Slick site allows experience, invention and connection

The print advertisement for Sony’s new interactive Web site “Screenblast” goes something like this: a woman with little clothing and a come hither look stares out from the page. Printed across the front of her body are the words “use me,” “explore me,” “share me.” The implication is that this fine young lady is Sony’s newest product. Surprisingly, she is not. Screenblast has nothing to do with prostitution or wife/girlfriend swapping as the ad implies. It is, however, a very impressive new online tool for users to create their own movies and music.

The site is fairly easy to navigate but in order to fully experience the video and music clips a computer with a fast modem is necessary. Screenblast has an exciting array of options for entertainment and creativity.

Featured on the “experience” portion of the site is Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins. Corgan’s new project is an anime version of the band called “Glass and the Machines of God” which he compares to David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” character and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album. The comparison being that in this alternate reality the music can express a different side of the band. The characters are not identical to the band members but share some characteristics with them. The character Glass is representative of Corgan but “has some more feminine traits,” Corgan stated. “The female in the animated work contains masculine qualities which allow for both characters to take on an androgynous quality.”

Seth Green (Austin Powers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has a claymation comedy project also found on “experience” site called “Sweet J.” In the first episode, Seth and Conan O’Brien go to a celebrity convention in search of Britney Spears. The feature is mildly funny but seems to be all about making fun of easy targets like David Hasselhoff and Bob Denver (Gilligan). A warning stating that it is inappropriate for a younger audience because it has some swearing and sex jokes precedes the short film. Thankfully the site has a “create” aspect that allows users to make funnier short films than “Sweet J.”

In the “create” portion users can take existing footage shot for the site and manipulate it into their own creations. Regrettably, one of the options is making your own “Dawson’s Creek” episode by putting a series of scenes from the show in any order you want. Hopefully the site will get better footage to work with in the future (depending on your own taste), but if you enjoy “The Creek,” that project is for you.

The music link of this site has downloads of software that can mix samples and create songs. It also has 10 different loops available to create your own electronica tracks.

“Connect” allows people to chat about movies and music and also to share projects.

The site offers up to 50 MB of stash space for people to store their projects. To become a member of Screenblast, log on to , click on “login” and follow the directions. The site is free and it takes about 30 seconds to sign up.

Screenblast is flashy and cool looking but contains a tremendous amount of advertising. The majority of the site was an advertisement for the Sony Corporation’s various interests, from Poe to the upcoming film “Spiderman.” Screenblast looks like a fun site but beware of “the man.” He’s out there and this site will probably not be free for long.