NEW YORK—Stressing that “continuously adapting to new technology is a must,” famed writer, actor, and director Woody Allen confirmed Thursday that he remains incredibly preoccupied with maintaining and updating his personal website, WoodyAllen.com.
Allen, who initially launched WoodyAllen.com back in 2002, told reporters he is regularly implementing new features, interface changes, and promotional tools into what he calls “the one-stop internet destination for all things Woody Allen.” In addition, Allen said he loves how the site gives him the ability to interact with his fans, either by uploading numerous iPhone pictures of himself on set or just “lounging around [his] apartment,” or by posting quick daily updates to let them know what he’s up to.
“In this business, it’s all about getting yourself out there and having a direct relationship with your audience,” said the Academy Award–winning director of Annie Hall, adding that he’s always tinkering with the site’s layout to keep WoodyAllen.com sleek, simple, easy-to-use, but most importantly, Allen noted, fun. “These days, everybody has a website, so it’s really easy to get lost in the shuffle. So I’m on my MacBook the first thing every morning making sure ‘Woody Allen’ continues to be a name people recognize.”
“Basically, your web presence is an extension of who you are,” Allen added, later saying that the internet is a great place for building your personal brand. “For example, when you first get to my welcome screen, you click on a silhouette of my glasses to get to the home page, and then the nav bar appears above a big black-and-white headshot I scanned in. And I just made it so Benny Goodman’s ‘Roll Em’ plays in the background, too. I try to add as many of those little personal touches as I can, just to make myself stand out more.”
WoodyAllen.com features an About Me page with a 600-word self-written bio, as well as an extensive gallery of both performance stills and family photos of Allen, wife Soon-Yi Previn, and their two daughters. The site also contains a filmography page with a list of Allen’s 70-plus feature films, a link to his IMDb page, and a “Woody’s Work” section that includes embedded clips from Hannah And Her Sisters, Manhattan, and Crimes And Misdemeanors.
Additionally, Allen recently incorporated an integrated blog where the 77-year-old posts entries about his personal life several times a day. The posts range from shorter entries such as “It’s a gorgeous day in New York City! What do you guys like to do when it’s nice outside?” to longer musings in which Allen openly discusses the ups and downs in his relationship and his past marital troubles.
Saying that engaging directly with your fanbase is more important than ever, the Husbands And Wives director also added an “Ask Woody” section in which he answers fan emails by recording his responses into his webcam.
“I’d say in any given week, I spend about 40 percent of my time on my creative projects and the other 60 percent updating my site,” said Allen, explaining that while he “has a guy to help with the more technical stuff,” he updates the website himself and has even picked up some basic HTML and CSS coding. “It’s worth it, though. Not only can I post new pages of the script I’m working on, but then my fans can give me feedback on what they like or don’t like.”
“I love getting their input about my work,” Allen added. “The fact that they get to be included in the creative process is wonderful.”
According to Allen, the time spent crafting the website has already paid off.
“Without WoodyAllen.com, Midnight In Paris never would have been made,” said Allen, pointing to the site’s Contact page where he lists his email address. “See, I made it easy for Sony Pictures to get in touch with me. My email address is immediately visible, and if they want to see a sample of other projects I’ve worked on or my early Jack Paar appearances, my YouTube reel is right there.”
Allen said he is constantly on the lookout for positive online reviews of his work to include in the Press section of WoodyAllen.com, should any other studio executives visit his site in the future. Moreover, the 60-year film veteran reportedly always cross-posts his blog entries, photos, and status updates to his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts in an effort to interact with fans and draw more traffic to the site.
“Everything needs to be synched up, especially on social media,” said Allen, who posts daily tweets asking his followers for feedback on new story ideas and suggestions for improving his dialogue. “That’s how it is these days, and I’m happy to change with the times.”
“It’s a lot of work, but ultimately, it’s just been a real thrill getting to know my fans,” he added. “That’s my favorite part.”