The Story Behind Masspire – 1/3
I love bad movies, and not in a detached ‘ironic’ sense. There’s no other way to have an artistic experience so utterly surprising and insane (without the use of recreational drugs).
Case in point: Frankenstein Island. I can safely say that out of every story I have ever seen, heard, or read, it made the absolute least sense. Frankenstein Island has enough plot to fit into at least three movies, and at each new development, I never had any idea what the hell was going on. It features four interchangeable idiots as protagonists, uncommunicative jungle-girls in bikinis, beanie-wearing golems, spinning lunchboxes, quite a few Satanic references, many parallels to LOST, and a giant shouting disembodied head that appears for no reason. It is so absolutely bizarre that by the end I felt like I was losing touch with reality just by watching it.
Another such film provided the first kernel of inspiration for Masspire. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny is a movie for kids that also manages to be deeply (and quite unintentionally) disturbing. Ice Cream Bunny features quite a few horrifying costumes, including gorillas, giant voles, and finally climaxes with a hallucinatory sequence involving the meeting between Santa and the firetruck-driving, mute hulk that is the Ice Cream Bunny. Before I saw Frankenstein Island, it had been the most insane thing that I’d ever seen. I loved it. I wanted more of it. It made me wonder what would happen if the internet could just be pushed harder to create something ambitious.
When I look around the internet, I see oceans of people casting off easy first drafts. They seem to be saying to themselves, “Yeah, I could create something pretty awesome. I’ll just slap it together in a couple hours, and I bet people will like it.” I think a lot of those people can in fact create something pretty awesome, but they have to put more than a couple of hours into what they’re doing to get there. If they never put in those hours, they’ll never create that amazing final product.
While the internet is full of creativity, it often lacks technical ability and execution. Back in June of 2011, I was laying on my air mattress and wondering how I could get the internet to care enough to put in a lot of time and effort into what they make. If there was some way to push people to acquire technical ability and put the time into a final draft, what could they do? Maybe the results wouldn’t always be ‘good’ in a conventional sense, but they definitely would be memorable.
The obvious answer seemed to be: money tends to get people’s attention. If we can focus people’s attention with money, they’d be willing to put forward the effort. Not only that, we could get a whole sea of amateurs to engage in artistic experiments together. Many of them will fail, but a few will succeed, and the sum of everyone’s efforts over a long period of time might be really remarkable. To quote my favorite character from Frankenstein Island, Giant-Shouting-Disembodied-Head-Man, “The Power! The Power! The Power!”