Ridley Scott is a busy man. In addition to working on his sequel to Prometheus, finishing up The Counselor, and producing a slew of other film and television projects, he is getting involved in short films. Scott’s commercial production company, RSA, is partnering with video entertainment network Machinima to produce 12 science fiction short films to air online, with hopes to eventually adapt these properties for theatrical release. Hit the jump to learn more and why I think this is a great approach to developing new film franchises.
Deadline broke the news that Scott has agreed to serve as a producer for the short films, which Machinima will distribute and use their extensive online reach to connect them with potential fans. Interestingly, RSA has a wealth of established and respected filmmakers at their disposal, including Martin Scorsese, Neill Blomkamp, and Joe Carnahan, that could potentially helm these projects.
12 short films mean a dozen original properties that, according to Deadline, have the possibility of later being financed and developed into a feature film depending on how they are received. This sort of public vetting process is notable, because the film’s evaluation will likely include how viral they are. I imagine these shorts will be gauged not only on how they draw an audience, but more importantly, how they build a fan-base. Establishing that group of supporters removes some of the risk that comes with green-lighting a feature film, and creates willing supporters of the brand before it even hits the big screen. In a statement, Scott fully embraces these opportunities the partnership will offer:
“RSA has always been at the forefront of creating innovative work. With new media transforming the way audiences connect with films and filmmakers, Machinima is a great partner for us as we embark on this new model of delivering original content to fans. It’s a tremendous opportunity for pushing the creative boundaries for both our filmmakers and the audience.”
Scott might have lost some geek cred last year with the disappointment that was Prometheus, but I praise him for continuing to explore innovative ways to grow the science fiction genre, and his quote above supports that. The man is on the Mount Rushmore of historic science fiction directors, and now he looks like he may be at the forefront of ushering in the next wave of sci-fi stories to the big screen. It is a great idea, and I’d be shocked if at least one short film didn’t end up leading to a feature film franchise someday soon.