An original science fiction series is looking to break new ground in the era of digital distribution. Funded purely through donations, the first episode of Pioneer One has recently been released. Foregoing traditional methods of distribution, the creators are instead freely distributing the episode through BitTorrent.
The first episode of Pioneer One was made on a budget of a mere $6,000, and its creators have already raised that (and more) in donations. As of the writing of this article, nearly $11,000 has been raised, with a goal of $20,000 which will be used to fund the next three episodes.
The pilot episode of Pioneer One tells the story of a strange object that crash lands in Montana, spreading radiation over hundreds of miles. Government agents are sent to investigate the crash, and what they find isn’t quite what they expected.
Pioneer One gives nods to other science fiction series, (a Sonic Screwdriver can be seen in an early scene, and two of the government agents bear a striking resemblance to the main characters of another popular sci-fi series), but also manages to tell the beginnings of a compelling story. The low budget look and feel reminds me of Primer, which also managed to tell an enthralling story with very little cash.
Some of the acting is admittedly not very good, but for the most part the actors and actresses perform their roles quite admirably. Most importantly, the ending makes you wonder what happens next, and leaves you looking forward to another episode.
One of the most interesting thing about Pioneer One is its distribution method. The first episode is licensed freely under Creative Commons and distributed via BitTorrent. Most filmmakers see BitTorrent as an enemy, and do everything in their power to fight it. The creators of Pioneer One instead chose to harness its power, and so far their decision has paid off. If donations continue at the same pace, we can look forward to more Pioneer One in the future.
Download options and donation links can be found at Pioneer One’s website.
Have you watched Pioneer One? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments!