Online commenting isn't really about changing the views of the other participants. It's more about the people reading who aren't participating.
I guarantee a large portion of student filmmakers in town read this article and all the comments. I felt it was important to make sure that the view that unpaid labor being counterproductive was part of the discussion.
I care about the topic at hand, so I pushed my views in your public comments section.
I'm one of the better more civil participants in this discussion. My opinions are clearly unpopular, but I'm not asking you for or posting personal information of other commenters. I'm also not being lewd. An unpopular idea is not a troll.
Full disclosure: There are two people in this household posting comments to this article, both of us lived in Memphis for the better part of a decade. Both of us moved away for better opportunity. You could call us willing participants in the brain drain. (Best move ever, btw. I highly recommend it.)
I found this article shared on my Facebook feed. I wanted to read an article about good things happening in the Memphis film scene, but was served a celebration of counterproductive ideas. I understand if the author of the article likes what his friends are doing and wanted to showcase it, but this article is founded on a damaging premise.
I don't have to currently live in Memphis or have IMDB credits to know:
1. More unpaid work does not make a community better or stronger. It dilutes the quality across the board.
2. More unpaid work leads to more noise and less signal.
3. Directing your own no-budget film and not paying anyone is not preparing you for larger productions. Working as a PA on a small-to-large production is far more constructive use of your time.
Instead of my views being challenged I was reminded that I don't live there anymore. If you only want Memphians commenting on your articles you should restrict it to only local IP addresses.
Also, if the moderators expose my IP, everyone can take that as using threats and intimidation to silence views.
Please return to your regularly scheduled cheerleading...
I'm not criticizing the Memphis film community. Quite the opposite in fact. This article just had a terrible premise and did a good amount of damage to the reputation of that community.
My whole point is not to tell people to either get funding or stop making small films. My point is this is a terrible unproductive article. This is a **cover story** in a major publication whose thesis statement is that Memphis has no financial support for filmmaking, but instead of working hard to fix that, the local scene just accepts this as their fate.
If you say there is no money, what people expect is that there are no real professionals. If a production wants to shoot in Memphis, they want to know they can crew up in Memphis. This article would lead me to believe I couldn't. The celebrated members of the community (the ones featured in a major newspaper) wouldn't be available for my production because they have full time jobs sitting in cubicles.
The reality of the situation is that there is a vibrant community of film crews and art departments and everyone else actually paying their dues, making connections, working their asses off for every scrap of real film work this town has to offer and then some. They travel. They take risks because they are serious about it.
There are real people in this community that have invested much more than nights and weekends, and this article ignores them while celebrating the people who don't take risks or try to get the funds to support their *very expensive* medium.
"" Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury (17 Inch Cobras, You Better Behave): "I believe whole-heartedly that script is king. Money and, in return, crew, follow good scripts. If Memphis turned out one strong script a year, we'd be on the map. But, as they say, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it." ""
A great idea will attract funding.
If you wrote a script nobody wants to fund, that should probably tell you something.
If you don't even try to get funding with your script, you probably don't have any confidence in the work, or don't care what the end result is.
The harsh reality of this situation is that 99.999% of no budget productions are completely terrible.
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By Chris McCoy
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