What is a Virtual Movie Studio?
by James Jaeger

According to the American College Dictionary, a studio is supposed to be a room or place in which some form of art is pursued. Virtual means having virtue or inherent power to produce effects and in optics, is an image created by the convergence of light in an imaginary medium.

So "obviously," here is the definition of a virtual movie studio: A Virtual Movie Studio is a convergence of cyber-space and mental-space ("psyber-space") for the purpose of creating movies that have the power to produce virtuous effects in space-time.

6/8ths of a movie's manufacturing deals with paper pushing and distribution. When movies are simply distributed over the Internet, or through the mail as lightweight Digital Versital Discs, the only part of making a movie that will be physical (and location intensive), will be principal photography and pickups. Thus 7/8ths of the production of a movie will then be, in essence, the manipulation of intellectual properties and the efficient handling of spatial and temporal logistics -- all stuff the computer, and its playground - the Internet - excel in.


Today's movie studios predominantly perform the functions of contractors, equity lenders and shipping/collection agencies -- they finance and market movies.

One of the reasons relatively few movies are made and costs of production are so high is because of the confusion connected with developing, packaging, financing and distributing a motion picture. Movies are difficult to make but by using the Internet and the power of computers to. . .

  1. handle the logistics of screenplay development and review;
  2. package desires and temporal logistics;
  3. breakdown and budget alternatives;
  4. match financial resources to appropriate projects, and;
  5. deliver files containing the finished images;

. . . a virtual movie studio can . . .

  1. locate talent resources more quickly and efficiently;
  2. determine marketable packages from infinite combinations more quickly;
  3. project multiple viable budgets and proforma financials;
  4. arrange financing more quickly in step with desired risk to reward ratios;
  5. create and manipulate image, partially and totally;
  6. distribute image;
  7. guarantee quick, accurate, secure and simultaneous payment.

. . . thus make movies less difficult to make. The reason for this is because the handling of paper is reduced and the processing and transferring of information is made quicker, simpler and more cost-effective.

An Unconventional Studio

People who need to take the life of a substantial portion of a tree before they can read, therefore understand, therefore like a screenplay are perfect examples of how a virtual studio need not operate. 90 to 120 page, tree-based screenplays cost $5 to $10 to photocopy and another $2 to $5 to snail-mail. A virtual movie studio has all its literary properties (as well as contracts, budgets and every conceivable need and want of, not only film makers and talents, but of movie-goers, in the digital domain and non-tree-based). Thus a screenplay is simply FTPed (or e-mailed as an attached file) in the favorite word processing format of the reader. The reader reads it on his or her screen or, if absolutely necessary, prints it out on his or her laser jet printer (before lunch is over) so his or her computer-illiterate, tree-based colleagues, if any, can read it too.

An idea people are considering more and more is this: do I really even want to deal with someone that is not computer-literate to at least this degree because in about another three years - they may be out of the picture anyway unless they change.

Getting Unscrewed

Also out of the picture may be the Age of Gross and Net Participation and with it - most of the vagaries of computation that cause conflict and unfair repayment schedules - especially to Talent, Writers and Development Financiers (the first ones in the deal, yet the last ones to profit from the finished picture). If fewer development financiers, those gutsy, intelligent risk-taking angels (the exact opposite of bankers), got paid at the end of the cash-flow chain, there would be more of them. Thus weird things like: writers' lives would flourish a little more and we would not have almost every movie on the planet earth coming out of the same 1,700 "proven track-record" minds that are mostly in a soup.

Writers' Soup

To the degree too many artists, particularly writers, are in the same geographic location -- in the same soup -- much of the synergy of creation is usurped by the frustration of survival in an overly-competitive, if not suppressive environment. Writers can be very critical of each other. Thus the same-old, same-old movies, sequels, repeat-team works (such as a million more train crashes) are all that is made because everyone is thinking the same electromagnetically intertwined thoughts.

No wonder fresh new movies of the future will come from wide-open spaces -- or perhaps a virtual movie studio!

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