So You Wanna Make a Picture?

LOS ANGELES (04/06/2000) - You'd rather watch a feature length movie on a theater or TV screen than on a PC. But what about short films and animations?

Over a decent Internet connection, they're perfect fodder for the dot-com attention span.

And if a shining Web debut leads to some offline screenings, all the better.

That's the philosophy behind AtomFilms, a Web site where you can watch streamed short movies and animations and now rate, discuss, and refer them.

At Internet World here this week, AtomFilms launched its InsiderGuide community service and MogulMaker, a contest in which AtomFilms fans can win the chance to move from viewer to producer.

The Insider Advantage

Any visitor to AtomFilms.com can view daily picks of shorts and animations. But if you register to be an insider, you get additional community features and content through the free InsiderGuide.

"InsiderGuide is an initiative around community-powerered entertainment,' says Steve Heuring, AtomFilms' head of research and development. "It's a platform for people referring films to you and for you to discover content."

Insiders can review and refer films on the site. You can even build a buddy list of pals who like similar shorts and customize the kinds of content you want to see.

And with MogulMaker you can do more. In a promotion in conjunction with artist site Iam.com, MogulMaker offers insiders a chance to become an executive producer for an original film production, Heuring says. To get your name in the drawing, you need to rate, review, or refer movies during April to accumulate points.

From the group of active insiders, AtomFilms will select five people who will each receive a digital video camera with which they can shoot a 2-minute pitch, Heuser says. The AtomFilms audience will then pick the winner.

Film Production Goes Interactive

"We're giving people a chance to participate," Heuser says. "Insiders literally become the selector of what film is made."

The MogulMaker winner can use Iam.com to find actors and help with scripts and other matters. AtomFilms will also recommend available directors.

Despite the digital medium of streaming media, AtomFilms isn't locked on digital video or a particular streaming technology. It gets film, videotape, and digital video submissions as well as digital animations in Flash, Heuring says. And films are streamed in all three major formats: RealNetworks, Windows Media, and QuickTime.

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