INDEPENDENTS IN CYBERSPACE
by Peter Broderick
Article courtesy of National Video Resources and Center for Media Education
(written in Spring 1996, revised August 1998)
The World Wide Web could have an unprecedented impact on independent film- and videomakers. It gives them a unique opportunity to redefine their role, redesign distribution systems, and reinvigorate their relationship with audiences. If independents miss this opportunity, their funding and distribution possibilities may be undermined, resulting in greater marginalization.
The Web is having powerful impacts on many aspects of work, education, and culture. Its linked structure (allowing users to easily navigate among sites), appealing graphics, and easy-to-use browsers make it the most accessible and engaging sector of the Internet. Discovered by the press, the public, and corporate America, it is growing and evolving at a breathtaking rate. Yet independent film- and videomakers have not yet established a significant presence on the Web. They are far behind the curve, an unusual and perilous place for them to be during the formative stage of a new media technology.
In the past, independents were often on the cutting edge of new media technologies and distribution systems. They pioneered the use of portable video equipment in the days of guerrilla television; they seized opportunities created by cable television to have channels reserved for public access; they made early use of satellites to distribute live coverage of events affordably. More recently they have been pushing the boundaries of small-format video, shooting documentaries and even features on digital video (DV).
Independents were able to play a role in the evolution of these technologies because of their knowledge of film and broadcast television. But computers and digital networks come from an entirely different realm. Designed for storage, manipulation, and transfer of information, computer technologies were originally text-based rather than image-based. Independents have had a difficult time utilizing their full potential.
The flowering of the Web is taking place during a crisis for independent film- and videomakers. Decreasing public funding for the arts at the federal, state, and local levels, and the increasing dominance of media conglomerates continue to narrow the options for independents, whether for funding of provocative documentaries or distribution of artistically challenging features.
Venturing onto the Web presents new perils for independents already struggling to do more with less. Those who lack knowledge and experience on-line will have to spend scarce resources and time getting up to speed. They must be willing to experiment with no guarantee of short-term success.
This report examines some of the unique possibilities for independents on the World Wide Web. As its technology evolves and audio and video capabilities improve, the Web will enable independents to interact in new ways with collaborators, funders, programmers, critics, and audiences.
This report provides a conceptual framework for understanding how independents can benefit from the Web. It begins with the rise of the Web, describing the characteristics that distinguish it from traditional media. The report then considers the near future of cyberspace and the technological developments which will shape it. Finally the report explores some of the new on-line models that hold the greatest promise for independents.
As computer and media technologies have been evolving, they have also been converging. Computers have gone from two to millions of colors, from simple text to rich graphics and full-motion video, from silence to CD-quality stereo sound. The rapid spread of multimedia computers facilitated the growth of the World Wide Web, the multimedia-rich sector of the Internet.
Designed as a mechanism to allow scientists to share research, the Web made the Internet infinitely easier to navigate. Once Mosaic (the first Web browser) was developed, lay people with no previous training or experience started to explore the Web. This breakthrough in ease-of-use led to a breakthrough in access. It is estimated that there are currently more than 40 million Internet users in the U.S. This number is growing steadily.
In addition to opening the Internet to the general public, the Web altered its fundamental nature. It enabled the Internet to fully incorporate multimedia - first graphics, and then audio, animation and video. People could communicate information and ideas, and express emotions using images and sounds, not just text.
The Web changed the Internet in another fundamental way, one that could ultimately be the most significant. It empowered ordinary users by enabling them to create their own Web sites easily and inexpensively. Unlike conventional mass media where the only option for most people is to receive (view, listen or read), the Web allows users to send - to become broadcasters or publishers.
Comparing broadcast television with the World Wide Web highlights several of the fundamental differences between traditional media networks and emerging on-line models.
- Hierarchical vs. non-hierarchical - broadcast television is top-down, one-to-many; on-line networks are horizontal, many-to-many, one-to-many, and one-to-one.
- Closed vs. open - access to the airwaves is tightly controlled; the Web is open to all with the desire and ability to provide content.
- Passive vs. interactive - television audiences view most programming passively; on-line users can react to content by adding to it, challenging it, or creating new content. Contributions by users have almost no place in the one-way world of television; in contrast, they make on-line networks vibrant and valuable.
- Audiences vs. communities - broadcast programs seek large audiences that will watch faithfully every day or every week; on-line networks thrive when they become active communities whose members share a sense of loyalty and responsibility.
However great the potential of on-line networks, the current reality is that television is a mass medium and that the Web is not yet one. TV homes outnumber homes with computers by approximately 2 1/2 to 1, and outnumber homes with access to on-line networks roughly 5 to 1. Computers are not only more expensive than televisions, but also require much more expertise to operate.
However, access to the Web has increased dramatically as a result of four developments:
- Easier access - it is much simpler for consumers to sign-up for direct Internet access; Internet browsers and sites have improved; and all commercial on-line services have made indirect Web access available to members.
- Cheaper access - the cost of unlimited direct Internet access has fallen to less than $20 a month, and limited indirect access via on-line commercial services can cost as little as $5 a month.
- Increasing speed - Internet service providers have increased the speed of the connections they provide to 56 kbps (kilobits-per-second). Consumers are buying faster modems. ISDN connections are available at 56 and 112 kbps.
- Richer content - the diversity and usefulness of material available on the Internet have grown remarkably. From the latest news, sports and financial data to a wealth of medical information, content is now available to satisfy a broad range of interests. Networks for women, African-Americans, seniors, and gays and lesbians are flourishing.
A number of variables will affect how quickly Web access and use increase during the next few years:
- Secure financial transactions - once users become confident about spending and transferring money on-line, shopping and banking are expected to increase quickly.
- The spread of home computers - this will continue as computer prices drop (they can now be purchased for less than $1,000).
- Improved usefulness - as the user base grows and more commercial and nonprofit organizations move on-line, more users will rely on the Web for essential information and services.
- Increasing bandwidth - through ADSL (via phone companies) and cable modems, there will be substantial increases in the bandwidth available to homes. Faster connections will dramatically improve audio and video transfers.
While on-line networks have sped ahead, interactive television - originally pitched as the ideal vehicle for bringing the Information Highway to the home - stalled. Efforts to develop interactive networks for delivering entertainment and information to the home ran into serious technical and economic obstacles. The interactive television trials sponsored by cable and telephone companies had very disappointing results. These failed experiments contrasted sharply with the success of on-line efforts. Using existing computer technologies and telephone lines to provide a diversity of content, the commercial on-line services and the World Wide Web have grown by leaps and bounds.
Many cable companies are now promising cable-computer connections that will dramatically increase the amount of computer bandwidth coming into the home. Cable and broadcast networks have started linking programs to on-line sites for viewers with WebTV or computers.
The exact shape of the on-line future is impossible to predict. The rule-of-thumb in the computer industry is that the capacity of personal computers doubles every two years. However, as cable modems are deployed, the bandwidth available to home users increases by at least a factor of 10 and perhaps much more. But regardless of how quickly bandwidth increases, the Web will continue to evolve at an extraordinary rate. Independents considering how to best utilize the Web should be aware of a series of recent technological developments, which will redefine cyberspace and dramatically expand its uses.
Independent film- and videomakers use moving images and sound, while the Internet was originally designed to use text. Eventually slow and awkward techniques were devised for transmitting picture, sound, and video files. If one wanted to download such files badly enough, had the right software and equipment, and was willing to spend the extended amounts of time required, it was possible to do so. Using a 28.8 modem, 30 seconds of video can take 15 minutes to download; with a 14.4 modem, it can take 28 minutes. Because these sounds and pictures cannot be sampled in advance, lengthy downloads often end in frustration. Only the most zealous users are willing to download large sound and video files routinely.
Most independents trying to promote their films on-line were at a double disadvantage - they had neither the megastars nor the popular content to guarantee attention, and they had no way to preview their work for users unwilling to take a chance on less mainstream material. These factors severely limited the potential audience independents could reach using audio and video clips. Now the obstacles that made it so difficult for independents to have their work sampled are being removed. Audio possibilities have been dramatically expanded and video opportunities are increasing faster than expected.
Real-time audio has come to the World Wide Web. A technique called "streaming" allows audio to be heard in real-time, and gives users even more control than they have when listening to radio. They can listen to audio files as they download them, and then can stop, rewind, or fast forward. Users can sample programs easily. If they like what they hear, they can keep listening; if not, they can stop, having invested a minimum amount of time. They can now also conveniently listen to full-length programs as long as 30 or 60 minutes, something that was almost impossible before.
RealAudio (from Progressive Networks, http://www.realaudio.com/) and other streaming audio technologies not only eliminate the delay in listening to sound files, but also make live broadcasting possible on the World Wide Web. Events can now be covered live, and some radio stations have begun broadcasting on-line 24 hours a day. Niche programming, which wasnt economically viable before (because there wasnt a big enough potential listenership in one locality), is now possible. Today users can choose from an unprecedented diversity of programs, including ABC Radio news updates (http://www.abcradionet.com), which are available on the Web a few minutes after broadcast, and daily current affairs shows from more than 20 countries around the world (World Radio Networks Audio File Index:http://www.wrn.org/audio.html).
Real-time audio on the Web will provide independents with additional opportunities to market their work. They will be able to use stations broadcasting on the Web to reach new audiences, and may even establish their own stations on-line. In addition, linking real-time audio to specific images on the Web will enable filmmakers to become on-line personalities, e.g., introducing their work or giving tours of their Web sites.
Real-time audio is comparable to real-time video in a number of significant ways. Both facilitate:
- Sampling - making it possible for users, with little effort or time, to give unfamiliar work a chance;
- Immediacy - permitting live broadcasting on the Web;
- Time-shifting - allowing users to record programs and play them when they choose;
- Desktop broadcasting - enabling independents to become Web broadcasters without any radio or television broadcasting equipment; and
- Worldwide reach - freeing broadcasters and audiences from the geographic limits of radio and television.
Real-time video has significant potential for independent film- and videomakers. Video streaming technologies enable video programming to be sent to home computers, and watched while being downloaded.
Video can be transmitted live or on demand in real-time. Although it is not possible to send full-motion/full-screen/high-quality video to homes with conventional modems, there are many uses for partial screen video at lower frame rates. These include live uses such as video conferencing, call-in shows and coverage of breaking news, as well as on-demand uses such as training, accessing image archives, and previewing films.
Filmmakers will be able to showcase samples of their work for companies, programmers, and critics looking for new talent. They will also be able to use Web previews to sell their films on videocassette. Over time, as compression technologies are refined and bandwidth increases, the quality of video on the Web will improve. Eventually, independents may be able to present full-length work on-line.
Macromedias Shockwave (http://www.macromedia.com) allows multimedia presentations with animation, sound, and interactivity to be played from Web pages. Users can download these presentations easily, and interact with them off-line. The latest versions of Shockwave include Flash, an interactive vector graphics program, which enables viewers to receive high quality streamed animation at 28.8 kpbs.
With Shockwave, independents can put together compelling previews of interactive productions they have created using Director. They can also author original presentations incorporating a mix of media. Shockwave should help independents circumvent conventional distribution channels by enabling them to capture the attention of potential viewers across the Web.
Developed by Sun Microsystems, Java (http://java.sun.com) is a programming language that has had a major impact on the Web. Java brings a new level of interactivity to the Web, which still consists mainly of static pages linked to other static pages. Using Java, producers can create truly dynamic pages. When viewers access these pages, they automatically download tiny applications (applets) that enable their computers to manipulate the information contained on that page. In effect, the Web page customizes the users computers, allowing them to get the most benefit from the data. Examples include three-dimensional animated models that users can rotate and move, and a financial portfolio page that tracks the latest prices of selected stocks via a ticker tape running across the top of the page, and recalculates the value of an individuals holdings. Users can save both the information they retrieve and the tools they need to manipulate it off-line.
Java will facilitate the movement of film and video through the Web, and it will give users greater control over clips, allowing slow motion and zooms. In addition, Java will enable film and video clips to be connected to other clips and other Web sites.
3-D and Multi-User Worlds
The development of the programming language VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) has added a third dimension to the World Wide Web. In addition to viewing 3-D images of objects, users can also explore 3-D environments, moving around rooms, down corridors, and through doors hyperlinked to other parts of the Web.Programmers developed VRML to enable virtual reality environments to exist on the World Wide Web. Used in tandem, VRML and Java can create dynamic 3-D environments. In these virtual worlds, users can open doors rather than move through walls and turn on movie projectors. Filmmakers will design appealing, interactive environments to showcase their work.
A number of companies have developed virtual worlds in which users can interact with one another. Most of these worlds enable users to select an avatar (an image to represent themselves), and then move through an environment, chatting with others by typing text messages (voice capabilities are expected soon).
The assumption underlying multi-user worlds (as well as evolving Web chat programs) is that people want to interact with each other in ways that more closely resemble real life. Independents could link their films or videos to these evolving worlds. For example, they could build multiplexes or video stores in environments, or create their own alternate worlds in which independent films are the mainstream fare (and Hollywood movies could only be found in smaller, out of the way locations).
Recent technological breakthroughs ranging from real-time video to Java provide independents with a powerful set of tools to build compelling new structures in cyberspace. But first, independents should examine outstanding sites currently on the Web, and use them as models or points of departure.
Promotion and Distribution
The biggest hurdle facing most independents is securing significant distribution for their films and videos. Many never achieve it. As hard as it is to find the money for a film and then to actually make it, it is even more difficult to reach a large audience given the current structures of distribution and exhibition.
Bold claims were made that cable television and home video would solve this problem, but neither has. The World Wide Web could alleviate the problem by providing a way around distribution bottlenecks that have stymied independents in the past. Both the Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA) and Kaleidospace provide examples of how independents can get their work sampled, which is essential to increasing industry and audience awareness.
Like unknown independent filmmakers, unsigned musicians struggle hard to be discovered. IUMA (http://www.iuma.com/) took a unique approach, pioneering "worldwide electronic promotion and distribution" of the music of unsigned bands and artists. Founded in late 1993, its goal has been "to connect all music possible to as many listeners as possible." Free to users, who can download as many samples as they want, IUMA features the work of over 1000 bands. IUMA has attracted a large and growing audience.
IUMA provides musicians with the chance to have their work heard by "fans, radio station programmers, club promoters and music industry A&R representatives, who have already signed bands from IUMA to major labels." It is now also possible for artists to sell their work via IUMA. By creating "the nets first free, high-fidelity music archive," IUMAs founders sought to shape the future of music distribution. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at the site include a quote from Thomas Dolby:
Given that artists are already designing their own record covers, doing their own music videos, marketing themselves and making music, why do we need record companies? Weve got machines at home capable of making master recordings, and having finished a master I can telephone it into a central server and my fans can have access to it by dialing it up on their interactive TV screens. What exactly is the record companys contribution, other than being a bank stupid enough to loan money to musicians?
IUMA also fosters direct communication between its musicians and users. Bands have home pages with text, stills, music and even video, and users can send them immediate feedback via e-mail as well as order CDs or cassettes.
Kaleidospace (http://kspace.com/) describes itself as "the first commercial Internet site for the promotion and distribution of independent art." It uses a model similar to IUMA for a different mix of content - graphic art, animation, film, video and prose, as well as music. Artists pay a commission or a monthly fee to have excerpts of their work - up to 30 seconds of audio or 20 seconds of video - included. Users access and download the material for free, and then can place orders to buy the work.
The sites founders, Jeannie Novak and Pete Markiewicz, were concerned that "in the traditional centralized way that music, video, and other works are sold, only a tiny fraction of interesting artists ever reaches the public." So they designed Kaleidospace to enable "independent artists to present themselves at low cost to a wide audience."
To attract regular visits by users, the site features the work of artists-in-residence, such as musician Thomas Dolby and novelist David Brin each month. Kaleidospace has also developed an interactive fiction component, which gives visitors to the site the chance to add to stories begun by established writers such as Clive Barker.
The sites artists and musicians participate in weekly chat sessions, which help to promote their work and to foster communication that could lead to future collaborations. Kaleidospace has already helped some artists get offers. "As agents, directors, and producers become more common on the Internet, Kaleidospaces value as a virtual pitch session may become more important than sales" (Internet World, January 1995). Kaleidospace is starting to use RealAudio and will eventually use video streaming technologies to make it easier for users to sample artists work.
Accessing Resources On-Line
Independent filmmakers constantly need timely, nuts-and-bolts information which has traditionally been very hard to come by. Information available in print or at seminars is often not as up-to-date, detailed or candid as they want, so they turn to other independents for information, an inefficient and frequently fruitless process.
There has always been a tremendous disparity between the collective experience of independents and the knowledge of individual filmmakers. Independent organizations have used panel discussions, magazines, and other publications to help transfer information from the more experienced to the less experienced, but a huge gap remains.
Until recently, independents had few effective ways to pool and exchange information. Now, on-line options have begun to change this situation. Following are examples of different ways independents are using on-line resources to share essential information.
The Internet Movie Database
This outstanding site (http://us.imdb.com) demonstrates the potential of on-line information resources. It is a unique database that includes the titles of approximately 150,000 films and 9,000 television series, and the names of more than 580,000 individuals, from actors to cinematographers. It contains a rich diversity of cross-referenced information, including extensive cast and crew credits, filmographies and biographies, awards, ratings, key technical facts and plot summaries.
The Internet Movie Database demonstrates how well an open, non-hierarchical model is suited to pooling information on the Web. The Database depends on a team of coordinators and countless contributors around the world. Users are encouraged to submit information when they find any gaps or errors; once a coordinator okays this information, it is added to the Database. Not only is it available on-line, round-the-clock, but it is also possible to download the complete database and run it on a home computer. And "Its all free - no charge whatsoever."
The Database has been on the Internet for over eight years and on the Web for more than five years. It utilizes the strengths of the Web (linked data, searchability, minimal distribution costs) to achieve something that would be impossible or unaffordable in book or CD-ROM form.
Creating On-Line Communities
Since independent production is typically a collaborative effort done with very limited resources, being part of a supportive network of filmmakers who exchange contacts and services can be invaluable. Many independent film and videomakers would like to be able to swap information regularly with their peers. Several on-line models are designed to help meet these needs.
Bulletin Boards and Newsgroups
Bulletin board services (BBSs) and newsgroups provide filmmakers with opportunities to gather and exchange information. BBSs make available a diversity of information organized by topic, provide focused discussion areas, furnish key software for downloading, and facilitate the exchange of e-mail by members. They enable filmmakers to post questions on specific topics, and get answers from other filmmakers. When trying to choose which film stock or equipment to use, the recent experience of peers can be very helpful. Typically BBSs are locally based; they allow for virtual contact to be reinforced by face-to-face contact. They can help filmmakers find collaborators and allies.
Unlike BBSs, newsgroups usually have participants from around the country, often from around the world. There are a number of newsgroups related to production, including: rec.arts.movies.production; alt.movies.independent; rec.movies.production; and rec.video.production (see: http://www.rtvf.nwn.edu/links/newsgroups.html for a complete list).
BBSs and newsgroups thrived before the World Wide Web existed. According to Richard Seltzer, the Web has not yet begun to "foster the collaborative interaction among users that in the past was the life and excitement of the Internet" (Internet World, November 1995). But Seltzer believes in the future the most successful Web sites will be those built "on communities of common interest." He describes such a model:
Imagine a Web site that not only provides information, but acts as a user group - a place for (users) to talk to one another, share their insights, express their opinions, and help one another (Internet World, November 1995).
The health of the "specialized audience" is crucial to the future of independent media. The audience independents have primarily relied on - the filmgoers who attend American independent and foreign language films - may be in jeopardy. Even though there are occasionally such crossover hits as Fargo, Ulees Gold, and Chasing Amy, many observers believe that the core specialized audience is aging and not being replenished by younger viewers. Many filmgoers in their teens and twenties have remarkably mainstream movie tastes. While they may be willing to experiment with new bands, they are much more likely to buy tickets for Dumb and Dumber than Clerks. But since many teens are far more savvy about computers than their parents, filmmakers may be able to reach them directly using on-line networks.
Independents should explore the use of on-line services to nurture filmgoers of all ages. By encouraging a fragmented, passive audience to evolve into an engaged community, independents could give viewers a sense of belonging to a vibrant alternative culture.
As the number of people on-line grows, there will be significant opportunities for the care and feeding of the specialized audience and for outreach to more mainstream viewers. The following models illustrate some promising approaches to nurturing audiences.
P.O.V. Interactive (http://www.pbs.org/pov/) was created to work in tandem with P.O.V., the national public television series that showcases independent documentaries. Together they combine the reach and impact of TV with the interactive capabilities of the Web. P.O.V. launched this on-line initiative by creating a site that includes material about P.O.V.s films and filmmakers, places to discuss the content and style of the shows, and guides to related on-line areas.
P.O.V. Interactive has several interrelated purposes: to promote the series both by attracting new viewers and maintaining the interest of its regular audience; to give viewers an opportunity to talk to each other and to talk back to the series; and to provide viewers with an array of resources related to the issues covered by the programs. To make the site more effective, P.O.V. developed partnerships with organizations, which have their own constituencies. For example, SeniorNet (an on-line network of older adults), the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Alzheimers Association were among POVs partners for Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter, a filmmakers moving account of her mothers struggle with Alzheimers disease. Such partners can alert their members about the airing of a program of particular interest.
P.O.V. Interactive created an innovative model for its special broadcast of Leonas Sister Gerri, a multifaceted film about a woman who died from an illegal abortion. Viewers were encouraged to send in their comments about the issues raised by the film via e-mail, fax, 800-numbers and video letters. A selection of these comments was used to create a unique follow-up program called Two Way TV: Viewers Talk about Leonas Sister Gerri.
Festival sites could help develop new audiences for independent film and video. Film festivals have traditionally been one of the only places where film directors, producers and actors mix with filmgoers. The prestige and glamour of film festivals appeal to many people. In these environments audiences are willing to take chances on films they know little or nothing about.
Well-conceived festival sites, which mix personalities, humor, gossip and an inside view of filmmaking, could attract large followings. These sites can become lively locales where filmgoers interact with independent filmmakers, and are exposed to new independent films, with or without distribution.
There has been a proliferation of film festivals on the Web. While many individual sites only consist of "brochureware," Festival (http://plaza.interport.net/festival/) illustrates the potential of these sites. The unofficial site for the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, Festival was a wild mixture of impressions, opinion, gossip and information. Supplemented daily during Sundance with new copy, photos and graphics, the site had a gonzo energy and improvisational feel. Whether quoting comments overheard on the buses shuttling people between screenings, or updating a map of Robert Redford sightings, this site proudly displayed its irreverence and humor, which ranged from inspired to sophomoric.
Subsequently the Sundance Film Festival developed an exceptional site of its own (http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival98/). Combining excellent design with fresh writing, and making clever use of the latest technologies, the site has been useful, entertaining, and provocative. Other festivals may emulate this site but none may be willing to include a negative review of a featured film as Sundance dared to do.
Jayne Loaders Public Shelter (http://www.publicshelter.com) demonstrates how an independent filmmaker can create a vital presence on the Web and attract a regular audience. Designed to promote Loaders CD-ROM, Public Shelter, about nuclear power and weaponry, the site also manages to convey the filmmakers ideas, passions and humor. In addition to ample material about the CD-ROM and a wild diversity of "hot linx," the site features WWWench, a column written by Loader. After reading first person accounts of "Sex Sites That Dont Suck," "Schmoozing at Sundance" or "Kato Meets Plato: An Argument for the Elimination of TV," users will want to return regularly to read the latest installment.
Public Shelter is instructive and inspiring for individuals thinking of constructing Web sites. Like many independent films, it was produced with limited resources but ample creativity and a singular point-of-view. By fashioning a Web site reflecting her work and her life, Loader is steadily building an on-line audience.
The most promising possibilities for independents in cyberspace now and in the near future include:
- breaking in - although independent possibilities for independents can not yet show full-length work on the Web, they can put clips on-line and encourage distributors, festival programmers, and critics to watch them;
- reaching out - filmmakers and distributors are placing trailers on-line, hoping to sell their films directly to the general public;
- accessing information - on-line resources are becoming available to facilitate story research, location scouting, casting, and crew selection;
- raising money - as more foundations and arts councils go on-line, independents who seek funding will have an easier time identifying potential funders for their projects; and
- building communities - BBSs, newsgroups, and MOOs will enable filmmakers to exchange knowledge and support more easily.
Independents have much to gain in cyberspace, which offers unparalleled opportunities to pool resources, create communities, develop new distribution mechanisms and connect with audiences.
Independents also have much to contribute. They have a unique ability to shape cutting edge media technologies by energetically exploring inventive uses, as they did when they tried every imaginable possibility with portable video.
The on-line universe needs the type of experimentation and innovation that independents can provide. While in the corporate environment on-line technologies are rapidly evolving, there is a dearth of ideas about how to use them. Amidst a sea of uninspired and formulaic Web sites, distinctive voices, substantive ideas, and original designs stand out. By re-imagining on-line networks and communities and implementing these alternative visions, independents may be able to transform cyberspace. Now is the time to seize this virtual opportunity and make it real.
I would like to thank Victoria Murphy, editor of this report and valuable collaborator. The report is better and I am saner thanks to her patience and unflagging efforts. I also thank Tara Veneruso for her timely assistance updating the report - P.B.
Peter Broderick is President of Next Wave Films, which provides finishing funds and other support to very low budget feature films from around the world. Broderick has played a key role in the growth of the ultra-low budget feature movement. He wrote a catalytic series of articles on micro-budget production for Filmmaker magazine. Broderick is also Vice President of IFP/West, and chair of the selection committee for the Someone To Watch Award, which honors exceptionally talented independent filmmakers. An expert on new media, Broderick has been a Web consultant to such organizations as the Sundance Film Festival, National Video Resources, and the PBS series POV. He previously ran Terrence Malicks production company and worked on Days of Heaven.
Broderick can be contacted at:
Next Wave Films
2510 7 Street, Suite E
Santa Monica, CA 90405
National Video Resources (NVR) provided funding for this NVR report. NVR is a non-profit organization established by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1990, whose mission is to increase the publics awareness of and access to independently produced film and video. NVR designs and implements projects that enable individuals and organizations, such as public libraries, colleges and universities, and other non-profits to acquire and use high quality documentary films and video.
National Video Resources
73 Spring Street, Suite 606
New York, N.Y. 10012
e-mail : email@example.com
This report was commissioned by the Center for Media Education as part of its Future of Media Project.. Center for Media Education (CME) is a nonprofit, public interest organization dedicated to promoting the democratic potential of the electronic media. Through its policy development, research, public education, and advocacy efforts, CME is working to ensure that the nonprofit and independent producer communities are a vital part of the 21st Century media system.
Center for Media Education
2120 L Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington DC, 20037
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://www.cme.org/cme
The following examples of film sites on the Web illustrate a wide range of content and design.
- Yahoo (film section)
- Internet Movie Database
Film Discussion and Reviews:
- Deja News (searches on-line discussions by topic)
- Movie Review Query Engine (locates reviews on-line)
Independent Film Publications:
- Filmmaker Magazine
- Film Festivals Server (guide to film festivals on-line)
- Apple's Quicktime
- Real Player
- FOOTAGE.net (stock footage)
Promotion and Sampling:
- IUMA (Internet Underground Music Archives)
- Kaleidospace (more music resources)
- Ascap (music publishing and resource for licensing)
BMI (music publishing and resource for licensing)
- Screenwriters and Playwrights Home Page
- Drews Scripts-O-Rama
- The Movie Clichés List
Websites with original web films, clips, and animations:
- The Bit Screen
The New Venue
Kevin Rubios Troops (Star Wars/Cops parody)
- John Kricfalusi (lunatic animated series)
Internetv.com (original webseries)
FOR MORE DETAILED LIST VISIT on Filmmaking for the Internet
Flaming Angel Films
Training Without Tuition:
- Cyber Film School
Other Noteworthy Sites:
- Next Wave Films (information on ultra-low-budget production)
- Kevin Smith
Flicker (alternative cinema)
- Gabocorp (innovative design)
Andy Foulds Portfolio (innovative design)
- P.O.V. Interactive (convergence of on-air and on-line)
National Video Resources (Rockefeller Foundation)
Center for Media Education
Ultra-Low Budget Production