Category Archives: Ideas

Should I do a weekly column?

Guy Maddin Commentary - 2009-06-18 21:23:07

Guy Maddin’s The Saddest Music In the World playing at The Heights Theater in 2009, with Mr. Maddin doing live commentary.

It struck me this morning that the Minneapolis / St. Paul area currently has a great array of art house / single screen / non-first-run movie theaters, certainly more than I was aware of when I was growing up in this town. The Heights regularly shows vintage films between showings of first-run movies. The Riverview often hosts oddball cinematic events when it’s not showing second-run movies. The Trylon, a microtheater with a mere 35 seats, makes its bread and butter showing vintage film on a rapidly changing schedule. The Brookdale 8 shows as many Bollywood films as it shows second-run American movies. And those venues aren’t the only ones.

So I was wondering:

  • Would anyone be interested if I posted a weekly column, highlighting few of the more unusual movie events around town?
  • What would I call such a thing? I haven’t yet thought of a snappy name that says “movies” and “not-first-run” and “not-second-run” and “local” and “weekly” all at the same time.
  • What else would make such a thing cool?

All thoughts welcome!

The Grand Unified Puppy Theory of Relationships

Wilma and Joey

Wilma and Joey have all this figured out.

Over the last few years, I’ve been mulling over the nature of human interpersonal relationships. I’ve started to see relationships between people — platonic, romantic, familial, professional, etc. — as an entity separate from the people who formed them. Oddly, I think this has become a very useful working model for understanding relationships. I call my model the Grand Unified Puppy Theory of Relationships.

It goes something like this: when you meet a person for the first time, the two of you are given a Relationship Puppy. What that Puppy does after that point depends on how the two of you treat your Puppy.

With me so far? Cool. Let’s proceed to bullet points! Continue Reading →

Concept: Music Rights Made Easy

Yesterday, when I edited and posted this video to YouTube, I chose a piece of music from my collection to accompany the visuals. The composer (Robert Schumann) and the performer (Sergei Rachmaninoff) are both quite dead, but it looks like the recording is still under copyright. In fact, YouTube identified it as such as soon as I uploaded it. I decided not to sweat it, as a) the video isn’t going to have a huge audience, b) I’m not making money off the video, c) Schumann and Rachmaninoff aren’t going to benefit from any proceeds at this point, d) YouTube has much bigger fish to fry than me, and e) it would have been pain in the rear to find a creative commons piece of music of the correct length that I also liked.

That said, I’m a fan of a reasonable amount of copyright. I do believe in paying for the media I personally use. I pay for all my movies and all my music. I believe in supporting the artists that entertain me.

I wish I could easily pay a nominal amount for music rights for the personal videos I post.

I mean, really, how cool would that be? If you are cutting together a video of your kid’s baseball game, and you know in your heart that John Fogarty’s “Centerfield” is the only proper piece of background music, why couldn’t you pay, say, $5 per year to have the video legally posted on YouTube? Or, if you are making advertising money off your YouTube channel, why couldn’t you pay [a somewhat larger amount] per copyrighted song?

Wouldn’t this be better? Copyright owners would make money. YouTube could probably take a small cut and make money. Video creators would be able to use whatever music they want — easily and legally — for a nominal fee. If you’re a video creator that already owns the rights to the music you use, great! Just get a coupon code from the copyright owner and log it on YouTube. If a video creator doesn’t want to pay the license fee, then they can go find or make something that’s not copyrighted.

I haven’t figured out how they’d work with Fair Use, but I bet it could be done somehow.

YouTube already has the music recognition capabilities and the money-handling capabilities. I bet, by adding a pathway to actually pay for these music rights, YouTube would actually be better able to control the unlicensed materials that course through its digital veins.

What do you think?