The guy who made that Phil Coulson fan film — and wrongly credited me — thinks I was out of line to complain so much.

Chris R. Notarile writes:

I don’t know why you think I was trying to garner fame from your name. When I was crediting my “Coulson” fan film, I simply Googled the character and listed on Wikipedia was YOUR name under “writing credits” for Iron Man. Since I don’t know you personally nor did I know what you contributed to the film, I gave you an honorary “character” credit for IMDB. But as we all know, IMDB is notorious for not posting correct information, thus they gave you a full on “writer credit”.

And the only reason why I even did it, was because I didn’t want some crazy fan blasting me for NOT crediting you. (which I now find ironic) I apologize for the inconsistency, in fact I tried to explain it on the forum, but come on.

Dedicating an entire blog to blast me is just wrong. I was very explicit within the film that it was a FAN FILM, which as we all know is just for fun. I busted my butt to make something entertaining for Coulson fans. That was my soul intent. And like any fan, I wanted to thank all those who I thought were responsible for the creation of something I adored. (I had no desire to take credit from anyone. Like any fan film, it is customary to list all those involved in the creative process) I am saddened to hear how aggressive you were about the listing of my movies on IMDB.

And I’m even more disappointed at how you chose to handle this situation. I’m pretty accessible myself. A simple email to me would’ve sufficed if you were truly offended. I hope you can move on from this hickup and come to enjoy the films for what they are- fun.

I’ll accept his explanation, although I don’t fully buy it. For starters, my name is not strongly associated with Iron Man and especially not with the Phil Coulson character — at least not until this incident.

I wrote:

He’s drafting off my name (and Whedon’s much bigger name) by misrepresenting my involvement in his short film.

Which he was. He can claim it was unintentional, but for several weeks anyone visiting Joss Whedon’s IMDb profile saw two fat links to short films about a Marvel character. Many, many people assumed they were official tie-ins, even after I explained they weren’t.

So was I wrong to put Notarile on blast? Should I have emailed him first?

Maybe. That would have been gentlemanly.

Granted, he didn’t email me. He didn’t give me the choice to be associated with his film. And considering that it’s taken him a month to acknowledge my July 9th post, I wonder just how quickly it would have gotten resolved.

At the time, it wasn’t clear whether Notarile himself had actually done the mis-crediting:

Now, it’s possible that the director himself didn’t link my name to this. IMDb credits can be edited by just about anyone, so someone else could have done it.

This is why the bulk of my blasting was aimed at IMDb for making it so easy to create bogus credits. IMDb needs to handle this much better.

Here’s a simple way you can start: I’m a registered user, so why doesn’t your system kick out an email to confirm a change like this? I know I didn’t work on this. It should never have showed up on the page.

I have a movie coming out, and I’m starting to do publicity. All is takes is one lazy journalist looking at IMDb to assume I’ve been reduced to doing crappy superhero knock-offs.

True, one idiotic fan film isn’t going to hurt my reputation much, but what happens when I’m listed for acting in a porn film, or producing a inflammatory religious documentary?

IMDb corrected the Phil Coulson credits, but to my knowledge, they still haven’t fixed the underlying issue.

As far as Notarile, I’m sympathetic to his situation. He wanted to credit the original creators. That’s laudable. But I’m frustrated that he thinks he did nothing wrong by listing them in a way that strongly implied we were collaborators.