Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Monday, November 23, 2009

TopTenREVIEWS Reviews.

My first videos from TopTenREVIEWS.com are up. Here are two links.

I’ll be honest, it's not my absolute best work. I need to smile more and put more energy into these. I think that’s why they hired me in the first place, after seeing the OraBrush ads.

It's time in front of a camera, though, and I'm glad for that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Litmus for Authenticity

I haven't written anything substantial in a long time. I'm a little afraid of that. Writing isn't like riding a bike, and in all honesty, I'm not entirely persuaded riding a bike is like riding a bike. Without practice and persistence in life, I think we each may simply melt into a puddle of loosely sentient flesh.

That being said, you may just as likely melt while watching this video.

From what I can gather, this group broadcasts on public access cable in central Florida.

The lack of sophistication reminds me oddly of Napoleon Dynamite. Their whole existence is anachronistic. I mean, if you had to guess, when might you place this broadcast on a timeline? They're also local, but without location. While P.T. Katt and M. Gormley are in Florida, they could as easily be in any rural minor American locale. The same is true of Jared and Jerusha Hess' most recent work, Gentlman Broncos.

Again, the characters are only vaguely aware of themselves. They lack the proverbial mirror to actually see themselves as others see them.

There is a character in Gentlemen Broncos who would be right at home on the "Uncharted Zone". Lonnie Donaho talks about "the industry" and his "feature films" shot on a home VHS camcorder. He might also get along well with the proprietor of this local outfit.

These men are AUTHENTICALLY poor performers in a way that I am entirely incapable of, in a way that I doubt can be duplicated by parody (Save by Jared Hess). I could not make something this bad if I tried. They'll never win awards or critical acclaim. They'd be lucky to come close to covering their costs, though they just might from gawkers paying money to see what is, by most accounts, an absolute train wreck. They seem to be entirely unaware of any developments in their field over the last twenty to thirty years. What's more, they are either OBLIVIOUS to or genuinely Do Not Care what people think of their work.

I can't tell if these are the most remarkable examples of hubris I've ever seen, or the complete absence. They don't presume to elevate their work over others, or even to compare. By all appearances they are doing this for their own enjoyment. If anybody else cares to watch, that's simply a bonus.

Hubris or not, regard for others work or none, these two groups present the most undeniable, clear cases of authenticity anywhere in media I know of. They are transparently bad, but you know it isn't a joke to them. Nobody would invest the time necessary to produce so much ostensibly unremarkable work. In being so transparent, they're also more true than almost any mainstream electronic culture. It's made by and for them and theirs. And that's tremendous.

Michel Gondry seems to understand this in a way many other filmmakers don't. It's reflected in his movies, and I love his movies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Copyright, Science, and Education

Larry Lessig is somebody I'd like to be more like. I know I've talked about him before. I admire his independent intellect and adaptability.

He makes more sense on the subject of Copyright than any other individual or institution I've ever encountered. Laws should Make Sense.

Shouldn't intellectual property be made more available with the passage of time? For a huge swath of archival footage, the opposite is true. After just a few years, all rights revert back to the owner of the copyright.

According to Lessig, that means that much of the 20th century's documentary work on film will literally decay and be obliterated instead of being digitized, democratized, and distributed for the good of those who could learn from and use it. Instead, it will literally rot.

Interestingly, the most progressive groups pertaining to open use of electronic media are not only very forward thinking artists like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and Girl Talk, nut also Al-Jazeera, the Arabic language cable news network.

See video below: