James Stanford '98 documents how the Internet influences our culture
By Rob MacKay '89
Stanford '98, on a roof in New York City, scouts a scene for
his film Message in a Bubble, a documentary about Internet entrepreneurs.
For James Stanford '98,
the Internet provides a lot more than unlimited access to information.
Stanford thinks it has a tremendous influence on culture, too, and
he's documenting it. His half-finished film, Message in a Bubble,
examines how the World Wide Web has changed business and convinced
otherwise sheepish individuals that they can be cyber-entrepreneurs.
"I'm very interested
in the Internet's effect on America and how it's reinvigorating
the American dream," says Stanford, an English major whose
thesis analyzed film adaptations of F. Scott Fitzgerald '17's novel
The Great Gatsby. "Because of it, people are taking
risks now that they never would have dreamed of taking a few years
Schutz Polis '96, who has so far started seven Internet companies,
is shown inside the Miami flower-packing facility for his business
Through Folkestone Productions,
a company he started, Stanford and associate producer David Nee
'98, have shot 65 hours of interviews with 25 different leaders
in the Internet industry. Included in the list of talking heads
is Jared Polis '96, who started seven Internet companies, such as
the financial powerhouses Bluemountain and Stardot Consulting, and
parlayed his Web success into a seat on the Colorado Board of Education.
'98 poses in the office of his Internet solutions startup, Bootstrap
Software, in New York City.
Another subject, Jay
Erickson '98, discusses how he went from being a plumber and an
actor with no certainty of vocation to a super-involved COO of Bootstrap
a full service Internet solutions company. "When you go from
the Stone Age to the Iron Age, you'd better drop your stones and
pick up some iron," Erickson says in front of the camera before
adding that the Internet allows him to go into meetings with 50-year-old
business people and be taken seriously and treated with respect.
Actually, viewers of
Message in a Bubble might want to know what's happening with
Stanford, an Internet entrepreneur in his own right. When not working
on the documentary, the 25-year-old provides companies with brand
exposure in new media outlets, i.e. broadband, DVDs, rich content
But film is his major
interest, and this February, Stanford, who lives in New York City,
plans to finish Message in a Bubble by going back and talking
with the interviewees again, to see what they're thinking about
now - and how they're doing. "With the Internet world as volatile
and fast-moving as it is, I'm really looking forward to finding
out what has happened to all these characters," says the Fort
Wayne, Indiana native. "I certainly hope that they're still
Stanford is still seeking
capital as he edits and promotes his documentary, he can be reached
Rob MacKay is an editor
at a weekly newspaper in Queens called the Timesnewsweekly.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org