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Shorts Circuit

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Steven Spielberg’s Pop.com was meant to be an online film festival. Leonardo DiCaprio’s LeoFest.com was supposed to champion unknown filmmakers. But Spielberg and DiCaprio were just two of dozens who tried and failed to make money off websites that would showcase online films. When the big names counted their losses and fled, a few sites remained. Of these, The New Venue (newvenue.com) is one of the best. Each month, site founder and indie filmmaker Jason Wishnow selects two shorts as ”exemplars of the medium.” But perhaps the most useful section of the site is ”FlickTips,” a primer on creating Web movies. ”With a camcorder, a computer, and an Internet connection,” says Wishnow, ”anyone can be a full production studio and distribute movies.” Those hints landed the Web maven a deal to write a how-to book, due out in fall 2002. He’s still a long way from Hollywood riches, though: Wishnow’s site barely breaks even. As with many an Internet success story, he was never in it just for the money.

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