VandaliaTV V2: New Ways to Discover Film

The exciting thing about launching VandaliaTV back in September 2019 is that I knew from the start the site would grow and change. I had more ideas for features that I wanted to put on the site, and with more projects coming from all over the state the needs and wants of the people visiting would change. The whole point of VandaliaTV is to help people discover WV films, so the focus of Version 2 was to give people more ways to find films.


Here's a short list of some of the more noticeable changes you can find on the site now. I'm happy to finally get some of these features up and out for you to enjoy!


1. The Discover Page


This whole new section on the site lets you jump to different WV cities to find the projects closest to you.


The Discover page also allows you to navigate to different genres like Comedy, Drama, Sci-fi, Horror, Experimental, and more!


Lastly the page showcases projects from selected genres, like our new music section, as well as a featured section for the new Screening Now section.


2. The Film Map

The site now has a full map of West Virginia with pins dropped on cities and towns where the sites has projects. This is a great way to find films from smaller towns that may not be on the "Cities" navigation bar.


3. Music Section

As soon as I launched the first ask from a lot of filmmakers was for a section that showcased their work with musicians. A lot of talented filmmakers in the state have collaborated with musicians from West Virginia and beyond. This section highlights those music videos, as well as several film groups that have made awesome live performance series.


4. Screening Now

At the head of the Discover page you will find a newly featured project for our Screening Now section. This section will highlight one WV film per month, as well as hold limited weekend screenings of WV films not available anywhere else. This is our "e-theater" so to speak, with content coming in and out regularly.


5. Dev Blog


Put simply, you're already using this feature. One of my goals for the site was to get enough functionality that I can focus on promoting new features individually, rather than in big "updates." I consider this project a community project and enjoy sharing some of the behind the scenes work with the community. That's what the Dev Blog will do.


It will have random updates on new features, upcoming features, and even just thoughts on working on the site. This blog can be found at the bottom of our new About Page.


6. Search


Quite an obvious feature to have on a streaming site that was missing from the launch. It took some time to properly tag every film with genre, location, and format to make them searchable. But now all projects are properly labeled and the search at the top right of the page (or in the menu on mobile) can get you to that film immediately!


7. News Page

The News Section is now more than just a blog feed! This section of the site features a lead story at the top, as well as all the interviews we do for VTV. As I add more video content there will be dedicated sliders for that as well. I'm also reaching out for more writing content from the film community to keep the site more regularly updated.


8. New Navigation

There are a couple changes to how you find films on the site! Now most content sliders on the Featured and Discover Page include a "More" tab that takes you to the full list of content in that format or genre!


The navigation bar has also been simplified! Now the tools for discovering films are simply in the dropdown under "Discover," while the "Interact" tab takes you to ways to engage with the community better like About, Community, and Submit!


9. Featured Page

The "Home" page is now "Featured," which may seem like a simple name change but it indicates how the page will be treated and used going forward.


When the site launched it had so few projects that it made sense to group films by just format (Short Film, Web Series, Feature Film, etc.) As we posted more content and could share them according to their genre and location, I had to reconsider using these general categories for film. This is what I landed on:


The format categories (Short Film, Mid-Length Film, Feature Film, & Web Series) indicate length and the viewer's time investment. If you want to watch something short, you go for a short film. They are also cross genre, meaning all of them can showcase comedies, dramas, sci-fis, horror projects, and more.


So it made sense to leave the Featured page "as is," but make it more dynamic. The goal is to, as the name implies, feature new and interesting projects within general formats. The best of each category. The newest things on the site. While you can find even more in the Discover Section, this page is a showcase of West Virginia film unlike any other part of the site. With that, it should be changing up more often. Projects will cycle on and off the front page. Even content sliders entirely may change (notice the music section has entirely replaced documentaries, and it could switch back, or to something different entirely.)


This hopefully means a constantly changing, fresh experience for people who visit the site regularly.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I've had such a blast working on this project, and notes like these help me flesh out the development of the site. As I write this I'm noting a dozen changes that will come in the future and it's a great feeling to be excited about both what's happening now and what will happen.


There will be more announcements coming soon as well. Both minor and broad. Please enjoy all the changes.


-Nate Cesco


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