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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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GO THE NET! FILMMAKERS WANTED

In response to our story last week about the growing demand for content on the internet, MARK MUGGERIDGE, Head of Film & Video Production at Brainwaave Interactive, says it’s a great new medium for filmmakers. Readers – whether in the film industry or not - are invited to join the debate; see left column.

The world’s film industry is right to demand quality content from the internet.

"If most people’s Internet sites were film or television scripts they wouldn’t dare pitch them to their neighbor’s dog."

The amazing fact is that it has taken the industry so long to come to this realization. It may seem like a strange analogy but if most people’s Internet sites were film or television scripts they wouldn’t dare pitch them to their neighbor’s dog.

A lot of the problem has stemmed from a lack of understanding of the potential of the medium and a further lack of understanding of the production process involved in putting up a web site.

Many first time site owners go to back yard designers who have little technical ability and can deliver little more than basic graphic design. Successful web sites require a lot of technical and IT skills to optimise content and drive things like databases.

"Having an internet site is rather like exhibiting a film or broadcasting on TV"

Over the past few years things have improved, but the Industry has to realize that having an internet site is rather like exhibiting a film or broadcasting on TV. Regardless of whether it’s an information site or not, if the content isn’t compelling or easy to access then readers (viewers, consumers) are not going to come back.

Imagine going to a cinema and seeing a badly written, edited and shot film projected on poor quality equipment. You would hardly recommend the experience to your friends or return for more. It’s the same on the net. If the site content is badly organised, the video or audio is not produced to suit multi media or is slow to down load, visitors are unlikely to return.

There are some well produced sites with good content and the Department of Communication and the Arts are to be commended for the Screen Network Australia site reported in Urban Cinefile last week.

But the Net and New Media are also about the convergence issue. Video and audio are easy to serve off your site and there are real opportunities for Australian producers to get their work seen or to develop program content for this new delivery medium. Although the quality of convergence content produced by Australian producers is second only to the US, the number of Australian producers unaware of the issue is worrying.

If Australian producers don’t begin to create content for these new delivery mediums then the program content will come from overseas. On the positive side The Australian Film Television and Radio School and NIDA have taken up the challenge with the Byte Sized theatre project http://www.venew.net.au - and are proceeding forward with other projects that will use the talents of established film directors and producers.

Bill Hughes, one of Australia’s most respected producers is involved with internet soap opera because he realises that the medium is going to expand and he wanted to develop the skills needed for producing in multi media. He sees a huge future for the medium and believes that it is worth producing program material that can be re-purposed for multi media. It is an alternative delivery medium that should not be ignored.

Brainwaave Interactive is headed by Tom Kennedy (my boss) who has been involved in the multi media industry for 10 years and is considered one of the opinions to be respected on the future of the industry. He is also the president of the Australian Interactive Multi Media Association.

"Over the past year we have produced over 100 episodes of net TV for the Sydney Morning Herald and in February this year we produced the world’s most successful live Internet transmission with coverage of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. 20,000 people tuned in on the night to view the Parade and over the following month approximately 35,000 either returned or tuned in for view on demand replay," says Kennedy.

"There is also the potential for producers to use this medium to move on to other delivery formats."

Brainwaave has just been commissioned to produce 16 episodes of the Net TV political satire - Puppet Government. The short form comedy will appear on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald from around June 9, 1998. The range of opportunities for Film Makers in Australia is immense. We are enjoying commercial success (making money!) by producing program material that the audience wants and has to come to the net to get.

There is also the potential for producers to use this medium to move on to other delivery formats. We have had fruitful discussions with some of the networks who are interested in taking material we have put up on the net and using it for television. We haven’t found the right project yet, however we’re still talking and have several projects under discussion. We also expect to have two or three regular programs on the wires by the end of this year or early next year at the latest.

"The most disappointing thing is that we are seeing very few proposals from producers with good quality commercial ideas."

The most disappointing thing is that we are seeing very few proposals from producers with good quality commercial ideas. Most of the producers I speak to don’t yet understand the potential and are generally reluctant to listen. But when they do listen, it’s great. A team from Brainwaave interactive spoke at TV Australia and producers and directors alike were gobsmacked at the quality of image - and audience numbers we got - for the Mardi Gras parade. Most of the Film and TV conferences in Australia ignore the multi media issue or grab the wrong end of the stick - to their delegates’ disadvantage.

The industry has to get serious about this delivery medium: it’s an emerging market, it can be commercially successful and it is not going to go away.

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Brainwaave Interactive
162 Willoughby Rd
Crows Nest 2065

Tel: + 61 2 9439 3711
Fax: + 61 2 9438 3520
e: larry@brainwaave.com.au

http://www.brainwaave.com.au

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