General Mills, a leading manufacturer of genetically-engineered food-like substances, has put out an open call to the entertainment industry: it wants to create feature film based on its 1970s line of monster breakfast cereals.

The call went out through the website, which was promoted in Los Angeles with at least one billboard. The company wants to hear from anyone who’s interested, including “filmmakers, actors, agents, writers, producers, animators, tastemakers, dealmakers, movers and shakers.”

Says GM:

We want to work with you to bring great stories to life. From mythical fables to magical journeys. Fairy tales to folk tales. Cliffhangers to nail-biters. Heroic sagas to cosmic battles. Binge-worthy dramas to historical epics. Blockbusters to indies. Serials to sequels. Together, let’s captivate the hearts and minds of teens and adults.

The only hitch is you’ve got to do all of that while using their “legacy characters”: Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry.

General Mills makes clear that this isn’t an online contest – it’s an open call for legitimate players in Hollywood to get involved. It’s fascinating only because this part of the moviemaking process is almost always done behind closed doors. That’s because, typically, you don’t want to let moviegoers know that an idea for a tens of millions of dollars film first has to go through a cereal company’s creative director and producer, as General Mill lets you know on their site.

No, the companies want you to believe that these 90-minute commercials designed to move product are, in fact, actual examples of creative expression. Heck, they aren’t even regular Hollywood movies; these are passion projects lovingly conceived and crafted by auteur filmmakers.

So, the companies attach the talent in private, and allow the filmmakers to become the public face of the project, letting them bloviate about how much they genuinely love a company and the richness of its universe, and how their film is a legitimate opportunity to tell a meaningful story using the corporation’s characters. It’s all a little empty and sad, but it’s how Hollywood works, and now there’s a website that lets you know how it works too.

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