A Q&A with DigiTitles.com CEO Alexander Drojjine. The Montreal–based company was founded in January of 2011 and the site officially launched to the public earlier this month.
SUB: Please describe what DigiTitles is, and the value proposition you bring to film and entertainment?
Drojjine: DigiTitles.com is a free, open, user-generated and user-moderated interactive database of ‘the making of’ content. This ‘insiders’ content includes story boards, multiple and sometimes vastly different versions of the script, concept art, makeup and costume sketches, audition and rehearsal footage, bloopers, funny takes and deleted scenes, preliminary videos—or pre-visualizations—of special effects and stunts, photos from the set, and much more. DigiTitles.com makes this exclusive material available to everybody. Here all entertainment fans can see how their favorite movies, TV shows, video games, commercials, and music videos are made and what they are made of. DigiTitles.com is a powerful tool for entertainment professionals to promote their work and to share their film-making experiences.
While primarily a unique encyclopedia of exclusive content, DigiTitles.com also offers a convenient and modern platform for chatting and discussing popular works, with all the best features of a social network. If you have something to share or are keen to talk to others, you can set up an account, submit your content, receive notifications about the titles of interest to you, find friends and use our email, write a blog and create your own photo albums, comment on and edit other people’s content, and much more.
SUB: Who are your target users?
Drojjine: Anybody who watches movies and TV, plays video games, loves music or any type of visual entertainment media. People of all ages, social backgrounds, education levels and interests will find something of interest to them.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition? What differentiates DigiTitles from the competition?
Drojjine: The concept is unique. There is no direct competition. The site MakingOf.com has some similarities and overlaps in terms of content subject matter, but the approach is quite different.
MakingOf.com focuses exclusively on behind-the-scenes footage provided by current film productions. It has nothing on the popular titles of the past and imposes strict limits on the types and sources of the content: only producers can contribute. Structurally, MakingOf.com is a closed, ‘corporate’ site, rather than an open communal service. It doesn’t allow users to contribute and interact, depriving them of the important social networking experience. Meanwhile, Internet development dynamics suggest the appropriate format for this type of web project: in order to succeed, it should be a free, open, and interactive user-generated database. And this is exactly what DigiTitles.com is.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Drojjine: The company was established in January, 2011. There are only two steps taken so far: 1) Attracting initial Angel capital; and 2) creating the website. Now entering step 3) starting the promoting of the site and working on growing traffic.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for DigiTitles? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Drojjine: Remember the first Jackie Chan movies, how everyone kept rerunning the closing credits again and again to watch the outtakes and bloopers? For most of us, that was the first look at how movies were actually made. In those years, Jackie’s films were arguably the only opportunity to peek behind the scenes. Later on came DVDs with bonus material. Manufacturers were promoting the new media by offering this exclusive behind-the-scenes content.
But what you see on bonus DVD tracks is just the tip of the iceberg. Vast quantities of material are created during the production of any entertainment title. For example, the making of even a short film or music video, Broadway show, video game, etc., generally involves story boards, multiple and sometimes vastly different versions of the script, concept art, makeup and costume sketches, audition and rehearsal footage, bloopers, funny takes and deleted scenes, preliminary videos of special effects and stunts, photos from the set, and much more. Although this is just the kind of material fans would love to see, most of it never sees the light of day.
Every fan wants to visit a film set of his favorite movie. We bring it to the computer screens and make it accessible to everyone.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Drojjine: So far it’s been pretty good. No major obstacles to isolate. If I stretched, I would say it’s just been in getting the message out. Once people know about us, we see a lot of repeat traffic. Consumers want to know what’s happening behind the scenes and studios, and production houses, I think, are starting to see how this type of content can be a great free source of eyeballs in their marketing efforts to promote their titles.
SUB: You recently launched publicly. Why was this a particularly good time to launch?
Drojjine: We finished working on a beta version of the site and found it to be in a really good state. We decided to test out the theory of the site and launched it for the general public. Entertainment titles are constantly coming out. Any time could have been good but hype around the concept built up to a point where we thought things were about right given the followers and shares of both the Facebook page and Twitter account, as well as the site itself, in particular.
SUB: Do you plan to raise outside funding in the near future?
Drojjine: Quite possible. The full-fledged marketing and promotional campaign might require some significant financial injections. We are considering all kinds of options and are open to these types of discussions.
SUB: What are your goals for DigiTitles over the next year or so?
Drojjine: Personally, I would like to continue to grow this community for the sake of the community and the content our members are sharing. Like most online businesses, however, we seek to drive revenue to continue to grow the community, site and service and so our goal is to generate enough traffic this year to become attractive to advertisers.
DigiTitles – www.digititles.com