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netribution > features > shooting from the chip > grant millar -
Grant Millar is BT's Media Strategy & Planning Manager. He has been closely involved in the development and promotion of since it's inception. At 29 with kids, he has accepted that dreams of indie-band or Hollywood success are over (similarities with Tarantino end with both having worked in a video-shop), but remains a film & music junky. He has never managed to correctly answer more than 10 consecutive questions from the getoutthere on-site film quiz.


| by nic wistriech |
| photos from nic wistriech|
| in london |

What's the idea of Get Out There? is a website BT has built for young peoples' use as a platform to showcase their creativity. It is currently an 'undiscovered' music & film site, but will soon expand into other creative areas.

Why should filmmakers use the service?
There are many good reasons. I think that it depends upon the individual requirements of filmmakers. Most using us want to demonstrate the quality of their work to a broader audience and to some of the leading and established talent we have invited in to pick regular winners. Winners are selected from a short-list chosen by users of the site (broadly based upon the number of downloads made each month, per film). Others may be driven by the type of prizes available on the site across a range of other competitions. Most are kit driven- which reflects our aim to be as supportive of further creativity, but our top monthly prizes are generally unbuyable and very attractive:
For those not quite ready to upload there is plenty of support material from technical and experience-generated guidance through to free software to help produce your film. Since March 36,000 viewings have been made of the shorts uploaded. Whether you upload a short, ad, animation or music promo, we can get you out to a broad audience actively interested in film. Perhaps you're interested in feedback & dialogue- you can certainly expect some. We have no commercial interest in the discovery of new talent - we don't take a cut, or try to tie anyone down, so there's nothing really for filmmakers to lose. Best of all, it's great fun.

How does it differ from the other sites on the Net that offer free hosting of films?
I think one of the main differentials is the fact that getoutthere uses celebrities and leading names in the film industry to judge the film uploads. getoutthere also has links with leading talent agency ICM (International Creative Management) and any films submitted to getoutthere are passed on.

Is there any financial incentive for the filmmaker?
Not directly at this stage, at least not from BT; but who knows who may be out there watching!

Who owns copyright?
Content is the uploaders' property and that's it. We merely host your work.

Is it an exclusive agreement (i.e. can the film be shown on other sites)?
It's your property, it's up to you. We don't seek to be the final solution to getting your work out there, we're just adding to the range of options available.

Can filmmakers chose to remove their film at any time?
Absolutely. We'll take it down as soon as we can.

What if the film uses music or footage where the license deal doesn't cover Internet broadcast (many licensing companies charge extra for such usage)
Unless copyright issues are rectified we will not be able to carry the submission. We have to be strict about this to protect the future of the project and the site. We ask for a simple disclaimer to be filled out in advance of the upload being posted and there is guidance available on the site.

How many films have been uploaded so far?
We launched the film area mid-March this year, and now in June have already enticed 48 short films onto the site (we also have a number more pending copyright clearance).

Are the films vetted by anyone? If so, who, and what criteria do they use?
We do vet submitted content. We have to. We are not about censorship and we cannot afford to constrict creativity. More than this, we don't think it is our place to tell our users what's good & what's bad about content, we leave that to those interacting with the uploads. Nevertheless we are an open channel and have a responsibility not to broadcast obscene, libellous or copyright infringing material.

How many films have been rejected? What sort of films were they?
So far only a couple of films have had to be rejected because of copyright or inappropriate content.

What sort of films are you looking for?
Anything that stays within the above criteria. Ideally we want films that will promote interaction and dialogue amongst our users. Amongst undiscovered material you get a broad range from great execution to great ideas and encouragingly often both together. But what constitutes a good upload is something that we leave to our users and experts and how they vote with their eyes and mouse. If your proud of your work get it over to us!

BT has given an impressive amount of advertising to the site. Is this going to continue?
BT is taking this project very seriously. This is the kind of initiative that we hope will enable us to build a stronger relationship with the younger audience. This is a sound investment in our future.

What are the future plans for the service?
We have big plans. We intend to enhance the user-to-user interactive and community elements of the site and get into the hot creative areas that the getoutthere audience are pushing for. Ultimately the shape of the site will be determined by our users. In the next few months you'll also see a major promotion in some of the biggest UK entertainment magazines (including Empire, FHM, Sky, Heat & The Face) and commercial radio stations building towards a major event we have planned in October to reward site users. You can certainly expect traffic growth- we've seen between 10 & 20% incrementally each week since launch.

You've had Claire Kilner and Kevin MacDonald as judges. Who else is lined up?
We have a long queue of artists and industry names in the wings. We don't like to name them too far in advance as they are generally very busy and we like to surprise. I think we can expect more Oscar winners on our panel, but we will continue to focus upon those of relevance and who have something to add to those striving to join their ranks.

Any plans to get the best films shown theatrically ahead of features, or on TV? What about festival submissions?
We have already made showcasing uploaded material the cornerstone of our promotional activity. A number of bands from the site, including Sugarpussy and Cashino have provided the music within our ads. It works neatly in two ways. It demonstrates that we are serious about getting talent from the site out to a wider audience, but also that we have great pride and faith in the material coming through. We have developed this principle with our activity on the rental video of The Blair Witch project. We trailed one of our film uploads: "Horsehair" prior to the feature (our trailer ran after that for Sleepy Hollow!) directing people to the full short immediately after the credits. Great content & ambition synergy: whatever your views on the merits of the film, it's a sound role model. We've now gone beyond this with our interactive cinema advertising: we are screening a 60" commercial shot by Vaughan Arnell across the UK (award winning director of music promos for George Michael and Robbie Williams) cut down from his full 3 minute version. The film is silent, inviting viewers to upload their own bespoke track to complete the promo. The winning tune will be played on MTV & The Box in it's full glory and then pressed & distributed on white label. We want to encourage this kind of cross-genre fertilisation. With creative writing & photography in the pipeline as areas- there's plenty of scope.
We are investigating further opportunities to expose film material on TV and in Cinemas- so stay tuned!

Is this just a cynical attempt by BT to appear more 'yooffull', or is BT seriously committed to young filmmakers?
I imagine that we will inspire a broad range of reaction, this isn't the sort of activity that many people have come to expect from BT. I'm also confident that young people will be able to appreciate that our relevance is our expertise and provision of many of the technologies and services that underpin and enable new and exciting ways for communicating and making your mark. We are as committed to filmmakers as we are any other creative artist on the site that have the spirit to get out there. We're really proud of the diversity and quality of our uploaders' material already, it's actually really humbling to be as involved as much as we are.
There is a commercial side to getoutthere, you can buy relevant products and services from the site, but this is low-key. There's nothing to be lost by giving a whirl, we'd love to hear from you. We are user-driven and will take on board all comments & suggestions, there are a selection of methods for getting hold of us at the site.

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