Just finished up another two projects, this time for the Canadian Film Centre’s Reel Challenge Contest. The challenge is to create a 90 second or less film that addresses the issue of digital piracy and how it can hurt creative industries. We shot this past Sunday on location at Dundas Square, and my studio – and for the past week I have been editing my ass off to get these two entries in on time. The deadline was last night, Friday at midnight, and the second one finished uploading with just 50 seconds to spare!
Copyright is an issue I feel strongly about (I wouldn’t have done this contest otherwise). It’s already a tough market for artists out there, and while that doesn’t mean we need handouts, we definitely deserve to be compensated for the work we do, just like any other job. It’s a tricky question in the digital age where it’s so easy to distribute – just copy, paste, embed. And many creative people do love sharing their work and would love for it to be free to give out – but we have rent and bills to pay too, and it’s just not the reality of how life works. So, I do think there is value in having copyright in an artist’s lifetime – to acknowledge the work they do and the blood, sweat and tears we put in on a daily basis. Copyright helps us protect and earn a living from our work; It keeps our work exclusive and allows us to collect money from people who use and appreciate that work.
I’ve also run into issues with people using my work without my permission – and I can tell you that it sucks! To put so much hard work (and time, and money) into something, and basically have someone grab your work and just share it around without even giving you credit – or even taking credit for what you do – well, it’s heartbreaking in its own way. People somehow forget that. What would it feel like if you went into work every day, and saw someone else’s name getting credit for the things you did, and saw your paycheque going into someone else’s hands? As much as imitation is the greatest form of flattery – and in a way sharing helps us promote our work – it’s still important to get credit for what we do. And I’m sure many artists would also be happy to share/distribute their work for free or for reasonable rates, if just simply asked or given credit. So next time you want to use something awesome, just ask the person who made it if that’s okay! And take the time to tell them you appreciated it. They will be grateful, trust me.
I’m also optimistic about the opportunities for self-distribution that the internet has opened up. Although there’s still a place for marketing and agents etc, the internet is allowing us to build our own fan bases, and distribute work directly to fans. Ultimately, this allows artists more creative freedom. And, when people support us directly, it means we can keep doing what we do.
So, here’s my two entries – Keep Sharing Mutual and This Is My Worth, featuring two very awesome local musicians: AHI and Vitus Wight. Keep an eye on the Reel Challenge Website to check out other entries and results in the weeks to come.
Also, a special thank you to the many other people I interviewed this week for this project. Sadly I ran out of time and was not able to edit ALL the interviews in time – but I will be releasing them at a later date because they are fantastic in themselves. I want to give them their own due credit.
And of course thanks to all the people who generously contributed their time on this project in addition to the two above – specifically: Jonathan Langley, Alex Dault, William Matthews, and J.R. Fountain.