ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Getting a Hold of Reviews —

I have a lot of letters in my mailbox like this:

Dear Jason,

I cannot really put into words how amazed I am by the work you
did on the documentary. Never in my entire life have I ever been so
blown away. The music. The interviews. The information. Was all
perfect. I watched every single part of it. I was very very involved
in bbs’s.. I ran my own obv/2 board for quite some time. I can safely
say that if it wasnt for bbsing I wouldnt know half of what i do
about technology today. Your documentary is something i will hold
onto for the rest of my life. I will show my children and
grandchildren it. I cannot thank you enough for this jason. You have
captured the pure feeling of what the scene was. Now anytime I wish i
can get those felings again.

ps- You made a grown man cry several times. GREAT JOB!

thank you!!

And there are a few weblogs that have reviewed the documentary, like this one:

Over the weekend, I watched the first two episodes of the BBS
Documentary and it is fantastic.

I figured it would be interesting to me, since I was active in the
Portland-area BBS scene, and was a sysop for a little while before we
all realized that the internet was the ultimate BBS. But beyond that,
I think it would appeal even to a wider audience. I’m sure there are
plenty of folks who don’t realize there was this other thing before
the internet hit the mainstream. The documentary smartly even takes us
all the way back to the days of the telegraph to suggest that the BBS
was borne of that.

It is phenomenal that Jason Scott was able to put this whole
production together more-or-less by himself. The whole presentation
from box to DVD menus to music to editing to the interviews themselves
are top-notch and professional. The $50 price tag may seem high when
you are used to buying Hollywood-subsidized movies at $10-$12, but
when you consider the amount of work that went into this three-disc
set that is packed with goodies and info that just doesn’t exist
anywhere else, it’s a great deal, and a very important historical
record. And no, I’m not being paid to say that. 🙂 I’m not crazy. It’s a good project, a good product, and people who are purchasing it and watching it are enjoying it. (People who are downloading it as well, I would hope.) In fact, I now have dozens of such acclaims and hurrahs, both as e-mail and posted in weblogs.

So then we get into the issue of the Reviewer as it pertains to a film like this.

I’ve not yet been reviewed by a “professional” reviewer, that is, a disconnected party who sits down with my film because they’re assigned it or they have license to choose something to review and choose me. The review there might be a little different than these. But the thing is, even though they might not ‘get it’ or present it in the same bright adoration that my other letters do, they would be read by a larger audience who might be on the fence about it.

I am not overly enthused about the idea of the DVD set being reviewed by people who will trash it because they compare it to other films that are nothing like mine, and all the other sins of reviewerdom, but the fact is, the world needs reviewers. They slog through piles of media, picking out items (albeit arbitrarily) and then analyze them, so that even if you don’t agree with their conclusions, at least they let you know what the heck you’re getting into. So people need reviewers, and as someone with a movie, I know I do too.

I’ve sent out a bunch to potential reviewers, but no real bites yet.

I’ll instead just mention the general negative reactions that come on livejournals and message bases and forums when they hear the details of this thing:

“Holy Crap it’s five and a half hours long.”
“Holy Crap it’s $50.”
“Holy Crap, it has to be the most boring thing ever.”

To a person, it’s basically what they say when they haven’t seen it. Obviously, once a person sees it, their reactions are different. But this is why the website goes out of its way to explain what you’re getting and what’s on it, to get over that “hump”. A good long review would also get me over that “hump”.

An uneasy balance, but there we go, that’s the reality. Let’s hope I get more reviews out there. Feel free to put me in touch with people you think would help with that.

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  1. Jason … after the shipping issues were resolved were very close to finishing our review. We should publish it this weekend. Thanks!

  2. Kelly Chaney says:

    I have several pictures of Rodney Aloia from when he graciously footed the bill for me and another TBBS Sysop to attend the BBS Convention at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs in 1993. I was saddened to learn years later about his tragic accident after I had long lost touch with him. I’m anxious to see what his episode includes in your documentary.