Jem and the Holograms, the cartoon, is going to be a live-action movie, and fans are going to help make it. On the off-chance that a potential newly discovered star doesn’t even know who Jem is?
“If you have a cool mom, she’ll definitely know,” says the director and main narrator of the video announcing the crowdsourced film project, John Chu.
Wait. How old are we? Oh, right.
The filmmakers; Chu, director of G.I. Joe Retaliation; Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum; and “music mogul”/Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun are working with Hasbro to begin production on the film this spring. They have “great relationships” with fans on social media, they said, and they want fans to join their filmmaking team. “This is not a contest, this is how we’re really making our movie,” Chu says.
“Sort of like Kickstarter, but we’re not asking for your money, we’re asking for your creativity,” he adds. They want Jem-wannabes to submit a video to their Tumblr, hashtagged #JemtheMovie, telling them “what you loved about the original Jem.” They want the “most talented girls and boys in the world, triple threats — singing, dancing, acting” to apply, in two minutes, including a song.
Did you watch Jem? I did and so did my little sister. It was a pretty big deal around this house, and if you’re familiar with the line “JEM! It’s truly outrageous, truly truly truly outrageous,” then you too are familiar with the instant ear-worm that I’ve now carried around off and on for decades. Jem is really Jerrica Benton, who transforms into Jem, and with her band Holograms, fends off rival bands The Misfits and The Stingers. The world is full of remakes, sequels and spin-offs, and just like every other, this one could be really great — or not. It could mean stardom for unknowns, which is an interesting prospect, and judging from some of the Tumblr submissions and notes already, there are some people out there who are very excited about this.
I have so many questions. It is great that they’re asking for contributions from the public, in what sounds like an open casting call for the movie’s entire staff. It’s definitely a new spin on the movie-making enterprise, especially from people who seem to have the clout to go about casting and staffing in a traditional way. Jem is not an off-the-wall vehicle or a brand that wouldn’t attract studio interest. So, that said, I am interested in how they plan to compensate creative work from people who submit it. Will the choosing of actors, writers, designers, and everyone else it takes to make a big picture truly turn out to be as DIY as they say? They say on their Tumblr already that they’re loving all the submissions so far, “And yes, we’re reading ALL your asks and submissions, you’ve got some great points already that we can’t wait to share with the community.”
I always hope dreams come true, and I admire a creative approach to making art. And the producers say this will be Jem reimagined “for a hyperlinked social media age,” so taking to social to kick it off and find its own tribe, essentially, is a perfect idea. But it’s possible through an open call to the public like this to get many people who will be eager to work for exposure, but who may also potentially be less interested in or aware of how to protect their creative and financial interests. The movie-making landscape is changing, and new approaches and projects like this one will set precedents — for good or for ill. I’ll always err on the side of the artists and fair compensation. Hopefully this team has that in mind, too.
Meanwhile, on to bigger concerns: Please let Jem keep her amazing pink hair, and don’t lose the “truly outrageous.” It just wouldn’t be Jem without those.
Image credit: YouTube