Posts Tagged ‘video’

A Web Video Creators Manifesto

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

I’ve been hanging out in a community of exceptional people who are all involved in the creation of web video content. Some of their shows are comedies, some dramas, some SF – covering a wide range of genres and audiences but all independently crafted works of narrative using video to tell the tale. The makers of these works are entrepreneurial writers, directors and actors who also wear the hats of many other professional crafts as they produce and self-distribute some astonishing content.

We gather on a semi-regular basis to drink beer and bond but on a daily basis we are connected online within a continuously shifting conversation about what we do, how we do it and why we do it. It is a very supportive, inclusive and generous community of creators and I am privileged to count myself amongst their number.

As a grass roots organization our group of 300 and more share a common desire to be responsible for the creation of our stories without having to ask for permission from the usual gatekeepers of the established entertainment industry. I’ve worked in film and television for over 30 years and know full well how the business works.

Here in Canada it would be kind to describe most of the established structures of funding, production and distribution as dysfunctional. To be frank, it’s really fucked up. There are a few companies and individuals who have proven themselves very adept at navigating the waters of bureaucracy and bullshit but for most independent artists it is a stormy sea of slimy turds upon which waters none would desire to cast their bread. That’s what’s so sweet about the advent of democratizing tools and disruptive technology that has been churning through the media industries as well as the world of political discourse and action. We don’t have to sail the sea of poo.

In 1993 I gave a keynote address at an industry function focused on television programming for children. I pointed out the changes that were occurring with the internet and how it would transform the world these industry players lived and worked within. They were less than impressed – few even knew what email was let alone a web browser – as I assured them the very nature of television production, how it was created, who was creating it and how it would be watched, was destined to become something entirely different – and they had better start shifting gears on their rickety old jalopy of an industry because we were entering the age when individuals could and would be considered as studios and broadcasters unto themselves. A handful of people at the back of the room got it. Most everybody else thought I was fucking nuts. Screw them. I knew what I was talking about.

In 1997 I wrote up a short paper called What Is A Broadcaster? in an attempt to generate some kind of conversation about this. Insert sound of crickets chirping. Jesus.

In 1999 I had a colleague, whom I thought was very intelligent and forward thinking, declare loudly at a business luncheon that “the web is dead”. They just couldn’t – and still can’t – wrap their heads around the idea that the very nature of the web and the tools we can use with it is changing our culture, the business of culture and the politics of culture.

It’s all rather quaint now as we see an endless supply of video content being created for and distributed through the interwebs – and yet the major players in traditional media persist in their delusion that ultimately the web will become just another means to do business in the same old way.

Fuck off.

So what’s all this stuff about a Manifesto?

Well, the group I was telling you about – we’re based in Toronto but there are many others like us around the country – we’re actually getting ourselves organized into a professional organization that represents our needs, our concerns and our voice in this fantastically exploding world of independent web video production. It’s way past due and we’ve been meaning to be more organized than we have been but frankly we’re actually all kind of busy – making shit. Making our own shit. Good shit too. Better than poo.

Myself and others have put our heads together and crafted this manifesto – or declaration of intent, if you will – as a means to announce our arrival and our intention to continue upon this path. It ain’t no Declaration Of Independence Of Cyberspace – and it is very politely Canadian in tone (I would have added a lot of “Fuck you greedy sphincter-lipped bastards up the arse with a fistful of flaming weasels!” – but that’s just a difference in writing styles really) Do we really need to organize? I think so. We need our grassroots group of web video storytellers to stand together and represent the needs of our creative tribe. There are a number of extant professional organizations and guilds with whom we are already associated and look forward to continuing those relationships as we pursue our calling to be independent creators of web content – but they do not speak for us. They represent other interests that are oft times contradictory to our own. And that’s okay. That’s their gig.

This is ours.

March 19, 2012

We are Independent Web Video Creators, a newly founded group which represents the interests of creative professionals who craft and distribute video content across the world wide web.

We are connected directly to our audience via the screens through which we deliver our content. As creators we retain the rights to our work and govern its reach across the web. As artisans we engage with all disciplines to craft our stories. As storytellers we are in constant conversation with our audience, we establish communities and continue to build upon our creations.

We do not seek nor do we require permission to make or share our work.

The old structures of the media industry fail to serve our needs and we reject any filters or gatekeepers of old media which would stand between us and our audience. As independent web video creators and storytellers we share the vision of our work with our audience, using the democratic tools of the internet to create a richer, collaborative two-way experience.

We acknowledge the hard won protections of all players in traditional media (producers, writers, performers, musicians and more) contained in various agreements which are staunchly defended, and rightly so, by all concerned. We do not seek to unravel, negate or destroy those agreements. Instead, we are media professionals seeking to have the needs of this new generation of digital creators addressed with fresh minds and the clear understanding that creating for the web is a new industry unto itself, not an extension of the status quo, with a need for new working relationships and collaborations amongst all parties.

We do not intend to be confrontational with any established group. We are neither foe nor adversary to old media. However, we are firm in our resolve that these are changing times in a rapidly changing world where the rules of engagement must also change – and for the better to all concerned.

We seek to govern our own fate. We are committed to real long term growth as a professional industry. We embrace new business models and new ideas.

Independent Web Video Creators are organizing throughout the world to share knowledge, experience, skills and resources. We gather online and in the real world to represent our needs and shape our emerging industry. To those who also embrace new ideas of narrative and distribution, to those who are creating a new relationship between artist and audience, and to those who are explorers and innovators in the growing marketplace of online storytelling – we encourage you to join with us to shape and build our world.

The web is not just another distribution channel for broadcast signals. It is a conversation between everyone and it is an extension of our nervous systems. We seek to create and share and prosper in this new age of screen culture and interconnected thought.

We are Independent Web Video Creators.

* * *

I’ll write more on this – and link to the shows my colleagues are making.


P. S. And now here’s a metaphoric image of me (not me) pointing the way to the future.

RIP – Robert Sherman – Songwriter

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Robert Sherman was a songwriter who, along with his brother Richard, wrote some of the most memorable tunes for Walt Disney pictures.

One of my favourites of his (and reputed to be Walt’s most favourite song of all) was Feed The Birds from the film Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins was the first film I ever saw in a theatre and, despite Dick Van Dyke‘s execrable Cockney accent, it left a deep and lasting impression on me.

Robert Sherman died yesterday at the age of 86.

Thank you, Mr. Sherman.

P. S. The role of the “bird woman” was played by Jane Darwell, perhaps best known as “Ma Joad” to her son “Tom” as played by Henry Fonda in 1940′s The Grapes Of Wrath. Disney himself insisted on her for the part.

Rebecca MacKinnon – Consent Of The Networked – TED Talk

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Rebecca MacKinnon is the author of “Consent Of The Networked – The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom” and this is her TED Talk which summarizes the vast panoply of issues surrounding, embedded within and erupting from the linking of the world via the internet. Even if you don’t read the book – watch this and share it.

You can watch a longer, more in-depth interview, in this BoingBoing post by Cory Doctorow.

And there’s her interview with Nora Young on CBC’s Spark.

Or – you could just read the book.


Bryson Andres Plays Live Multi-Track On The Streets Of Spokane

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

I love when musicians use this technique to layer tracks as they perform.

Enjoy your day.

Fight Against ACTA Heats Up

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

First, here’s a news report on the growing worldwide outrage over the ACTA treaty which, if implemented, will censor the internet and destroy freedom of speech at the behest of a handful of corporations.

And then there’s a talk given by Prof. Michael Geist which lays out the fight – thus far – against legislation like SOPA, PIPA, TPP and ACTA and what needs to happen to continue defending human rights to communicate freely against corporate corruption of government bodies.

I’ll post links here for you to go to petition sites and info sites and all that crap – when, if you really do give a shit (and you should), all you have to do is Google ACTA or do a search on BoingBoing for ACTA – so you can add your voice to the growing clamour for governments to stop being ignorant rubber stamp toadys of their corporate circle-jerk partners.

When shit like this gets people out on the streets in the middle of winter you know they are fucking angry. And if the cumtwads in suits who fancy themselves the new aristocracy think they’re going to actually get away with this shit they will be SO surprized when the dissent on the streets reaches through the tubes of the interwebz and chokes the bejeezuz out of their scrawny little testicles.

Fuck them.

But also be aware – they will NEVER stop trying. Evar. So we have to constantly be in the mode of kicking those fuckweeds in the gonads – hopefully on a daily basis. It’ll be good exercise for our democratic muscles and probably eternally entertaining to listen to them whine and squeal as we put the boots to them. Yes – it’ll get tiring from time to time but in the end it will be worth it.

So – want to help keep the world free? Make every day “Kick A Corporate Weasel In The Nuts Day”.


Have a nice day.

Linsey Pollak Plays “Mr. Curly”

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

This is an excerpt from Linsey Pollak‘s show “Passing Wind” where he plays a multi-track composition with Mr. Curly, a contra bass clarinet made from a garden hose, and a feather duster clarinet.

Enjoy your day.

Michio Kaku

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

I like this guy – he’s smart, he’s an optimist and he’s got serious geek cred.

And if you need a soundtrack to carry you into the coming Type One world here it is: Boots & Cats


INTERNET FIGHT SONG! by Funk Vigilante

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

I like this catchy tune and teh kitteh with glowing eyes.


Understanding PIPA / SOPA

Friday, January 20th, 2012

If you don’t pay attention to any other information out there about PIPA and SOPA you must watch this – and then share it with others – and talk about it amongst your friends and family – and yell in the ear of your elected representatives.

This isn’t just a US issue – it affects ALL of us.

I’m especially pissed at the moment because of the US government twisting the arm of New Zealand to arrest the owners of Megaupload, seizing their property – and then subsequently shutting down the Megaupload site, without the benefit of PIPA/SOPA. The Justice Department claims about “massive copyright infringement” ring hollow when you consider what preceded these actions: Megaupload was poised to become a serious business competitor to the established music industry. Universal Music Group makes a call – badda-bing.

So why should I be so pissed?

Our online video production, Ruffus The Dog’s Christmas Carol was being distributed for download via Megaupload. We, like may other legitimate businesses, have been using Megaupload (and other sites similarly targeted by the large media corporations) as a practical means of distributing our content. It allows us to bypass exorbitant bandwidth costs and negate the need for any usurious deals with established media distributors.

In the coming weeks you will see more heavy-handed legal actions like this – and increasing vitriolic responses from those affected – as big media and corrupt government take off their gloves and masks and come out swinging for open and undisputed control of the internet.

The net is more than a series of tubes, more than just another top-down distribution system and much more than just a thorn in the side of the dying music, film and television business models. The net has become an extension of our nervous system; it is how we hear and see and speak in this world – and it is being forcibly taken over by entrenched powers who don’t like it when we stop listening to them and choose instead to talk amongst ourselves.

Fuck them.

Bill Moyers – The Net At Risk

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

This PBS documentary hosted by Bill Moyers was originally broadcast in 2006 – yet despite being 6 years old it is still painfully relevant to what is happening today with the war against the net being waged with increasing ferocity by governments and media corporations.

Give it your time. Watch and learn. And then act.

The threat is real.