Friday, June 29, 2012

Movie talent site designers dream BIG

My fourth-grade teacher used to tell us, "From tiny acorns, giant oaks do grow." (As the shortest boy in the class, I took that to mean I would someday be a basketball player. Ah, well.)

Made For Film ( is indeed a small project at the moment. But if people take advantage of it, this site could metaphorically touch the sky.

The brand-new site offers free memberships for the next three weeks at the gold level (the highest of three, the others being silver and bronze). John Foutz, a director-writer-editor-cinematographer from Locust, and Vanelle, an actress-producer who often works with him, started Made for Film as a way to connect talent with production companies. (Nathan Dennis is the site's codemaster.)

Other folks have explored this idea, of course. Various publications and sites catalog talent in cities or regions. The Internet Movie Data Base has a pay site where you get access to agents or representatives for cast and crew members. But Made For Film intends to cut out the middle man: You'll get direct access to people you might hire or people who might hire you. And if the site takes off the way Foutz and Vanelle hope it will, it would never have geographic boundaries.

I suppose this is the spot for full disclosure. I once appeared in a music video they shot at Pewter Rose, or my hand did: I gripped a glass of whiskey, while singer Mark Lassiter entertained drinkers in a bar. (I did get to swallow the whiskey.) But there's no profit for me in their site; I just like the idea of it.

The simplest membership level is bronze, which will always be free. You can view people's profiles, inventory, services and social network links. At the silver level, you can view videos, print PDF files from the site and get contact information for people you see there. The gold level lets you post pictures, bio, personal details and a contact link for yourself, and it also gives you a private e-mail account through the site.

Made For Film categorizes jobs as pre-production, production, post-production and video gaming, with sub-categories ranging from seamstresses and stitchers to horse-drawn vehicles. (Because it's electronic, it can add categories as needed.) It even has a "self-help team" section that links users with the likes of yoga/Pilates trainer Cindy Brewer and fashion designer Luis Machicao.

Right now, the acorn has barely begun to take root. The first people to sign up have been friends and co-workers of the founders, such as Greensboro director-producer Dexter Goad and Charlotte casting director-writer Eden Taralynn Marcelle. Maybe the free memberships will put extra leaves on this plant, and it will really begin to flourish.