My Son in “The Vancouver Sun”

Dave-Newspaper-Blog

My second born son, Dave, has been working with a new company, MovieSet.com, since December 2008. His successes have been notable and of course you would expect me to blog about them. Obviously, you might not be as enthused because it’s not your boy, but I can’t help it! The articles’s introduction gives you an idea about the company, however I have bolded the part that includes accolades for Dave. Enjoy at your leisure!

ARTICLE REPRINTED FROM:
“THE VANCOUVER SUN” Newspaper
June 9, 2009
by Gillian Shaw

VANCOUVER – Care to wander onto the set of a movie shoot, chat with the actors, see the inside story on the stunts?

Good luck.

Chances are, unless you know someone who knows someone or you’re related to the director, your movie set experience will be limited to peering from afar.

Or at least that was the case until Vancouver film producer Colleen Nystedt virtually opened movie sets to the masses.

Her brainchild, Movieset.com unlocks the door to the back lot, giving fans an online community where they can get the latest on their favourite actors and movies. At the same time, it drags the surprisingly techno-sluggish movie industry into the digital age with online tools that cover everything from call times to publicity.

“Movieset started as an idea back in 2005,” said Nystedt. “I wanted to bring film production online, especially the communications and scheduling aspects of the film production process.”

Production tools are just the behind-the-scenes aspect of Movieset. The real action is with the fans.

The site flips traditional movie marketing on its head, much the way online music has transformed the relationship between music makers and their fans. Like many traditional content-oriented industries, movie making has been more about closely guarding the content and releasing it on a prescribed schedule than in sharing it and offering inside sneak peeks.

“It is part of the Hollywood thing that they think they don’t need to communicate with fans,” said Nystedt. “To hold things back is very old school thinking.

“On the web, exclusivity is dead. If you hold back stuff it is either going to get stolen or it is going to get ignored.”

While Nystedt’s background is in movie making, her company is making serious inroads into digital and social media thanks to that arrival of Vancouver’s Dave Olson at its Kitsilano offices.

A pioneer of Vancouver’s digital and social media scene, Olson, perhaps better known by his online persona Uncle Weed takes an unorthodox approach that probably leaves suits shaking their heads. But it’s an approach that transforms web sites from under-the-radar gliders to high flyers.

“Traffic has increased exponentially after being pretty flat line for a while,” Olson said of Movieset.com. “The fan side is really what has exploded.”

Fans can explore the site to see which movies are generating buzz, to watch interviews with directors, writers and cast members, and see behind-the-scenes video from movie shoots.

Web page views on Movieset.com climbed from 40,000 in February to 380,000 last month. While the increase is encouraging, Olson sees it as only a partial measure of success.

More important than the single hits is the level of fans’ interaction, and the viral online buzz they create.

After visiting the site, how many of those fans are embedding those videos in their blogs? Which ones are participating in contests that could see them win a role in an upcoming action film? Are they building a buzz on Twitter about an upcoming movie?

“It empowers fans to go out and evangelize and start the conversation,” said Olson, who became director of fan communities for Movieset in January, after successful stints at a number of Vancouver digital companies including Raincity Studios where he curated an award-winning blog and helped launch Phones for Fearless, a campaign to support eastside artists and residents.

“The movie business has been slow to come to this style of marketing,” said Olson. “It is bubbling up from the grass roots.”

Movieset.com is a boon for indie films and it’s attracting attention from larger studios.

For small very specialized films, such as Death Warrior, a mixed martial arts film that included livestream video among its offerings for fans, Movieset allowed it to find a core audience that shared a passion for the action film.

“We found out where fans of that genre hang out, we communicated with them in their language and we invited them to take part,” said Olson. “We even gave away the bloody sweatshirt that Georges St-Pierre was killed in to a fan at the end of it.”

(St-Pierre is a Canadian mixed martial arts pro whose character Shaman was killed in Death Warrior.)

In another action film, Icarus, the film’s star Dolph Lundgren participated in question-and-answer videos with fans.

“The site’s front page is refreshed daily and we’re outreaching to fans through Twitter, a Facebook trivia application and a behind-the-scenes vid cast,” said Olson.

While it still goes against the grain to loosen their grip on content, traditional studios are stepping aboard.

“Studios one by one are starting to realize there is some value here,” said Olson. “They see it is a conversation that is going on and it will go on without them.

“They are saying ‘we should start to participate whether we want to or not.’”

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