The amazing musical artist, once again known as, Prince has recently been quoted as saying, “the Gatekeepers must change.” This was in reference to his frustration with the major labels and the creation of his own record label and his three upcoming, yes three, releases. The man is prolific. He’s got a new interactive website, www.lotusflow3r.com, that has some of his new music and soon will carry videos and idea blogs. It really isn’t that different then what any musician can create on a MySpace site. He and many musicians have found the Internet to be the best home for their personal creative visions.
There was an article a few days ago in the LA Times by Randy Lewis about music Industry A&R guys. Don Gierson, a music label veteran that teaches A&R classes at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, believes that it is critical now to understand and learn how to anticipate trends and harness new technologies to better serve the artists. Jeff Blue, another seasoned pro and teacher there is quoted as saying the music industry is “evolving – and devolving-and more and more artists have to be their own record label.” The article goes on to state that the harsh reality today is that few record companies have the time, money or interest to nurture acts anymore. As I posted in a recent blog, we all have to be our own distributors.
We’re hearing the same thing in the film and television industry. A new webisode series, FilmFellas, showcases influential and emerging new filmmakers discussing the challenges of the new independent film scene. The full screen HD tells the story, it looks fantastic (I’m guessing the RED), a viewing pleasure. We’re not going to be looking at compressed video much longer on YouTube.
The FilmFella guys and the A&R guys at the Musicians Institute are mentoring us all in how the Internet is changing entertainment. I try to do this with this blog and the courses I teach at the Maine Media Workshops and with Jeff Seckendorf at One on One Film Training. As the studios and record labels get bought up by congloms like Time Warner, News Corp., Disney, Viacom and Sony, we’re all discovering that we don’t need them anymore.
Well, okay we still need them financially, but hopefully not for long. It still seems like the only way to make any money for your Internet projects is through sponsorships and advertising banners. In these economic times, that money is not readily available. Look at www.Hulu.com. It’s television on the Web, with advertising. It’s a great source for finding a television show or episode we may have missed, but at this point, no one is making any money from the convenience. Which brings me to the potential SAG strike. Because of all my actor friends, I promised myself I would stay out of that mess, but as I see traditional production slow down with the talk of another strike, I feel I must speak out.
I’m pro-union, a proud DGA member and certainly believe there are issues that need better resolution in the current contracts. One of the biggest is how money is to be disseminated to the creative parties when projects are produced for the Internet. The problem is, at this point in time, the Internet is a creative playground, but few are making any money including the big studios. I think the WGA and DGA and even AFTRA were wise to table Internet discussions until the next contract meetings. SAG should do the same.
Now is not the time to strike. Too many other non-actors in this business will be affected, including Unconventional Media. Few have recovered economically from the Writer’s strike. SAG needs to work out their divisions within their own union first. It’s getting ugly, according to the January 12th, Hollywood Reporter, SAG board member Frances Fisher (Mother in “Titanic“) distributed an email suggesting that SAG members use their upcoming SAG Award ballots to punish nominated actors — including Alec Baldwin, Steve Carell and Sally Field — who have advocated abandoning the strike-authorization vote. Making it political, not about acting performance – for the SAG Awards. Come on! That’s just one example, it’s really become civil war. Unify first please, before you put everyone out of work.
SAG needs to work with all of the other union members to get through these tough economic times instead of making them tougher. Don’t sink the ship, Mama! Go to www.nosagstrike.com for more information or go to the SAG website for SAG’s MembershipFirst side on authorizing the strike.
I agree that the Gatekeepers must change, let’s just be responsible and know what those changes really are going to be first. As Tina Fey warned on The Golden Globe Awards last night, “there’s this thing called the Internet…” It’s still in development. I don’t believe you should set the rules before you know if the actual experiment worked.
Read Full Post »