The question in the image above is an important one, and the premise to perhaps one of the best film ranking sites out there on the web: Flickchart. I recently had a chance to talk to Co-Founder Nathan Chase about the site, where the idea came from, what all went into creating it and what's in store for the future.
Interview after the jump.
Q. For those late to the game, what's Flickchart?
A. Flickchart is a website that allows film lovers to create a personal "best of all-time" list by choosing between pairs of films, instead of assigning arbitrary values (like a number of stars) to individual films. By virtue of getting random pairings of films, it can cause you to think differently about what merits each film has. The system works to achieve this lateral decision making in a way that trying to decide if a movie is a "8.3" or an "8.5" via other rating systems simply can't.
You can also choose to rank within, or filter your list (your "Flickchart") by a number of parameters - by date, genre, actor, director, franchise, studio, or any combination. Also, as you rank, you can read, reply, and add to discussions about every single pair you come across, or pass along your judgments to Facebook and Twitter. There's also handy links to purchase movies you're reminded of on Amazon, add them to your Netflix queue, download from iTunes, or buy the wide variety of posters you come across.
We support the site with an extensive blog; covering film topics from all angles, hosting a Flickchart podcast, and offering weekly news on Blu-ray, DVD, and Netflix releases.
Q. How did it all begin?
A. Flickchart sprung from a discussion Jeremy Thompson (co-founder & programmer of Flickchart, pictured above) and I had about the IMDb Top 250 list in late 2006, and how the results always seemed off and unrepresentative of what people actually favored. Specifically, "The Empire Strikes Back" fell well below "Pulp Fiction" on the list, and neither of us thought that would be true if people were asked to choose between the two. Immediately, the idea of a website where you do exactly that was born. I had a rough visual prototype within the week, and Jeremy had an early text-only version of the algorithm and programming to support it.
Q. What are some of the difficulties involved with running this kind of site?
A. While there have been many difficulties, time has always been the biggest threat against us. We only have spare nights and weekends to devote to development and new features for the site, so it limits how quickly we can act on all of the things we'd like to do with Flickchart. Gathering all of the data about each movie has been tricky, but we've developed a good system of user submissions and volunteers who help to verify and approve any films people are looking to rank. We now have just under 25,000 films total in our database.
We've also dealt with issues of scaling and performance, as we've been limited to affordable server infrastructures as we grow. Sometimes when we'd rather be working on new features, we're unfortunately stuck with eliminating bugs and improving performance.
Q. What's in store for Flickchart?
A. We've been looking closer at improving our mobile experience, and have plans to offer a full, native app for iPhone in the coming months, and possibly Android thereafter. We also have a lot of improvements in store for the social side of Flickchart; allowing for more ways to look at the data cross-referenced with your friends, tying Facebook and Twitter more closely to your Flickchart account, and finding even more personalized recommendations based on you, and your friends' choices. There are over 60 features detailed in our internal roadmap, and if time and resources are on our side, we hope to bring them to fruition sooner than later.
Q. What's currently at the #1 spot on your Flickchart?
A. My #1 of all-time is The Empire Strikes Back.
Q. Where can we find Flickchart?
Posted by movieguyjon
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