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netribution > features > shooting from the chip > ben reneker -
Ben Reneker founded ReelMind in spring 1999, and offers filmmakers a free multimedia resume to advertise themselves to the film industry. It works a little like, though it's much better designed, and with far more additional resources. Basically, this company will digitise and host your showreel for free, allowing you to remove it at any time, and with no long term obligations. You can even then use the site to sell your content to people, if you so wish. In short, they're great, and - if you haven't already - you must check them out.


| by nic wistriech|

| in london |
In a nutshell, what is ReelMind?
REELMIND is a system of promotion designed for the independent film community. It allows filmmakers, animators and musicians to create multimedia resumes including their films, animation and music.
Essentially, we let anyone involved in the film industry create a online profile, for free, which they can use to promote themselves and develop their careers. We are not following the Atomfilms model of creating an archive to entertain the masses. We want to help filmmakers get jobs and network.

How did it get started?
I founded REELMIND in the Spring of 1999 after a stint in documentary and corporate film production in San Francisco. I was moving on to my next job and became really frustrated by the demo reel system in place. Broadband was starting to develop and I knew that the Internet could provide a much more efficient way to show people your work and get hired. Meanwhile, Atomfilms, and Ifilm had just launched and I knew that they were going to focus on the individual films, not the filmmakers. So, I decided to create REELMIND, a filmmaker centered site that focused on services and not content.

What services do you provide?
We let anyone in the film industry create a multimedia resume page including up to 30 minutes of film, animation and music, for free. Anyone can create their personal page from home and update it anytime they please. They can post text, graphics and photos on their page in addition to their demo reels, short films, music, animation and trailers. We don't ask for any distribution rights and people can remove their content from the site at anytime. We let people sell their work online using our e-commerce system, providing fulfillment and customer services for all the sales. We also promote film festivals using streaming media and have a huge database of film schools and film websites. We sell a huge selection of film related books and production accessories. REELMIND is also developing Web-enabled DVD products and VHS products too.

How many work on the site?
Right now we have 4 people working full time on the site in addition to 15 interns working worldwide.

What position do you think your site holds amongst other online film resources?
We hold the unique position of putting the filmmakers first. We do not focus on building a film archive for entertainment consumption. We are essentially a system of promotion and Internet based talent agency. We receive lots of traffic to the site from entertainment seekers, but that is a byproduct of our primary mission, which is to help filmmakers promote themselves and network within the film industry. We are devoted to being filmmaker friendly and not asking for distribution rights. I don't believe in filmmakers locking themselves into one Internet site, I find that to be counterproductive to the power of the Internet.

Do the other sites collaborate with you in any way?
We have partnerships all over both the online and offline film industry. While we work to create a huge community of filmmakers, animators and musicians, we also try to develop a parallel community of decision makers like producers, ad agency executives, film score company executives, etc. We make sure that the right people see our members' media, and in order to do that we are developing partnerships with companies all over the world.

What is your commercial/filmmaking background?
I've worked on dozens of short films shoots in addition to independent features, corporate films, commercials and documentaries. My passion is really any type of film that comes out of the independent scene. Films that ooze original thinking that were motivated by a passion for filmmaking make my day.

Where did you go for information when you were starting out in the industry?
When I knew the film industry was the one for me, I just started working on films. I was in school and my friends were filmmakers, so we made short films all the time and were totally engrossed by all things cinematic. I think that the best way to get into the film world is simply to start contributing to it, start making films and meeting filmmakers and getting your work seen.

What's the future for yourself and the site?
I am working to maximize REELMIND's global scope. I want to reach the micro-independent film communities all over the world and bring them all together. I see REELMIND becoming the most important site for filmmakers looking to be discovered and I want to be sure that every filmmaker across the globe know that they can use my site to their benefit.
We are developing lots of new features for the site, all designed to help filmmakers increase their exposure, stay tuned to find out more!

What do you think the future of filmmaking through the Internet holds?
I think that the Internet has and will continue to revolutionize the distribution of independent media. It has opened the door for thousands of filmmakers to finally show their work regardless of the content's marketability and the filmmaker's personal connections. I'm really excited about the fact that anyone can check out the work of a filmmaker in Western Australia or India or Brazil from their home and then contact that person to discuss collaboration.
I think that the Internet will allow for an increase in the efficiency of film production too. Broadband allows filmmakers to share footage regardless of their location. Collaboration on a global level with out actually shipping tapes back and forth and worrying about generation losses is a major benefit to the artistic process and is one of the best applications, in my mind, of the Internet for filmmakers.

What do you think is the most powerful application of the Internet for filmmakers?
I think that self-promotion and exposure are the most powerful tools the Internet offers filmmakers. I don't think that the film community can expect to make a great deal of money off of Internet distribution, just yet. However, the Internet is an incredibly cost-effective means of generating a buzz about films and filmmakers. I think its crazy for a filmmaker to give up their distribution rights to a single site for a fraction of the cost of the media's production. I see the real value of the Internet in being its ability to show thousands of people your work using as many Internet sites as possible. Once fifty-thousand people have seen your work you will be in a position to start banking off your talent and can start selling your services for what they are worth.

What are your 3 favourite film sites?

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