Michael Pielocik, Managing Editor behind the innovative online movie sharing platform SnagFilms, shares with us his perspectives on the film industry, tackling everything from his personal experience with movies to what it is exactly that makes SnagFilms unique and cutting edge. As cinema and the internet become a closely entwined entity, the concept of movie sharing is continuously developing, and SnagFilms are at the forefront of its technological evolution. As a website that plays host to approximately 30,000 documentary films, the site not only features favorites such as Super Size Me and The Times of Harvey Milk, but is also open to submissions from readers and underground filmmakers. Cited as one of the 50 best websites for moviemakers, and regarded as an essential app from platforms such as Gizmodo and OVGuide, read on as Michael Pielocik explains what makes SnagFilms different and what grants it its competitive edge.
What got him hooked…
Can you introduce yourself and your role at SnagFilms?
I’m Michael Pielocik, the Managing Editor here at SnagFilms.
What was the first experience that had you hooked onto movies?
There’s no one experience, movies were just always around. My first movie memory is seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarves with my mom, the 1987 re-release. Some other prominent movie memories are watching The Conversation with my dad when I was too young to get it (I thought it was “boring,” I was incorrect, sorry Dad), and the first time I saw Seven Samurai.
Where the movie industry is now at, how SnagFilms looks to change things & what the internet did for the industry…
Fundamentally where are we at with the past and present movie industry in your opinion?
It’s a cliché, but the only thing staying the same is that everything’s changing. I don’t think anyone knows what watching a movie will be like in 10 (or even five) years, but I know personally that 90% of what I watch, I watch via streaming (both paid and ad-supported). For a long time the industry was being propped up by DVD revenue, and now that that’s gone everyone is trying to figure out how to make movies that profitable again.
How does SnagFilms look to change this up?
Selection and discovery. When I started at SnagFilms a few months ago the first thing I noticed was their library. It was full of films I loved, or films I had always meant to see but had never gotten to, or films I had never heard of but immediately piqued my interest, films like Bennett Miller’s The Cruise or John Sayles’ The Brother From Another Planet or the amazing Nick Broomfield docs Biggie & Tupacand Kurt and Courtney, just to name a few. SnagFilms is all about presenting its weird, awesome library in the most accessible way possible.
What has the Internet done for the movie industry?
This is a huge question that I think we’ll be answering for decades. In short, I think it threw a monkey wrench into existing business models, and made huge film libraries available to people who may not have had access to them before, or didn’t know existed. It has completely changed our viewing habits, and we’re still figuring out exactly how.
“It (the Internet) has completely changed our viewing habits, and we’re still figuring out exactly how.”
Michael Pielocik speaks about what the Internet has done for the movie industry
Hollywood blockbusters vs smaller films, future of cinema, what makes his team on point & how their recommendation engine works…
Are we still experiencing an over-saturation of perpetual blockbuster trends, or is there now an active approach to redeem a sense of uniqueness within the story?
I think we’ll always have the Hollywood sequel/reboot machine, and that has its place. I love a lot of those movies as much as the next guy. But I think with streaming you’re seeing new discovery methods for smaller, unique films. Films being released in theaters and on VOD same day, filmmakers crowdfunding their projects, even something as simple as organizing a screening on Facebook — these are all tools that smaller filmmakers are figuring out how to use to get their stories told.
After the surge of 3D technology within cinemas across the globe, is there a new level of cinema experience on the horizon?
Yeah, I think theaters are going to keep trying to figure out ways to make the movie-going experience more immersive, more of a unique event that you’ll pay top dollar for. What that’s going to look like, I’m not sure.
What makes your Editorial team so on point?
Simply put, we know movies. And the thing that I always come back to is that we’re excited about the movies we’re recommending. I’m not as focused on the SEO clickbait part of editing the site… the editorial team is focused on the great, weird, sometimes insane movies in our library and bringing those to the user. I want it to feel like a friend is telling you that you’ve got to see this movie.
How does your recommendation engine work?
Three ways: First, there’s the curated editorial. That’s me and a few others combing the library, featuring films, doing small write-ups to let you know why we’re recommending the films, and so on. Then, there’s your network. The new SnagFilms has social features that let you connect with your friends and other film-lovers so you can see what they’re watching and either judge them harshly or check our their recommendations. And finally, we’ve got the algorithm that looks at your history, your ratings, and your preferences to give you movie recommendations tailored specifically for you.
“It’s a cliché, but the only thing staying the same is that everything’s changing. ”
Michael Pielocik speaks about where are we at with the past and present movie industry