New Website Launches For Filmmakers

Sneak On The
Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other social networking sites have made it easier for self-promotion especially for struggling filmmakers.  A new website targets filmmakers to showcase their talents through social networking and interactive gaming. 

Launched in April 2010,™  players compete throughout the year for their shot at producing a $20,000 short film in Los Angeles in a studio-lot environment with filmmaking tools, a screening room, access to a music and sound effects library, script library, virtual chat rooms and much more.


On™ participants move up the ladder earning skills and prestige.  Players with the highest points in 15 categories based on filmmaking skills become A-Listers. Fifteen players at the top of their game in each category wins $20,000 to make a short film in Los Angeles in addition to access to agents, managers, executives and producers on the lot. Players can also earn Prestige points through interacting with the community and reviewing others projects which can be used to purchase assets ( for their films.
Sneak on the Lot Co-founders Darrin Fletcher and Chet Thomas
Created by industry professionals, one of the co-founders and CTO Darrin Fletcher sat down with CineMovie to discuss the advantages of their new site for filmmakers.

What was the inspiration behind™?

It started years ago when we started looking around and seeing all these talented people in the film industry because Chet (co-founder Chet Thomas) and I are filmmakers in the industry.  And we just thought 'how many of these people will actually get noticed?'  And there's so few.  It's like popcorn kernels in the pan and you never know when it's going to pop. 

There needs to be a better way in getting out there.  And for those people looking for people 'how do I find them?' without having to sort through a million different people who are not going to pop.  So that's how we built this system.  People can bubble up to the top and be noticed by those coming around to find new talent.

Why combine gaming with filmmaking skills?

The game was an after thought. How would we control the people on the site to make sure they were honest about reviewing people's films and how do we keep things on the up on up  Otherwise, you can have all your friends come in and leave great reviews and they bubble up to the top but it's not someone whose worth the praise.  So the game causes people to be more honest.  If they aren't honest, they are actually punished in the game for being dishonest.   Ultimately what happens is that the game controls the crowd.  We've seen it at work for over a month. The reviews coming in are very honest and really quite helpful.

Online comments and reviews on most websites are quite viscious.  How do you plan on monitoring the reviews?

That was one of our main concerns.  There's almost no way to eliminate that vitriol.  I reckon it to a bucket of crabs.  You put a bucket on the beach and you watch them.  As soon as one gets to the top, the others will reach and pull the one at the top down. 

If a person comes in and leaves a negative review like 'it's terrible film - it stunk.'  What happens is 19 other people come in and they say it's a great film.  That one person who had all that hatred is actually punished for being wrong as a reviewer.  The other way we do it is we allow any member to review the reviews with a drop down menu and choose from four different levels from  'Very Helpful' to  'Not Helpful.' It doesn't have an impact on the game but on the reputation. 

There is almost always a live admin on the site if anybody gets out of hand, we'll boot or ban for 3 days or take away some prestige.  Or we'll just kick them off the site - it depends how badly they are behaving.

But players can be truthful as long as they're constructive? 

Yes, that's the point of it. You can be honest and say these are the problems and that's a whole box of wax.  If your perception of the film is accurate and everyone else agrees.

Can you explain how players work towards the $20,000 award?

The way the short competition works is we track 15 different skill sets required to make a movie.  Everything from hair and make-up to writing, producing, and directing.  We track 15 different skills based on what people are saying about the films and about those particular skills related to each film.  At the end of the year, the top winners of each skill get to come (to Los Angeles).  So there's actually 15 people who win.  They come to L.A. where we sit down with them and pool our own resources.  Those winners get to make a film.  They could request a shadow professionalist if they want especially if they're under 18.  They would just be there for consulting.  

So under age filmmakers can participate on™?

Yes, we have parental controls for under 18 in which parents can use to limit their interaction.™ also offers a screening room.  Can players upload previous films or works-in-progress?

Absolutely. Everyone is awarded their skill points from the reviews. They can upload a film from 10 yrs ago.  There is no length stipulation on the film but there is a file size stipulation of 3 gigabytes which is fairly large. We are currently in development of a test screening room where people can upload works in progress to get reviews or feedback about their films. 

The biggest resource filmmakers always need are music and sound effects library which you offer. 

We knew that would be two big draws for people. We have another company that teaches film online to public skills so we developed years ago a relationship with various sound places. We started pulling all those resources together for this.  So we have 32,000 songs and 60,000 sound effects that you can actually purchase with the prestige that you earn by doing things for other people on the website.  The more prestige you get, the more things you can do on the site.  For example, you can put your poster on the sound stages. You can buy it for a week, weekend, or a month. But you're not paying real money for it, you're using your prestige. 

Besides interacting on reviews, can members connect with each other or find others to collaborate?

The next development cycle that were currently working on will include that sort of thing - private chats, personal messaging, job opportunities, offering jobs & seeing if someone is in your area.  Our whole job is to tie filmmakers together to make a film.

There is a subscription fee of $5.95?

Yes, if you want access to everything. There's a lot of stuff that's totally free with registration. To upload a film and review you don't have to be a member. But if someone offers you a job, you won't be able to apply unless you're a member.  You'll see it in your office desk but won't be able to respond to it. To upload a film and review you don't have to be a member. I always say 'It's less than a Big Bac per month and this is healthier for you and more fun'.  The next development cycle we are bulding a lot of stuff that will be membership only like the casting feature. You'll be able to upload a photo and fill out all the date in your actor profile.

Darrin Fletcher also promises additional resources for members such as screenwriting tools which will be like no other existing programs.

While™ provides valuable assets and contacts for filmmakers, they can also have fun while on the site. Undiscovered talent are sure to find this new social networking site worth the visit and subscription.

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