Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Col Needham

Those who know me will be aware that the website IMDb is very impportant in my life. IMDb, which stands for Internet Movie Database, contains all the information about every film, every crew member involved, and every actor and actress in the business. Personally, i use IMDb for many reasons; to find out about new releases, to find films by I certain director I like, or starring a certain actor i would like to see in something else, to identify actors whos face I know but who's name i dont, and primarily for my ongoing "film-web" project. In this project I connect the films i watch by the actors who appear in it, and sometimes i need to search for a really obscure role in order for this to work. I have the IMDb application on my phone so i can access it from anywhere, as well as from my computer, and believe i must visit the site around half a dozen times a day. This is why i was so excited to be in the audience for "spotlight in IMDb founder, Col Needham.
To my surprise, there is nothing show-biz about Col Needham. He looks just like your average man, and is, not from America which id previously thought, but from Manchester!
He explained how he never intended for IMDb to get so huge, and how, charmingly, the database began as a list he made, for himself, of all the films he had seen. The first film he ever watched was Snow White and the seven dwarfs (a re-release ;)) and claims it was seeing this, which began his love for film. He told one story, to which i can relate to very much, where at the age of fourteen he rented the film Alien. In fourteen days, he watched the film, fourteen times.
For an hour, Needham told the story of how IMDb grew into the phenomenon that it s today. From the first time he shared his list with other people, to the day the first person volounteered their information, right to the day he signed the deal with Amazon.
It was fascinating, for me, to learn how this business came from one mans obsessive watching of movies. In 1990, Col admits to seeing 1100 films. Some of the people i was with described him as being "sad", but i decribed him as "my hero"!

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