Saturday, November 07, 2015

AIFF 2015: Figuring Out The New Schedule Software SCHED

The Anchorage International Film Festival seems to have abandoned Festival Genius - a film festival specific software program - for a  more generic event scheduling program called SCHED.  I'm just starting to figure it out.   You can skip this post and check it out yourself here.  (I'd note that SCHED does list film festivals as one of the kinds of events it is 'perfect for.')

Some first impressions:
  • It looks simpler
  • It doesn't seem to have the many ways Festival Genius allowed people to search and sort for specific types of films, specific times, venues, or to create a variety of schedule formats.
  • It's color coded films by genre.
  • There are drop down windows that tell you more about each film including when and where it plays.
  • There's information about who is attending.
  • It's social media connected and interactive.
  • It seems to have good mobile applications

On the actual website, you could click on any of the colored bars and get a drop down window with info about the film and when and where you can see it.  But there's a lot of different colors and when you scroll down, you lose the legend that tells you what the colors mean. 

Click to enlarge and focus
OK, I'd gotten to know my way around Festival Genius, and it took a bit of time, so I don't want to judge this yet.  I want to see how easy this will be for finding out when, say, all the docs play, or all the features in competition play.  I want to see how easy I can see how much time I have from the end of one film to the beginning of another and how easy it is to see all the films at one venue for the afternoon.  Once I got the hang of Festival Genius, it could do all this kind of fancy sorting.

The print version looks like it allows you to see all the important information (but not the details about the film itself) all on one page.   Actually, now that I look carefully at the print version - you can do lots of different sorting there.  GET TO THE PRINT VERSION from the regular schedule - upper right.  See pink circle in image below.  Once you're in the print version, the sort boxes are in the upper right side.

Click to enlarge and focus

And there is a page with guides to personalizing the schedule.

From what I could figure out so far, I can pick films I want to see and it will set up a schedule, but I can't see some of the timing and location overlaps and conflicts before I pick a film.  But maybe that's in there.  I know I had to create some of these things myself - like all the features in competition over the week - but FG made it fairly easy to get the information. 

I would note that I never registered for Festival Genius because it required more personal info about me than I wanted to give it.  That wasn't a factor with SCHED. 

The Privacy Policy doesn't have anything that raised any red flags for me - though these days it's hard to know the implications of the language.  But I did notice that because they don't collect information about people under 13 years of age, such people can't sign up.  (Well, of course they can, but SCHED seems to be giving itself an out if they do.):

"8. No Collection of Children's Personal Information.

Our Services are intended for general audiences and commercial use and are not intended for and may not be used by children under the age of 13. We do not knowingly collect any personal information from children under the age of 13 and delete any information We believe to be in violation of this provision."
There was nothing to tell me that people under 13 cannot register I registered.

This clause from Your Data and Responsibilities gave me some pause.
"We need to be able to use your data to provide you with our Services and you are granting us a worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, adapt, publish, translate and distribute Your Data in any existing or future media as we deem appropriate. You also grant to us the right to sub-license these rights."
I'm not sure what this all might mean for me.  I don't expect to be putting much information up there, but I'm guessing all the information that AIFF puts up now belongs to SCHED.  This was the kind of legal language the Anchorage Daily News (now the Alaska Dispatch) used that scared me off as a blogger when they were reaching out to local bloggers.  Why would I want to give them rights to use my materials like this?  It seemed like a one way benefit.

And I'm hoping that posting the screen shot above from SCHED won't get me in trouble - I couldn't tell from the legal language.  I'm assuming this is fair use since I'm sort of reviewing this software.

So, I like the colors, but I'm leery that getting the kinds of information that Festival Genius offered will be much harder.  I haven't talked to anyone at the Festival about the change yet.  I'm guessing this is a lot cheaper for them. 

Given the ability to sort in the print version, I think this is going to be just fine. 

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