Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Television shows cost a hell of a lot more to make than a chocolate bar, so it's odd that so many programme makers would be willing to give their shows away for free, isn't it? Or even offer to pay to have their shows aired.
But it happens.
Just recently, a fairly new show gave a whole second series to one of the bigger (maybe biggest) children's channels over here for free. Well, not quite free. In return, they wanted a better time slot, just like the guy selling chocolate bars above. They wanted to have some say on when the show aired and that was worth giving the entire series away for no money whatsoever.
It's something I've mentioned before - the value of what many of us do in this industry is zero. Sometimes less than zero.
And you've got to wonder where they're making their money. Well, they're hoping it's in licensing and merchandising. Selling shit to your kids. That's what it comes down to.
There have been criticisms in the past that children's television is no more than dressed-up advertising. So many of the popular 80s cartoons were toy properties and were little more than cynical marketing ploys. Ploys many of us remember with fond nostalgia. Because we were total suckers. We were just children - a completely innocent audience. A victim unable to distinguish between entertainment and exploitation.
With shows being given away for free, that criticism needs to be brought to the fore right now. Because, unfortunately, it can be the only way these shows remain, like Michael Douglas in Falling Down, commercially viable. Either people need to accept that in order to get television shows for their children, they need to allow their children to be targets of advertising (and I don't think people should ever accept that)....
The entire business model of children's television needs to be torn down, examined and rebuilt.
Monday, April 19, 2010
I'm not really a spiritual person at all. I have questions with no answers and other questions with answers I don't like but don't really believe in a huge amount. But two things seem to allow me to go beyond what I see day to day. Just glimpses, probably just into my subconscious... but maybe to something more than that.
Music and dogs.
Music goes deep inside. Like that guy from Inner Space. Inside and then it sort of plants little bombs that go off, waking something up inside.
Dogs are different. It's not like I'd listen to dogs for any length of time. And barking isn't all that soothing. Certainly not approaching anything spiritual. But, with dogs, I see something in their eyes. I don't know what it is. Something familiar, something special.
I even see it in the stupid ones. Possibly more so in the stupid ones. Yes, so some will eat their own vomit or worse. And they sniff each others posteriors. And lick themselves in... well, you know.
But there's something more there.
Not in cats. I know some of you are cat people but cats are up to something entirely different. I don't trust them.
But dogs... dogs are special. If I had time, a lot of music and a dog, I'm pretty sure I could unlock the secrets of the Universe.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
But that wasn't the most horrifying thing of all.
No, there is something much worse buried in the comments of that Brew piece - Stockholm Syndrome for animators.
Many people are taken on as unpaid interns, put to work on productions and not compensated in any way, if any of them are like the allegations aimed at Little Airplane, they are taken advantage of.
And the victims not only accept it. They are grateful.
Grateful for being exploited.
From some Brew comments -"As the work experience I gain allows me to be hired there or elsewhere", "don’t write off the value of the experience", "the unpaid intern spot got me a foot in the door", "couldn’t an internship just be viewed as a training session or a really long interview process?" and more.
Yes, it's hard to get your foot in the door. Harder still to make a steady living in this industry.
And, if you work for free or very little, you are part of the problem.
You are sabotaging your own craft, your own end of the industry, your peers and your co-workers both old and new. You are setting the value of your work at zero. You are setting the value of your co-worker's work at zero. Those new kids who are having a hard time getting a foot in the door, you can be damn sure you're setting the value of their work at zero.
You are part of the problem.
It's hard enough in this business. The power and the money is in all the wrong places. Most people accept the situation as normal but many of these people being exploited or working for very little are more talented than the people doing the exploiting. But those people at the top have the money and the control, creative and otherwise.
Because they won't do a damn thing for free. They don't allow themselves to become victims. And, in cases like these, you can be sure the people at the top, the slave drivers, are laughing their asses off and are getting paid damn well for it. They're getting what they want. Don't kid yourselves that they wouldn't take anyone on if they weren't getting them for free. Anyone who has had anyone hanging around for work experience knows that having a new kid around is often far more trouble than it's worth.
Which means only one thing - to retain these people for any length of time, they need the positions filled. They need the work done as part of their production. The Brew comments point to whole departments in some places being filled with interns.
The people at the top get what they want and make damn sure they are paid for it.
Creative talent, on the other hand, can be discarded and moved aside with no problem because the creative people will work for free, will work for almost nothing. They are willing victims.
And that's why it's so god damned hard to get your foot in the door.
Don't accept that.
Don't set the value of your work at zero. Stop making it harder for every single other person in your end of the business. Stop being part of the problem. Stop accepting the exploitation.
Stop working for free.
And please, stop being grateful to your captors. It's not right when it comes from a sex slave who has been kept in a box for years and it's not right from creative talent.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
It's something I mentioned here before but I have a huge interest in what goes on in the world. I think we're capable of so much and yet we're kind of shitting on each other in a big way. Wars, conflicts, killing, maiming, torture are commonplace and almost always for the wrong reasons. And much of that is supported by people like us working for particular people, owned by particular corporations. We're part of it. Just doing our jobs.
Very little of that is reported by mainstream media. But it's all out there. It's not really hidden. And the more you look, the more things you'll find that will haunt you.
That was a major issue for me when I was in advertising. Trace who your clients are and who owns them and what they've done and, well, it's only a matter of time before you find out that you're a Stormtrooper working on the Death Star. I had to get out of advertising and I did but that doesn't mean things stop happening.
I had to go on a media blackout because these things haunted me and prevented me from living my life. I'm not completely happy with that choice because it's only by knowing about these things we can do something about them. Although, personally, I think the only real way things will change is by tearing down the whole current system and starting again. And that wouldn't be pretty.
I suspect it will happen some day in the not too distant future though. There's only so long this society's charade can continue. But that's a whole other subject.
Most of what is happening, I can't change. Not in my own little life. But I can contribute positively and choose carefully what I do and who I do it for. And I do that.But I'm still on a media blackout.
And that sometimes means I don't have a huge amount to talk about.