06 March 2007

some thoughts (but mostly a list)

as wonderful as the internet is, some things i suspect we as a film community aren't using nearly as well as we should be (unless i'm missing something):
  • MySpace
  • YouTube
  • Wikipedia (why is that we've completely ignored this? seems to me it carries a decent amount of legitimacy, despite the potential problems)
  • word of mouth (remember word of mouth?)
  • internet forums
  • (edit) other things of which i'm unaware
I just wonder if perhaps we're focusing too much of our efforts on blogs, which are wonderful, but not the only thing out there.

86 comments:

lucas mcnelly said...

Wikipedia's own rules say you should avoid "Articles about yourself, your friends, your website, a band you're in, your teacher, a word you made up, or a story you wrote"

Fair enough.

But it also says: "If you are worthy of inclusion in the encyclopedia, let someone else add an article for you."

Maybe we aren't as dilligent in this as we could be. I imagine there are lots of things that should be in Wikipedia that are not.

...again, just some random musings on my part

lucas mcnelly said...

that is to say, if it's on IMDB, i see no reason why it shouldn't be on wikipedia

HarryTuttle said...

I couldn't agree more.

Although I never saw the point in MySpace... what's the deal (except for the facile exposition)?

lucas mcnelly said...

re: MySpace

the networking potential is pretty significant. being able to keep in contact easily with a large group of people. basically, it does a lot of what YouTube does, but can target it easily to a specific group of people you may or may not already know

Moviezzz said...

Some good points. I have a My Space account for my blog and site, and rarely do anything with it. I should be using it more. It is a great networking site.

For filmmakers, you can interact with a lot of other filmmakers, find out who is out there, follow the progress of their films. I've discovered a couple great films there.

There is also podcasting. I had a weekly podcast for a while, but it never ended up being what I wanted it to be, so it is on hiatus. I may start it up again.

lucas mcnelly said...

i'm trying to figure out the appeal of podcasting. what drew you to it, jim? did people actually listen and give feedback?

i find it odd and somewhat amusing that for someone with my radio experience, i'm almost completely illiterate when it comes to podcasts.

johanna said...

re: wikipedia

Nevermind that usually a person's contributions, readable through any search engine, will speak volumes more than what a wikipedia page often holds, it definitely provides a sense of reinforcement that 'yes, this person (or work) exists...yes, this really happened...and, yes, people know about it' and suggests that you should, too.

Why? Are you fishing for someone to write you and dpress, etc., into wikipedia?

lucas mcnelly said...

Why? Are you fishing for someone to write you and dpress, etc., into wikipedia?

nah, i just think there's untapped potential in the Wikipedia setup that could be used...i'm just not sure how exactly

lucas mcnelly said...

more thoughts: as a group of perhaps 100 or so bloggers (someone like Andy could probably give a better estimate) with who knows how many readers, we do a pretty good job of linking each other and generally maintaining a good sense of community while servicing a decent-sized amount of readers.

really, there's so much of value out there.

but i suppose we've only reached a tiny portion of our collective potential. who knows how many readers we could have, world-wide, if we ventured beyond just the blogs.

and even the most selfless of us really likes having more readers.

mostly, i'm just trying to think more out of the box re: the internet and it's potential.

johanna said...

yeah, probably. wikipedia itself has untapped potential. i dislike the format, for one thing.

i dislike the way that there are so many links to things that often don't need links or even definition.

i also think that a wiki page could be a lot more comprehensive. it'd be better, for example, if clicking on a link within a page supplemented how that thing or person is relevant to the original research item.

as it is, that only happens sometimes.

i also don't see why these different technologies can't be connected.

lucas mcnelly said...

i think those problems are pretty much inherent in somethink "open source" like wikipedia

but just an hour or so on "Lostpedia" shows the potential of the format

johanna said...

okay. i also see no reason why someone shouldn't be able to move from wiki to youtube to myspace through interfaces that help keep everything more navigable.

it would help if there were more film bloggers who also happen to be platform engineers...but there are technologies companies enlisting that kind of help.

lucas mcnelly said...

that would be ideal, but i know for a fact that i have no idea how that would work

HarryTuttle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HarryTuttle said...

That's what I thought, MySpace is just to rack up more attention. I don't see the pertinence to content and cinephilia visibility/awareness.
It's not because you pile up a bunch of "friends" on MySpace that they read your page or even care about your topic.
I understand the use for singers (without label) in search for a public, but as far as film criticism is concerned (if that is what we're talking about here) this web device doesn't add anything substential that the print world doesn't do already.

johanna said...

It's probably too much.

For one thing, wiki would have to make its format more flexible; it would have to allow links that go outside wiki, into YouTube if the link was on YouTube. But for something like that to happen, wiki would have to think outside of the box, and so would YouTube.

lucas mcnelly said...

harry,

partly criticism/writing, partly film creating

i agree that racking up 5k friends who have no real concept of who you is pretty much only useful if you want that large number, but having, say, 200 friends who you actually know most of in real life could be quite valuable in terms to bring content to people more easily

lucas mcnelly said...

wiki has outside links

it's also, i believe, open-source, so i think it could be highly adaptable...Matt Reed would know for sure

johanna said...

huh. i haven't come across any outside links. or perhaps i did but i forgot.


harry, if i get 0 second visitors on blogger, you can imagine that in nanoseconds on myspace...

but for networking beyond the world of film crit, it's useful in at least a few ways, mostly in time saving. I like the fact that if I post a buletin it goes out to everyone in my network automatically.

some people abuse this and clutter the bulletins, but you can always remove a friend if he becomes a pest.

lucas mcnelly said...

An example of a half-assed wikipedia page

note, there's no page for Albert Rémy, for example

there are, however, external links at the bottom to IMDB, Criterion, Ebert, etc.

there's some value here, but there could be so much more

johanna said...

Presumably, the author of the Senses of Cinema essay added that last external link, if I'm undestanding the open-source's uses correctly.

And it's at the bottom of the page even though it's probably one of the more enlightening things on the page (I haven't read the article yet, Senses of Cinema, but then you haven't added me to your "bloggish" list, so...)

One thing that would help is understanding the business model. How does wikipedia make its $? Does it make money? I heard part of an NPR interview with one of their editors the other day and he didn't mention it.

lucas mcnelly said...

if i remember correctly, he mentioned it on Charlie Rose...i'm pretty sure he said it's largely donations through philanthropic sorts and he had no intention of changing that model...something about hoping to never have ads

johanna said...

oh, hey, i just googled it and saw that "Wikimedia Foundation International (is a) non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the growth and development of free content, multilingual, wiki-based projects..."

but it's good to know that (Jimmy Wales?) said that just the same.

And then there's YouTube's format, which I also dislike. And I noticed a difference in the image quality uning MySpace's technology and YouTube's...MySpace was better, go figure, although if I had been using an mpeg4 format that might have changed things.

HarryTuttle said...

The networking value of MySpace or YouTube is, I believe, largely overblown. Sometimes there are more "comments" than "views" on a YouTube video. And even if it is correct, like we see with the O sec. visitors on blogs, a hit on a page doesn't mean anything. It could be a misdirection, a search engine crawler robot, a mass-mailing, a navigator malfunction... So many ways to inflate these counters, consciously or unintentionally. 1 hit doesn't equal 1 reader/viewer. So the popularity based on visit counters on YouTube or Myspace is hot air. These are not representative statistics. Yet that's what everyone is after...

IF you are connected with 200 "friends", do you actually read everything new posted by this group? The flipside of social network is that everyone is flooded by information from everyone. Your place in a large community only down-sizes your visibility in proportion with the others.

The blogosphere and Google referencing help more than a faceless/automated networking.

The financing of Wikipedia (like YouTube) is problematic indeed, because it is made by the users and only the owner gets the donations. They had a massive campaign of donations a while back, asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars...

johanna said...

Harry,

Never underestimate the American vice of preferring appearances to substance and feeling good about it!

Why, just the other day I accidentally rated one of my own videos "1" out of 5. And I feel tremendously good about that.

johanna said...

I'm sorry, I was going to say more, but Im laughing too hard. I lost my train of thought.

I think I'd better go and get some work done. But while I'm in Greece, I'll think about this post and get back to you if anything comes to mind. I have no idea what it's going to be like over there...

lucas mcnelly said...

Harry,

i think the fact remains that there's more value to MySpace than we've currently managed to exploit. Just how much there is remains to be seen (and we may even be close to it), but i'm pretty sure there's something there.

Moviezzz said...

"i'm trying to figure out the appeal of podcasting. what drew you to it, jim? did people actually listen and give feedback?"

I was trying to create sort of a Siskel and Ebert style podcast, with each week having various bloggers on, talking about the weekly films. Sort of a way to promote everyone's blogs, and have some sort of film related podcast for the greater community.

The problem was, I couldn't get the technology the way I wanted. Meaning, I couldn't figure out how to record phone calls. So, I just had friends on, who didn't see many films, so we began talking about TV. Then, I couldn't get the time schedules to work out with everyone, so I just did the podcasts myself, where I just said what came out in theatres and on DVD.

We went from multiple microphones and a mixer with a group of people, to me with a microphone plugged into my laptop. Not the way I wanted it to be, so I put it on hold.

I'd like to figure it out, and start doing it again. Maybe this summer.

And, I didn't get much feedback which was a bit frustrating. It was on the Apple Itunes store, but I had no idea how many, or if anyone was downloading it.

Plus I felt guilty. So many people take podcasting so seriously that I felt guilty that I was mainly using it as just secondary marketing.

lucas mcnelly said...

i think you'd need a landline for that...or something

i wonder if just talking about the new releases isn't the optimal format for something like that, but i dunno.

it might be interesting to do a little of both...talk about the current stuff, and what's going on in the film world...so, maybe, Zodiac and then talk to someone about the Kieslowski Blog-a-thon...

i dunno. just a thought

The Sujewa said...

Re: MySpace - very useful for low-buget film distribution. With a couple of clicks you can alert all of your "friends" all around the country & the world about your screening, tour, DVD availability, etc.

It may also be useful for fundraising. For example, Filmmaker Mag has over 50,000 MySpace friends (i heard). With access to such a gigantic number of people who care about what they do, it would be very easy for them to try to include their MySpace friends in a fundraising drive, special events, etc.

Another good web tool: IndieLOOP. Which is indieWIRE's version of MySpace. Go to indieWIRE's main site & click on Community & there you are. All or most of the several thousand people on iLOOP are filmmakers or hard core film fans or in some way very useful for indie filmmakers to get to know.

Lance Weiler is using a wiki to create an open-source book to aid filmmakers. His project is called the Workbook Project. There is a link to it from my blog (http://www.diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/), in Other Links, in the W's.
Lance has recently put up some awesome interviews: with director of Monster, with the film booker for Loft Cinema in Tucson, etc.

I think there are a couple of sites out there where filmmakers are working with interested people in financing indie projects. Swarm of Angels might be one. Workbook project will have links.

The potential of the web, for an indie filmmaker, specially a DIY indie filmmaker who blogs, is enormous. I bet there already are filmmakers out there who make a living through web activity: selling their movies mail order or VOD through/with the help of the web, ad revenue at the site & bliogs, etc.

I definitely know of a couple of filmmakers who sell a couple of hundreds DVDs of their films just through web activity. When they decide to make the facts/details known to the public, I'll share their names with you.

re: wikipedia, we can try to create a wikipedia for films.
with a special focus on including "no" budget films, short films, etc. I think that if a film exists, then it deserves to be written about (not necessarily by me of course :), but by someone who is interested in that film). There is an audience for everything. A comprehensive wikipedia type site for alternative/indie/whatever cinema would certainly be visited by many people - millions. The Hollywood version of that may exist already, but as far as I know, no such site for indie films yet.

- Sujewa

The Sujewa said...

Re: "I definitely know of a couple of filmmakers who sell a couple of hundreds DVDs of their films just through web activity."

that should read:

I definitely know of a couple of filmmakers who sell a couple of hundreds DVDs of their films A MONTH just through web activity.

thanks.

- sujewa

johanna said...

it'd be good, too, jim, if you opened it up to include more than just the goings-on of the film blogging community. there's so much going on in the blogging world, and i think that denying or ignoring the inter-connectedness is contradictory to its better nature.

i'm often surprised at what people aren't talking about or don't know about because the online film community (as I know it) is so insular and often it feels like a small field of ostriches who all happen to have their heads in the ground at the same time.

johanna said...

...with this blog being one of the exceptions.

lucas mcnelly said...

i've been messing around on Lostpedia

apparently you can post video via YouTube (and, i assume, MySpace)

this could be helpful

lucas mcnelly said...

according to Matt, it would be "easy" to set up a wiki.

here's me brainstorming:

i love the idea of a wiki for indie and no-budget film, especially if we could put video on it. there could be shorts, trailers, clips, interviews, etc.

i don't know if this is at all practical, but what if you threw some advertising on it (assuming it's logistically practical) and somehow that $$ was put back into the community. if somehow it was used to fund films?

just a thought

johanna said...

perhaps Matt has a different definition of "easy" but I love the idea, too. As an extra bonus, it'll give my good profs a reason to roll their eyes. It'll make my really good profs say "show me"

...but does setting up a wiki preclude ads?

lucas mcnelly said...

according to Matt: "it's HTML, just like anything else"

he seems to think ads are possible

if nothing else, it could help recoup costs of bandwith, etc.

johanna said...

that's great, but I didn't mean html, I meant would it be permissible to use 'wiki' in conjunction with ads? if the guy was so adamant about that...

i didn't realize bandwidth costs money, either. you mean streaming technology other than YouTube?

(slow down! I'm not a techie!)

johanna said...

wait...you mean this:

In website hosting, the term "bandwidth" is often incorrectly used to describe the amount of data that can be transferred to or from the website or server, measured in bytes transfered over a prescribed period of time. This can be more accurately described as "Monthly Data Transfer".

Web hosting companies often quote a monthly bandwidth limit for a website, for example 100 gigabytes per month. If visitors to the website download a total greater than 100 gigabytes in one month, the bandwidth limit will have been exceeded.
??

lucas mcnelly said...

yup.

johanna said...

ok, i just looked up "wiki" and realized I was laboring under a misconception. that sounds like a really good idea. I chose not to try ad sense because I don't like the way it looks (and because I followed a link once on your site and my email account hasn't been the same since.)

So you would know better than I: could a wiki sustain its bandwidth on ad sense or would it need more?

lucas mcnelly said...

i really don't know.

johanna said...

you could also just try a one-time flat fee for anyone who wanted to use it to get it up and running. just wait until you have a few people rounded up.

i've definitely made worse investments.

johanna said...

alternatively, you could ask someone who uses the site to provide an advertiser, i suppose.

not unlike canvassing for advertisers when setting up a yearbook or something similar.

i realize that's work that a lot of people wouldn't necessarily want to do, though.

The Sujewa said...

wiki's can be used with sponsors lucas, as far as i can tell.

Lance's The Workbook Project is a wiki project, and it has sponsors (withoutabox is one).
http://workbookproject.com/

also, a filmmaker group blog maybe a good small scale example of a site devoted to real indie film news. check out this one that i started up in '06:
http://indiefeatures06.blogspot.com/

we got some good press from the bigger indie film news sites (GreenCine Daily, Filmmaker Mag blog, Cinematical, etc.) because of the group blog.

having, let's say, a network of 1000 blogs from various places in the country, that write about real indie films on a regular basis (DVD reviews, screening announcements, interviews with filmmakers, etc.) can create a very solid backbone for making the real indie film scene bigger & more viable financially & more connected (which will help w/ touring, screenings, etc).

there might already be several hundred blogs that already write about real indie stuff from time to time. time to start making a list. i am working on that slowly using the Other Links at my blog.

another way to make $s from an indie film news site: have a store, get some of the filmmakers who get press from the site to sell their DVDs from the store & share some $s with the site (this would have to be totally unrelated to criticism on the site, like the review that a film gets would in no way be connected to other uses that film will have for the site/specially $s related uses), also the site can sell merch (made through cafepress perhaps) & then there is always the paypal donation system that can be put in place. once the site is up & running, you can look for advertisers also.

- sujewa

d press Productions said...

asking for $$ for participating in a wiki isn't a practical (amoung other things) solution. a sponsorship-type thing is, however.

i looked around. all the good "pedia" names i could think of were already taken...filmpedia.com, cinepedia.com, etc. oh well. i'm thinking a good name like that would help in terms of visability...i do own 100films.org, so that's a posibility...

a practical problem with a wiki: it's my understanding that someone's gotta moderate the thing, which could become a herculean task...sure there's self editing by the community as a whole, but that can tend to fall apart at times.

the store's a good idea...or some sort of affiliate program or something. perhaps something as simple as that could offset bandwith costs (which is really the important thing)

johanna said...

filmmakingpedia, filmmakerspedia, filmmakerpedia, filmiepedia, flickpedia...none of those were taken.

100films may or may not be more noticeable. idk.

what would an affiliate program do?

johanna said...

filmmakingpedia.com (e.g.)

is available and $7.99/year


I had heard that domain names were cheap, but I'd never looked them up before.

also, how practical would it be to see ad space to a press organization? so, for example, your film comes out and the PPG reviews it and you tell them that you'll link the review if they'll buy a display ad or something that'll augment the link.

lucas mcnelly said...

that might work, but what leverage do you have? PPG knows you're going to link the review anyway.

an affiliate program essentially is a thing where you get a small % of the sales $$ for pointing someone to where they can buy something.

johanna said...

i guess i was thinking that an online paper still needs online advertisers and that incoming links might be an incentive, especially if it didn't link just the review. I don't know, though: I've never been a business minded person and the PPG may not be the best example there, seeing as they're the most powerful Pgh press org...

I like the affiliate program, although it seems not problematic so much as intricate. Some people might not care what gets advertised next to their work but others would, or might only want to advertise companies they'd actually support. Then again, perhaps not. Perhaps the exposure would be enough of a draw that no one would care.

Re: moderation. That's a really good point, and without knowing (although I think I can surmise) what a moderator would do, I think everything would run more smoothly if there were at least two and preferably three people willing to do it. The shifts could be leapfrogged on rotating basis that could change every month, for example.

This has at least two major benefits: often when a person in charge of so much leaves, a group will get left in the lurch. This system would avoid that. Also, a month (or even 2-3 mos, depending) isn't so very much time that a moderator couldn't send a fairly compact email to the next moderator to let him know what works best and what he's been doing. And that way if someone craps out, the entire thing's covered in advance.

johanna said...

also, sujewa, jim:

I'm not ignoring you. This is just the way my mind works...feel free to jump in at anytime.

HarryTuttle said...

re: podcast
Can't you just use a Skype conference call and record it on your computer with an appropriate software? With the right tools this should be much easier than it seems.

re: Wiki
I came across a wiki project a while back that is trying to constitute a cinema filmmaking encyclopedia I'm not sure what is the motive and the credibility but the idea is interesting. Maybe there are other projects like this that are more developped already.

johanna said...

There may be sites out there like that, but they're probably not using a recognizable domain name?

last modified Nov '06...created in June '06

the page looks abandoned. The author(s) may have given up too quickly, but it isn't a very interactive site. I think that would be the key.

Finding people who have enough passion that giving up early would not be an option, and making sure somehow that the site was as interactive as possible.

pacheco said...

Harry, I've been reading through all these comments wondering if someone would mention a Skype-like solution! I think it's quite feasable with Skype/Gizmo/other VoIP solutions as well as another program or so to record it all for free.

I also like the idea for your podcast, moviezzz, and wish I had known about it when it was going on. I think it could be a mixture of current releases, film community going-ons, maybe a focus on the indie scene that's being discussed here? Perhaps it could be in part related to the indiewiki that's being proposed here?

I know I'd love to be a part of this, I just have a hard time finding out/getting involved/getting into the indie scene to really contribute intelligently (I'm going to SXSW next week, and while it's not the most "indie" of fests, I'm hoping it can help me develop an awareness).

Moviezzz said...

Hi,

Skype was what we planned on using, but we had trouble getting it to record. And we were planning on having interviews with indie filmmakers.

"there's so much going on in the blogging world, and i think that denying or ignoring the inter-connectedness is contradictory to its better nature. "

That is a good point.

Even among film bloggers, there is a huge divide. From the rather scholarly bloggers, that are shooting for an academic audience, to the more mainstream ones, to the blogs by filmmakers, it seems they are all going for a different audience. I for one appreciate all the different formats.

johanna said...

thanks, jim.

i think i understand what you mean, and i can only speak for myself, but i think that one of the interesting things about the film blog community is that people do come here looking for a certain kind of audience and then find themselves having to adjust somehow.

I honestly never expected to have an audience at all: I was just driven by a deeper force to start blogging. Now that I do, (or, since I found out that I did) I think my writing has taken on dimensions it wouldn't have had...and I've become increasingly aware that with a few exeptions where people did perhaps consciously start blogging to gain fame, that this is just the way media convergence works.

The potential that this thread tries to explore must be great, too: one of the goings-on I was referring to is what's been going on with blogger journalist josh wolf. I can't believe that nobody is talking about this. And it suggests that mainstream media still has enough filtering power (and influence) to keep even an online community unaware of one of its own.

(...and I'm going to be writing a story on documentary filmmaking in the age of media convergence that highlights this for andy's zine, fyi, for anyone interested.)

Anyway...I'm probably preaching to the choir when I say all this, but for those of you feeling shy, speak up! I think the podcast potential of a wiki would be a marvelous and possibly even crucial feature. For one thing, it's really nice to not have to sit at your computer to read...

Is there anyway you can contact someone who's done podacst with phone calls successfully and find out what the trick was? I'm sure most people would be willing to lend a hand...and that's what I would do.

pacheco said...

Well, continuing with the Skype route, there are a few methods here (though it was written in mid-2006, I assume it's fairly current). I also know that some of these, such as WireTap Pro, offer a free version that I believe would do the trick.

As far as landlines and things like that, I'm not sure. The only way I've ever done it before was when I worked at a radio station, but that's a different story.

Now, in regards to the different types of film bloggers, would a podcast and/or wiki try to encompass all of them? Would it be too much to handle? And I know that blogs aren't the only things that these projects would try to cover (such as stories like Wolf's), so would that put even more pressure on it?

I'm just throwing things out here.

johanna said...

well, a film blogger wiki and a filmmaker wiki would be two different things, but I see no reason why film blogs and a filmmaking wiki should be mutually exclusive and a podcaster would have a lot more to work with that way...(i think a straight up film blog wiki would be less interactive and contrary to Lucas' aims)

lucas mcnelly said...

i don't see why bloggers couldn't be part of a film wiki, but i'd imagine it'd be a pretty small part, if any

lucas mcnelly said...

Jim,

i'd suspect a big part of the podcast's success would hinge on getting bloggers and filmmakers to participate on a regular basis, simply because if they're going to be on the podcast, they'll probably tell everyone to listen.

and i'd suspect if you could turn it into a Charlie Rose type thing (which would take a lot of legwork and research on your part), that would make it much easier to get people.

lucas mcnelly said...

Even among film bloggers, there is a huge divide. From the rather scholarly bloggers, that are shooting for an academic audience, to the more mainstream ones, to the blogs by filmmakers, it seems they are all going for a different audience. I for one appreciate all the different formats.

Film bloggers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

but seriously, while there are some great divides in film bloggerdom, i think it's safe to say we all have one thing in common: film, as a medium can be better. but, more importantly, we all want it to be better. We all want to find more great films. a wiki project like this makes it a lot easier for these films to find the light of day, which is in everyone's best interests.

weepingsam said...

Even among film bloggers, there is a huge divide. From the rather scholarly bloggers, that are shooting for an academic audience, to the more mainstream ones, to the blogs by filmmakers, it seems they are all going for a different audience. I for one appreciate all the different formats.

I think this is one of the best things about film blogs - filmmakers, critics (academic or otherwise, amateur or professional), fannish sites all interact pretty directly, and tend to experiment with other types of posts... it's good. The different pieces of the film world get tied in with each other a bit more than they otherwise might.

Meanwhile, on podcasts: one thing that keeps me from too much enthusiasm about them is that they don't offer much that straight text doesn't offer. Vlogs might be a different story - the obvious advantage TV has in movie criticism is that it can show clips. But for straight reviews and previews, it's hard to beat text. Working out the technical aspects is one issue, but it seems to me you need to have a fairly compelling reason to put it into sound - interviews are an obvious answer there. Something like Adam Ross's "Friday Screen Tests" might have a place... Or move on to vlogging - set up a film bloggingheads type thing....

johanna said...

the vlogging format looks like it has some potential; but I wasn't able to open up a diavlog because I didn't have a plug-in for that MIME type, so I didn't get to give it a real try...

But I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from pod casting for the obvious reasons: some may just feel more at ease with sound-only than actually having to add a new level of performance to it, not to mention that it's a different kind of thinking that some people enjoy and music has a place in film, of course.

Plus it frees up time people would rather be doing something else and listening while they work...I do this sometimes with books on tape that I don't have the time to read but can listen to while I'm doing housework.

dave said...

I do like the 'bloggingheads' format idea - 2 film bloggers debate the relative merits of a film.

what kind of info should be on our film wiki?

I loved the group blog aspect of the Contemplative Cinema blogathon... I think it might be productive to have a number of blogs like that grouped on themes, in the interest of starting a more direct blogger-to-blogger conversation about certain films. I wouldn't mind seeing a blog devoted to films seen at the BAM Cinematek or at Film Forum in New York (actually, I may start that, that sounds awesome).

unless I'm missing something, internet forums on movies seem to be underpopulated. "I Love Film" is on the same server as "I Love Music," but ILM has dozens of new topics a day and hundreds of responses, while ILF has maybe one new topic a week. should we stage a film blogger takeover?

i'm not sold on myspace as a critic's tool, but for a self-distributed/indie filmmaker, it's obviously a great call

One thing I find fascinating about the YouTube community is the way videos respond to other videos. Perhaps some of us should be producing short films inspired by and responding to works we see or admire? I would love to see that kind of community develop, where there's a (one-way?) dialogue between critics and filmmakers using the medium of motion pictures.

The Sujewa said...

Moderation might not be a huge problem in such a specialized project as an indie film wiki site. Entries & changes that people post will of course will have to be approved by a moderator at first. After that, they can be allowed to post without the moderator having to check on every single post. And the guidelines for the project can be clearly displayed somewhere on the site. If an approved contributor is not working within the guidelines, then they can be warned & then, if the problem persists, be banned from posting. Actually, come to think of it, that could turn into a fair amount of work. But not at first.

In over 1 year of moderating the Indie Features 06 site, I did not have a single conflict of interest with any of the 10-20 people who have contributed to the site over the months. All the posts were relevant to the project. There were few comments by random visitors that I had to reject, but other than that it has been a smooth collaborative project.

Also, don't worry about advertising & advertisers at first. Create the thing & let people see what it is. If it is good, then there will be people who are interested in advertising.
And also there will be people who are interested in donating money to it, if the site does actually provide a valuable service to the indie film community - which it might.

And the bandwith/paying more for hosting if there are lots of visitors/downloads will only become a problem once the site becomes very popular.

The moderation, the advertising issue, & cost of operating a popular site issue are all good things to think about, but the more important thing is creating a worthwhile site - the content - that would then cause all the aforementioned issues to be relevant.

- Sujewa

HarryTuttle said...

Yeah it looks abandonned Johanna, but the author might be interested to join and help. A wiki projects requires lots of motivated authors to function.
What would be the coverage of your wiki? Cinema in general, production, or marketing?

Vlogging is a much heavier production, the advantage of podcasting is it requires almost no editing, and everyone can do it. In 2 days this project has moved from a home-made encyclopedia to a TV show... ;)
Sujewa is right, everything is possible (and free) until the traffic gets out of control.

The adding of video is always possible with an embbeded YouTube link, no need to go vlog for this. I think, like Lucas, the communication/interplay between audio, video, picture and word items is the key, but it doesn't have to be all-in-one.

Are there really lots of podcasting around? Maybe I'm not looking at the right place, but I haven't found much. Is there a directory somewhere? Any recommendations?

Now the question is about the motivations of (indie) filmmakers to participate in this. How many people who make films (amateurs or seasoned?) can you get on the mic?

Thanks dave for the good word on my blogathon :)

MySpace might be interesting as a homepage to archive promotional bits. But the interface is just dreadful, with the tacky animation and the overload of audi/video embed... I hate when a song or a video starts alone when I arrive on a page.

The Sujewa said...

OK everyone, if you have not checked out Lance Weilers indie film wiki project, go check it out right now please:
http://workbookproject.com/

harrytuttle,

that site mentioned above has some great audio interviews with filmmakers & other related indie industry people.

---------------------------------

i think lucas is talking about something like a combination of wikipedia, except an encyclopedia of indie film information, and a more interactive site with goodies like the workbook project. with a focus on real indie films hopefully. no such comprehensive & evolving site exists at this point, to my knowledge.

organizations such as IFP, FIND, indieWIRE may be interested in the project once it gets going. possible good sources for publicity, recruiting new contributors, even sponsorship & advertising.

check out workbook folks, let me know what you think about it and if that is a good model, in part, for this wiki project.

& re: getting things started & then going after sponsors & advertisers once traffic gets heavy & advertisers are needed makes sense since one of the reasons that people will advertise on a site is because of high traffic.

if the thing is done right, there won't be a shortage of people who want to advertise. for example, you could let filmmakers advertise their projects for like $10 for a year (or even a month once things get really hot), and when you get 100 filmmakers doing that, that's $1000.

then for bigger operations - big non-profits & big corporations, there can be different rates.

indieWIRE's blog ads are handled (at least some of them) through an on-line, mostly automated system that uses paypal (i have used it). They are done by a company called blogads http://web.blogads.com/. such a service can be set up for this project to make it easy to take care of the setting up of ads thing, specially if there are lots of filmmakers & others interested in low price ads, etc.

here is a little bit about how blogads to their magic, from their site:

" Software. Use our do-it-yourself tool, now in its 3rd generation, to find the perfect blogs, create a campaign, schedule, pay and track results. Blog advertising is a conversation not a lecture, so be sure to edit ads in real time as readers respond to your ideas."

from: http://web.blogads.com/

of course, like i said before, before any of this, you need a model of the product or the actual product itself. perhaps the time is right to try to set up a model of the thing using relevant blog posts that already exist in the blogs of people who are interested in this project. i have several great interviews with indie filmmakers that i can supply.

perhaps the group blog format is a good way to go for this project.
actually, nevermind, wiki's are group things also. that should work just as well.

- sujewa

johanna said...

Harry,

All That Wiki Allows, I imagine...

(Thanks for posting the Deleuze, btw. I'll be referring to it shortly for one of two last blog entries before I leave sometime tonight.)

My general sense is that as nice as a vlog might be, that if the site's being maintained by however many dedicated filmmakers, that none too many of them will have the kind of time it would take to vlog much anyway...but if a film critic wanted to do that or podcast relevant stuff from time to time, then by all means...go for it. Basically, as long as it's not just filler that would weigh down the site with unnecessary traffic, it sounds kosher to me.

The Free Josh Wolf Wiki isn't all that impressive, but it does give the viewer a good sense of how not plain a wiki can look and feel. But I think a good wiki will need layers.

(I checked out the workbook project, sujewa, but it didn't stand out as a model beyond the typical film blog formatting -- unless I missed something.)

I think having an actual "book" of pages would be a good idea -- that layered sense that you really are somewhere will make a lot of difference when people show up and are deciding whether or not they want to stay. Also, and obviously, visitors will need to see what sets it apart from a blog or even a wiki right away. In about, oh, 0 seconds...

Category possibilities are flexible, and a possible good way of ordering pages. Films could be grouped by length and genre (a term I use loosely) and possibly even city or region. Already, the uber indie project has Brooklyn and (London?) representing...

I do agree that a group blog format would be a good way to go as a back-up site, a way of creating a FAQ of sorts that all contributors could be referred to while learning how to do this as efficiently and as well as possible. Potentially, it could be very useful; then again, if people post a buch of sprawling, poorly gathered material then it may be more of a headache than it's worth.

It's probably at least worth a try, though.

The Sujewa said...

johanna,

Lance's got great content (the audio interviews) at the workbook. well, the content is great for filmmaker/distributors anyway. not sure if that kind of info is something that you are too into.

looking forward to seeing what this indie film web encyclopedia thingy will have to offer - content wise. great content & easy accessibility/navigability (is that a word?) are the most important thing for me with most web sites or blogs.

but it is always a good thing to think about the extra stuff that can make a site awesome.

also, it is entirely possible that we are imagining two different web sites. i am thinking that the project is to create a wikipedia with a lot of indie film info. that will be excellent & useful. when i go to wikipedia i go for the easy access to somewhat in depth, linkable info. created by several authors (most likely). something like that for indie film will be very useful. even if it is nothing but text on a page, with links.

- sujewa

johanna said...

sujewa,

i think you misunderstood me. you can plug your friend's site, that's fine, but what i had to say had nothing to do with content but rather format.

as for this:

Lance's got great content (the audio interviews) at the workbook. well, the content is great for filmmaker/distributors anyway. not sure if that kind of info is something that you are too into.

...eh, you haven't visited my blog, have you?

oh, well. imagine that ; )

I was throwing out structural ideas, just for fun. I'd like to see a site that gets away from the old "scroll down" model somehow, and there are a variety of ways to approach that...

johanna said...

some of the more interesting items at the workbook project include the "how-tos," some of which seem more conceptual, some more technical...

The Sujewa said...

Johanna,

Sounds good.

Everyone,

check it out:
http://diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/2007/03/lucas-mcnellys-short-film-lattente-to.html

Lucas's L'Attente is going to open for my feature Date Number One on 3/15 in MD.

- Sujewa

The Sujewa said...

The entire link for the post mentioned above does not seem to show up on the comments here, so just go to my blog at:
http://diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/

to see the post re: L'Attente.

Thanks.

And now, let's back to the indie film wiki project!

- Sujewa

HarryTuttle said...

The Workbook project looks good indeed. Very interesting interviews. Creating a networked map of key resources avaliable there and at DIYfilmmakers, Indiefeatures06, IndieWIRE... etc. on a transversal platform would be helpful. The problem is that each website organize their resource in their own way and mainly self-referentially. So an overall navigation of the subject is not any more facilitated than by a good Google search.

The difference I think is the blog builds an incremental archive, step-by-step, in a disorderly fashion, as inspiration/opportunity goes. It could be a good resource for punctual material, but it's never extensive and doesn't map the field in a comprehensive manner like a wikipedia does. That's why I asked what was the purpose of the project discussed here.
I don't know much about the indie scene backstage myself. Although I would like to see a serious wiki on cinema in general, on criticism, that would collect and organise all essential articles available online.

So instead of creating original content, the first step would be to fill a wiki with links to the insightful articles already there online. And make sense of the collection like in an encyclopedia with a logical terminology. Then the gaps would reveal themselves, on stuff that is not accessible online yet, new items to write up.

The Sujewa said...

yeah, harry t, that sounds good. let's do it.

lucas?

johanna?

anyone else?

what do you think?

- sujewa

The Sujewa said...

we can organize the content using a group blog or a wiki.

& then when we experiment & figure out the best way to present it, we can pour the content into the final presentation form.

what do you think all?

- sujewa

The Sujewa said...

check it out, i started a group blog to start organizing info. for the wiki:
http://indiefilmpedia.blogspot.com/

i do not know enough about starting a wiki at this point, more research necessary, but we can use the current enthusiam for the project in a group blog (which is easy to set up).

harry tuttle, johanna, everyone else who is interested, e-mail me your e-mail address & i will add you as an author in the blog. lucas has already been invited, since i've got his e-mail.

of course if this is not a good way to go, we can just not use the blog.

OK, let me know what u guys think.

- sujewa

The Sujewa said...

ooops, forgot, here is my e-mail address, to send me your e-mail address so that i can add you as an author in the group blog:

wilddiner@aol.com

thanks!

- sujewa

HarryTuttle said...

recently posted on a_film_by this might be of some use : The international encyclopedia of cinematographers

The Sujewa said...

3/12/07 - 10:50 PM
IndieFilmPedia/FilmPedia blog update:

- got several comments
- got 2 entries
- invited harry t, johanna, a dave to become authors - check yer e-mails folks!
- lucas has already joined

& i believe lucas is working on setting up the actual site for the pedia. i am sure he'll write about it himself soon.

I am going to be very busy with a screening & a DVD project this week, will keep one eye on this project until the weekend & will get some stuff on this project done this weekend.

I guess we need to start collecting links to stuff that we want to include in the pedia. The pedia blog may be a good place to do that link collectin'

Harry, i added a link to the cinematographers site from the pedia blog, in a section called Links 2 - Possible Reference Material.

talk 2 you all this weekend or sooner.

- sujewa



- sujewa

lucas mcnelly said...

i got a domain name (www.IndieFilmPedia.com) registered

sometime today i'll try to catch up on the discussion. this past weekend was insane

johanna said...

sujewa--

I just got back from Greece, where I broke my nose. I will check my email in a day or two after I get some sleep.

The Sujewa said...

johanna,

why did you break your nose?

- sujewa

ps: i kid. hope you feel better soon/nose gets healed fast.

johanna said...

Thanks. The really cool story I made up is a lot of fun: I was helping anarchists fight storm troopers armed with tear gas and rubber bullets when somebody tried to grab my camera. Now, you can pellet me with rubber and irritating gas all the live-long day, but nobody grabs my camera...

Eh, the truth?

I ran into a large sliding glass door.

I wouldn't have minded so much but for the blinding pain, concussion and not knowing how to say 'you should see the other guy' in Greek.

How'd the screening go last week, btw?

The Sujewa said...

I got an invitation to create a film festival & access to a great new projector out of the screening. Low turn out, but I expected it since I did not do a lot of publicity for that screening. One of the main reasons for holding the screening was to make me get my butt in gear for all the spring DNO distribution activities. Low turn out but a good time was had by the people who were there. Looking forward to producing the next screening.

Heal nose heal!

- Sujewa

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