Social Media Crowd Sources Fund Raising For First Twitter Documentary

It's appropriate that a crowd-sourced medium such as Twitter would be the source for a movie producer to solicit funding for a documentary about the microblogging platform. Since the movie is a series of individual vignettes of Twitter users, the Singaporean filmmaker Siok Siok Tan (@sioksiok) is reaching out to all 190 million users with an appeal for assistance.

Siok Siok TanSiok Siok TanAs an award-winning filmmaker of such documentaries as "Boomtown Beijing," a treatment of China's 2008 Summer Olympics, Tan is not a stranger to global themes that touch people inBoomtown BeijingBoomtown Beijing empathetic ways. "Twittamentary" is an examination of how our lives intersect in real-time on the Twitterstream and how serendipity plays an important role in how the human spirit is elevated as a result of this technology.

In a whirlwind road trip that hopscotched across the USA in October 2009, the filmmaker interviewed a wide range of the multi-faceted cognoscenti. Sometimes referred to as the Twitterati, but commonly known as Twitter'ers, her subjects came from all walks of life. Tan filmed folks such as a travel journalist turned "twilebrity," a homeless woman whose only access to Twitter was from a public library, and a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in LA that exchanged tweets with a sex worker based at the infamous Bunny Ranch Brothel in Nevada.

Twitter haters and lovers combined were fodder for Tan's exploration of a phenomenon that has caused as much controversy as profound insights. The movie's first teaser makes light of the playful interaction from both extremes of the spectrum.

Twittamentary was shot in the U.S. and focuses on stories in the country where Twitter originated. When Tan was asked why as a Singaporean, she didn't open it up to Southeast Asia, she said the main reason was the cost constraint of an indie film production. "Perhaps in the future, with more resources, I can attempt a more international version of the film that will cover stories in more places, including China," noted Tan.

Sina Microblog WeiboSina Microblog WeiboSina Microblog Weibo, a Twitter-like platform developed on Mainland China would also be consideration. With the government's control of social networks, "Weibo would be an extremely fascinating phenomenon and deserves its own film," say Tan.

Now that most of the film has been shot, Tan is reaching out to folks that would be willing to help defray the post production costs including color grading and the sound mix, in addition to outlays required for marketing and promotion. In total, Tan is hoping to raise $30K through crowd-sourcing to cover these expenses.

Users can help Tan complete this film by making a small contribution, where she assures all be rewarded with social media karma points plus their very own copy of the film and many other fun VIP perks! Here is the breakdown of donations and incentives.

  • Tweet about the crowd-funding campaign. Or shout real loud about it to your friends and followers!
  • Organize a Twittamentary screening in your town
  • Help Siok Siok Tan get the film seen.  Connect her to a distributor, film festival or a tech conference
Regarding the last point, Tan is holding a "Sneak Peek" Preview at the Roger Smith Hotel on October 14 in Manhattan. Tickets are open to the public and the entrance fee of $14.00, will help in the funding of the movie.  This also grants admission to a cocktail party at Roger Smith Hotel from 6pm -7pm followed by the film screening at 7pm.  Tickets can be purchased for the event online at EventBrite.

The sneak preview of Twittamentary will be the closing event for the New York portion of Girl 2.0, a global campaign focused on driving female innovation and technology between China and the U.S.

The Roger Smith Hotel was selected for the event because as Tan puts it, "the hotel's a watering hole for social media peeps in NYC." According to the hotel's director of social hospitality, Brian Simpson, he sees Twitter as a social media tool that assists in distinguishing his hotel's online presence. As the host site for the "Sneak Peek" preview, Tan also filmed a segment of the movie at the hotel, located at 501 Lexington Avenue.

Additionally, the making of the film will also serve as a university level case study on innovation and new media.  The work was recently test taught at the Singapore Management University and will soon be available for distribution worldwide. 

For other related posts on the topic Twittamentary, see the following: