Screener FAQ...

Sean_J

Agent
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Messages
46
Hello;
I was wondering is there a SCREENER FAQ.... of like how to contact companies to tell them you want screeners, etc...?

I really wanna get a nice dvd site goin' but without screeners (previews of dvds) a dvd site is nothing.
 

Travis_W

Supporting Actor
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Aug 8, 2000
Messages
531
I'd like to know as well. I review R1 discs for a UK site that I freelance for and it would be great if I could get screeners.
 

Jeff Kleist

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Dec 4, 1999
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Travis, they will not send R1 screeners to non-R1(geographic) sites.

Honestly, it's nearly impossible to get on screener lists now. Basically they will contact YOU. What can you do to get noticed? Make a greats site that gets high traffic (20k+ hits a week is probably a bare minimum)
 

David Lambert

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Aug 3, 2001
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Agreed with Jeff. Also, STAND OUT. Don't just do what everyone else does...be noticably different. Just how many general DVD sites will continue to get much traffic, anyway? End-users find that they can hit about 3-4 long-established sites and get all the "Coming soon" and "inside the industry" info they need.

Specializing in a subject (like TVShowsOnDVD, or DVDToons, or in discussion like the HTF) is a great way to be different. Of course, it limits the screeners you can get. If I asked for a screener of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the first thing Warner would ask me is, "What does that have to do with television?"


A good way to start is to invest in buying your own copies and reviewing them. Demonstrating that you have good review skills among the staff who run your site is a good way to convince studios to part with the dollars that go into screener copies (and that's not just discs and cases; it's shipping costs, people who pick and ship, packaging, etc.).

If you really think you have a site that "qualifies" already, and noone is beating down your door, then...DO THE LEGWORK! Dig up phone #'s and cold-call studios and track down the right person and convince them you deserve screeners. Honestly, if you aren't resourceful enough to do that, the studio people might not be convinced your resourceful enough to keep your website up for very long. And then why should they "waste" screeners on you?

Be aware too that you must keep re-earning your place on that list by keeping traffic up and actually using the screeners within the guidelines and on a timely basis. If you don't, the next time they trim the list down to save on the screener budget, you'll be crossed off.


Finally, be careful what you wish for. I no longer do reviews because of the enormous amount of time it takes to do them right. At TVShowsOnDVD, Gord now does the vast majority of reviewing, with help from a couple of other people. Not to say I'd never do it again, but it would probably have to be something special.

Good luck.
 

David Lambert

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Oh, and I'll add one more thing: A DVD site can indeed be great without reviews. Unless the reviews are your site's specialty (and there are a couple of those around already), then reviews should be nothing more than icing on the cake.
 

TheBat

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Aug 2, 1999
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Real Name
Jacob
I have a site on actress Sarah Douglas.. i contact the studios that are releasing her movies.. and then I review them for my site.. I got free screeners of V: The Final Battle, Return of Swamp Thing, Heavy gear vol 1 & 2.
www.angelfire.com/ca4/sarahdouglas

JACOB
 

Travis_W

Supporting Actor
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Aug 8, 2000
Messages
531
Figured it'd be impossible for me to get screeners since I review for a UK site, had to try though
.
 

Declan

Second Unit
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Aug 22, 2002
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410
Of course it could just be that wanting screeners means you want to see the DVD/Film in your own home months before anyone else.


Theres the cool factor........ but nobody would admit it.
 

TonyD

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OK that wasn't bad.
i expected a lot of begging for screeners to follow in this thread.

if you work part time at a video store you could get free video rentals and then use that to review.

i dont have a web site for reviews but i could because the store i work at part time allows for us to "rent" the movies before they go on the shelf. up to 5 a week.

so i get to see all the new releases every week. and i suppose i could write reviews for them and post them somewere, but i just want to watch them without it becoming a chore.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Apr 19, 2000
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Of course it could just be that wanting screeners means you want to see the DVD/Film in your own home months before anyone else.
Man, for every "months before everyone else" there are a jillion "few days before everyone else" or occasionally "AFTER everyone else". Yes, I admit it's sometimes cool to get DVDs early - I remain a fanboy too. But if that's the main motivation for someone to run a DVD site, then they'll end up unhappy in the long run. VERY few DVDs arrive way in advance - most come in a week or two early, and that varies a lot...
 

Francois Caron

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François Caron
I write reviews for my Web site and The Canadian DVD Users Group Web site. Or should I say, I USED TO write reviews for both sites!
The CDUG is shutting down because the Webmaster can no longer dedicate the time required to maintain and update his Web site. I'm falling pretty much in the same boat with my own Web site, not having written a DVD review in over four months and updating my site only on a monthly basis.

Getting back to the subject at hand, I started writing DVD reviews for my own Web site a few years ago when the CDUG's Webmaster asked if I was willing to submit my reviews to his Web site. I certainly didn't mind the extra exposure. Later on, he started to receive screeners from the major studios which he would distribute among his team of writers. He would e-mail his screener bank to us and we would choose the discs we wanted to review. We received the screeners because the CDUG site attracted enough of an audience to interest the studios in sending out sample discs. The Webmaster also had contacts with distributors coming from his employment at a popular DVD/VHS retail store, making it even easier for him to obtain screeners. In the end, it's all about the people you know.

All in all, it was a very good relationship. Financially there were no conflicts because NO ONE was being paid for any of this stuff, not even the Webmaster! And in terms of picking out discs, each of the reviewers had their particular tastes, making it reasonably easy to pick the discs you actually wanted to review. I specialized in reviewing the lesser-known titles because I was finding much of the mainstream stuff boring as h-e-double-hockey-sticks.


It was fun while it lasted, but time finally caught up with all of us. Just keep this in mind if you do eventually get screener discs. Writing disc reviews is a bit more work than you would first expect.
 

David Lambert

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It was fun while it lasted, but time finally caught up with all of us. Just keep this in mind if you do eventually get screener discs. Writing disc reviews is a bit more work than you would first expect.
Amen. If you have a family and a full-time job to boot, it becomes a real dilemma to do reviews on a timely basis and still do a semblence of a decent job.
 

David Lambert

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There is an interesting post here that just nails the point home of the subject at hand:

Sitting in front of me must be about 20 DVD
titles that await review. Out of those 20
only 6 will get reviewed, because next week, I
will get 10 more.

This job is becoming a huge strain on my life.
The studios are sending me more product that I
could ever review. If I don't review a certain
amount of product from each studio, they revoke
my reviewing privilidges.

...I do see a time in the very near future where
I will probably step down and hire someone more
qualified than myself to do this (reviewing) job.
I think it's safe to say that we have all admired this person for the excellent reviewing job that is accomplished...noone admires him more than I do.

But I don't wish to focus on WHO is saying this, but rather on WHAT is being said.

It is indicative of what many of us have said in this thread: screeners sound like a great idea in theory, but this is a case where the reality does not live up to the fantasy. It is WORK, and it is RESPONSIBILITY, and it is NOT a party of just having a bunch of free movies show up at your house that you can brag to your friends about having before they do. In the end, who cares about that? Pretty soon it will hit the market and everyone will have the same thing anyway. You got to be a big shot for a few weeks? Big deal.

Anyone who reads this "FAQ" and wants to try to get screener copies of DVDs (or any other product)...please think hard about it and make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.

Cheers,
 

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