Monday, September 08, 2008

End Of An Era

A couple of days ago when I went online, all of my movie posters had vanished from my Script Secrets website. Stolen? How can someone steal gifs & jpgs? (Though - there’s probably and interesting MATRIX-like movie in that.) Actually, a couple were still there - but it was difficult to see which ones because that page is set to bounce you to the tip of the day after a few seconds. Eventually I figured it out... The missing pictures were on the old Compuserve site - still linked from there. And, I guess, the Compuserve site is finally gone - those servers have now gone dark.

When I first put up my Script Secrets website in 1997 the internet was a different place. I had started out on Compuserve years earlier - when the internet was black and green and you had to type some basic code to do anything. Compuserve was *the* place for people in the film business, or people who loved film. A bunch of pro screenwriters and directors and actors were there, along with Roger Ebert. In fact, Ebert mentions those good old days in a recent post in his blog. After a couple of years of green and black, AOL offered a world in color, and I jumped ship to the Follywood Forum. After posting there for a while, they actually offered me a moderator position (no pay, but they’d pick up my monthly fees). I turned that down - too much responsibility - and discovered that the other guy they went to was Terry Rossio - and that was the beginning of the Wordplay website. Terry began writing articles for the AOL site, and answering questions, and eventually jumped ship to his own site (with his writing partner Ted Elliott) - which is the best place on the web for screenwriters. Go there!

But I jumped back to Compuserve, which was in living color by that time, and used the names of forum members in a script - BLACK THUNDER. Don, who will be reading this, is one of a handful of people I’m still in contact with online. His character in BLACK THUNDER was a fighter pilot... and then in the remake they did last year. When Compuserve offered free web pages (at a time when your webpage was probably on tripod or aol or some other service) I signed up. I put some articles up, and eventually an advert and sample chapters for my book. Someplace along the way, it turned into an actual website with all kinds of articles and the Script Tip Of The Day. And box or poster art for all of my movies.

When I ran out of space on Compuserve, I bought ScriptSecrets.Com and transferred everything over. I got this deal with a webhost - they would pay ICAN for the domain name I signed up for 2 years of hosting with them. Deal...

But they somehow “lost” my domain name to some consulting company - and that consulting company offered to sell it to me for $2k. As they told me, that was only $1 per daily hit - cheap! As I told them, go eff yourself. I bought .net and paid for 5 years, I think. No chance of losing it again. And within a year, I had all of my hits back. And that consulting firm continued to try and sell me .com for $2k. Eventually they stopped - I believe it is *still* a dead page (actually, and advert for the consulting company with links to the company’s pages). And I’ve been on .net with a Script Tip every day for several years, now... and every year I write new tips and rewrite old ones. And the Script Tips are still 100% free. The website *costs me money* to operate.

But most of the gifs and jpgs were still housed on the decade old Compuserve homepage... even though I haven’t had a Compuserve account for about 3-4 years. The site was just floating out there on the web - in limbo. Then something happened - and the site no longer exists... and my gifs and jpgs on ScriptSecrets.Net vanished overnight. Had to scramble to fix all of the links so that the images would appear again. But the strange thing is, they didn’t get all of it - http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/wcmartell still takes you to a 2001 version of the website’s main page - with a bunch of dead links. That’s all that’s left of the first version of Script Secrets. Now, like Mad Max, it exists only in memory...

PS: Friday's VERTIGO article... is coming this Friday.

- Bill
IMPORTANT UPDATE:

TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Sci-Fi Research and THE ISLAND.
Yesterday’s Dinner: So, I was tired (did a class for Script Mag/Final Draft) and decided to just grab a sandwich. Pastrami. Was going to go to Togo's because it's close, but ended up at Subway. Where I got about a third of the meat I'd get at Togos... and the roll was smaller (maybe to make it look like there was more meat). Instead, small roll, less meat - made me think I was getting less food (which I was). Bigger roll, more veggie stuff would have made me think I was getting as much food (just not as much meat, which may be better for me). And, they always screw you at the drive thru!

10 comments:

The Moviequill said...

I guess entering the name of each movie on Google Images and then downloading each one would be a drag, but might be good as a backup

Erik said...

Interestingly enough, Drew Struzan retired. Fitting, to go with your poster images vanishing...

wcmartell said...

I had all of them on my hard drive... so it was just a matter of uploading, and changing code. Took the better part of a day.

- Bill

rorybaldwin said...

Bill if you ever want any help keeping the site up to date gimme a shout! In addition to being a sometime filmmaker and full time reader of script secrets, wordplay et al I do a fair bit of web design. Plug over, keep up the good work!

ObiDonWan said...

I love being a fighter pilot!
Watch me swagger under a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner...as I sign my first movie contract!

martinb said...

that page is set to bounce you to the tip of the day after a few seconds.

Actually, that page first loads all eighteen images, then it bounces you to the script tip. I have dial-up, and I can tell this takes an annoying amount of time sometimes.

So here's a suggestion...

On the right hand side of the splash page, display just ONE movie poster, but make it three times the size, and make it so that every time you view the page, a different image displays. (You could link it to the date. I'm sure there are plenty of scripts out there which will do this.) And on the left hand side of the page list all your nineteen sold scripts, together with any other info such as date, producer, whatever.

That way each movie poster will have more visual impact. We regular viewers will see them all, over time. You will show all nineteen posters, instead of being limited to eighteen with the current layout. And the page will load faster.

martinb said...

Hope this was clear: Starting with movie poster One, each day a new image until you get to poster Nineteen, then start with poster One again. Repeat ad infinitum. Increment to Twenty, Twenty-one, etc as more of your movies are produced.

Bryan said...

http://artfulwriter.com/?p=508

You're a fan of the ArcLight. Here's something worth blogging/boycotting about!

Crack Whore said...

I totally remember Compuserve!!!

D said...

Bill, the "consulting company" that bought your .com domain name when it dropped is actually a domain investment company. They specialize in buying and reselling domain names. The website you're seeing under ScriptSecrets(dot)com is a so-called parking page with advertising links (pay-per-click); it is not their company site.

It's too bad that your registrar failed to renew the domain. I'm pretty sure that they would have had to buy it back for you if it really was their fault. But those were the early wild days of the Internet, I guess.

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