Tuesday, December 10, 2002

An Insider's View of Triggerstreet.com

Submitted by Peter John Ross

I have just uploaded my fourteenth movie to Triggerstreet.com, Kevin Spacey's attempt to imitate Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's highly successful Project Greenlight, which recently completed it's second run. I've been to countless film festivals, screenings, and networking events. I have submitted my films to every short film site on the web, but I have never experienced anything like Triggerstreet.com.

It costs nothing, and in a strange ironic twist, Budweiser is picking up the tab for once. You can upload and review short films for free. Similar to Project Greenlight's recently completed Director's Contest, you must review two other shorts before you can upload one. You can upload RealMedia or QuickTime files. They also accept feature length screenplays in addition to short films. Short films must be less than ten minutes long, in RealMedia or QuickTime format, and under 15MB in size.

So far every single one of my movies has been universally panned. Sometimes I got slammed and complimented for the exact same thing. For instance, on the same short I heard comments like "your actors are so horrible" in one review, while the next reviewer says "the only thing redeeming is the performances from the actors who outclass your pathetic script." Even worse is when I get a review like "you suck... you suck... you suck..." This is repeated until there are fifty words, the minimum requirement for a review. If you have never lived in Los Angeles or New York, Triggerstreet.com is the next best thing. You'll get slammed by anonymous reviewers with screen names like "Dogmatic Carl" and "Digital Bonzai," and believe me, anonymity can bring out brutal honesty. In one review of my movie Friend or Foe, I even had someone claiming they would seek out my characters and attempt to strangle them. I would file assault charges except for the fact that they are fictional characters.

Having reviewed twenty-eight movies and viewed even more, I can say the quality ranges from high end 35mm shorts that are well shot with great scripts and performances to some of the crappiest digital video shorts ever conceived. Apparently, those are mine.

Unlike Project Greenlight, the only reward a filmmaker or screenwriter can receive for exposing their work to potential theft is getting your work included on a DVD. Big deal, I can do that at home with a two-dollar DVD-R, but I like getting my work seen, even if every bit of it gets slammed by other wannabe filmmakers with a chip on our collective shoulders. The real goal is to become "discovered" by getting your work seen by Hollywood bigwigs and/or agents with some clout. Since the highest rated shorts are the ones that draw the most attention, the urge to critique and nit-pick suddenly turns into a need to draw blood.

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. Apparently opinions and assholes alike have found a home on the internet at Triggerstreet.com.

There is a series of shorts on the site called Cap'n Ken's Corner that is driving me mad with laughter. It's a spoof of a series like Blue's Clues, but with a very dark edge. After reviewing a lot of movies on the site thus far, it's the best thing on there by a long shot, including my own movies. I am really rooting for their production team to make it because both the concepts and execution are brilliant. It's worth registering just to see. They call themselves "Twisted Mojo." They have other shorts that are good too, but the Cap'n Ken series stands out. There's something about that ultra cheery guy looking through the "reality scope" and seeing a doctor trying to convince him he is not the host of a children's show. Even though I should be cynical as hell of any competitor on the same playing field with me, I can't help but applaud these guys and send out happy thoughts that they will be whisked away from obscurity and into the limelight where they belong. Best of luck and kudos the "Twisted Mojo" team. Overall, their movies are getting good reviews, but there are also some severe criticisms as well.

Overall, the Triggerstreet.com site is a slick idea. It's an eye opener to every slack ass with a camcorder that fancies themselves the next Kevin Smith. Stop getting compliments from your friends and family and let a few film school brats take a crack at reviewing your short, then see if you still want to be a filmmaker. My mom once told me "if you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen." She also told me that I was neither planned nor wanted, so maybe my confidence is not what it should be. But at least I can look in the mirror and still call myself a filmmaker after every one of my flicks gets a horrible review on Triggerstreet.com. If you think you'll win the contest, don't bother submitting. If you want to have your movie seen and probably ripped apart, then this is the site for you. I guess I view it as looking into the abyss and finding out why I really made the movies.


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