The Independent Filmmaker's Forum first went on line in May of 1993 as the Mastermind BBS. Running Falken BBS software on the IBM OS/2 operating system, it was a general BBS with a single dial-in phone line. The BBS included several special-interest forums including a day-care forum, a work-at-home forum, Collectors and Collectibles, UFOs and, of course, the Independent Filmmaker's Forum. The IFF being the most unique of the forums on the Mastermind BBS, it was also one of the most successful forums (the UFO forum being the other). Members included local filmmakers and members of the IICS (International Interactive Communications Society).
At OneBBSCON later that same year, the Mastermind Sysop attended several conferences on "Niche" BBSes and decided that this was the best future for the Mastermind BBS. At the end of the Summer of 1993, the Mastermind BBS officially became the Independent Filmmaker's Forum BBS.
And they did. The BBS jumped to four dial-in phone lines and a voice-mail, FAX and information computer was added. The software was switched over from Falken to Wildcat and internet e-mail and newsgroups further enhanced the system's information content. The BBS was soon logging callers from Europe, Japan, Indonesia and Russia. By the spring of 1995 it was up to 8 lines. Some of the hottest indies were on-line and using the IFF for e-mail and communications, not to mention the amateurs and wannbes who had a resource that they never had before. The IFF was profiled in publications such as Boardwatch and .net, a British internet publication.
Of course, all good things must come to an end. We tried to keep the IFF affordable to encourage subscibers. Although for a time we were bringing in enough monthly revenue to more than offset our monthly costs, we never recovered the initial investment in setting up the service and so the IFF never became profitable. Furthermore, since we were a dial-in service based in Long Beach and Redondo Beach, California, we were a toll call for most users outside of Los Angeles AND a message unit call for most users inside LA. Competition, such as The Vine, who offered more attractive interfaces, telnet and the World Wide Web began to crop up and take away our subscribers. As BBSes became more and more out of favor, and as ISPs offered cheaper and cheaper services AND a lot of content attractive to indies, we were eventually not able to compete.
BUT, now that Web Hosting has become inexpensive, we are planning to bring many of the features of the IFF back on the World Wide Web. The new Independent Filmmaker's Forum at www.indiefilm.com is hosted by Concentric Network. We look forward to serving the needs of the Independent Filmmaker WORLDWIDE at our new site on the World Wide Web.