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Brickfilms.com
Brickfilmslogo
Brickfilms.com's logo from 2003 to 2015, designed by Jay Silver
Founded by
Current Admin
Chuck Price and/or Cynthia Price
(2008 - Present)
Years Active
2000 - Present
Website Type
Forum
Language English
Link Brickfilms.com

Brickfilms.com is a website focused on the art of brickfilming. It was founded in 2000 by Jason Rowoldt and is the earliest example of a website dedicated to the LEGO animation community. It was the main home of the English-speaking brickfilming community from late 2000 until early 2008, when the majority of active users migrated to Bricks in Motion.[1][2]

History Edit

FoundingEdit

On December 15th, 2000, Jason Rowoldt posted an announcement to the LEGO enthusiast newsgroup Lugnet.com outlining his plan for a website dedicated to films created using LEGO. He had created the empty domain Brickfilms.TopCities.com, coining the term 'brickfilm' in relation to LEGO filmmaking. Rowoldt's goal was to compile all brickfilms available on the internet into one place; The Brickfilms Movie Directory.

At launch, Rowoldt's directory would include films by Thomas Foote, Marc Atkin, Christopher Brawn, Robert Thomas and Stephen Roberts, in addition to those by Rowoldt himself. He also planned to search across the internet for any other films he had not yet found and to allow submissions of brickfilms from the general public. The site would also feature a forum dedicated to all aspects of brickfilming, which Rowoldt was inspired to include due to Lugnet lacking a forum for the topic.[3]

Jason Rowoldt era (2000 - 2003)Edit

Title01

The original logo of Brickfilms.TopCities.com

After content was created for the domain, Brickfilms.TopCities.com was launched by Jason Rowoldt on the 16th of December, 2000.[4] The earliest forum was hosted externally on Server.com.[5] By the beginning of 2001, there were 16 films listed in the directory, and Rowoldt would soon begin publishing interviews with filmers and guides to various aspects of brickfilming. The site was moved to the domain Brickfilms.com on March 8, 2001.[6] In May, a request was put out for a volunteer to assist with reviewing film submissions and to write articles for the site, and in July, Jared Gilbert was added to the Brickfilms staff.[7]

Title02

The second logo, appearing in October 2001

On July 30th, in celebration of the hundreth film in the directory, Brickfilms announced its first contest, the Classical Movie Contest. On August 14th, the Server.com forum was retired and a new forum was launched on ezboard.com.[8][9] In December, Brickfilms announced its second contest, the Historical Fiction Contest, to mark the one-year anniversary of the site. By 2002, the domain Brickfilms.TopCities.com, which previously the domain Brickfilms.com had redirected to, had been disused.[10]

BrickfilmsTShirtGraphic

A graphic designed by Jay Silver which was used on t-shirts

On January 4th 2002, Jason requested a technical assistant to help with a site redesign and development of new site features. This role was eventually filled by Mike Yacullo. On January 17th, Jay Silver joined the staff as a graphics artist after creating designs for Brickfilms.com merchandise.[11] More staff members were added later in the year, with Robert Graff joining in April to maintain the FAQ and Nick Maniatis in July as another writer for the directory.[12]

Work on a complete redesign of the site was underway for much of 2002. On November 22 2002, the redesigned site was formally announced with a projected release window of January or February 2003.[13] The core development team at this time was Jason Rowoldt, Jay Silver, Mike Yacullo and Nick Maniatis. The headline feature of the redesign was to be a new searchable film directory with reviews, categories and other special features. In January 2003, Rowoldt requested a second coder for the redesign. Loïc Desjardins joined the development team in this role.[14] In February, Mike Yacullo had to leave the development team. Work on the redesign remained ongoing.[15] In late March, Rowoldt announced a public test of the new forum which was to be part of the redesigned site. The community was to migrate over to this forum from the ezboard forum after the testing.[16]

On May 29 2003, Jason Rowoldt announced that due to a lack of time and motivation, he could not continue running Brickfilms.com. The site was put up for sale. If a buyer were not to be found in around two weeks, the site would become defunct. On the 5th of June, it was announced that Brickfilms.com would be purchased by Joshua Leasure.[12]

Joshua Leasure era (2003 - 2007)Edit

Brickfilmslogo

The longest-running logo of the site was introduced in June 2003.[17]

Leasure's first action after taking control of Brickfilms.com was to found the Review Panel, who would provide reviews for films in the directory on the imminent site redesign. A call for applicants was put out on June 11 2003 and the chosen panel was announced on the 19th as Nick Maniatis, Chris Salt, James Jannicelli and Stefan van Zwam.[12]

The long-awaited site redesign was at last launched on August 4, 2003. The new site added the new directory system, which featured films sorted by creator and by genre. It also added an updated resources section with links to helpful articles and software, and the patron system, which allowed members to make donations to the site in exchange for extra benefits.

Sale of the site and community exodus (2007 - 2008)Edit

Brickfilms.com 3.0 (2009)Edit

Brickfilms.com in later yearsEdit

In 2012, Brickfilms.com underwent a major redesign, moving from a phpBB forum to a Wordpress powered website. This redesign broke many aspects of the site, un-hiding private forums, allowing anonymous posting, etc. Due to the anonymous posting, spam bots attacked Brickfilms.com and filled it with spam posts, even forcing the website to go down due to so many attacks.

Bflogo-2015

The new logo introduced with the 2015 redesign

In June 2015, Brickfilms.com was once again redesigned. This redesign was initiated by site owner, Chuck Price.The goal of the redesign was to focus on featuring brickfilms and resources, with the forum as a side element. Although the interface was changed, Brickfilms.com was still built on a Wordpress backend. Various website issues followed, the most major being missing forum topics and posts. The issue of anonymous posting was resolved, but many years of spam posts still filled the forums. The forums were majorly pruned, causing much of the old forum content to be lost. The forum remains relatively unused.

FeaturesEdit

DirectoryEdit

PatronsEdit

In the site's second version, between 2003 and 2008, a patronage system was operated.[18] This system allowed members to donate money towards the upkeep of the site in exchange for extra benefits. Patrons were indicated on the forum by a badge which would appear with their username. The patronage system was divided into four levels:

  • Patron15
    Patron 15fps cost $3 per year. It gave users access to an @brickfilms.com forwarding email address.
  • Patron24
    Patron 24fps cost $9 per year. Patrons at this level received a full @brickfilms.com webmail account and were eligible to judge some official site contests.
  • Patrondig
    Patron Digital cost $30 per year. It granted the same benefits as Patron 24fps and additionally gave users hosting space on the Brickfilms.com server, with the address username.brickfilms.com.
  • Patronsaint
    Patron Saint cost $60 per year. It granted the same benefits as Patron Digital, but increased the amount of server storage space and monthly bandwidth provided and granted access to two additional email accounts.

In 2008, the patronage system was scaled back to only include Patron 24fps.[19] The system was retired entirely with the launch of Brickfilms.com 3.0 in early 2009.

ForumEdit

The first forum for Brickfilms.com was launched alongside the site itself in 2000 and remained in use until August 2001. It was hosted externally on Server.com.

The second forum was hosted externally on ezboard, beginning on August 14, 2001. It was the first Brickfilms.com forum to include subforums. It remained in use until 2003. The ezboard forum, although incomplete (only beginning around March 2002), remained online for many years at brickfilmsforums.yuku.com but can now only be accessed on the Internet Archive.[20]

The current Brickfilms.com forum has been in use since 2003, though it has been ported across various forum platforms during redesigns. The forum had a large data loss coinciding with the 2015 redesign and is currently missing a significant portion of historical threads.

Ministries and ElectionsEdit

Resources and WikiEdit

References Edit

  1. The Brickfilms Chronicle by Leonardo Escobar
  2. Report about the migration on LUGNET
  3. Lugnet post from Jason Rowoldt announcing the site
  4. Archive of Brickfilms.TopCities.com listing the launch date
  5. Original Server.com forum
  6. History of Brickfilms document
  7. Older News archive
  8. Final news archive on the TopCities site
  9. ezboard forum archive
  10. TopCities 2002 archive
  11. First 2002 news archive
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 History of Brickfilms document
  13. Official announcement of the redesigned site
  14. Request for another coder to work on the redesign
  15. Update on the status of the site from February 2003
  16. Announcement of the testing of the new forum
  17. First archive with the 2003 logo
  18. The patrons page on Brickfilms.com during the Joshua Leasure era
  19. The patrons page in 2008
  20. brickfilmsforums.yuku.com - Archive.org
Brickfilming websites
Brickfilms.com · Cool Brick Movies · BrickBoard · Palikkatakomo · Bricks in Motion · Brick à Brack · WMBF · Brickfilmer's Guild · The Set Bump · ReBrick · Brickfilms Wiki · BrickVideo Studio