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You'll Only Have Yourself to Blame

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | June 22, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | June 22, 2010 |

The SyFy Channel is taking the ultimate step in outsourcing: They’re just making the fans write their “SyFy Original Pictures” monster flicks that they air on Saturday nights. They’re setting up a website called “B-Movie Mogul,” where suggestions can be submitted and votes can be cast. The end result will be a movie with a plot, costumes, visuals, characters, etc. determined by the viewers. They’ll then make the movie and air it.

SyFy is providing a starting point of three basic plots: an apocalypse, a Bermuda Triangle monster, and Roswell aliens. From the description of the endeavor, it doesn’t sound like it’ll just be a choose your own adventure designed by corporate committee. The choices at each stage of development will have been generated off of fan suggestions on the site. As disposal network executive Thomas Vitale says: “We constantly have fans e-mailing with compliments, complaints and questions about our movies, and this is a way of involving the fans in a new way.”

Of course, he then goes on to say: “When you have a lot of people working on something, good ideas will come out of it.” Yeah buddy, because “that looks like it was designed by committee” is a compliment.

IGN is partnering with SyFy to provide the website, which is odd in a number of ways. First, there is no mention of this anywhere on IGN’s site. Second, IGN specializes in video game news coverage, so it’s unclear what the connection is other than “those guys have a website, maybe they can help us.” It also sets a dangerous precedent of collaboration between television (i.e. art) and video games (i.e. not art), that cannot help but end up on someone’s lawn. Third, neither “,” “” or any other likely combination is currently registered. So they might want to look into that, unless one of you fine folks gets to it first.

This has a whole obvious rant just waiting to ring out, with a bunch of righteous anger about the sanctity of art, the vision of the artist, the sacrifice of creativity to the lowest common denominator. But the thing is, I can’t quite work up the fury at this because, come on, it’s SyFy Original Pictures, the studio that gave us Mansquito, S.S. Doomtrooper and Mega Snake. Can the lowest common denominator really ruin artistic credibility more than “bicycle kick the flying piranhas?”

And think of the possibilities. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed Pajibans can get Godtopus into a SyFy Original movie. Indeed, they are the only ones who can.

(source: THR)

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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