DAILY NEWS: FilmStew Online; Berlinale Photos
by Maud Kersnowski/indieWIRE
>> FilmStew in the Dot Com Mix
(indieWIRE/02.21.01) — Sperling Reich launched his Internet career by
getting fired from CAA for sending e-mail. Today he has launched the newest
entertainment industry information site, FilmStew.com. At this online film
and television resource company they don’t want to rewrite Hollywood
protocol, just to digitize it. “For the independent it’s about
finding information that’s not available in a book or off the top of your
head,” FilmStew.com’s President and co-founder, J. Sperling Reich said.
This is the same idea that got Reich canned by CAA. While working for the
giant representation machine, which is now the agency with the largest new
media department, Reich e-mailed clients grids of open directing and writing
jobs that studios send to agencies. According to Reich it was standard
practice to photocopy the information to send out. “You’re not really
supposed to do it, but agents do it all the time,” Reich explained.
Unfortunately, this information is intended to stay within the agency. When
higher-ups heard about the electronic messages they booted Reich.
While none of the information available on FilmStew is classified, it does
fall into the category of time consuming both to acquire and disseminate.
Using the analog system in place today to find an actor, director or
designer you call their guild or union and listen to hold music until
someone can look up who their agent is. With FilmStew you select the
“Availabilities” menu click on Dylan McDermott‘s name, for example, and
get a page that gives his agent: John Fogelman at William-Morris. While
there’s nothing listed beyond McDermott’s name and agent it’s possible to
include availability, specialties and credits. Agents will control how much
information is accessible beyond the basics. Since none of the
major agencies and only a few of the smaller one have made their client
lists available, FilmStew has collected the information themselves. By the
end of month, 4,000 to 5,000 actors, directors and writers will be listed in
the “Availabilities” section.
Answering calls about availability of specific actors eats a large chunk of
an agency’s time according to Reich. “I certainly hope that at some point
we can help them lessen the burden of availability requests,” said Reich of
his former employer and other agencies. Actors with or without
representation, crafts people, and designers can also list themselves.
In addition to “Availabilities,” FilmStew offers services similar to other
industry sites like IFILM, E-Studio Network and Creative Planet. For users interested in gossip and reviews there’s a welcome page of “in-the-know”
articles. The “Phonebook” which functions as a virtual Rolodex attracts the
largest number of page views. There are several selections for those just
breaking into show biz, including new talent and resumes. At the moment
these options are fairly lean, but since the service is free, it could
easily gain popularity. Another area that’s currently weak but could take
off is the tracking groups. These specialty bulletin boards with 25 member
limits and an administrator’s approval to join are based on Hollywood’s
literary tracking groups for sharing information about scripts.
Like many other websites unveiling during the downturn in the New
Economy, FilmStew started out with a soft launch at the beginning of the year
followed by a hard launch at the end of this month. [Maud Kersnowski]
>> Another Side of the Berlinale: The Parties
(indieWIRE/02.21.01) — What would a film festival be without parties?
Probably pretty boring. Attendees use the many daily gatherings to
network, catch up with old friends, let loose, and more.
indieWIRE was on the scene at the recent Berlinale, capturing some of
the indie guests at the recent Festival:
BERLINALE 2001: iPOP On the Scene, Part 1
BERLINALE 2001: iPOP On the Scene, Part 2
BERLINALE 2001: iPOP On the Scene, Part 3
BERLINALE 2001: iPOP On the Scene, Part 4