You might not automatically recognize the name Trigger Street if you work outside of the film industry, but you definitely know some of their work: "Beyond the Sea," "The Big Kahuna" and, most recently, the upcoming Aaron Sorkin-penned, David Fincher-directed Facebook biopic, "The Social Network." And even if none of those sound immediately familiar, the production company's co-founder definitely will: Oscar winner Kevin Spacey.
If you happen to be a young/aspiring filmmaker, then you should know about Trigger Street. The production company's online presence, TriggerStreet.com, was relaunched a number of years ago as an online community catering to up-and-comers in the industry. Just this week, for the first time in the network's history, a member of that community has taken home a monetary award for his participation in a short film contest co-sponsored by Trigger Street and Stella Artois: Jason Musante Klein's "The Perfect Time."
Spacey and his partner Dana Brunetti recently sat down to chat with MTV's Josh Horowitz about the contest and the network, which happens to be one of the oldest of its kind on the Internet. "We actually created one of the first social networks by accident," Brunetti explained. "It was 2002 and obviously it predates MySpace and Facebook. It was kind of a happy accident."
For seven years, Trigger Street has run an online short film festival. This is the first year with a proper contest and a monetary prize however, and it's a testament to the success of the community that's sprung up. "It’s grown considerably," Brunetti continued. "It’s a mechanism that lives online that runs on its own. It helps users enhance... their work, getting it out there and getting exposure."
This inaugural contest also featured a celebrity panel of judges, including Spacey himself, Laurence Fishburne," songwriter James Blunt, "Brüno" creator Sacha Baron Cohen and Dame Judi Dench. The image of Dench and Cohen together in particular left Josh amused.
"I love that you have that image," Spacey said. "I can tell you it was one hell of a fistfight between Dame Judi and Sacha. They were disagreeing about the winner." In all seriousness, the challenge facing the panel was how precisely to judge the material. Spacey was happy to elaborate.
"We were asked very often when we launched how we would measure success. If one person learns more about filmmaking, storytelling, about how to take their script or poem, to me that’s success. It is about a process and the encouragement and opportunity for people all over the world. People are really tough on the site."
So in many ways, Trigger Street functions as a peer-reviewed learning tool. An "incubator," as Brunetti described it. "We’ve had people who have never read a screenplay in their life that then have written their own and honed it through the feedback and revision that have ended up in our top ten."