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Sub-Genre Media Newsletter:
Semi-frequent musings on indie film, media, branded content and related items from Brian Newman.

In This Issue

Brian Newman & Sub-Genre Media

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WithoutABox is Dead

WithoutaBox is dead, reports Deadline, among thousands of others. Way back when in 2000 I was running the Atlanta Film Festival and got a call from a friend asking if we’d be a founding film festival of a new submission service. In all honesty, the staff and I assumed this thing would die off sooner than it would make our lives any easier, but it actually worked. Soon we were among hundreds of film festivals using it to streamline submissions – and then acceptances and rejections, and it was pretty cool (for a time).
At first it made submissions easier, then it contributed to a glut of submissions. Then things started going downhill. Amazon/IMDB bought it, and seemingly decided to freeze it in time with no improvements. And they could because they had Patent number US6829612, which prevented anyone from making a copycat system. Stephen Follows wrote about it back in 2013, and it's a good read if you want to understand all that went wrong with WAB.

Everyone in film knows this story well, but suffice it to say – Film Freeway finally figured out how to get around the patent crap and build a better service. WAB noticed it was losing business, and bribed many of the big festivals to keep using them, and actually made it start working again (design improvements mainly). Now every filmmaker has to keep an account with both services to apply to film festivals (among a few, small other ones), since each festival uses one or the other.
But Amazon has finally decided to kill it off. No one seems to know why. Out of all the press, I haven't found anyone who makes even a good guess. Some think it got expensive to bribe festivals with sponsorships. But Amazon is too rich for that. And it can't be the cost of keeping up the service or holding the data, when Amazon owns AWS. My guess is that Amazon figured out they were getting all of the data they need about films elsewhere, and a whole chunk of that data was just useless. But even I am not sure of why.

So long WithoutABox. Long live Film Freeway (and the few other upstarts).
But… while I love Film Freeway, I still can’t figure out why Vimeo hasn’t taken ownership of this space? We all use Vimeo for every aspect of film viewing, why not just close the loop and become a better WAB/Cinando? That would be a service for the industry that would be a nice tidy business for them.

One can dream…

Stuff I'm Reading

A24 Redfines the Sountrack as a Playlist: The WSJ reports (might be pay-walled for some) that instead of licensing the music (again) from studios, A24 just made a great playlist of the songs from Jonah Hill’s Mid90s. The songs are already there for free, so no money needed to exchange hands, and…earned media as well people.
Mixed Reality & Branded Content

Is MagicLeap and Mixed Reality a big Con? That’s what Gizmodo thinks (via Redef). Not much to add here, it's all true.
Robbie Bond, founder of Kids Speak for Parks, wants you to vote! This comes from Patagonia, and it’s all of 23 seconds, but combined with a great and simple website, it’s great stuff. Patagonia is taking the lead in corporations pushing citizens to vote and make their voices heard – especially in support of public lands and the environment. Kudos to them, and everyone else who is pushing people to vote in the Midterms. Go vote!
Copyright © 2018 Brian Newman, All rights reserved.

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