With the final end of the Steven Spielberg/Mark Burnett reality show/ratings loser, On the Lot, I thought I'd click on my entry one more time to see what the site was now like. Much to my surprise, a full screen graphic appeared congratulating winner Will Bigham, and all those who participated. A final phrase at the bottom read, "That's a Wrap!". Ten seconds later, I was unceremoniously escorted to Fox's main website, displaying all of their current programming.
I guess they are trying to forget about the show as soon as possible, but this quick move into oblivion seems unfortunate. Every link to that site that referenced a short film is now dead. All the forums are gone. The original shorts featured on the show are most likely lost forever (I don't foresee a DVD release). I understand why Fox would want to wash their hands as soon as possible, but terminating the whole site? It seems extreme.
Another Black Hole moment I had recently was the checking of a short of mine that I had entered into a contest at Briobox.com that I wrote about awhile back. The top ten vote-getters from every month would be entered into a finals round in the month of December. Whoever got the most votes then, would win $50,000. Since it was all vote-driven the idea must have been that entrants would be telling everyone and their dog about thier movie, driving traffic to thier site. You could also buy ad space promoting your film.
Well, Briobox is just plain gone, with only a 404 message left in its wake. This is probably a good thing anyway, as a rereading of the rules revealed that anyone entering gave away all rights to their project. My guess is that they were getting worried about the $50k in prize money, so they just bailed. At least On the Lot followed through.
I guess the lesson here is the old "Buyer Beware". When dealing with a bunch of faceless folks behind the keyboards, you never know what you're gonna get. Hopefully Will Bigham gets a good feature out of the deal, since I can't watch any of his shorts anymore.