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Why did IMDb remove thousands of our producers?
posted by nirvan February 5, 2007 11:23pm
all gone?full size
It seems IMDb has removed thousands of our producers and is apparently no longer updating our credits. This is a sad day for "The World's Biggest Shortest Film," have we really become too big for "The Earth's Biggest Movie Database" to handle? If you try to add a producer to our title, you now get this message:
The complete list of producers for this title is too large and time consuming to represent fully here, sorry. Please visit the official site for the complete updated list. - Earths Biggest Movie Database 2/3/07
This is a pretty disapointing turn of events. What's more, instead of the individual listings that our producers enjoyed yesterday, they have now been grouped under this anonymous credit: Producers of The 1 Second Film. Now, I can understand if it was too time consuming for IMDb not to keep updating names one-by-one, but why remove everyone who had already been listed? Especially as a lot of our producers have given IMDb money to add photos; like Jacob Vander Ark. A lot of our producers become (or already are) active members of IMDb's community; they forward their IMDb page to friends, family, and co-workers, and click on banner ads. It would be interesting to know how much our producers have collectively contributed to IMDb. In any case, it took IMDb more effort to hide all the credits than it would have to leave them there. In effect, it alienates thousands of IMDb's users.
There is a bit more back story to the IMDb drama, which might give some insight: about two weeks ago, completely by random, I actually ran into someone who works at IMDb and we talked at length about The 1 Second Film. If you have any idea how difficult it is to talk to a real person at IMDb, you might appreciate this encounter.
Here is what happened: I had gone to a planning meeting for a Stop-Motion Animation Expo. It's going to be a cool event and is being put together by a lot of the stop-motion community in Los Angeles and ASIFA. After the meeting we were chit chatting and someone asked me what I do. I started trying to explain The 1 Second Film, which often leads to confusion followed by laughter. We just got to the laughter part when a gentleman interupts by exclaiming: "I know who you are! And I don't want to talk to you!" This led to more confusion, and we all looked at him wondering what I had done. Then he introduced himself as Jon Reeves... from IMDb! I knew instantly who he was, my mind flashed back to the screen name jreeves, and about 18 months ago when jreeves and i exchanged these e-mails on the IMDb contributor help message board. Jreeves is the guy who first reported that IMDb had approved our credits for listing after reviewing this Stephen Colbert clip:
Getting approved by IMDb was a HUGE moment for our project. It exposed The 1 Second Film to thousands of people who stumbled across our title while looking up our producers like Kevin Bacon, Stephen Colbert, and Roland Emmerich. But it unintentionally created a lot of headaches for IMDb, who listed thousands of our producers, many of whom have never made a film before. Our film's credits were by far the longest listing on IMDb. I was really excited to meet Jon. I thanked him profusely and apologized for the headaches we have caused them. I also asked if there was any way we could submit names in bulk to ease the workload. He told me that the workload wasn't the real issue, and that in theory their database could generate an endless list of names. The main issue was the prescedent that it set, because other projects wanted to copy the model. Jreeves told me that The 1 Second Film actually came up recently at IMDb's annual team meeting in England (!!) and that they discussed how to handle projects like ours that were outside the traditional model. IMDb has had to fend off all sorts of other productions wishing to duplicate our funding model and critics who think democratizing film financing makes a mockery of producer credits.
The main thing Jon wanted to know was when our film would be done. He pointed out that we have pushed back or release date twice; I was able to explain why that was, and how we have been entering thousands of names by hand while making a documentary, etc. Then one of my professors, Stephen Chiodo (director of Killer Klowns from Outter Space) came over and put in a good word. Stephen was at the animation event at CalArts years ago, and was able to validate my dedication to this project, and that it is happening. Jreeves pointed out that we had not received any major publicity, and that that would help legitamize us in IMDb's eyes. I explained that we were waiting until the new site was done to follow up with press requests, because we needed to automate our donation system before opening the floodgates. He seemed to understand that, but told me our project was in a grey area and pushing the limits of what IMDb can handle. I then told him about all our sequels, and the road trip we had planned to Oprah... and he just about swallowed his tounge. I really wish this was on tape.
Jon told me that we had better receive some publicity in three months, or else we could lose our IMDb listing. I told him that wouldn't be a problem, and guaranteed we would have some press in 3 months. That's how we left it about 2 weeks ago. Not sure what happened since. My guess is that Jon talked to some co-workers, and they had a change of heart. But the reasons IMDb gives for removing our credits does not seem consistent with the conversation we had. By removing our producers credits, it seems IMDb is defining what a producer is and what a producer isn't. This raises interesting questions. Should Kiefer Sutherland get an Executive Producer credit for investing $600.23 and adding his name to the project to help bring it attention? Should Ben Goldhirsh qualify as a Producer for donating $5,000? What about seven-year old Hunter Ryan from Florida who raised money for his producer credit with a lemonade stand? How much or how little does someone have to give? The 1 Second Film is made possible by all of our producers, even if they can only give $1. And we will be giving them producer credits in our film as such. Can the Earth's Biggest Movie Database handle that?
I'm not sure what will happen next. I know this IMDb situation is disapointing to a lot of our producers. Perhaps another IMDb petition is in order? I will see if we can sort something out after we launch our new site- we are about a week away... stay tuned, nirvan
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