Film enthusiasts vote at the box office on which movies succeed or fail. The idea behind a new Web site, Massify.com, is to give them a vote on which films are made in the first place, along with some say in the script and the casting.
Massify members (membership is free and anyone can join) are offered a platform to promote themselves and whatever current projects they are involved in, and are also eligible to vote on other users' film ideas through online competitions in which members vie for financing and distribution from Massify and its partners.
And after granting money to winners of its online competitions, determined by popular user vote, the investors in Massify will maintain a financial interest in the films that originated there, and help produce and bring them to market.
Massify aims to encourage collaboration, but it is not a philanthropic enterprise. Like most Web sites, Massify wants to attract advertisers even as it faces the challenge of proving itself as a practical place for the film industry and the public to discover new talent. "We're building an audience before the film is made," said Kenneth Woo, one of Massify's two founders.
Brett Icahn, Massify's other founder, said: "Online networks should apply a democratic process to the creation of content, not just the distribution of it," he said. "The Massify community crowdsources the best ideas, and elects the best actors. It's more a production network than a social network, because it's driven by a creative purpose."