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Thursday, June 19, 2008

YouTube Creates Selective 'Screening Room' for Shorts and Features

This week, YouTube launched The Screening Room, an area of the site that will showcase eight new short films every month, and the occasional full-length feature. In the first crop are films written by Miranda July, directed by cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, and starring Kevin Pollak.

From the press release:

    People will be able to communicate directly with filmmakers to share thoughts, exchange opinions with fans, and provide honest feedback using YouTube's features to comment, rate, and share films. The YouTube Screening Room will also include a "Buy Now" button, allowing filmmakers to link to websites selling DVDs and digital downloads of their films, as well as a High Quality player, which offers users the best viewing experience possible.


YouTube is sharing ad revenue with filmmakers based on how many people watch their work, explains Sara Pollack, who manages the company's filmmaker relationships. The site also offers links to a filmmaker's site, where he can sell DVDs, iTunes downloads, or other merchandise.

The film featured today, Rob Pearlstine's 'Our Time is Up,' has a bright green "Buy Now" button that links to the filmmaker's site. From there, though, you have to click to the film's separate site, then click "See It." Then, you have the option to either buy it as part of a DVD compilation of Oscar-nominated shorts from Amazon or get it from iTunes, where it is a 99 cent rental or $1.99 download. It's a little circuitous: Rob, you should have "Buy Now" be a direct link to a page that explains the purchase options.

And you should also post in the YouTube comments area, so YouTube users feel you are a real, accessible human being -- not some remote big-shot director!

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