Finding your 10%: a guide through the IndieFlix libraryFebruary 23rd, 2012 | Posted by in Uncategorized
Ninety percent of everything is crap.
hen iconic (and iconoclastic) science-fiction author Theodore Sturgeon met with the opinion that 90% of science fiction is crap—an opinion that’s near unanimous among non-science fiction fans—his response was that, well, yeah, but so is everything else. This has come to be known as Sturgeon’s Law. And as disheartening as that sounds on the surface, I prefer to see it as a clarifying revelation. In other words, to run it through another common metaphor, Sturgeon’s Law doesn’t suggest for me a glass 90% full of crap, but rather a glass 10% full of really good stuff. And really, isn’t 10% enough for anyone? With the sheer amount of content out there, who will ever get through anywhere near as much as 10% of it in their lifetime?
So then the question becomes—How do I limit my consumption to the 10% of cream that rises to the top of the glass?
IndieFlix’s library contains well over 4,000 unique titles. And it’s growing every day. To add to the confusion, many of these movies may be unfamiliar to many new members. These films do not arrive at our doors on the coattails of a multimillion-dollar media blitz, as many of, for example, Netflix’s movies do. The films that we collect are chosen from visiting and collaborating with film festivals all over the globe, and by juried acceptance of films submitted directly to us by independent filmmakers. (Are you a filmmaker?)
But we don’t just collect films. We also curate them; we help each visitor to our site find his or her 10%. Because while we see our entire collection as within that 10% of the vast number of films produced every year, crap is in the eye of the beholder, and every individual member will come to our library, as to any collection of books or movies or music, with his or her own crap filters. Your 10% will be very different from my 10%, or from his 10%, or hers.
This simple human fact drives all of the efforts that go into organizing the collection and designing its interface—the website at indieflix.com. It’s our daily task to strive to make sure that indieflix.com is 100% compatible with every individual member’s crap filters, so that everyone who visits the site can find his or her 10% without having to dig through the entire library one title at a time.
When you first come to indieflix.com, take a minute to look at the feature slides at about eye level on the home page. There’s a slide show of five or six features, either feature films or collections of shorts. These features are chosen by any number of criteria. Sometimes they’re seasonal titles, like scary movies for Halloween. Sometimes we feature a film that’s just won a bunch of awards. Most of the features, however, are films that we, who have watched all these movies, really really like and want to nudge up to the front of the crowd for a little light and air. The point is, these films aren’t chosen by an algorithm: they’re chosen by people, by movie lovers like you. These feature slides will often guide you to the 10% of the 10%, and you could do worse than to watch nothing but these titles on your visits to indieflix.com.
Of course there’s much more than just the titles featured above the fold. Scroll down a bit, and you’ll see a handful of still frames, most often five shorts and five features. These are more films that we feel are worth highlighting, films that we feel are likely to find a place in the 10% of many of the people who visit just the front page of indieflix.com without digging any deeper.
But let’s dig a little deeper, shall we? Click on a likely image, a still frame that seems like it might be a window into an intriguing film. This takes you to that film’s “landing page,” where you can read information supplied directly by the filmmaker, watch either the trailer or, for members, the entire film, and even leave a comment.
Stay on the individual film landing page for a moment. Look over to your left, at the column of one- or two-word phrases, under the heading All Films. The list of genres. These are the secret passageways, the hidden tunnels running through the grounds, that allow you to avoid all the stuff you have no interest in, and zero right in on your personal 10%. Take a minute to read down the list of genres. Think of them as the labels on the doors off the underground tunnels of our attenuated metaphor.
You’ll find the old standby genres, of course: Comedy, Documentary, Horror, etc. Those are good starting places if they sound like what you’re looking for. Once inside, you’ll see that the left-side column has become an even better guide into the stacks and stacks of movies in the library. Choose a time frame: a “coffee break” film of 15 minutes or less, or 30 minutes, or 60, or choose a feature-length film.
If you scan down the genre list, you’ll discover that some of the basic genres have subgenres. In a few clicks, then, you’ve reduced your options from 4,000+ in the entire collection, to, say, a handful of short documentaries on social or cultural issues.
If the traditional genres sound a bit generic, keep reading down the column. Peek in the door marked “Love Stinks,” or “Everyday Heroes.” These genres tend to be temporary, a collection of films gathered for a particular feature or holiday, so you should scan for them regularly. They tend to provide a fresh window into the collection, and often highlight films you might not otherwise come across in your browsing.
In addition to the features and collections highlighted on the website, a good source of browsing inspiration can often be found here on the blog. This is where we post more in-depth features of individual films or collections of films, in addition to general indie-film items. We try to maintain a balance of information and entertainment on the blog, and to keep it interesting on a wider scope than just IndieFlix-related content.
And of course there’s alwaysstaff picks!
Needless to say, our collection of great indie films is meant to be shared, and experienced by as many people as possible. So participate! Contribute! If your rifling through the stacks produces a film experience that you really enjoy, add a comment! The filmmakers have access to these pages as well, and it’s highly likely that any comment you leave will be read by the actual filmmaker themselves, and not just a publicist in the front office. If you like a film, “like” it, really really “like” it, and help other browsers find their 10% as well. The more members who participate, the more improved our system for identifying everyone’s individual 10% becomes.
And after you’ve left a comment for the filmmaker, come back here and share the results of your own searches through IndieFlix’s library. Likes, dislikes, surprises, bewilderments. It’s all a part of being a lover of indie movies.NOTES: