Open Source Art: Part 1

Have you ever walked out of a movie thinking that one line ruined it for you? What if you could go back and change it?

Here is the setup: A play is screened for a limited audience and each person who sees it then has the right to make limited changes.

It is the Wikipedia of storytelling. Now, bear in mind that if 15 years ago somebody had suggested the idea that everybody write whatever they knew (or thought they knew) about a particular subject and post it on the web, you would have never thought that it would end up beating Britannica.

Wikipedia has the benefit of some hope of objectivity, or at least reference-ability. The storytelling world has no such hope, therefore there is no good way to resolve disputes except with an open-minded arbiter. There might easily be conflicts and disconnects between different parts of the story if one line had an important reference to a future or previous line that was changed by someone else. How can the flow of a story ever hold up with multiple authors without dying the death of a thousand paper cuts? Let’s imagine some possibilities

Carve-outs and cut-aways: A single speech could be edited, a soliloquy lengthened. A single contributor might even compose an insert a song in place of a particular diatribe. My first thought here was if a character had a dream sequence that the story line of that dream might be altered. Perhaps the balance of the plot-line is the same with “guest writers” for a showcase of interludes.

<<Insert joke here>>: If you remember the show “whose line is it anyway” there was a sketch game where at the sound of a bell the comedian would have to change the last line they said. In a comedy there might be any number of punch-lines that fit in a certain situation. For plot development you might only need the “embarrassing moment” or the “romantic banter”. These create sections of dialogue that are ripe for revisions.

Alternate Endings…: Perhaps the most common grievance for audiences comes at the end. What if they had gotten together or broken up? what if he wasn’t dead? what if was all a dream? At the end there are a choice few sets of lines that really reflect back on the whole story in a different way.

From some of these examples you can see that the original script would branch into various diversions impossible to reconcile. I picture a tree diagram of branching story-lines. You might need a whole new word processing software to deal with non-linear revisions.

The other objection might be simply that the original composer of most art is a genius and it is a sin to transgress against the original work. Well, what if I’m the artist and- I really just want to know what you think… ?


About livingthememe

engineer and armchair philosopher
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