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Chris Long's Column: Cut the virtual insanity

To: Rock Bigmoney, Producer In Chief, Bigmoney Studios From: Chris Long Ref: A brilliant idea for promoting the Internet
Written by Chris Long, Contributor

Dear Mr Bigmoney,

Sorry to disturb you, but this is very important and I think you can help me -- and yourself. I have become very concerned at how Hollywood is representing the Internet and something needs doing about it. Despite AOL with 10 million or so users plus Freeserve with a million or so users -- proving the Internet is just like television or radio -- Hollywood still portrays it as nerdy.

As a result, I have come up with an outline for a film that I think could really put the Internet on the map. This film will do for the internet what Titanic did for crossing the Atlantic on a big boat.

No hold on, that isn't right.

I don't mean that this would be the equivalent of the Internet ramming an iceberg several times the size of St Paul's, but I have an idea here for a film about the internet that could really bring it to the general public. And make money.

To date Hollywood just hasn't taken responsibility for how it represents the Internet, take Sandra Bullock in The Net. The film was hardly true to life, take her Internet log on times: far too fast -- much faster than you would expect -- and did you see the speed the pages loaded -- ridiculous!

Similarly, Independence Day. When Jeff Goldblum uploaded the virus to the alien ship, he used what looked very much like an AppleTalk connector. To an alien ship? See that is just so far from reality as to make it laughable. Were you to watch Star Trek you'd know that communications in the future are made via sub-space and there is no sign of an AppleTalk connector anywhere on the Enterprise, thus you are unlikely to find one on an alien spaceship.

It's these kinds of errors that I want to avoid, so we can put forward a real image of the internet and yet still reflect the reality of living at the end of the millennium.

So, to the story:

Now depending on who you've lined up, superstar wise, I have a couple of main scenarios in mind. We can have a tough New York cop stuck at the top of a building overrun by terrorists. Or there is the good looking cop stuck on a bus that blows up if it goes under 50 MPH. Or a good looking President hijacked on his aeroplane. Or perhaps a good looking amnesiac woman realising she was a cold blooded killer before she lost her memory. Or maybe even a good looking yet ill-starred couple on a good looking liner said to be unsinkable. Take your pick.

But once the trouble starts they need to sort it out and warn the authorities or their loved ones. Well -- and here is the bit that will get the viewers -- Our Hero(s) has a PC with a modem and if they can get on line they can save the day. Well, first they try to get on line but the modem needs resetting, so they have to switch it off and the on again (building tension you see). Then once the modem is sorted they need to configure the email software. Unfortunately this turns out to be a copy of something like Eudora. Heavy and as such needs at least two geniuses and the manual to set up.

Once this is discovered Our Hero(s) decides to grab a free account off something like, say Hotmail (an opportunity for product placement here). And at their first attempt to get the web page they get a 404 Page Not Found error. They finally get on line and just as they are waiting for the web page to load, the baddies come up behind them and shoot them in the back of the head (or the ship sinks).

This film is much closer to the reality of the internet and the violent ending will appeal to the youngsters -- the punters will love it. Although if the 'big name' doesn't like the ending the stars can be just slightly wounded.

With a big name and perhaps with some good looking kit (PIII and V90 modem minimum), I'm sure this will be a blockbuster. Thanks for your time.

Yours truly, Chris Long

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