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December 14, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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December 14, 2000
 

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technotips Have You Clicked On A Movie Lately? How to access information about current films using the Internet. By Michael Tanenbaum - When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, movies had just begun to talk. Nearly 75 years later, flae Internet is making them interactive. The founders of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, "film artists and studio visionaries devoted to the improvement and advancement of their craft" (www.oscar.com), probably would be exhilarated by the progress we've made with their concepts. In the realm of films, the lnternet deliv- ers a wealth of material in novel ways that are not possible with other forms of media such magazines and television. With the 73rd Academy Awards nomi- nations just around the corner, Hollywood, movie studios are rolling out publicity campaigns to get their films nominated in the various categories. They are running television spots, blaring com- mercials at us while we drive, and plas- tering their website addresses on every- thing from coffee mugs to giant bill- boards. Currently, every motion picture of the last several years has a websitc dedicated to it. On these wcbsites, you can often view theatrical trailers, hear sound and music clips and see stills from the motion picture. Some websitcs even includc movic-themed games for chil- dren. Many films also offer low and high- bandwidth versions of their sites, includ- ing interactive content that uses the film's plot as a springboard for thematic games and virtual tours of the film's world. Consider several examples: Last summer, Gladiator wowed audi- ences with its epic battle between virtue and vice in ancient Rome. Dreamworks , Pictures' companion website is an equally compelling work Of art. The site includes biographies of the filmmakers and cast, multimedia inferviews with the director and the stars, the movie's official trailer and additional movie clips, as well as other special features meant to pique the interest of a casual visitor or devoted fan. Other pages include historical perspective on the movie's storyline, audio clips, download- able desktop backgrounds, production and casting notes, a behind-the-scenes look at storyboards, information on costumes and outtakes and excerpts from the filming of the movie. For an especially engaging experience, though, the high-bandwidth version of the Gladiator website provides stunning visuals and fluid navigation within a the- matically-constructed virtual tour of the movie's ancient Roman backdrop. Increasingly, movie studios are moving toward interactive sites that require DSL or Cable internet access in order to fully take advantage of cutting-edge features such as these. Fox Searchlight's website for Quills (www.foxsearchlight.comlquills/options. htm) is a current examplb of where all of this technology is leading. The site is designed entirely in a technology called Flash, which is a graphics-intensive tbr- mat particularly welt-suited to high-end cinematic special effects, sharp anima- tions and embedded audio and video clips. A high-bandwidth connection is not nec- essary to view Flash-oriented sites, atthough it certainly comes in handy when playing the many video clips, trailer excerpts and behind-the-scenes footage. There are also sites especially well- suited to kids. The Tigger Movie, from this past spring, is a superb example. In addition to the colorful graphics and the usual cast and crew elements, there are "Tiggerific Fun Activities" for kids, such as a Tigger mask cutout, downloadable coloring book pages and a family tree. Kids can learn about the songwriters, the legendary Sherman Brothers, who contributed five original songs to the movie. In addition, they can view never- before-seen music video footage of Kenny Loggins' "Your Heart Will Lead You Home," written in collaboration with the Sherman Brothers. Significantly, far from being a one-time advertisement for the movie, www.thetig- germovie.com has evolved into an ongo- ing campaign for the DVD and video. The site continues to entertain people of all ages with its delightfully cheery visu- al theme, lively musical excerpts and "bouncy, trouncy, pouncy, flouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun!" host and main character, the indomitable Tigger. As a part of the Disney/Go network, it is linked to the entire Winnie-The-Pooh series, "Winnie- The-Pooh, A-to-Z," on Disney Home Video. By casting their websites as cinematic offshoots, the movie studios have created an entirely new form of digital media that enables the consumer to be an active, role-playing participant" in the movie, and ultimately, in the marketing of the movie studio's product to the world. As Oscar night rolls around for the 73rd time this spring, don't forget to visit some of your favorite movies online and brush up on your imagination. Ill Michael Tanenbaum is the technical director of Clockwork Websites, LLC. He can be reached at michael @clockworkwebsites.com 8 Beverly Hills Weekly Holiday Portraits In Studio Photo Session Includes 2 - 8x10 Prints Color You :Session Keep the $100 negatives B/W Session $75 HEADSHOTS B/W or Color 2 poses Z - 8xlO Plus you keep the negatltrl Shoot film, Print Digital In Studio Se$1iofl ,,, $65 Call: (31 O) 403-7031 The Telephone Connection Serving Beverly Hills since 1988 0 V0ice Mail Service 0 Doctor's Service , Local and Long Distance Phone Service o "Follow Me" and Conference Call Service 300o-789-79oo