Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Panic Attack!

The CRTC hearings on Canadian television are mercifully drawing to a close. 10 solid days of one group or another whining about a broadcast system that doesn’t work, can’t make money and somehow isn’t able to support home grown content.

Most of the people testifying have said the same things they did last year, which was pretty much exactly what they said two years ago.

Two years…

How much could have been accomplished in two years?

How much original work could any one of us have created in that time that might have contributed to the culture – or maybe our own bank accounts?

Oh, I know, I know, there wasn’t really any development funding, certainly not at the level you’d need to envision something that made an impression on people.

And there really hasn’t been any production money around unless you were aboriginal or weren’t sure if you were gay or definitely knew you were “challenged”  or you lived in a remote part of the country (pick any combination of three to qualify).

And all of the networks weren’t sure if they had timeslots or big enough envelopes or how to monetize your idea across multiple platforms.

“And it’s EXTRA HARD to write when you can’t see it amounting to anything, Dude!”

“Yeah, and somebody was always leaving a flyer on my bike advertising $2 Crantinis and a free screening, so there was that too.”

Ultimately, the fact that we didn’t really accomplish or create much can’t totally be blamed on any of us artist types, can it?

I mean, it’s not as if we’re living somewhere that has all the showbiz advantages.

Somewhere like, y’know – Uruguay.


Two years ago, a guy named Fede Alvarez, who lives in Montevideo (which even though it has video in its name is not a cinematic hotbed and remains just the capital of Uruguay) decided that if he was going to convince people he was a director, he should maybe “direct” something.

But all he had was $300 – and what can you do for 300 bucks that anybody’s going to notice? I mean, c’mon!

However,  Fede had a friend who believed in his talent named Mauro Rondan, who was an animator. And between them they owned or knew somebody who owned software like Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, 3dMax, FumeFX, Glu3D and AfterEffects.

So Fede shot what he could in a weekend and then he and Mauron worked on it for the next two years, figuring it took them six months in total if you were adding up the hours like you would on a real film, by the time they were done.

No Media Funds, no grants, no preferential point systems or government assistance programs. Just Fede and Mauron and their $300 dream.

And what they ended up with, while we were all still carping about how unjust the Canadian broadcast system is, was this…

Is anybody starting to wonder, like I am, if the problem in Canada isn’t that we don’t have enough rules on how TV should get made here, but that maybe we’ve already got waaaay too many?

Maybe figuring out how to do what we do without getting involved in and playing along with all this government bullshit might just get us a whole lot further.

What I know for certain is that while we await the Commission’s verdict on what we may or may not be allowed to do for the next two years, Fede Alvarez is hanging with a lot of people who want him to direct their movies or are willing to finance one of his own.

1 comment:

Rich Baldwin said...

Totally! Too many people use lack of funding or support as an excuse to avoid making something amazing. Nobody's stopping us but us. If the regulatory bodies don't want to pony up the cash, do it anyway.