Fan-sourcing filmmaker creativity: a counterpoint

Paul Rankin: packing heatMy latest Rolling Stone story was on Genero.TV, a website that offers filmmakers the chance to come up with a video concept that may become a band’s official music video.

After I interviewed some of the bands involved and the site’s founder, I sent the link to my filmmaker friend, Paul Rankin [pictured right].

He didn’t take so kindly to the idea. Excerpt below:

[…] This means that fifteen other bands get a free music video, hand-picked from the entire selection of entries, which becomes a promotional tool (arguably a band’s most useful promotional tool) that they will then use to make money, none of which goes to the filmmakers, the ones who did all the work. That is to say, while your music video may be good enough to have the honour of Official Video bestowed upon it, it’s not good enough to warrant pay. There’s also every likelihood that the bands will then sell the music videos on iTunes, the revenue from which you’ll never see.

Bend over, assume the position.

His full rebuttal is here.

While I asked the bands involved, and Genero.TV’s founder whether the concept was just a way for bands to save cash on video production – indeed, that was the central point of the story when I pitched it – I certainly had an “oh, shit” moment when I read Paul’s response.

As a result, I feel like a shit reporter for not further investigating that angle. Reading back over the article now, it seems more promotional than investigative in nature.

Lesson learned. I need to spend more time considering and seeking alternative viewpoints, rather than blindly chasing a desired outcome.

Comments? Below.
  1. Darragh says:

    Interesting. Thats what I thought when I read about the thing. It is like reality tv for music videos – no overheads, people do all the work for you.

  2. Heath says:

    As an aspiring photographer (both music and other), this is an argument I struggle to come to terms with.

    On the one hand, I agree. This kind of approach – similar to newbie photographers giving away their work ‘for the credit’ or ‘for the exposure’ – does have some impact on more established professionals’ ability to make a buck.

    On the other hand – not so much, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if someone is willing to give away their product, who are you to deny them that? Don’t assume that anyone who gives away content is a clueless newbie who is being taken advantage of. They could be doing it for any number of reasons.

    Secondly, if you can’t change your business model to continue to be successful in a changing climate, then perhaps you should look for a different business. Stop whining about naive newcomers taking your business and concentrate on finding and promoting your competitive advantage.


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