IMDb Rules!

If you are in the film business it is VERY LIKELY you are familiar with the website IMDb.com a.k.a. The Internet Movie Database.

I personally visit this site all the time. I use it not only as a fan of other people's work, but as a tool to research films and primarily to research actors I'm interested in for future projects. This is one reason anyone who is an actor and has done any short film or feature film work should list their name on the site. Or, have the producer or director of the film you were in list it for you (they will be listing the project I assure you). It's actually very easy to do and a great way to get some publicity. AND, it's actually the main site that everyone (including Hollywood folks) use to look people up - from grips to actors to directors. If you are in the entertainment industry you should be on IMDb.

This brings me to the main point of this post. The NY Times has a really good article on the relatively unknown founder of IMDb. His name is Col Needham. I have been using the site for at least 8 or 9 years and I had never heard of him. All I knew was that the site originated out of England - and sure enough - that's where Col is from.

From the article:

As the founder and managing director of the Internet Movie Database, Mr. Needham might just be the archetype of the telecommuting Web-head. The site he founded and runs, http://www.imdb.com/, ranks as the 10th-most-popular entertainment spot online, according to ComScore Media Metrix. It had 18.6 million unique visitors in April, a 67 percent surge from a year earlier.

Internet Movie Database began in 1990 as a bulletin board database of movie credits. It was started by Mr. Needham and some film-buff friends. At the time, Mr. Needham was working as an engineer in Bristol at Hewlett-Packard (or, as he says in his native Manchester lilt, "Hewlett Pa-Cod") and had only a rudimentary strategy for financing the site.

"We didn't sit down and think, 'What's the best way to make money on the Internet?' " Mr. Needham said. "This is very much a labor of love. When we started the company, there was no commercial use of the Internet."

By 1998, the database had established itself as a favorite on the early Internet, and Mr. Needham was amused to receive a number of buyout approaches.

One was an invitation to a London hotel in January to meet with Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Mr. Bezos told Mr. Needham that he thought the movie database could help Amazon sell VHS cassettes and DVD's — Mr. Needham points out that it was in that order in those days — but also recognized that the site would need to be run separately to maintain its personality. Amazon, of course, could handle the technological end and pour resources into upgrades.


I didn't know that Amazon OWNS IMDb. I've always seen the links to Amazon, but they are very subtle. This might be changing soon though. In the article it mentions that Amazon might start using IMDb as a "front door" to their new movie download service that will allow users to burn their own copy of a DVD at home. Details are still being worked out, but there are several Hollywood studios involved. Sounds interesting for sure.

I just hope they keep IMDb the same. Without it no filmmaker or actor would have proof that they even existed (except of course their films, and they may not want to show them). ;)

Read the full article from the NY Times (you might have to register to read it).

-Blake


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Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and TheWB.com. And speaking of TheWB.com, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network JTS.tv - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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