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Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi?

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the best-of-show dept.

Television 116

First time accepted submitter TBNZee writes "Mainstream TV has has for a long time under-served the sci-fi loving viewers, but with declining production costs there seem to be two potential sources of alternative production/distribution: digital content (e.g. Netflix, Hulu) and crowd funded projects. There's still not a lot of sci-fi shows that are being produced by the major streaming services, but we'll probably see more with the success of Hulu's exclusive U.S. distribution of Misfits or Netflix's success with Buffy and Doctor Who. On the other hand, you have many enthusiastic upstarts on Kickstarter that look novel and engaging, while having a surprisingly professional look to them. Which do you think will ultimately be more successful? Will either be able to replace network content?"

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116 comments

mass de-beta (0, Offtopic)

joss (1346) | about 2 months ago | (#46259865)

So, just before I rightly get modded into oblivion, I made a simple plugin for all my fellow beta-haters:
http://rareformnewmedia.com/-s... [rareformnewmedia.com]

Re:mass de-beta (0)

dysmal (3361085) | about 2 months ago | (#46259885)

Don't worry. They'll have you modded as off topic and as a troll before anyone gets a chance to read this.

Dr What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46261061)

Point of order: "Dr Who" is not science fiction. It's fantasy.

If you want to read actual SF, go find some James P Hogan, or Gregory Benford, Stephenson, Vinge, Robinson or some of the older SF work -- Pohl, Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, those people. Once you internalize what real SF is -- a truly thoughtful excursion into the possible -- I suspect you'll hunt it down and read it as voraciously as I do.

Or, you can watch Dr. Who.

Producing good TV is Expensive... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 months ago | (#46259881)

I think what a lot of people (particularly Slashdotters) fail to realize is the cost to produce some of these shows. Take a show like Portlandia - You'd think you could shoot it with a handycam and a Macbook, but in fact there is a large crew of professionals behind the scenes -

http://images.amcnetworks.com/ifc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/winter-in-portlandia-2.jpg [amcnetworks.com]

...so if you're going to Kickstart the most basic of shows you'll need a lot of money.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259919)

I would make a sci-fi show with black-skinned humanoids being beligerent, angry, and violent after drinking Carlo Rossi blood-wine; Jew-like humanoids with exaggerated facial features greedy and with lives revolving around hustling the Goyim for their space-sheckels; and sneaky pointy-eared chink-like humanoids among others; all of which featuring extensively race-mixing propaganda handed down straight from the elders of Zion.

Oh wait - that's already been done with Star Trek! Fuck Beta.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46259963)

huh? I guess if you are Josef Goebbels, the Ferengi look like Jews, but otherwise not so much.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 months ago | (#46259985)

Yea, remember that failed scifi show, Terra Nova?
Thing cost $2million an episode.

Game of Thrones?
$6million for the first season episodes.

Short of something unprecedented with Kickstarter it's won't be crowdfunded. While the cost drops over time, you still need a ton of money to get it off the ground and sustain it for several years.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (3, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 months ago | (#46260493)

Yea, remember that failed scifi show, Terra Nova?
Thing cost $2million an episode.

Game of Thrones?
$6million for the first season episodes.

Short of something unprecedented with Kickstarter it's won't be crowdfunded. While the cost drops over time, you still need a ton of money to get it off the ground and sustain it for several years.

They don't *HAVE* have to be expensive. The expensive is a side effect of the massive Hollywood egos.

TV shows are expensive because of:

Producers, Directors and actors all demanding huge salaries.

Multiple Producers, Assistant Producers, Executive Producers -- I've seem 8 or more "Producers" listed in the credits for various TV shows. Then there are Directors, Editors, etc.

Everybody -- EVERYBODY -- has an assistant ( or several ) because God forbid they might have to get their own coffee or wipe their own ass.

Sets and special effects are all outsourced to various companies who charge the TV studios the same way that government contractors charge the government for their work.

The Tonight Show (Jay Leno ) which is nothing more than a guy sitting at a desk talking to people has a staff of over 100.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#46260695)

OK Mr. Do-it-yourself. Grab a copy of Blender and see how far you get attempting to create a broadcast quality 30 second CGI clip. By yourself. All of those 'Producers' and 'Assistants' don't make all that much money. The screen credits are to pad your resume and stroke your ego.

Sure, you can save money and there are a couple of low budget / high quality movies out there (Monsters [wikipedia.org] ), but it's much more expensive than you think to create a 30 minute show with a dozen or so people in it.

Re: Producing good TV is Expensive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260891)

http://www.karmapirates.com/
It's already being done. Thess guys are already doing better quality than some of the shows I've seen on network tv.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260919)

Yea, one extremely cheap example I can think of is the movie Mars & Avril which "only" cost the director 2.3 million dollars to make. For that the director had to constantly beg or borrow things in order to get stuff done. For example, he convinced Cirque du Soleil to finance some of his zany future props in return for them eventually owning the pieces.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (2)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 2 months ago | (#46261447)

They don't *HAVE* have to be expensive. The expensive is a side effect of the massive Hollywood egos.

And there is "Hollywood Accounting" (I read someplace all Harry Potter movies lost money. Distribution costs ate up the profits so movie makers didn't have to pay taxes). I also wonder if there are some that make lots of money, others not so much except bragging rights. Perhaps going OT, an article about music piracy/studios losing money, etc. someone posted a link to an article written in 1990s about several musicians that have "sold" millions of albums but received meager amount from the studios. And some even owed money back to the studio. Author described how expenses are tallied to the gross revenue (all those expenses from production/distribution/promotion is "necessary") but end result is artists didn't get much to speak of. These accounting procedures were virtually like those portrayed in "The Harder They Fall" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00... [imdb.com]

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (2)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#46261457)

They don't *HAVE* have to be expensive. The expensive is a side effect of the massive Hollywood egos.

Disney's Frozen "Let It Go" Sequence Performed by Idina Menzel [youtube.com]

3 minutes. 38 seconds.
50 animators
30 hrs to render each frame of the castle.
Tony award winning writer and lyricist.
Tony award winning singer and actress.
Full orchestra plus orchestration, music direction, etc.
At least four new computer programs for animating hair, particle effects, and so on, are on display here.
Script, story and direction.
Concept designs. Set designs. Background art. Textures, Costumes. Props. Lighting...
Post-production, including editing and translation into 43 languages.

Try managing a team this size on the cheap and see where it gets you.

In production two years to seventy-five years depending on how you count every false start in animating "The Snow Queen." When Disney wants to get a character and story on screen it will move heaven and earth to get it done.

The Tonight Show which is nothing more than a guy sitting at a desk talking to people has a staff of over 100.

The key to success in late night television has always been in finding the right mix of guests and hosts and staging the show so they play off each other to the best advantage.

Five nights a week.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 months ago | (#46260711)

Short of something unprecedented with Kickstarter it's won't be crowdfunded.

Not so many years ago, Kickstarter itself would have been unprecedented. I'm not sure whether it's The One, but the funding model is one of the first genuinely interesting alternatives to up-front production and relying on copyright to bring in sufficient revenues, because it might actually work at a larger scale if awareness rises and increases the size of the potential funding pool. They've had a few projects raise high six or low seven figures already, and obviously this method of finding/funding shows is nowhere near as well established today as "I saw it on TV" or "It's on Netflix".

Also, your examples are a little contrived.

Terra Nova was a decent show, but they were centred on a huge mostly-outdoor location that was always going to be expensive to depict, and they had dinosaurs. The show's premise would probably have worked just as well with a slightly less ambitious version of the settlement and the surrounding hostile environment, and it would have cut the budget significantly. This is the kind of thing that actually works pretty well on Kickstarter, because you have a "we'll make the show" target, and then if you raise significantly more funding you can have stretch goals of the type "with a more detailed and varied setting".

Game of Thrones has a huge cast for a TV show, both the principals and the extras. Obviously this comes mainly from the scale of the books that the series is based on, but if you look at most sci-fi and fantasy shows, you rarely have as many as a dozen regulars in an ensemble cast or more than a couple of recurring roles featuring in any given episode. If you look down a cast list for Game of Thrones ordered by number of appearances, you're still finding major roles 50 people in. Again, if you were making a similar show but without trying to be faithful to an established series of books, you could tell the same style of story with far fewer players and save a fortune (and arguably that would make a better show anyway).

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#46263807)

One of the problems with Terra Nova, IIRC, was that it was filmed on-location in Queensland, Australia. The weather there can be really bad at times (it's basically tropical, which of course is why they picked it), and they had lots of delays in filming because of the weather. Weeks of sitting around waiting for the rain to stop costs lots of money since you have to pay everyone to do nothing.

Shooting stuff on sound stages or other Hollywood sets is much cheaper usually, since you don't have to travel far away or pay people a ton to be there rain or shine. There's already lots of workers (prop/set builders, etc.) living there, and it rarely rains in southern California.

Game of Thrones probably has some of the same problems; it's shot at at least 3 different locations (Iceland IIRC, Malta, and (northern?) Ireland), and has a huge cast.

If we'd just go back to another Star Trek show, the costs wouldn't be too much. You'd only need to build a few sets (which can be reused in lots of episodes), and CGI effects are pretty cheap these days compared to what it cost to do the FX in ST:TNG. Then you'd only need to deal with the costs for the "away team" episodes (there was a reason at least half the episodes occurred entirely on the ship: it was almost free, since few/no new sets were needed; this was a cost-cutting measure).

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (4, Interesting)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 2 months ago | (#46259991)

It is possible to raise some impressive amounts, e.g. Wayside Creations raised $130K for Fallout: Nuka Break season 2, Zombie Orpheus raised $400K for The Gamers: Hands of Fate, and Far From Home raised $125K for Star Trek Continues. By comparison, a top-of-the-line production like Game of Thrones costs $6 million per episode, so one cannot assume similar production values from a crowd funded project. On the other hand, the projects mentioned earlier are of a decent quality. As noted by the submitter, the price of reasonably good visual effects is falling, which will make it a lot easier to produce on small budgets while still making it look okay. I'm not sure that crowdfunded TV will displace the networks, but it is a good alternative for independent film makers to raise money for their projects. Hopefully, we will get a lot more brave and high quality TV from that.

Star Trek Must Die (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#46261857)

Hands of Fate, and Far From Home raised $125K for Star Trek Continues.

Modern sci-fi and fantasy fiction begins with the pulp magazines of the twenties and thirties.

There would be films, comic strips, radio and television productions to follow. Vast resources in every media and genre which could be mined, but go untouched. Because Star Trek sucks the life out of everything. Because the geek hasn't had room for a new --- old, or better --- idea on his head since 1964.

From Pixar, we have had The Incredibles and Wall-E.

From Annapurna, Her. From Warner Brothers, Gravity. From Lionsgate, The Hunger Games.

From Disney, we are about to get Rocket Raccoon and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Big Hero 6. Two unexpectedly original and high-risk projects,

Re:Star Trek Must Die (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#46263835)

You're listing a lot of stuff which isn't sci-fi.

Incredibles is fantasy/superhero, and it's animated.

Her is just bad sci-fi. The idea that people will give up display screens in the future and just have computers talk to them is idiotic in the extreme. I can read a LOT faster than listening to someone read to me.

Gravity is not sci-fi, any more than Apollo 13 was, or a movie about deep-sea diving is. Sci-fi has to involve future technologies. A movie about people going to the ISS is not futuristic; we already have the ISS and people are already going there.

"Rocket Raccoon"? WTF? Sounds like a kid's movie. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but an animated movie about anthropomorphized animals is not sci-fi. I seriously doubt any other Disney projects qualify as sci-fi either. The last sci-fi Disney did was "Flight of the Navigator", around 30 years ago, and "The Black Hole", around 40 years ago.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#46260067)

That's a network produced show. There are examples of equally high quality shows produced on a much more modest budget.

Furthermore, if you want to get really cheap you can just pull a blair witch project...

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#46263585)

Furthermore, if you want to get really cheap you can just pull a blair witch project...

Blair Witch was released in 1999. Production cost, $500-750,000. The Blair Witch Project [wikipedia.org]

In the movie business, it is first past the post who wins. Theaters are flooded with copycat productions, everyone knows what is in your bag of tricks --- and you have nothing more to offer.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 months ago | (#46260365)

I think what a lot of people (particularly Slashdotters) fail to realize is the cost to produce some of these shows. Take a show like Portlandia - You'd think you could shoot it with a handycam and a Macbook, but in fact there is a large crew of professionals behind the scenes -
 

That's not a large crew of "professionals". That's a large crew of people standing around doing nothing of value. You need a director, somebody to hold the camera and somebody of hold the microphone. Everything else is all Hollywood bullshit. Assistants and assistants to assistants. Lackeys and assistant lackeys.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 months ago | (#46260451)

That's not a large crew of "professionals". That's a large crew of people standing around doing nothing of value.

The people to the left of the ladder are the actors & extras in the episode in question. The people to the right of the ladder are the professionals.

Re:Producing good TV is Expensive... (1)

isorox (205688) | about 2 months ago | (#46261783)

I think what a lot of people (particularly Slashdotters) fail to realize is the cost to produce some of these shows. Take a show like Portlandia - You'd think you could shoot it with a handycam and a Macbook, but in fact there is a large crew of professionals behind the scenes -

That's not a large crew of "professionals". That's a large crew of people standing around doing nothing of value. You need a director, somebody to hold the camera and somebody of hold the microphone. Everything else is all Hollywood bullshit. Assistants and assistants to assistants. Lackeys and assistant lackeys.

Lighting. Multi camera shoots.

Then things like props and costumes, makeup, etc, all need to be on set.

Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (5, Interesting)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 2 months ago | (#46259915)

What I have noticed with main-stream sci-fi is that it doesn't involve actual science. Oh, it might have a shiny, modern or even futuristic veneer, but it is really just fantasy. Firefly was really a western set in space in a very different solar system. Even Star Trek seems to often resorts to magical thinking and the "lone hero" narrative, devolving into a morality play or social drama with a futuristic backdrop and technobabble.

The biggest offenders are the modern science fiction movies. Think about how often in science fiction movies the plot is "clueless mainstream scientists ignore dangers and the warnings of lone genius who spent his whole career pushing an unsupported theory leading to impending disaster requiring said lone genius to do 'science' and save the day".

I think the closest thing I have seen to an actual science fiction movie in the last 30 yeas is "Deep Impact".

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 2 months ago | (#46260005)

If you extend to 50 years you suddenly get some shows and films that were quite novel at the time; Star Trek and 2001.

As much as Star Trek was an adventure it was also a view back upon contemporary issues - especially racial. Star Trek broke the "rules" of the time by being the first TV show aired where a kiss between a black and a white person occurred.

And we also have this story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (3, Informative)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#46260007)

Indeed. Mainstream "scifi", especially movies, seems to operate on the principle that the defining qualities are fancy high-tech window dressing, whereas most of the best SF I've read takes place in settings that are for the most part not so very unlike today, with the story being less about the technology itself than about how humanity (as embodied by the characters) is adapting to the impact of that technology, and what the long-term implications are. Also there tends to be a common theme among the best stuff that only very few or very minor changes are allowed to the laws of physics. We're dreaming possible futures here, not just looking for empty entertainment!

Hmm, and suddenly I understand why Hollywood has been so very, very bad at it...

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#46262057)

most of the best SF I've read takes place in settings that are for the most part not so very unlike today, with the story being less about the technology itself than about how humanity is adapting to the impact of that technology, and what the long-term implications are

The problem lies in translating analysis into entertainment.

We're dreaming possible futures here, not just looking for empty entertainment!

Science fiction is not predictive. I'll cast my vote here for entertainment, which is often more perceptive and provocative than the geek's crystal ball.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#46263231)

Predictive, no. Speculative yes. If you throw known science completely out the window it just becomes laser-pistol fantasy.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#46263771)

If you throw known science completely out the window it just becomes laser-pistol fantasy.

To be fair, the phaser or stun gun solves major problems in-story and in production

a) no six-shot limit
b) a plausible weapon for use in tightly confined or hazardous environments or in the presence of non-combatants
c) a plausible weapon with a range of tactical settings for every situation

d) an easy to build prop that can be effectively combined with simple post-production effects

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 months ago | (#46263293)

Meh, some just like to hate on Hollywood anyway. Take for example Elysium, it's about a low orbit space station and a not entirely unplausible split between the <0.01% and the rest and instead of trying to build a billionaire fortress on Earth they've established their own extremely exclusive space colony. Granted, their medical tech is pure magic but it's just to quickly get the point across that up there they can cure anything. It's more realistic than particle-of-the-day Star Trek, it doesn't have any warp drives or phasers and I'd say the society is more realistic too. And it isn't full of CGI aliens.

Now the characters and plot has a bunch of holes but as far as mainstream sci-fi goes it's fairly well grounded in reality. The way they citizens of Elysium treat the rest as shit they had to scrape of their shoes is not nearly as implausible as you'd want to believe, the implication was that most never went down to Earth unless they had to. Trying to smuggle up people using stolen transports and fake transporter codes is a little far fetched, but at least the parallel to today is very clear. Okay so it's not great sci-fi but not everything will be a District 9.

Re: Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260107)

Ugh, not deep impact. There are much better indy ones: Primer, Pi, Europa Report. Sunshine would have been good except for the whole monster thing.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#46260139)

Even Star Trek seems to often resorts to magical thinking and the "lone hero" narrative, devolving into a morality play or social drama with a futuristic backdrop and technobabble.

Yeah, but at least they get the math mostly right.. Spock famously calculates the right number of tribbles there would be after so many days, given the assumptions that he stated :)

See Primer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260311)

Primer [imdb.com] (2004). One of the most original Sci-Fi movies I have ever seen.

And I agree, main stream big Hollywood Science Fiction is crap.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260391)

The biggest offenders are the modern science fiction movies. Think about how often in science fiction movies the plot is "clueless mainstream scientists ignore dangers and the warnings of lone genius who spent his whole career pushing an unsupported theory leading to impending disaster requiring said lone genius to do 'science' and save the day".

And The Magic Negro. Don't forget The Magic Negro (typically played by Morgan Freeman) who is all wise and knowing.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260435)

Yeah, I can see a lot more Battlestar Galacticas being made (soap opera in spaaaace!) and very few, say, Stand Alone Complexes.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 2 months ago | (#46260677)

I think the closest thing I have seen to an actual science fiction movie in the last 30 yeas is "Deep Impact".

I'll give honorable mention to "A.I.", as it did a similar job of having the true story be how the people reacted to there being artificial children who could be programmed to love.

Additionally, I think that amongst the better true sci-fi series made in recent years was "Defying Gravity". One could possibly make the point that it was a 'soap opera in space' to a certain extent, but its focus was on the characters and their personal struggles, not the window dressing.

Oh well...I do hope to God that they don't remake "Forbidden Planet" though...

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

lennier (44736) | about 2 months ago | (#46262349)

I do hope to God that they don't remake "Forbidden Planet" though...

Of course it will happen. But in these liberal times it will be retitled "Permitted Planet".

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | about 2 months ago | (#46260683)

Some would argue that there are no genres. Everything is fluff around a few basic stories. Whether it was gods and warriors, kings, princesses or magical forests, the settings were just trappings around a quest or a boy meets girl or journey. I've heard folks argue that sci-fi requires some element of science to be truly sci-fi, but I think that precludes a lot of good fiction. There's a story about a machine that (placed railroads/mined/logged). It would be considered a folk tale today (or even a faux tale) but in its day might have the definition of sci-fi.

Anyhoo, one of my favorites new series is/was the BSG respin. I got lots and lots of flack for enjoying it. I consider excellent sci-fi, yet because it had religion and aspects of magic, many don't agree.

"Deep Impact" could be a variation of the Cyclops myths. Like the people on earth, they knew their death. How does a person deal with the knowledge of their future extinction? There are also many mythologies that foretell the end of the world. Whether by a Beast or a meteor, it explores similar ideas.

All said, I agree that much of what is called sci-fi today is drivel. Gorram Fox.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 months ago | (#46260763)

What I have noticed with main-stream sci-fi is that it doesn't involve actual science. Oh, it might have a shiny, modern or even futuristic veneer, but it is really just fantasy. Firefly was really a western set in space in a very different solar system. Even Star Trek seems to often resorts to magical thinking and the "lone hero" narrative, devolving into a morality play or social drama with a futuristic backdrop and technobabble.

Science fiction has never really been about the science. Sure, a "realistic" portrayal of the future of technology can be fun and is one popular avenue of sci-fi, but there is one fundamentally massive problem with that approach: it's actually unrealistic in and of itself. Look at it this way: 50 years ago, the modern smartphone was considered "fantasy" even in sci-fi (hell, Star Trek communicators were large bulky devices with only a fraction of the capability, and they were still considered implausible). The Internet, which radically changed society? A few books guessed at something like it, but most people didn't. The reason the displays in Star Trek TOS are a bunch of flashing lights and crappy displays? Because at the time that was realistic: that's more or less what displays looked like at the time.

Honestly, we have absolutely no idea what the future will look like in terms of technology or science. None whatsoever. All we have are guesses. So, what then is the point of sci-fi? It's to portray what society might look like under certain circumstances, or how humanity might react to x situation, or to explore the ramifications of what would happen if y was invented, or just to tell a cool and interesting story (Star Trek (the TV series), Stargate, I Robot (the book, not the movie), and Star Wars are examples of each of those things, respectively). "Actual science" is only one rather small portion of sci-fi as a whole, because we simply don't know what "actual science" will look like in 200 years, and we can't, and never will be able to. All we can do is guess, or propose interesting "what ifs", and then try to imagine what happens in those cases.

Now, is a lot of mainstream sci-fi utter trash that does nothing interesting? Sure, absolutely. That's Hollywood. But the idea that "actual" sci-fi has to involved only "actual science" is a bit ridiculous.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 months ago | (#46263741)

Primer and Sunshine are both fantasy rather than Sci-Fi, and Sunshine was rather unwatchable (IMHO), Armageddon with the Sun as a target, or a really long Twilight Zone episode.

Some of the better sci fi movies that have come out over the past 30 years that seem in the realm of the possible and do not use time travel, aliens, or faster than light travel for their story lines include in no particular order:

  • Gattaca,
  • Elysium - excluding the space station, it would have to be considerably further away than it looked, and an open design to space to allow "crash" landings? Well, maybe....
  • Antiviral - look beyond the maybe not so preposterous story line
  • Runaway
  • Surrogates - just a little further into the "virtual" world and robots
  • Enemy of the State
  • Contagion
  • The 6th Day - cloning and memory control, seems more realistic by the day
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - long winded, but the ability to control memories
  • The Island - cloning a slave work force and having memory imprints to quickly online them into productivity
  • Deep Impact
  • RoboCop - corny, but with today's robots, bionics, and again, that memory imprint "technology"
  • Outland?

Don't get me wrong, there's lots of good sci-fi flicks out there, but many use a piece of fantasy as the underlying prop. The only one that I have seen and didn't list is Star Trek, which, despite having faster than light travel, actually has more science based features in aggregate than anything listed above, including its FTL travel. It's humanoid lifeforms speaking english everywhere... well, that's what kills it as sci fi, but they needed something besides boring dead planets to visit as foils for the ever impressive Capt James T Kirk.

Stargate? It was more plausible as the seeding of the universe with humanoids, but again, uses an alien race as the a story basis. At least their aliens were completely bereft of "human" rationale and logic, for the most part, working within their own constructs.The "ancients" metaphysical beings killed this one, even though that may be a more realistic final picture for ourselves, in some sort of computer matrix. We're already discussing uploading ourselves after all.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46264475)

There doesn't have to be anything that resembles science in a scifi. What you really need is a "what if" with some known set of rules that are adhered to throughout the story, and then try to think of how life would be given those circumstances.
This is where most "scifi" goes wrong. Take for instance star trek. They have replicators, but they never seem to use them for anything more substantial than making food. The deflector dish can be made to do absolutely anything by simply changing it's polarity and routing it through a tachyon converter or whatever.
An even bigger problem for me has been the holodeck. there is no way it could work as far as I can tell. Put two people in there and have them walk away from each other and one of them should walk into a wall, and yet they are able to create entire towns and forests with tens of people inside.
It's pretty good entertainment imho, but it's not the same as a good scifi.

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260871)

They are making fun of nuclear scientists

Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (1)

maestroX (1061960) | about 2 months ago | (#46261183)

I think the closest thing I have seen to an actual science fiction movie in the last 30 yeas is "Deep Impact".

Try The Big Lebowski, it's like, you know, friendly too.

hitler worked alone conspiracy falls apart again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259929)

we 'helped' him too? http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bank+pr+firm+paid+WMD+on+credit+burlesque&sm=3

band of 85 dark matters series continues...

Sci-Fi? (2, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#46259931)

Neither Buffy nor Misfits is Sci-Fi.
No idea about Dr. Who, never saw it.
I mean: come on, get at least a single simple thing right in the article ...

Re:Sci-Fi? (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 2 months ago | (#46259949)

Buffy and Misfits are non-realistic fiction, which is the point the author was trying to make. Currently, most streaming services-produced shows are grounded in either current day or historical fiction, not sci-fi or fantasy. If fantasy shows like Buffy work out, perhaps they'll expand more.

Also, not even knowing what Dr. Who is? What the fuck is wrong with you?

Re:Sci-Fi? (3, Funny)

cyberzephyr (705742) | about 2 months ago | (#46259995)

Also, not even knowing what Dr. Who is? What the fuck is wrong with you?

I think the original poster should turn in their Sci-Fi card.

Re:Sci-Fi? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260093)

Dr Who isn't Sci-Fi either, and it's over rated. There are a couple of good episodes but other than that it's just a nostalgia machine.
But then again writing a coherent science fiction story that involves time travel is very difficult.
Most of them include some reason why using the time machine is very inconvenient. i.e. no guarantee when or where you will end up, or only being able to go in one direction.

If you take out the time machine and look at each episode as a short story then some of them could be considered science fiction.

Re:Sci-Fi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46261051)

My main issue with Dr. Who is the time travel piece. For a time travel story to interest me (or for any story to interest me), it must be cohesive and logically consistent. This does not mean that it must be possible, but that there are internal rules and that they are followed. So, if the rule is that the time traveler cannot interfere with his own timeline then don't break that rule. If the rule is that the universe ends should the time traveler go back to undo what he did, then either figure a way for that not to occur and accept the consequences or end the series. If years of the story revolve around the time traveler being the last of his kind (and that's an interesting angle) then don't retcon and futureproof for the sake of ratings. Anything else feels like a copout, lazy writing, and pandering to the crowd.

Re:Sci-Fi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46262317)

Dr Who isn't Sci-Fi either, and it's over rated. There are a couple of good episodes but other than that it's just a nostalgia machine.

Recent Dr Who is junk. Older Dr Who was better and had interesting ideas occasionally.

Re:Sci-Fi? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#46260409)

I know WHAT Dr. Who is, I just have not watched it yet. As it was not aired nor do I have a TV, so I need to wait till Inhave time and it is on an internet TV. actually it is right now, just did not find it that appealing to look when I can watch old SG 1 or BSG 1 instead :)

Re:Sci-Fi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260071)

Also, not even knowing what Dr. Who is? What the fuck is wrong with you?

Considering how much that poster gets wrong when posting about actual science, it seems consistent to struggle to keep up with sci-fi too.

Re:Sci-Fi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46261737)

Ive watched the show, and i still dont know what it is. its like cricket, i cant seem to master the brain tricks to believe these have any meaning

Re:Sci-Fi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46263253)

They're no doubt referring to the 'new' Doctor, who (heheh) is about as SciFi as My Little Brony.

Not sure about that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259941)

I contributed to the Space Command Kickstarter, and I thought we would see some actual footage by now. Estimated delivery of a DVD of the first film was supposed to be September 2013. So far we've got a couple of CGI shots of ship fly-bys, some actors selected, a soundstage and an awful lot of PR attendance at conventions.

Ask Hollywood: (4, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about 2 months ago | (#46259977)

"No"

I'm not saying we won't see (crappy) sci-fi movies or TV show pilots funded by kickstarter. We might even have some kind of sci-fi scene champ that starts as a web series, gets a kickstarter, makes a pilot, gets picked up for a season, etc.

Books or comics might happen too...but again it will mostly be a space in the industry that is of less quality.

That all **might** happen...but my point is, crowdfunding is not the "future" of sci-fi.

We need to get real sci-fi fans producing sci-fi films!

Hollywood has fucked up sci-fi in the last decade or so...the JJ Abrams Star Trek, the new 'Alien' movie, the new 'Predator' movie....they all have dumb fucking titles...the list goes on...heh...Avatar...the only really awesome sci-fi has been from Independent Hollywood...ex: Moon

Cheap Computer Effects (thanks to ppl like /. readers) are what helped make sci-fi financially viable for Hollywood...go tech industry!

However, shitty producers & executivces...the guys with the money to make these films happen....**we have been giving them our money for far too long**

The argument used to be, "We have to go see the [beloved sci-fi franchise] even though they have [idiot hollywood directory] making it...I know it looks like they butchered [fan favorite storyline] but the special effects look great & we need to prove that [scifi franchise] can make money so they'll make another better one"

It's a feedback loop of shitty sci-fi

We need to stop going to see these films, and support indpendent films, including crowd-funded ones...but not as an end, but a means to access better factors of production and more capital

Re:Ask Hollywood: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260165)

Moon was great. I think Primer was also a good sci-fi.

Re:Ask Hollywood: (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about 2 months ago | (#46260529)

yeah I enjoyed Primer immensely, Upstream Color almost as much (but it isnt as good on repeat viewings like Primer)

there are other examples...i'm always down to hear a film recommendation, but there arent as many as there should be

District 9 broke the mold in my mind...the special effects are off the chain & the storyline has the bite of real sci-fi...its not Blade Runner but its a hell of a lot of fun

Thing is, there are *tons* of scifi being made right now...Elysium, the Will Smith one w/ his kid, the dystopian one w/ Tom Cruise, Adjustment Bureau, the huge expansion of the Marvel franchises, gah so many more...all have good parts...all **total shit** in the end...100 C- movies is an abject failure

Re:Ask Hollywood: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46263301)

NO! Flying people are NOT scifi! Even the fuckstick who somehow builds an armored suit whilst supposedly being guarded and starved in a cave.

Anyone who counts that as scifi also needs to turn in their membership card.

The secret to Sci-fi Crowd Funding success (3, Funny)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 2 months ago | (#46260029)

If Kickstarter would accept Space Bucks, Flanian Pobble Beads, Jangles, bitcoins, and other fictional currencies, the projects would get fully funded overnight.

Huh? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 months ago | (#46260049)

There's still not a lot of sci-fi shows that are being produced by the major streaming services, but we'll probably see more with the success of Hulu's exclusive U.S. distribution of Misfits or Netflix's success with Buffy and Doctor Who.

Since you couldn't come up with a sci-fi show that actually is being produced by a major streaming service, is that because there aren't any?

All of those shows were produced for TV. They may well be successes as far as Hulu and Netflix are concerned, but they didn't have to pay to have them made. And for every Buffy or Doctor Who, there's a Flashforward or The Event clunking their way to first- (or even mid-) season cancellation.

That said, if throwing money at someone will get a second series of Outcasts made, sign me up.

Audience size (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | about 2 months ago | (#46260057)

I think the trouble with getting Science Fiction shows broadcast has nothing to do with the costs of making the show.

I think the trouble is that the audience size for sci-fi show(s), no matter how excellent they are, is a fraction of a mainstream drama, police show, etc.

So the money that a broadcaster makes, based on selling advertizing (commercials) to that small audience, never allows them to make enough money.

Maybe, just maybe a streaming service like Netflix could do it, as I will guess a larger fraction of their audience are into sci-fi, but actual numbers and statistics are hard to find that are publically available.

Whatever happened to... (5, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#46260061)

Whatever happened to JMS ? Babylon 5 was the best SF on TV IMHO

And also what happened to the creators of the Stargate series's . I admit SGU wasn't as good as SG1 or SGA, so I wasn't that surprised to see it cancelled, but it would be nice to see some more of Stargate.

I don't watch anything on the PsyPhy (or whatever they are calling it these days) channel. The only channel with SF on is the Beeb (BBC America), they even have ST:TNG although what that has got to do with the BBC I am not sure.

Maybe the best thing will be if some of the Amazon produced stuff gets popular. (I subscribe to Prime)

NBC / Comcrap messed up scifi channel at least the (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#46260233)

NBC / Comcrap messed up scifi channel at least the shows they are importing from canada are good. continuum is very good

One reason why BBC might carry ST:TNG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260909)

Patrick Stewart is a BRITISH actor ...

Re:Whatever happened to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46261573)

He and the Wachowskis are doing a new show for Netflix due this year.

All Could Be Going Away (1)

Nova Express (100383) | about 2 months ago | (#46260065)

Given the furious pace of technological change, there's no reason to assume any current distribution model will last 50 years. Maybe not even 20.

The following used to be important distribution channels or outlets:

  • American News Company
  • Blockbuster
  • Borders
  • B. Dalton
  • Walden Books
  • Drive-in movie theaters
  • Hastings
  • Newsweek
  • The American Mercury
  • The Houston Post
  • The Chicago Daily News
  • Tower Records
  • Newstands
  • AM Radio
  • FM Radio

Where are they now? Dead or dying.

Push the timescale out long enough, and the future of Apple, Amazon, YouTube, Time Warner/Comcast, NPR, The New York Times, and broadcast TV are no more assured.

Will they be replaced by Kickstarter? They'll probably be replaced by the thing that replaces the things that replaces Kickstarter...

Buffy!? Buffy? BTVS! WTF? (1)

dagrichards (1281436) | about 2 months ago | (#46260133)

You had me at Buffy. Netflix is producing Buffy? When, how, who? Somebody take my money, now. Please don't suck. A quick search on this subject reveals nothing informative, does any one have any details?

Re:Buffy!? Buffy? BTVS! WTF? (1)

CodeArtisan (795142) | about 2 months ago | (#46260199)

You had me at Buffy. Netflix is producing Buffy? When, how, who? Somebody take my money, now. Please don't suck. A quick search on this subject reveals nothing informative, does any one have any details?

Of course, Buffy isn't sci-fi so isn't really a part of this discussion.

Re:Buffy!? Buffy? BTVS! WTF? (1)

dagrichards (1281436) | about 2 months ago | (#46260269)

Lies! Lies! They had at least three robots ( Joyce's Boyfriend, creepy guys love 'bot, Buffy 'bot), one Cyborg/Demon villain, aaaaand a freeze ray. If Captain Horatio Hornblower in space ( Start Trek TOS ) can be called SciFi, then I have enough things that go ping! to call Buffy SciFi.

Re:Buffy!? Buffy? BTVS! WTF? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 months ago | (#46260211)

well as long as they would make the vampires look decent instead of ugly face.

but one might ask, why the fuck mention it in an article about science fiction when it's more like oldie superstitions fantasy.

Re:Buffy!? Buffy? BTVS! WTF? (1)

dagrichards (1281436) | about 2 months ago | (#46260277)

Oh why mention it? Because the original story mentions it. I quote: "but we'll probably see more with the success of Hulu's exclusive U.S. distribution of Misfits or Netflix's success with Buffy and Doctor Who. On the other hand" Notice that the conversation STARTED with a Buffy mention.

Re:Buffy!? Buffy? BTVS! WTF? (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | about 2 months ago | (#46260301)

I think they just meant Buffy and Dr. Who have been successful when the old episodes are aired on Netflix. I've heard nothing about a new Buffy series.

Buffy? Doctor Who? WTF? (1)

solune (803114) | about 2 months ago | (#46260271)

How do you figure Buffy is Sci-Fi? I like the show (up to a point), and find it was well written, but sci-fi it ain't.

As for Doctor who, it has that veneer, but is mostly sciency, but not, strictly, always science fiction. And Netflix as a bastion of Doctor Who? Not so fast: they only really have the modern series from Christopher eccleson on, and one show each of the previous doctors.

When I can watch the Doctor from "An Unearthly child" on, then I'll go along and say Netflix carries the Doctor.

[end mini-vent]

Re:Buffy? Doctor Who? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46260559)

How do you figure Buffy is Sci-Fi? I like the show (up to a point), and find it was well written, but sci-fi it ain't.

I don't know - I think it is at least arguable. Buffy is based on a (somewhat) consistent alternative set of rules for the universe and the show is based on playing out human scenarios in this alternative version of the universe. Buffy demonology is no more or less non-factual than Star Trek warp drive-ology and it seems superficial to say that one is allowed to be science fiction because it involves blinking lights, space and inorganic metallic sets whereas the other can't be because it involves wooden stakes, magic and organic creatures. Trekkies may go on about the transporter's Heisenberg Compensator or whatever, but that doesn't make the transporter any more 'scientific' a concept than a magic portal in Buffy.

To me, the distinction between science fiction and fantasy is about how consistent the rules are and the extent that the audience is expected to know and understand the rules, not about whether the exposition is a pastiche of scientific textbooks or a pastiche of occultist literature. Buffy was reasonably consistent about the rules for how vampires could behave and be killed etc so it doesn't bother me to see it described as science fiction.

Re:Buffy? Doctor Who? WTF? (1)

Pop69 (700500) | about 2 months ago | (#46261689)

You can't watch The Doctor from "An Unearthly child" anywhere, not even here in the UK on the BBC due to lost episodes.

Perhaps set your sights a little lower there ?

Sci Fi is Mainstream; Good Sci Fi always rare (1)

Yergle143 (848772) | about 2 months ago | (#46260387)

The massive media attendance at Comic Con indicates that producing Sci Fi (and I do use the term loosely) is almost the sole occupation of the entire movie, TV, game, and publishing industry. Try going to your local multiplex and not have to choose science fiction as some thematic component. Of the top 10 box office hits of 2013, nine are sci fi [boxofficemojo.com] (only the Fast and the Furious 6 is not)...

Implied in the Kickstarter funding concept is that somehow the hard core genre fanbase would do a better job of bringing (or reanimating) some much beloved work or franchise. This ignores the role of producers, hard working key grips and this thing called professional actors. It also ignores this thing called accountability. Believe it or not, if something is good, it's good for just about everybody. Being terrified of being cancelled can bring out the best in a work.

Many recent well-deserved box office bombs are the result of betting on the hard core allegiance to marginal sci fi classics. "Ender's Game", "John Carter" etc...without realizing that it's more important to just make a good movie.

I use the term sci fi loosely. Of the REAL uncut stuff all you need are the pulp magazines, cover by Michael Whelan [michaelwhelan.com] and this undeveloped resource called your imagination. Crowdfunding could really help with the marginal economics of magazine publishing. Who the heck wants to WATCH a bunch of space academics debate how to run a foundation. [amazon.com]

Re:Sci Fi is Mainstream; Good Sci Fi always rare (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#46262617)

Say what? Are we so far gone now that we confuse "SF" and "effects movie". There's not a single SF movie in thse top 10. Even "Gravity" belongs in the same bucket as "Titanic": a fictionalized historical adventure with good effects, only with a more recent kind of ship.

No one knows what John Carter was: it certainly wasn't "hard core allegiance" to any book. OTOH, the "Hunger games" movies stick as close to the books as time permits and seem to do quite well, since the books were pretty good YA action/drama stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy other fiction genres, but SF is a specific genre that rarely makes it to the screen in America. I re-watching Bab5 right now for the Nth time, as there's so little else to watch when I'm in the mood for SF.

Re:Sci Fi is Mainstream; Good Sci Fi always rare (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 months ago | (#46263355)

Of the top 10 box office hits of 2013, nine are sci fi [boxofficemojo.com] (only the Fast and the Furious 6 is not)...

Erm, most of those films are not Sci-Fi by even the loosest definition of the word.

1. Hunger Games - Children/Fantasy
2. Iron Man - Superhero/Fantasy (I'll give you this one on a technicality that the Iron Man suit is technological)
3. Frozen - Children/Fantasy
4. Despicable Me 2 - Children/Comedy
5. Man of Steel - Superhero/Fantasy
6. Monsters University - Children/Fantasy
7. Gravity - Sci-Fi
8. The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug - Fantasy
9. The Fast and the Furious 6 - Action
10. Oz The Great and Powerful - Fantasy

Fantasy and sci-fi are not the same thing. Neither are most Superhero movies sci-fi, they fall under the fantasy category. So out of that list, only one was sci-fi with a second being given as a technicality and I'm using the loosest definition of sci-fi I can, realistically neither Iron Man 3 or Gravity were proper sci-fi films, Gravity was more a drama (and a crap drama at that) and Iron Man 3 is more an action film.

Re:Sci Fi is Mainstream; Good Sci Fi always rare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46264559)

I always wonder why they try to make certain books into movies. For instance Enders Game. I enjoyed the book a lot, but even when reading it I just couldn't picture how you would make a good movie out of it. Half the book takes place inside his mind in the form of analysis of his surroundings. Are you going to put in a narrator to explain everything? Then there are books which would be perfectly easy to make into movies, but probably never will. For instance The Door into Summer.
You can practically turn the entire thing into a script. It would be pretty low budget. The only effect you'd need is for the time machine which gets used exactly once.
You'd have to change up some of the details to keep it relevant. It was written almost 60 years ago after all.
The legacy of heorot is another book that you could turn into a movie almost word for word.
Instead we get Robocop 4 and Die Hard 8 and Changing Gears 7.

Garbage in. Garbage out. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#46260421)

Mainstream TV has has for a long time under-served the sci-fi loving viewers, but with declining production costs there seem to be two potential sources of alternative production/distribution

I've been wondering-how much does each series of post-2005 "Doctor Who" cost to make? A friend told me it cost about 1 million sterling an episode.

The geek will be content with re-staging fifty years of "Trek Wars" on his home made scratch-built sets. But to build a mass popular audience for science fiction and fantasy you need to show them something new --- something memorable ---- and for that you need money and talent in abundance.

Dragons 2
Game of Thrones
Her.
Hunger Games
Frozen
Gravity

What's old is new (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | about 2 months ago | (#46260725)

Back in the day, writers earned their keep from underwriters (subscribers). I believe that with tools like Blender, relatively inexpensive broadcast and DVD quality cameras, the ability to collaborate across the world, cheap/cloud storage, and a plethora of amazing stories, we could back to that model. I for one would welcome alternatives to big studio garbage that assumes that because it has a spaceship or an alien race (aliens that look exactly like humans, especially) we'll just buy tickets.

And we often do, because the other "choices" are "Bad Grandma" and "Teen Love Story".

Need More Stargate ! (1)

detain (687995) | about 2 months ago | (#46260897)

Need more SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe! At one point there was both a large petition and some offering of funds to continue this show. I'm sure many would still support it.

Re:Need More Stargate ! (1)

detain (687995) | about 2 months ago | (#46260927)

Only problem with stargate was the absurd assumption that only 36 constellations could somehow give thousands of combinations of 6 point addresses in space all landing at planets. Another problem along the same lines is which star in each constellation do you use as your reference point to find the planet, because yo ucould arrive at a variety of different locations depending on which star in each constellation was used to find the intersecting point in space. (6 constellations formed the X/Y/Z axis and at the center of the axis is supposed to be a planet)

Re:Need More Stargate ! (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | about 2 months ago | (#46261033)

Also, constellations aren't groups of stars. They simply appear to be because they are in the same direction to an observer on Earth. Some of the stars in most constellations are orders of magnitude more distant than the others.

"The seventh symbol is the point of origin" - but this point would also require multiple coordinates, or would be unnecessary because it is implicit in the gate you are dialing from. Hello? As if you had to dial an extra single numeral at the end of a phone number to specify the unique telephone you were calling from.

Don't get me started on everyone on every planet speaking English, without as much excuse as the Star Trek universal translator.

Whatever happened to... (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | about 2 months ago | (#46260991)

Pioneer One hasn't put out a lot of episodes lately.

Re:Whatever happened to... (1)

Thanosius (3519547) | about 2 months ago | (#46262447)

According to Wikipedia the last episode of Pioneer One came out on December 13, 2011. I appreciated the first season for what it was, but it's hard to keep interest in a TV series if it takes more than 2 years between seasons.

I don't know if they'll be able to continue the series. I hope do since it's got a lot of promise, but it needs a higher profile if they want to secure better financing.

Advertising not Production (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46261513)

I just recently watched a program on CBC - Q with Jian Ghomeshi Season 7 episode 14 aired 2014-01-05 - where Kevin Smith talked about film costs. His point was that anyone can make a film or a movie. Even an iPhone can produce something watchable. The real costs are in trying to get that in front of an audience. More money is spent on the advertising and awareness than on the film itself. Think of how many videos are on youtube, if you don't what you are looking for will you ever find it? Even Game of Thrones and Doctor Who spend small fortunes on advertising just to keep people aware that new episodes are upcoming.

it's been done before (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 2 months ago | (#46261579)

In another /. I ranted about spend $50M on CGI, $5K for writers. Someone replied, "why don't you contribute to this group making a sci-fi using pre-CGI techniques?" And a link to a Kickstarter type of webpage as this indie group relied on donations. I didn't followup so missed their deadline. But this indie group intend was to do what used to be done. Take a compelling story with engaging characters, have some special effects to add to the story. But since their special effects was not superior to current Hollywood, they relied more on story and actors to keep audience interested.

And there is the 1970s BSG cylon with a cup and sign, "replaced by CGI."

Dr Who is paid with taxes (2)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#46262087)

Dr Who isn't made by netflix, and the fact that netflix carries it has nothing to do with the production of the show

Dr Who is created using a third method that you completely glossed-over, which is government aid for the arts.

The BBC has been making great entertainment and news programs since the early days of radio, paid entirely by every Americans favorite dirty word: TAXES

Re:Dr Who is paid with taxes (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#46262949)

The budgets for the early Doctor Whos was incredibly tiny. I suspect most kickstarted indie SF effort would laugh and walk away at the modern equivalent of those budgets. Heck, for the most part they didn't even have editing - the scenes were shot "as live" and scenes with only minor errors went out the way they were shot. And yet many of them were more interesting than the modern CGI effects fest. There was certainly some magic happening at the BBC back then, but it had noting at all to do with how it was funded.

Crowdfunding is the future of all movies and TV (1)

serutan (259622) | about 2 months ago | (#46262283)

I think crowdfunding will eventually replace big entertainment companies, and the transition actually won't involve a huge change. The movie/television business has already evolved away from the monolithic studio business model of the past, which used to do entire productions. Since the late-1980s most movies and TV shows have been made by temporary assemblies of small, specialized production companies and services. The part the big studios still play is putting up the money, and thereby controlling the whole process. As crowdfunding generates more and more of the money, the big studios will have less and less control.

Audio SF is already here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46263043)

Not exactly "crowd funded", but pretty close: There are several high-quality SF audio podcasts available. Drabblecast, EscapePod, and ClarkesWorld come to mind right off the top. None of them is on Kickstarter that I'm aware of, but many of them rely on donations to cover their costs. Typically the content is free, and you can get extra perks by donating.
        I travel a good bit with my job, and so I have lots of windshield time to fill up. These do a very satisfying job of occupying my time. Many of the stories are Nebula or Hugo Award nominees or winners, or have appeared in such publications as Asimov's, Analog or (of course) ClarkesWorld.

"Will either be able to replace network content?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46263227)

Do TV networks have their own content? I thought they just downloaded it from PirateBay like everyone else.

Iron Sky is a good example (1)

PDX (412820) | about 2 months ago | (#46264185)

Crowd funded and produced with high quality.

I was thinking of all the cross-over series and walk-in characters that are possible in my favorite Sci-fi / Fantasy shows.
NBC Universal owns both Sanctuary and Lost Girl
Helen Magnus could show up at the Dahl looking for Ashley vamps are a normal character in both series.

Geffen that produced BeetleJuice would never work with Sony that now owns Ghostbusters. Imagine the actors budget for BeetleJuice V.S. The Ghostbusters Keaton$$$, Aykroyd$$, Murray$$$, Moranis$$, Ramis$$,Hudson$$, and so on.
 

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