Fated, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate Shit Film Websites News Posted by John Hoare on 22nd November 2006, 09:47 Oh, this was supposed to be such a lovely article. Craig’s got a film coming out, you see. It’s supposed to be exciting. Fun for us to write! Free publicity for them! Fun for everyone. Unfortunately, we were hit by the curse. The curse of Shit Film Websites. May I present: www.fatedthemovie.com. Now, bear in mind that I could get technical here about the markup, and bang on about accessibility. But let’s ignore all that, and concentrate on the end result purely for visual browsers: What’s the first thing we see when arriving on the Fated website? A great big ugly pointless controller for the music being played on the background, on the top left. Ewwwwwwwww. It pushes the “content” of the page off the screen in any resolution under 1280×1024. Why the hell is that there? You need a simple on/off link, not a horrible pointless white box that is clearly designed for playing video. And sound on websites is generally a bad idea, unless it’s an integral part of the site that’s needed for full functionality. When I browse websites, I tend to be listening to my own music – I don’t want to listen to somebody else’s. It’s a lovely piece of music, but it shouldn’t be there – it should be an option to listen to separately. Oh, and nice to see that the page title is “fated index”. That’ll look professional on Google. Now, just look at that main picture. That is one blurry motherfucker. In fact, it looks like it’s been scaled up from a smaller version. So, a film website that can’t get a decent picture of its own poster. Great. And just look at that red banner giving the details about the Monaco Film Festival – not only is it ugly (it not being in keeping with the rest of the poster), but it’s also appallingly rendered – it’s a blurry mess. Looks like bad JPEG encoding to me. Not to mention that just sticking your poster up in the middle of a page does not constitute web design, in any way shape or form. And this is your first impression, is it? A page that hasn’t actually been designed? Underneath that is the navigation, the release date, and the contact link. It’s all just completely inappropriate. This needs to be big, bold, beautifully rendered, exciting… instead, it’s cramped, too close to the graphic, and just ugly. To say nothing of the fact that this needs to be at the top of the screen – it’s off the bottom of the page in some resolutions. Appalling. Now, let’s take that first link – Acefilm. Now, for a start, that isn’t the name of the production company. It’s Ace Film. In other words: they can’t even be bothered to spell the name of their own production company right. Secondly, it’s just a confusing link – the first link on the page, and it takes you away from the website? Ridiculous. Back to the Fated website, and the next link – and it’s the Synopsis. (Or the “synopisx” according to the page title. Professional.) And what do we have? The same ugly white audio controller. An ugly link at the top to “home”. No heading informing us it’s the synopsis page. And… a picture of a statue. And nothing else. Erm… what? Is this some kind of “clever” shit? Because I don’t want that – I want a synopsis of the film. You know, what I asked for when I clicked on the link? So, back to click on the Trailer link… and we get taken to the Ace Films website again. For fucks sake, stop pointing me to other sites on your main navigation. The trailer for the film should be on the film site. Otherwise, what the fuck is it there for? Oh, and that was the last shred of content from the actual film’s site. Two pages, not actually designed in any way shape or form, with fuck all on them. Effort, there. And no, a link to an email address at the bottom saying “Contact us for details” is not an adequate substitute for, you know, designing and writing a website. (Also: you shouldn’t link email addresses to anything other than the text of the email address – it’s just confusing, inaccessible for some people, and irritating when you click on it and your mail client opens.) Still, now we’re on the “Ace” Films site, let’s have a look at the page the Trailer link went to. Hmmm, that’s rather more than just a trailer there – in fact, there’s quite a lot of stuff about the film. Now, why wasn’t all this on the actual film site, eh? Having to click on a link saying “Trailer” in order to get any actual information about the film is just dumb, and confusing. So, let’s read the synopsis, then: A fairy tale for grown ups. One man’s obsession with his dead love creates a miracle. When the charismatic, eccentric TATTY loses the love of his life , the beautiful free spirit AMY. He can’t come to terms with her untimely death. He blames himself for her death. A part of him dies too. He takes to drink, and in a state of drunken delirium he creates a statue of his AMY which he places in the dark heart of a haunted burnt out church, where he lives, as a tramp, devoted to his statue for the next thirteen years until…” Now, forgive me, but that is barely English. A film company that can’t write a synopsis of their own film? Erm, great. Also: why are the Cast and Crew credits in PDF format? What’s wrong with HTML? Not to mention that the film apparently includes “Extra’s”. As for the photos page – well, I assumed they were all thumbnails, but no – they’re the actual pictures. Well, if you think a picture roughly 180x80px is big enough to advertise your film, don’t let me stop you. I’m too busy laughing to care. Oh, and a quick clue: saying “ADVERTISE HERE” does not make your website look good. For a start, it makes it look like you can’t get advertising, and secondly – if you’re a production company, your website is your advert. Don’t clutter it with other people’s. It’s not like you’ll get much money from it. I could go on – how utterly awful their “logo” is, how having eleven dots in your ellipsis on the “CLICK FOR LATEST NEWS………..” link is utterly ridiculous, about how the news link is in completely the wrong place, how there’s still hardly any information about the film on the “Ace” Films site, about how utterly ugly every single aspect of those two sites is – but I think I’ve made my point. A million times over. Now, I’m also well aware that G&T isn’t perfect – in fact, it’s very far from being perfect. You could pick on the things wrong with this site all day. But Jesus, I could do better websites than they’ve managed in an evening. And it is important. A website is your advert – your calling card. It’s how people will judge the professionalism of your company. And “Ace” Films, from their website, looks about the most unprofessional outfit you could ever imagine. It’s also supposed to make people want to see your film. Guess what? I don’t. It’s utterly ludicrous. I can’t understand how you can get the budget to shoot a 90 minute feature film, and then not allocate a thousand pounds or so for someone to do a decent website for it. I’m here to write you a free puff piece for your film – and you make it impossible to write an effective piece on it. You know what the worst thing is, though? That this film is being released on Friday – and nowhere on either site does it say where the film is being shown. The best we get is “Fated” is being released in cinemas from November 24th. Contact us for details.” Not only is that the ugliest text I’ve ever seen, but a “contact us for details” is not an adequate subsitute for actual information. Presumably it’s a limited release? Well, tell us where, if you want us to see your film! …what? You got to the end of this article? Congratulations. Have a banana.