EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott and his commercials production company RSA will team with Machinima to produce 12 short films that will focus on science fiction content that might be grown into feature franchises. Machinima is the top global video entertainment network for males aged 18-34, reaching more than 2.6 billion views monthly. It is the top-rated entertainment channel on YouTube.
Despite turning 75, Scott continues to have an appetite for cutting-edge stuff and emerging technologies. He won’t direct any of these short films but will be a hands-on executive producer with RSA president Jules Daly. With Machinima, they will select directing clients of RSA and figure out what stories to tell.
Machinima has provided a strong springboard for genre content on the web. The network distributed Mortal Kombat: Legacy, which revived the moribund Mortal Kombat franchise. It started with a short film and is now in its second season and led to a feature film in development. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn premiered last fall and the series has received more than 3.2 million views.
RSA has a stable of over 80 filmmakers including Kathryn Bigelow, Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes, Neill Blomkamp, Joe Carnahan and Andrew Dominik. Daly told me she will canvas its roster to see if any of the filmmakers have sci-fi concepts they’ve wanted to explore but never had an outlet. “There is a plethora of great talent here and sometimes they don’t have a platform for great ideas that would work well in shorts. It could be an established director wanting to try something new, or a brilliant young director from Sweden who surprises us.” As an example of the format’s potential, Daly cited Loom, a Luke Scott-directed short that RSA produced with RED Camera. “This is the future, it’s new territory we believe we must investigate,” Daly said. She expects to have no trouble filling the dozen slots for the first round of sci-fi shorts for the Machinima deal.
If the shorts lead to bigger ancillary opportunities, those will be produced by RSA and Machinima. And for the latter, the deal creates an opportunity to serve up to its young gaming demo a stream of original sci-fi content godfathered by the director of Alien and Blade Runner.
Machinima chairman/CEO and co-founder Allen DeBevoise said the arrangement will serve those dual purposes well. “By combining this unique incubation model together with our powerful partnership of established creative talent and scaled distribution to millions on Machinimsa, we believe new sci-fi franchises will be born.” he said
In a statement, Scott said: “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.”