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Friday, January 26, 2007

A New Way to Watch (Our) Movies

If you're a longtime friend of Automatic Vaudeville Studios you may know The Recommendations, our short-feature comedy about jealousy and revenge in the literary milieu. We finished the film in 2005, showed it in a couple of festivals, got some favourable press attention (Jason Anderson of Toronto's EYE weekly gave it 3 and 1/2 stars) and put it on our second DVD, Your Hi-Class DVD Vol.2.

Now, we're still very proud of The Recommendations. But, frankly, the cost in money and manpower required to produce a large run of DVDs and distribute them in stores across the continent is a little beyond us, as we all have various commitments that demand our time, not to mention work on our new feature, Peepers, which you should hear more about soon.

So we had an idea. It seems that in recent years it's been increasingly common for people to download their favourite TV shows and movies via BitTorrent, instead of going the more traditional route of video rentals or cable TV. It's common enough that BitTorrent has become a pretty standard method of distribution for entertainment. In fact, everybody and their brother has been telling us that downloading is the next step in video distro; look at the new AppleTV, movies on iTunes, etc.

So we figured we'd get our foot in the door. BitTorrent may be most commonly associated with piracy, but we think it has lots of non-illegal uses as well, as it's a really efficient way of distributing big files. We think it's a worthwhile vehicle for getting The Recommendations out there. (And if people download it thinking they're getting a pirated movie, all the better!)

We've compressed our film into a 500MB AVI file that you should be able to play with the free, easy-to-use program VLC (or any XviD/DivX-compatible player of your choice). We've slapped a Creative Commons license on it that says you can pass it along to anyone you want, providing you don't profit from the endeavour. And, incidentally, you're free to watch The Recommendations any way you like. Turn that sucker into an MP4 and stick it on your iPod. Burn it to a DVD or VCD and watch it on your TV. Drop a few dozen thousand dollars and blow it up to 35mm and project it on the side of an office building. As long as you're watching it, it's all gravy.

We consider this an experiment in indie film distribution. Getting our movie out this way, at practically not cost to ourselves and maximum convenience to you, will, we hope, enable more people to see our movie than they would via any other conventional method. We only ask that if you like The Recommendations you drop us a line, or tell a friend, or both.

And now, here's how to get our movie. We're going to assume a bit of familiarity with BitTorrent, which looks kinda complicated on the surface but is actually very easy to use. If you don't know from it, here is a very informative FAQ that should give you all the details you need.

UPDATE!: We've added The Recommendations to archive.org, where you can download it easily by right-clicking (on a PC) or control-clicking here and choosing "Save Target As..." or "Save Linked File As..." or whatever floats your boat. This is an easier way to download, provided you're not familiar with BitTorrent, but it won't be as fast (or as thrillingly cutting-edge) as going the BT route.

But back to the torrents: We've put our movie up on three trackers. Two require registration but will give you, most likely, better transfer speeds, and the other is open to anybody with an internet connection and a heart. They are:

MININOVA (no reg):


Registration for Karagarga is not currently open but we expect it will be soon.

We hope you enjoy The Recommendations!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What They Ate: A Tale of Two Tubes

The first tube is YouTube, where you can now watch this disturbing little movie made with artist extraordinaire (and head of our Monster Department) Nadia Moss.
The second tube is... well, watch the movie, if you haven't already: it's right here.