Below is a guest post by a friend and colleague at Free Software Magazine – Terry Hancock.
Like me, Terry is interested in the subjects of free (as in freedom) software and free culture. With regards the latter (and unlike me) he has got off his backside and started to do something. This post describes Terry’s project to produce a science fiction “TV” series and release it under Creative Commons licences. This is both ambitious and encouraging. As you know I have focussed [my own attempts](http://www.crimperman.org/tag/freedom/] at free culture onto the church and the way “worship” resources are locked down and restricted by archaic copyright and “intellectual property” laws. One obstacle I have come across is that if resource producers do not release the material under free licences then any attempt to bring freedom back into our media and other cultural elements will fail. Terry has encountered this and “Lunatics” is an admirable response.
Right now the issue – as ever – is financial. This project is – by nature – on a much smaller budget than mainstream productions but – like the Blender open movie projects before it – it still requires some cash to get started. Also like the Blender open movies, backers get rewarded for their donation.
You may not like science fiction, you may not like the concept of Lunatics but you may know people who do. If you like the idea of free culture and are fed up with the ever-increasing tide of restrictive actions by media companies – try supporting one of the good guys.
The target funding has now been reached. This is exciting news as it means there is support for such a great venture. You can still find out about the project and catch up with the latest news at the project website lunatics.tv.
Guest post – Terry Hancock
Lunatics is a story about the first permanent settlement on the Moon. Politics are inevitable, physics is implacable, and the colonists are indomitable fanatics. After all, normal people don’t really colonize new worlds, do they?
“Lunatics” itself is largely based on character comedy, but we take the science and technology very seriously. Much of the technology in planned Lunatics scripts is not only real and relatively new, but also largely ignored in prior science fiction. Perhaps the greatest realism, though, is in the way the characters are presented.
The series and all the original source material will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, and it will be created using (mainly) the free software Blender 3D application on GNU/Linux workstations. It is a free-culture production from end-to-end. We are taking advantage of the massive body of existing free-culture work (music, sound effect, graphics, and so on) to help make all of this possible. And once we get our series up and running (we plan to do 18 episodes a year, of about 30 minutes length each) we will be one of the biggest free culture film projects going!
What makes this possible is a fan-financed business model which has been pioneered by only a handful of free-culture projects. But it’s enough to show that it can be done.
This project will require a lot of innovation on everything from merchandising business models to real-time animation techniques.
Right now, we are trying to raise $2400 through a Kickstarter project to support pre-production work — especially paying artist Daniel Fu a commission for creating character design drawings which will be used to create the 3D characters for the series.
Backers at any level will get early access, and for those who pay just $15 or more, we have a variety of “rewards” — ranging from character art posters to the complete “Character Art Book and Writer’s Guide”.
We also have corporate sponsorship levels if you know someone who’d be interested — for $400, you can get your company logo printed prominently on our pre-production materials, and featured on the website. Needless to say, a couple of such sponsorships would go a long way towards meeting our goal (these are limited to just 4 slots to make sure we have room for your logo).
Like all projects, we have to start small and work our way up. I don’t have a fan-base of thousands to draw on yet, because Lunatics doesn’t exist… yet. But with your help, we can get there!