Taking 'A Total Disruption' Open Source

By Noah J. Nelson (@noahjnelson)

Sundance winning documentarian Ondi Timoner isn't in the habit of doing things in half-measures. Her latest endeavor, the web series "A Total Disruption," features some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. The project is in a sense a quest to profile the entrepreneurial spirit of the age.

As such, the project hasn't been limited to the tech sector. Timoner has turned her lens on creative luminaries like Shepard Fairey and Amanda Palmer. Those two are headlining a benefit soirée for the next phase of "A Total Disruption," that will also feature  Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and YouTuber Jhameel, this Sunday in Los Angeles.

Timoner, borrowing a page from the tech world she's chronicling, wants to make the interviews she's conducted open source.

As part of the Kickstarter rewards offered for backing the web series Timoner promised a searchable archive of the video itself, one that would let viewers go directly to the segment they found relevant.

"The idea of sharing my footage as I create it isn't new," said Timoner in an interview this week. "Making it searchable down to the word is new."

There was just one catch:

"I offered it in the Kickstarter without realizing it hadn't been done before," said Timoner.

With one third of her backers having opted for access, the filmmaker knew she couldn't turn her back on this aspect of the project. So a search began to find the technology and the partners who could help pull off what has turned into a feat.

One of those partners is Akamai Technologies, the Cambridge, Massachusetts based content delivery network that has counted Facebook and Twitter amongst its customer base. Akamai will power the delivery of the video, while another partner will design the search system.

"The companies I talk to, they all want to jump in. It's not just about profit. They want to be part of something revolutionary."

Whatever tool and workflow that is developed will undoubtably be of interest to other filmmakers as well.

Unfortunately for Timoner the money she raised on Kickstarter for this part of the project isn't going to be enough to get the search engine going. Through fiscal sponsorship the project has gone non-profit, and that's where the fundraiser this weekend comes in.

The model for the event is based on something Timoner produced in her early days in Los Angeles: an event called the "The Cut" where she featured up and coming bands alongside documentary footage of those bands that she had already made.

"The Cut" was the kind of multimedia event that was popular in the 90's, and the template is one that seems to be coming back into vogue as a generation raised on the internet looks to find new ways to connect.

Sunday's lineup is a decidedly post-internet mash-up of music, art and business. Famed graphic artist Fairey will be acting as DJ, and Reddit's Ohanian will tell stories about his adventures in start-up land.

The event kicks off at 7:00pm, Sun, December 15, 2013 at The Echoplex in Los Angeles.

Public media's TurnstyleNews.com, covers tech and digital culture from the West Coast.