Archive for promotion

The Trivialization of IMDB.com

Posted in Making Movies, Rants with tags , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2009 by Tom McIntire

Amazon owns IMDB.com and recently purchased withoutabox.com, a great site for managing and submitting your scripts and films to film festivals. Amazon also owns createspace.com, an easy-to-use self-publishing site for books, CDs and DVDs. Like many filmmakers starting out, I cussed and complained about how difficult it was to get my short film projects onto the go-to source for all things film, IMDB.com. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) had very selective criteria for adding a title. The eligibility rules are still the same but a few new loopholes have been added to help synchronize the corporate synergies and to help you get your film out there.

As I was working on my festival submissions for Greenspoke on withoutabox.com, I noticed some new options popping up after the Amazon purchase of the site. You could set up a createspace DVD print-on demand account that was tied to your withoutabox account. Cool. If you’re not into burning a DVD yourself for every festival submission, you can pay a bit and have them do it for you. This also makes your title available on Amazon.com. Because of the fees that createspace and Amazon take from your DVD sales, it is extremely difficult to set a realistic price point for a short film DVD. Your 10 minute short is going to run close to $10 and you won’t see a dime of that. Jack up the price and you are pricing your product higher than what people expect to pay. It is still nice to have your film on Amazon as a promotional aid. You also meet one of the eligibility criteria for inclusion in IMDB by making your title available on Amazon.com. Your film could be 10 minutes of your cat sleeping, never show in any theatre or on television, not include any known actors or actresses, and it would be eligible for inclusion in what is supposed the definitive internet movie reference.

But wait – there really is more. Withoutabox recently added a group of partner festivals that make your film eligible for inclusion on IMDB. Sounds great except all you have to do is submit your film and pay the fee. You don’t have to be accepted to the festival or meet any other criteria. As long as you take the time out to fill in the confusing submission form on IMDB and enter the code you get from withoutbox, you’re good to go. Again, your 10 minutes of kitty zz’s is listed alongside Citizen Kane, Sunrise and Watchmen. I received at least 5 e-mails from withoutabox about getting Greenspoke on IMDB, most after I already had a page, because I had submitted to one of their partner festivals. While I hope to be accepted at all of them, that doesn’t seem to matter to IMDB.

Why am I complaining about this when it is working to my advantage? Because it is a short-term advantage. IMDB will lose its cachet as an authoritative reference if it gets clogged with titles that never were or never will be seen or sold. The internet is already a jungle of unreliable and misleading information for the intrepid entertainment traveler. Audiences drive our creative activities regardless of whether we create arthouse or megaplex fare.  Tools like IMDB help us reach our audience. I’d like to keep it as an authoritative reference for them and for us.

Actresses and Actors – You Need a Web Presence

Posted in acting, Making Movies, Movie reviews, Theatre Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on February 28, 2009 by Tom McIntire

I was writing a review of The Mistakes Madeline Made and was scrambling around looking for links to the actors in case people wanted more info about the talented cast members. Most had something but a few had nothing that came up in Google other than some old reviews. This is a problem if you are in a business where getting your image and information about your work out there is crucial.

Here’s an example of a site for Mary Bliss Mather, who kicks creative butt on a regular basis. While I’m not crazy about the design (Mary Bliss – let’s talk) it gets the message out:
http://www.geocities.com/maryblissmather/

You don’t need to even spend money on a site if you use  Facebook, Biznik.com or LinkedIn. DON’T use your personal facebook account. You’ve got your regular facebook profile to find dates, share photos of you passed out on the sidewalk, whine about having to donate plasma so you can make rent this month (like we all don’t do that) or tell us all what you had for breakfast. Create a new page (use the pages feature in facebook rather than creating a new profile) and keep it current.

If you blog on a regular basis, and link to it from your other sites and pages, you can significantly improve the search results for your pages when someone is searching for your name or your company name. Regular means at least once a week. You don’t have to write a huge essay, just keep people posted with your thoughts on acting, fun things happening around town, shows you like, etc. It’s a way of connecting with people you might not otherwise interact with – what networking is all about for a performer. You can set up a free blog on wordpress.com.

So the next time you wow me with a performance, I want to see your smiling face and resume up on the Web – got it?