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Are Infomercials good enough for you?

By spacejack in Op-Ed
Tue May 08, 2001 at 12:42:16 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

If information truly wants to be free, that is, if the high-bandwidth-connected public in the near, distant or hypothetical future decides that it has had enough of paying for the privilege of acquiring what might otherwise be freely distributed media such as movies, music, fiction and so on; if art truly is like water in an artificial desert manufactured by pro-copyright artists, the RIAA and the MPAA, then I have a simple question:

Will the artwork of the future be good enough for you?

Please note: you will need a junk e-mail to register and view the John Frankenheimer short. The trailer for Ang Lee's upcoming movie can be viewed without registering. There is a short Flash intro as well; if you don't have Flash and the home page causes problems, try skipping ahead to this page. You will also need either a Quicktime player, the RealPlayer or Windows Media player. Apologies to dialup users; the films are available at lower bitrates but of course are best experienced at 300kbps. I highly recommend setting your player of choice to "full screen", as the picture quality is quite good. And it's all "free".
I ask this question for a number of reasons. First and foremost I hope to impress upon people the fact that information (or more specifically, Art, which has recently suffered the indignity of being classified as "information") is not free. This BMW film series will undoubtedly cost millions in production costs, in addition to the costs of traditional media promotion and running a rather ambitious website. If you look at the credits for Ambush, you will see that even a 5 minute short of this caliber takes a lot of high-priced talent. So is it any small wonder then, that one of the most impressive films yet released "for free" to the public via the Internet is nothing more than a sexy infomercial?

But why would it not be so? Clearly anyone involved no doubt realized that attempting to release a film online and get paid by the public would not have a snowball's chance in hell of getting funded; certainly not in the present climate of the Internet. And so, with no feedback mechanism from the public, we were not consulted. Without a way of casting our votes, we had no input on what we'd like to see John Frankenheimer or Ang Lee produce for our free pleasure. So they asked BMW to decide for us what we would like to see instead. Global warming, urban sprawl, smog-related deaths and drunk driving issues aside, the message BMW would like you to see is that BMW cars are sexy and that you should buy one because you, yes you, can be the driver of such a car, on a James Bond-like mission, every time you turn the ignition key.

There is popular myth, perpetuated mostly by those who do not work within a creative industry that all big budget, industry-produced art is crap. This is clearly not true (especially if one has had the misfortune of sitting through art school film fests). If we subtract the likes of Spike Lee, Stanley Kubrick, Jane Campion, Atom Egoyan or even Michael Bay from our film world -- and all the directors who have ever needed to acquire funding to produce a movie that cost more than whatever the director could scrape together himself with his own blood money, as well as all the self-funded directors hoping for a chance of return (however slim), what are we left with? We are left with a very technically and culturally poor world of film that is easily overshadowed by television commercials. And much lauded directors like Ridley Scott, David Fincher and Spike Jonze would remain stuck within the ad-world that spawned them.

One of the more interesting accomplishments of both capitalism and the technology for arts reproduction in the 20th century has been a rather unique situation in which the public has great power in dictating the kind of art it wants to see. Rather than having the church, the state, or some wealthy patron decide the kind of propaganda we are to digest, the public has a democratic mechanism where the sale of one copy equals one vote in favour of that piece of art. Abstaining (i.e., not buying a copy) is a vote against that piece of art. It certainly doesn't always work, however the public has never really seen a time where it has had such heavy influence over what gets made, nor have artists enjoyed quite the same freedom to produce work for their audience.

The Information Wants To Be Free movement seeks to change this relationship. It seeks both to remove the public from the equation and to cut off the power to the megaphone the artist uses to broadcast their work. It would instead prefer to see artists indulge wealthy patrons. Or perhaps to see artists indulge only themselves. In the very worst case, it seeks to sacrifice the livelihood of artists and their work to their own special interests.

We have great technology, education and craftsmanship at our disposal -- for a price -- with which artists can produce great works for the benefit and/or entertainment of the public. If the artists and the public cannot maintain some sort of agreement whereby the artist can be duly compensated for their efforts, they will be forced to turn elsewhere for funding. We do not live in a utopian communist society, nor will we anytime soon. The patrons of today and tomorrow are the megacorps. And unlike the publishing megacorps who have suddenly become so much more vilified by many Internet groups and self-appointed spokesmen, they have no interest or incentive to provide the public with anything other than propaganda with which to sell their purely functional (or dysfunctional) wares.

So my question is, when John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee and the next generation of talent is instead asking the likes of BMW, General Electric, Microsoft and Coca-Cola what sorts of work they would like to see created instead of you, tell me: will it be good enough for you?


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Are Infomercials good enough for you? | 33 comments (26 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Advertisments (4.33 / 6) (#1)
by Signal 11 on Tue May 08, 2001 at 12:55:04 AM EST

Advertising and marketing is the fine art of pounding words into someone's ears until they appear in their bank statements.

And ye can quote me on that!

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

pretty good (1.00 / 1) (#3)
by Arkady on Tue May 08, 2001 at 01:50:42 AM EST

That's a pretty good quote, there.

We agree so rarely, it's a pleasure to say to you, sir, "Well done"!


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
sample box (4.33 / 6) (#2)
by Seumas on Tue May 08, 2001 at 01:06:51 AM EST

The internet is nothing more to corporations than a more direct and less costly way of getting a sample product into your mailbox so that you'll try it out and be a good little drone next time you open your wallet and fork it over to their brand name.

Postal mail can deliver love letters or one ounce packets of Tide laundry detergent in an attempt to win over the housewife. The internet can deliver original music, fresh writing, gathering and communication points or five minute trailers and infomercials to the average consumer (the same consumer that is likely to hand over his personal information on a form to fill out those "win a trip to Hawaii" entries at the doorway of supermarkets).

The trick is to do like you do with crap in your junk mail -- don't solicit the business of anyone involved. Just because Sony, Miramax, AOL and whoever else are in the game doesn't mean you have to play by their rules.
I just read K5 for the articles.

Production Costs (4.00 / 5) (#5)
by Bad Harmony on Tue May 08, 2001 at 04:02:28 AM EST

I think a distinction should be made between art with high production costs, such as film and television, and other forms of art. An individual can self-finance the production of a novel or a CD, regardless of its commercial potential. On the other hand, Hollywood has an insatiable appetite for cash. Production budgets expand to match some proportion of the expected return. If someone thinks they can make a profit on a film with a $500 million budget, they will make the film. Does that mean that the public is getting $500 million worth of art? Suppose the Internet makes it impossible to make a profit on a film with a budget over $10 million. Would that really be a loss to society?

5440' or Fight!

really? (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by cory on Tue May 08, 2001 at 12:30:56 PM EST

"An individual can self-finance the production of a novel or a CD, regardless of its commercial potential. "

Tell that to johnny.


[ Parent ]

Johhny can. He did. (none / 0) (#26)
by error 404 on Tue May 08, 2001 at 04:17:21 PM EST

Now he's trying to make it profitable. He's already done better than most of us ever will, and I applaud his effort.

Self-funding some art forms is possible. Difficult and expensive, yes. But possible.
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

costs (none / 0) (#20)
by spacejack on Tue May 08, 2001 at 02:50:47 PM EST

An individual can self-finance the production of a novel or a CD, regardless of its commercial potential.

Not with the same kind of polish that you enjoy so much when you read a book that has had a professional editor work on it, or a CD that has had professional engineers record it and a producer that can get rid of the masturbatory improvisation or experimentation the artist thinks should be included. Why hasn't mp3.com already killed off the big recording labels?

Suppose the Internet makes it impossible to make a profit on a film with a budget over $10 million. Would that really be a loss to society?

Of course; the only ones capable of sinking $10 million into a film are large corporate sponsors who want a flashy ad. If there is no way to ensure that the public buys copies of the film, how else would anyone recoup the $10 million invested? Tips? Heh.

[ Parent ]
Face It (1.60 / 10) (#6)
by 2400n81 on Tue May 08, 2001 at 05:39:07 AM EST

well it is time to get a damn job like the rest of us. real artists are a bunch of flaky people who have no business sense anyway. if they could figure out how to make money thru traditional media raping then they can cope with today.

production cost has no relation to "suck-factor" or "market-acceptability".

Do we really want more democracy in art? (4.00 / 2) (#7)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue May 08, 2001 at 09:25:49 AM EST

This essay basically boils down to the assertion that democritization of funding creates better art than the old funding system of patronage. I think this is really funny, because (for the most part) the movies, music, television programs and novels that are currently becoming the blockbuster profit machines are the movies that I personally find boring and a waste of my time to watch. Perhaps the democratic idea of making art that the people want isn't as good of an idea as it would seem on the surface.

One only has to compare Wim Winders' original Wings of Desire with the Hollywood remake City of Angels to see the difference. Wings of Desire, while by no means s perfect film, does stand head and heals above City of Angels in terms of being captivating cinema.

Secondly, I'm not convinced that democracy and patronage are as odds as it would seem at first. Consider O'Reilly's patronage of Larry Wall. Mr. Wall has created a very democratic process for bringing about the once and future Perl. And yet he has had the luxury to do so, mostly because of a patronage that pays him to sit around and just be Larry Wall.

How my second point translates into the realm of media, I'm not entirely certain.

Yes. Just not the Free Market. (none / 0) (#10)
by jd on Tue May 08, 2001 at 09:39:06 AM EST

Ideas such as the "Free Film Project" and the "Internet Movie Project" take art to the opposite extreme. They start from the premise that art is free, that the nourishment and growth of an idea is not based on money, but in freedom.

The Free Film Project uses the idea that a GPLed script, a GPLed story-board, GPLed music, GPLed computer-generated images, and GPLed live footage will allow people to try out different ideas, and produce by means of evolution a movie that is worth watching, because that's the path that will survive. All other "movie-lets" will die out, because nobody'll be bothered.

This is the "ultimate" in democratic movie-making, and it should cut the costs to nearly zero. (The costs are so heavily distributed, that the cost per-person would be negligable. And with no corporate entities claiming profit margins and fictional costs, the total for even something comparable to Star Wars would likely be well under 1/100th the cost of a commercial organization attempting it.)

The idea that money makes democracy is a farce. Money makes nothing. It's just a token. Always was, always has been. If the effort isn't there, if the takent and creativity aren't there, if the life-giving expression of an Artist isn't there, that token has no value. And nothing, multiplied by millions or billions, is still nothing.

That is a lesson modern artists ignore at their peril. Money doesn't paint. (Monet did, but that's different.) Money doesn't draw. Money doesn't sculp. Money doesn't record movies. Money is some dead flax, some bits of cheap alloy, and/or some numbers in a machine. It has no creative energy. You cannot get life from the dead.

Live, or live not. It's your choice. But don't try to sell one as the other.

[ Parent ]

Hmm... (none / 0) (#15)
by trhurler on Tue May 08, 2001 at 11:36:44 AM EST

I don't disagree that most mass produced art is crap. However, even though I follow indie films somewhat, I have to say, there aren't nearly as many of them that are good as there are good Hollywood megaproductions by percentage, and that's even if you just count the stuff that makes it to the major film festivals. Remember, Hollywood produces a lot of crap, but it also produces a large number of truly awe inspiring movies. Rain Man, Fight Club, 12 Monkeys, The Usual Suspects, Forrest Gump, and lots more like them are all around great movies. Then you have the effects movies - these simply COULD NOT exist without Hollywood. Everyone has his own taste, but on the strength of effects alone, there are dozens of movies such as Terminator II, The Matrix, Jurassic Park, Star Wars Episode I, and so on that I loved seeing. In some cases, the movies were good, and in some cases, they sucked, but watching them was a wonder all to itself, just for the visuals.

Then you go to the indie guys, who seem to make one or two good movies a year in good years and a lot of stuff that is considered to be good by the same people who thought Phillip Glass standing for a few minutes in front of a silent orchestra was brilliant music - in other words, a lot of pretentious crap. (See Pi for an example. Jerking a camera around and talking about technology and math you clearly don't understand while using sound effects off of a cd you got as a kid is just stupid. Everyone said it was great because everyone said it was great, but the emperor is naked, folks. The movie sucked, whatever good points it may have had.)

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
okay, I'll admit that perhaps I'm too one-sided (none / 0) (#29)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed May 09, 2001 at 09:51:46 AM EST

But your response seems to me to not take into consideration the following:
  1. A good deal of Hollywood movies are made on a system that more closely resembles the patronage system than the market democracy that spacejack envisions.
  2. At least one of the movies you mentioned, The Phantom Menace was made out of pocket by someone that can afford to be his own patron.
  3. That some of the movies you mentioned did significantly well at the box office surprised everyone, including the producers.
  4. You severly underestimate the number of bad movies that get made by Hollywood. A tremendously large number of movies fare so poorly in test screening that they remain unreleased, go straight to video, or are only released on a very small scale.
For the record, I've never seen Pi. Also, I full well acknowledge that a good deal of independant films are rubbish. But you seem to overlook the many that are not. Michael Moore's documentaries are one good example.

My point is that tailoring films to the mass market gives is much more likely to give us the tepidity of Chicken Run over the comic brilliance of The Wrong Trousers. While Chicken Run was visually stimulating and had tremendously well done animation, it lacked the humor and vibrant characters of Nick Park's earlier work. The largest difference is that Chicken Run was produced with mass market consumption in mind while The Wrong Trousers was made more for the love of making a movie.

The Matrix is another good example. It was a good action movie, fun to watch, but with a plot made of cotton candy. It was incredible the first time I saw it in the theatre, but watching it the second time bored me. The Matrix is mostly fluff. This is the road that spacejack would have us go down. Movies that are visually appealing, but intellectually lacking, fun to watch but with little to challenge the mind.

Another great example is the career of Jackie Chan. His earlier movies like The Drunken Master and Rumble in the Bronx are incredible movies in spite of their low quality production. The later movies like Rush Hour and Shanghai Sunset have a much higher production quality, but lack the brilliance of Jackie Chan's former works.

[ Parent ]

Jackie Chan, fluff, etc (none / 0) (#31)
by trhurler on Wed May 09, 2001 at 11:06:56 AM EST

I still say that even with the mass market influence, Hollywood produces at least a few good movies a year, which really is all you ought to expect; a movie is really a big job, and there just aren't that many great moviemakers out there. On the other hand, while the best of the arthouse films I've seen are quite good, the average quality makes Hollywood look really good. I do not doubt that the preponderance of all movies, no matter how much money was spent on them, are crap. That's what I'd expect. Most paintings are crap too; what we have on display today of old masters is generally their better work; even they produced stuff that just isn't worth showing, and the odds are that previous filtering by various means has already removed a lot of their crap. That's how art works.

Anyway, specifically, about Jackie Chan: the plots have dropped off a bit to our eyes, but if you talk to someone who's spent any real time in China, they tend to find his old plots to be formulaic and boring: predictably, he's fighting for the honor of his country, and doing this and that to help the people, and these are the good guys and those corrupt bureaucrats or criminals are the bad guys - these movies were tailor made to pass censors in the places they were made, and it is obvious to someone who grew up there. The censor is now a matter of economics rather than politics, but the results are similar. However, so much has improved that I'm sure Jackie Chan is probably very happy making his movies, even if a few of them really DO suck quite badly. In truth, there's only so much you can do with the "I'm going to kick your ass with a mop and a bucket" genre, after all, and he gets a lot more mileage out of it than anyone else would.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
re: Jackie Chan and art houses (none / 0) (#32)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed May 09, 2001 at 11:26:55 AM EST

On Jackie Chan:
I think we can at least agree on this much: that to a large extent whether Rumble in the Bronx or Rush Hour is considered more formulaic depends in large part which side of the Pacific one is raised on. I still maintain that the former is head over heals a better movie than the latter.

On Art House movies:
I think your problem is considering only Art House movies instead of the entire realm of independant movies.

On art in general:
Here we agree. The generations between our day and the day of Leonardo Da Vinci had no interest in keeping around his screw-ups.

Lastly, I suppose that at least part of what I'm saying is that patronage is orthogonal to whether a movie is made to make money or to satisfy an artist's itch to create. Obviously, investors invest in movies with some expectation to make money. However, from my understanding, it is rare for investors in a movie to expect to make beaucoup amounts of money except for those rare movies that are targeted entirely at a mass market like the Frankie Avalon beach movies.

[ Parent ]

I think you're missing a few things (none / 0) (#33)
by spacejack on Wed May 09, 2001 at 05:48:32 PM EST

At least one of the movies you mentioned, The Phantom Menace was made out of pocket by someone that can afford to be his own patron.

But remember how he got to be his own patron -- retaining the ownership of his IP! Lucas's story is probably one of the best examples in support of my case.

For the record, I've never seen Pi. Also, I full well acknowledge that a good deal of independant films are rubbish. But you seem to overlook the many that are not. Michael Moore's documentaries are one good example.

And Michael Moore's films are precisely the kind of work I'm afraid won't get sponsored. He can make a living doing movies exposing corporate practices & their effects because the public want to see this. What interest would corporations have in his work? Or to expose people to it?

The Matrix is another good example. It was a good action movie, fun to watch, but with a plot made of cotton candy. It was incredible the first time I saw it in the theatre, but watching it the second time bored me. The Matrix is mostly fluff. This is the road that spacejack would have us go down. Movies that are visually appealing, but intellectually lacking, fun to watch but with little to challenge the mind.

Whoa, wait. I tried not to allow my own personal preferences for film get into this. I'm trying to show that whether you like art films or blockbusters, whose interests should this art be serving? The public or a corporate agenda? The films may all get funded by corporations, but which corporation do you want pulling the strings? A corporation that sells the film itself, or a corporation that sells cars?

FWIW, I consider the Matrix to be quite sophisticated. The Watchowski brothers speak the visual language of comicbooks and they do it very, very well. I would compare it to a Gustav Klimt painting. Decorative, highly polished, technically adventurous and beautiful to the masses. The depth may be somwhat lacking but it's definitely not stupid or banal. At least it didn't star a couple of heroic Microsoft employees on a mission to save humanity from Open Source-spawned AI villians.

I liked PI a bit more than trhurler, but I agree with his assessment of its flaws.

And you can't exclude independent films from my argument; they rely on pretty much the same business model as the Hollywood blockbusters, just on a smaller, more efficient scale. These in fact are the movies I personally am concerned for the most. The biggest hurdle these films face with today's audience is apathy.

[ Parent ]
I agree with trhurler (none / 0) (#19)
by spacejack on Tue May 08, 2001 at 02:41:21 PM EST

And I would not prefer to live in any other time for artwork, be it as a member of the audience or as a creator.

Even if we were to concede that patrons in times past provided us with better artwork, these are not the patrons of today, certainly not in North America. As I mentioned, the patrons of today are the megacorps. Will they have the same interest in the integrity of the work as Beethovan's or Mozart's patrons? I can't see that they will. Car companies want to make car chase movies that lack the depth and artistry of movies such as Vanishing Point, Duel or even Smokey and the Bandit. That is, get rid of all elements that do not flatter their product.

[ Parent ]
Patrons then and now (none / 0) (#30)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed May 09, 2001 at 10:03:02 AM EST

Will they [megacorps] have the same interest in the integrity of the work as Beethovan's or Mozart's patrons?
I would argue so. It's not as if the Bard's patrons had any less interest in glorifying this or that royal house any more or less than BMW has in glorifying their cars and motorbikes.

Companies like Pepsico and Apple might be buying product placement, but this doesn't always pan out they way they expect. Consider Subway's tie in with Lethal Weapon II. Sure, Subway got a lot of market milage out of the tie-in, but the the portrayal of the average visit to a Subway was less than glorifying.

Also, your contention that megacorps are the sole remaining patrons of movies today is disputable. Paul Allen, George Lucas, and the National Endowment for Arts are the examples that immediately come to mine. I'm sure that there are others. Movie-making by all except a few large studios has always relied on one form of patronage or the other. I don't see this changing significantly anytime soon, especially as production and distribution costs for movies continues to exponentially decrease. One can by an off-the-shoelf iMac costing less than $2,000 and render all the visual effects from The Phantom Menace within a reasonable amount of time.

[ Parent ]

Commercialization to Create and Promote Artwork (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by quam on Tue May 08, 2001 at 11:15:15 AM EST

While interested in the development of art and utilization of the Internet as a promotional vehicle for art, I am intrigued by the use of commercial sponsorships to market art works.

For instance, after watching Ambush on the same site, I admit I am interested in now purchasing a 7-series BMW (although it is highly cost prohibitive for me). The movie was interesting; a good and short action flick entirely of a car chase. Curiously, I am unsure what came first: BMW's marketing department creating a film to promote its automobiles and then seeking out an artist to produce the film, or an artist who approach BMW to fund the promotion and making of the film by merely utilizing a BMW vehicle. Without BMW's sponsorship, would this work been created?

A year ago, maybe two or three, I went to see a movie at a theater and, for the first time, I saw commercials and 'Coca-Cola Short Films' during the previews. Now, Coca-Cola sponsored films are commonplace during previews. Corporate sponsorships, it seems, have allowed for wide-scale viewing of art created by individuals or organizations who may have lacked the resources to market or create their work.

These developments are not necessarily new: James Bond films are ripe with BMWs and Mission Impossible is full of Apple notebooks. What seems 'new' is a sense some corporations are utilizing their abilities to sponsor art to mutually benefit artists --- without corporate sponsorships, the art would not have been exposed to others.

Is this beneficial? Why not. As a society we are constantly solicited by corporations in high dollar movies, no matter how subtle the display, and those types of works would eventually be created or marketed. They are not cash-strapped. If individuals or organizations can benefit because either 1) the work is too short to receive adequate funding or promotion through traditional channels, or 2) they are financially deprived to create/market the work, then bring-on the commercialization.

-- U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.
Types of Art and Democracy (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by Woundweavr on Tue May 08, 2001 at 11:29:28 AM EST

You specifically focus on cinema in this case rather than paintings, literature or music. The three other art forms are much cheaper to create. Movies IMHO are much too expensive to make without corporate support. It'd be nice if artists could indulge themselves, as they do in other forms, but realistically it is impossible. True world class movies will need tens of millions of dollars.

However, this system is not really democratic. Its partially democratic and partially plutocratic. There are many similarities with the US government system in this sense. The movies to be made and released (candidates) are selected by a few huge corporations (political partys). Corporations pay to get products in the movie in a form of advertisement(in a way, lobbying/campaign funding). Millions of dollars are spent on promotions (campaign ads). Small groups screen the movies and changes are made as needed(polls).

In the end it is vaguely democratic, but in a way utterly corrupted by that with which each person votes. (The fact that some have more votes than others is semi-irrelevant here even though movies are getting so expensive).

yep, it has its faults (none / 0) (#21)
by spacejack on Tue May 08, 2001 at 02:57:48 PM EST

However, I can't see how it is less corrupted under any other system. Right now you have some say in the matter. My question is, do you want to give up even that?

It's like the argument about how democracy stinks. Sure, it has a lot of problems, but it's still not as bad as the other systems.

The bottom line is, if the public doesn't like the movie you sank $100 million bucks into producing and marketing, you're not going to keep forcing it down the public's throat.

[ Parent ]
Good argument, one flaw (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by dennis on Tue May 08, 2001 at 12:56:33 PM EST

It's true that art has to be funded somehow, even though production costs are going down. The flaw is in thinking that the only funding model for "free" art is sponsorship by corporations or wealthy individuals.

Art that is distributed for free can function as an advertisement for future art, which we pay for in advance. The best example so far is Stephen King's experiment. He offered to release the entire novel if his funding expectations for the first two chapters were met. They were, almost exactly. He netted half a million dollars. Later the contributions dropped off - but at this point there was no incentive, he had already promised to release the entire novel (a promise he didn't keep).

Some people argue that the "tragedy of the commons" makes donations unworkable, since the general release benefits everyone. King proved this false. Another argument is that King's experiment worked only because he was already popular. To make it work for lesser-known artists, we'll need better systems for collaborative filtering, so you can find those artists without the assistance of expensive marketing.

But the key to the whole thing is to change our thinking - from paying artists for work they've already done, to paying them in advance. If we require a money-back guarantee we can use the Street Performer protocol, otherwise just plain "tipping" will do.

Ok, here's a proposition (none / 0) (#22)
by spacejack on Tue May 08, 2001 at 03:02:09 PM EST

But the key to the whole thing is to change our thinking - from paying artists for work they've already done, to paying them in advance. If we require a money-back guarantee we can use the Street Performer protocol, otherwise just plain "tipping" will do.

If you can get this system working, then maybe we can start thinking about changing copyright law. Until then, I ask the IWTBF people to put up or shut up.

[ Parent ]
No change to law required (none / 0) (#23)
by dennis on Tue May 08, 2001 at 03:53:53 PM EST

If you can get this system working, then maybe we can start thinking about changing copyright law.

Who said anything about a change to copyright law? Stephen King didn't need a change to the law.

I think we'll see dual economies for a while--one where you pay artists for existing work, and copying is restricted; the other where artists encourage people to copy their work. And I think the second economy will outcompete the first, without need of middlemen. And that, not hypothetical losses due to piracy, is what keeps the RIAA awake at night.

[ Parent ]

ok (none / 0) (#25)
by spacejack on Tue May 08, 2001 at 04:10:50 PM EST

Sorry, my bad, I misinterpreted your point. You are in fact advocating precisely what I would advocate to those who would like to change the system.

[ Parent ]
It's already happening (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by dennis on Tue May 08, 2001 at 04:02:34 PM EST

Who saw Castaway? Good movie, but the first 15 minutes is pure propaganda for FedEx.

yup (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by spacejack on Tue May 08, 2001 at 04:22:00 PM EST

This has been happening for quite some time now. I find this quite troubling. The more money filmmakers take from sponsors (or find themselves needing to take from sponsors), the more they sabotage their ability to speak freely.

There is a brilliant film called A Face in the Crowd, directed by Elia Kazan, starring Andy Griffith that I highly recommend watching. It's a critical examination of the nature of sponsored media like television that is as relevant today as it was in 1957 when it was made.

[ Parent ]
Are Infomercials good enough for you? | 33 comments (26 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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