The SWDb 2016: Projects, Planning, Brainstorming


(Sebastian) #1

Many thanks to @Phil_H who encouraged me to start thinking about what’s out there to do around the SWDb. I wrote a post about the funding situation, and I am still hoping for feedback on that. In this topic however let’s collect some concrete action items for work around the SWDb. What needs improvement, what is missing? What are we going to focus on in 2016?

These are some of the items that come to my mind

  • I definitely want to improve all the “about” and “help” pages, including editor guidelines and help on how to get involved
  • I am still not sure how to proceed with the Planet (see the other topic)
  • We could still use a tagline
  • We should start a campaign to add consistent 300-character plot synopsis to every movie in the database, following a consistent format (“Filmtitle (year) is about…”)
  • We need more still images, posters and lobby cards, as well as youtube clips and other promotional material. For a database, we are still extremely bad at being a better source for pictures than Google
  • more interlinking. Every name, place and title needs to be linked, that goes especially for longer texts, like reviews. No page in the SWDb should be a dead end. Substracting the main menu, a visitor should always be able to continue browsing without pressing the back button
  • please do report pages with screwed up formatting or layout
  • we need to have higher quality images and we need to put them up in a way for them to be responsive and machine readable
  • we should redo more of the DVD catalogs along the lines of those i already redid. makes them more user friendly and reduces amount of duplicated info, lets send people to the proper DVD page
  • Team growth: We need to grow our staff both quantitatively (more people) as well as qualitatively (include those irregular contributors more and increase overall productivity). We need to do that by creating an environment where it is just plain old fun to do what we do. This is a hobby, but let’s work hard on making it less hard to work on it, so it’s not really “work”.
  • Upgrade movie’s main database pages. We did some good redesign work at the GDCb, we could learn from that. Make it more accessible, structured and mobile friendly

What are other ideas, is there someone who wants to take the lead on a certain aspect. What else could or should we do


(Sebastian) #2

I know @Phil_H had some ideas, but so far noone else has reacted, maybe this drowned in other posts. Just to bump


(Sebastian) #3

One of my projects is to find a better way to display DVDs on a page.

A. Currently
http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Buono,_il_brutto,_il_cattivo,_Il/DVD
Pro: easy to edit, table of contents. Con: horrible usability, looks terrible

B. An attempt at giving each country its own tab
http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Mercenario,_Il/DVD
Pro: looks clean, easy to find. Con: Trickier for us to edit, gets crowded with lots of countries, see C.

C. An attempt of grouping countrires into major regions
http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Grande_silenzio,_Il/DVD
Pro: Simple three groups Con: still hard to find stuff, hard to edit.
Here we have at least 12 countries, so in example B that would be quite a lot of tabs.

Just to show you what is possible, this is where I get the code from: http://foreground.thingelstad.com/wiki/Tabs

What are your thoughts, I personally think B. might be best, and if there are too many countries we could start grouping just some of them (e.g. USA/Canada, Latinamerica, Asia)


(Bill san Antonio) #4

I guess it depends how many releases exists. With just a handful of releases there’s no need to divide them on their own pages but with famous titles like Leone films there’s so many releases that I’d go with option B or C.


(Sebastian) #5

Another project is a long overdue redesign of how movie pages look like.

We are still re-layouting all the page on the GCDb, they now look like this:

http://www.grindhousedatabase.com/index.php/Tenebre

So I have started playing with it, using the Grande Silenzio page:

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Grande_silenzio,_Il

Bigger poster, an introductory text first, and some minor tweaks. I want to use icons like on our top 20 page for DVD, bluRay etc, and come up with something better than bullet points to represent the in-page menu.

And a few months back I also started to make some minor tweaks to the GBU page:

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Buono,_il_brutto,_il_cattivo,_Il

Not as radical, just trying to bring a picture in an put the film’s story at the top (e.g. for google and social networks to pick it up immediately).

In general: Visual appeal are important just as accessiblity, a clean look and better representation in social networks (pasting links there should pick up the greatest picture on the page, so our previous tiny posters are very bad). I am looking forward to our ideas. As with all pages in the SWDb, the “grid” options from http://foreground.thingelstad.com/wiki/Main_Page are what’s possible and that is quite flexible.


(carlos) #6

Intriguing

Good size poster at full resolution :slight_smile:


(Asa) #7

Wow. I think that, when it’s all put together like that, it looks a bit… well, intimidating. It does to me, anyways. Perhaps it would benefit the site to place clear “How-To” guides front and center (Iknow there are some somewhere), because I’d love to assist with all of these tasks and yet the more I read down the list the more I think: No, I’ll fck that one up… No, I’ll fck that one up… Nope, dunno what that means… Don’t even know where to start with that one… :grin:

(I appreciate that much of the difficulty stems from my being a daft old sod but this is a forum packed with daft old sods - meant in the nicest possible sense, of course - and I’m willing to bet that more than a few of us would be far more willing to tinker with the inner workings of the site if we were more confident in how to do so. Or, maybe it’s really just me and I am literally the stupidest person here, which is in fairness a distinct possibility)

Anyways, my two penn’eth as to where the SWDB wants to be in the year 2525 if man is still alive, largely C+P’d from posts I made elsewhere in the forum but which apply here (and yes, I appreciate the irony in my whingeing and moaning like an old git about everything being difficult, only to suggest things which are considerably more difficult than a few wiki alterations) :grinning: :

What’s next for the SWDB? Wow, I wish I was more technically adept than I am because I think there’s scope for plenty of other projects. I’m thinking, The SWDB Podcast! Or even the SWDB YouTube Vodcast! Movie reviews (the hard work’s already done; we could more-or-less just vocalise the reviews already submitted in writing to the SWDB, at least at first while we’re building content), video or podcast commentaries - see, if I was doing a commentary alongside a spag it would just be me gobbing off irritatingly for ninety minutes over an otherwise decent movie but imagine a podcast/vidcast commentary by Scherp or Phil H, it’d be like a fucking Frayling commentary, but an SWDB-exclusive one! Submit a few of those to Blue Underground or Arrow and, before you know it, we’re on the bloody blu-rays! Or how about interviews? You guys have secured some juicy interviews in writing before, why not on a podcast or a video channel? And, while we’re building content, we could interview each other; an interview with Sebastian from the Spaghetti Western Database is an interview with an incredibly prominent member of the Euro Western-loving community - nay, the European cinema-loving community in general.

Heh, just a thought I suppose. But I have a dream: A dream of our Seb, sat there like Sheldon off of The Big Bang Theory doing his “Fun With Flags” YouTube show. “Fun With Spags”, maybe? :smile:

On a more sombre and immediate note, I think something needs to happen to broaden the appeal of the site. Look at the memberlist, organised by most visits. Less than fifty people have visited on more than ten occasions since the migration. Our semi-regular readership is roughly the size of two primary school classrooms. Our truly regular readership, probably half that. It’s difficult because, as much as the SWDB is undoubtedly the greatest resource for European-made westerns on the internet, it’s such a niche interest. It’s heartening to see young men like Farmer_J taking an enthusiastic interest in amongst the ageing audience but there doesn’t seem to be enough in terms of new devotees. How many more conversations can Scherp, Phil, ENNIOO, Stanton et al have about aspect ratios of this film or that between themselves before every possible conversation between the remaining fans of the genre has been undertaken and resolved?

Still, there are options, thanks largely IMO to the fact that the western is enjoying a recognised mini-revival at present. I think it was suggested once (maybe whilst discussing Mexican westerns) that the database should be opened up to more than just spags, and IIRC that idea was shot down by Seb because, well, once we open it up like that, where’s the line? Mexi-westerns? Australi-westerns? Contemporary westerns? Is Serenity (Whedon, 2005) a western? Is Star Wars (Lucas, 1977)? If we’re opening it up to this degree, why not just leave it to the IMDb?

Now, I agree wholeheartedly with Seb’s reticence in opening up the database like that; it just gets silly. BUT. I don’t think there’s much wrong with maybe opening up the SWDB’s interest in a broader church for the benefit of the site. Like, reviews of these recent westerns for instance. They needn’t contain links to the database, but why shouldn’t these fantastic reviews of new westerns by the likes of Scherp, Seb, Phil and co which reside happily in the forums or via link to A.N.Other website be right here on the SWDB front page? Get the IMDb linking to us for OUR reviews of Bone Tomahawk, The Revenant, Jane Got a Gun, The Hateful Eight etc etc. People will come for the contemporary reviews and, saturated in the cool and trendy western vibe, they might just stick around to learn about some REAL f*cking movies. “So, you like violent westerns with a cool-as-fuck European aesthetic, eh? Well, we got some sights for ya! Stick around, amigo!” You know? Something like that, anyway.

http://battleroyalewithcheese.com/2016/01/five-of-the-greatest-spaghetti-westerns-youve-probably-never-seen/


(Novecento) #8

I’d listen/watch those. That is actually a really a cool idea. Sort of “Trailers from Hell” style perhaps (http://trailersfromhell.com/)? For those unfamiliar, the theme there is that an “expert” talks about the film as a short commentary over the trailer.

One of the hardest things about quality film criticism is that you are using words to describe a visual medium which is automatically awkward (I think Alexander Mackendrick said something along these lines once). One of the great things about the internet is you can now show what you mean while you talk. Theoretically this should also allow for more technical reviews about techinique rather than just the usual stuff focused on acting and narrative that makes you feel you may as well be watching a live theatrical performance or reading a book instead.


(Phil H) #9

I must say the poster looks a bit big to me. Also wonder how some of the less hi res images for some of the lesser films will hold up at that size.


(Sebastian) #10

Yea that’ll be a challenge, finding good quality material for a lot of films. But we can play with sizes, that in itself shouldn’t be the main concern. But I wanna arrive at a really helpful and feasible layout in general after some discussion. It helped us move forward on the GCDb, and I think it will do the SWDb a lot of good to give it a dust off


(Phil H) #11

Agree. A standard format makes the site more uniform and consistent. It also makes it much easier for old fools like me to copy and paste the correct code when updating or starting a new page.


(Sebastian) #12

For the heck of it, experimenting what else we can do with tabs

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Grande_silenzio,_Il


(Asa) #13

I like that a lot. Very clear, and all there right on the screen in front of me. Not quite as essential viewed on my Windows phone but still nice and tidy.


(Sebastian) #14

So I just tested recording Skype calls, so whoever wants to jump on a Skype call with me and chat about spaghetti westerns, let’s do it. I will then play around with it and put it up on Soundcloud as our first Spaghetti Western podcast :slight_smile:


(JonathanCorbett) #15

In my view those two are the main points.


Let us not forget that Database content is more important than form, here are some ideas to improve it:

  1. To create a SW Western Towns category, each page including a good number of pictures showing the subject from different angles.
  2. To create for each movie a precise and detailed Censorship & Alternate versions section reporting all the scenes that were originally target of censor, a point of reference in order to facilitate comparison between the different versions (everything is much easier and faster when you know exactly what to check).
  3. IMDb-type keywords (for instance Dynamite, Machine gun, Whipping, Duel, Bank robbery, Bridge, Civil War, Native American, Hanging, Drinking Milk, Beating, Parasol, Revenge, Surprise ending, Mexican Revolution), but chosen from a rigidly predetermined and specific list to avoid an uncontrolled proliferation of uninteresting or repetitive entries.
  4. Uncredited actors marked with an asterisk or other graphic sign.

(Sebastian) #16

I think that would be very useful.[quote=“JonathanCorbett, post:15, topic:3713”]
IMDb-type keywords
[/quote]

Not so sure about the use of this honestly. Wouldn’t it be better if we had really good synopses with each mvoie?[quote=“JonathanCorbett, post:15, topic:3713”]
Uncredited actors marked
[/quote]

Good point.[quote=“JonathanCorbett, post:15, topic:3713”]
those two are the main points.
[/quote]

You are quite right, sir. Especially in terms of high res posters, lobby cards, stills and other publicity material, we haven’t seen many additions in years. This needs an effort from the entire community. A quick “how to” guide about how to add those might also help… and probably a better gallery format


(Sebastian) #17

Here’s another idea: I think it is time the SWDb got a prominently staffed advisory board


(JonathanCorbett) #18

To my way of thinking tags and search by keyword are very useful: for example, let’s say a newcomer wants to know which SWs include a buried to the neck scene.

In a second I can think of seven (Companeros, Death Rides a Horse, Turn… I’ll Kill You, 10.000 Dollars for a Massacre, Pray to God and Dig Your Grave, Shango and Professionals for a Massacre), but if I try a Database search I found only 4 movies: Companeros, Death Rides a Horse, Pray to God and Dig Your Grave and the" new entry" The White, the Yellow, and the Black.

So red light for documentary research on Western Towns?


I have a request pertaining to the Forum, Marshal: can you please rename these seven topics in the Spaghetti Westerns category? Thanks in advance!

This is the correct version:

Venditore di morte (1971/Gicca Palli)

Vendo cara la pelle (1968/Fizzarotti)

Vengeance for Vengeance (1968 /Colucci)

W Django! (1972/Mulargia)

Death Played the Flute aka Requiem for a Bounty Killer (1972/Pannacciò)

Shango (1970/Mulargia)

Pray to God and Dig Your Grave (Prega Dio… e scavati la fossa) (68/Mulargia)


(Phil H) #19

What do you have in mind?


(Sebastian) #20

Well, most prominent companies and foundations etc. have advisory boards that help them get expertise, visibility, open doors, have ambassadors, signal expertise, etc. For the SWDb a mix of industry folk, academics, living actors/directors and maybe cultural folks (e.g. Almeria,film institutes), authors, etc. would make sense… I think it could give the SWDb a huge post, would open doors and help the status of the project a lot regarding possible long term scenarios