre-production. They invited all of them to join their own similar Wreckamovie-like platform (they build it in www.lordoftherings.net) and gave them a sneak-peak behind the scenes; into wardrobe design, set design, some early storyboards etc. Peter Jackson himself personally spent a great deal of time talking to these fanclubs, making video calls (over Apple iTalk) and involving them in a dialogue about making the film as compatible as possible with the vision Tolkien had and the fans of his work had. The movie went on to win 11 Oscars and become one of the most profitable film series of all time. This famous case TOTALLY proved the Wreckamovie model and case. Wreckamovie guys have just kindly created the platform for you and got the ball rolling quite nicely on that. Lord of the rings had an existing fanbase of millions; so that naturally helped them. However the same tools and same models can be applied even to a fanbase of zero. Who would not want to participate in envisioning Space Nazis? :)
Wreckamovie guys just started quite an interesting new production, completely collaboratively produced Internet TV-series about crimes committed over the Internet - cybercrimes - called Project WORM - and are looking for collaborators to help them get the production flying. Go and discover what's that about, and get involved!