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Invisibility at the Sundance Film Festival

Tue Feb 1, 2000 - 1:10 AM EST - By Douglas Morse


Twenty minutes before I left: frustrating.

Im still trying to figure out what Palm did to make itself so invisible? For one, it appears that the information is on the Sundance website. But I can assure you of this: it was not on the site before I left for the festival. It is there now.

And the small yellow flyers? You would hope that a multi-million (billion?) dollar corporation could make itself a little higher profile. I was hanging with a group of people associated with a small film (made for a few hundred thousand dollars) called Snow Days. A sweet romantic comedy about falling in love with the girl next door. And their marketing blew away everything at the festival. Of course they had flyers. Posted on every kiosk. But they didnt stop there. I have a Snow Days hat, a snowflake pin on my jacket, I had a Snow Days sticker on my back (until it came off in a tumble on the slopes).

This little film had managed to create marketing relationships with (they have a website for Hollywood and Independent filmmakers) and had made a cross promotional deal with Internet Cash.

Snow Days was all over. And is now the subject of a bidding war between several distributors. By the time you read this, I imagine the deal will be closed. All Palm had was this crappy little flyer. Why is this important? For two reasons. Many people at the festival had a Palm though the person at the booth said mine was the first Visor she had seen. And, the people who are at a festival like that are highly influential. It is important to raise visibility. BMG music understood this. And they spent the money to prove it. They sponsored music cafes with some of their well known and lesser known artists. The music cafs I crashed allowed me to see Matthew Sweet, John Popper (of Blues Traveler), Third Eye Blind. And they gave a lot of stuff away.

I guess I am angry because there are so many potential tie ins between the film industry and the Palm platform. I bought my Pilot 1000, sight unseen because when I saw the ad for it, I knew it would help me with pre-production on my short film Men Under Water. It was the first electronic organizer I would purchase completely replacing my Day Runner/Lotus Organizer combo. (The second purchase was the Visor to replace that).

So not only did I miss the Sundance Guide, but Palm missed an important opportunity. Im not just talking about product placement (there was a scene in one movie that involved beaming) but thinking about ways in which the handheld can benefit the film industry. Im wondering what applications could be developed to work on a film set or what Springboard modules could be created to help people work more efficiently on set.

What I will note is that the festival was the first place I did a lot of beaming. The only problem I see is that once an entry is beamed, it falls into the morass that is the address book. Is there a way to have a contact beamed into a particular category (say Sundance)? Although I love the theory behind beaming, it was very, very helpful to get a business card with graphics and logos so I could associate the card with a name. It also helped to be able to scribble on the back where I met the person and whatever else would help me sort them from the ten or so business cards I collected each day.

And that leads me to another application Id like to see: a true universal business card application. One that allows you to beam Palm screen-sized and designed cards. They would be stored in their own application and then the relevant information could be imported into the address book. With the onset of the color Palm devices I could see a real usefulness for a graphical business card application. People could beam each other cards with their pictures (especially useful for actors) and company logos.

That is all I have to report from Sundance. I would encourage people to take a look at where I have posted a couple of articles and a website about my current film, in post production.


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