How ‘Film Rights’ Screw Everyone, Not Just The Artist

Via: Still from ‘Enrique Wrecks The World‘ and incredibly funny short film that I cannot show you.

The other evening I spent some time watching some very fine films at the Maryland Film Festival. It was an enjoyable time with some great films. So, being the animation enthusiast that I am, I thought I would share some of these films that I saw with my readers.

Surprise! The majority (but not all) are not available online. Why? If I were to hazard a guess, it is because festivals and distributors insist on certain clauses covering rights to the films which dictate when those films can and cannot be shown. Want to enter it in some festivals? Sorry, it can’t be also available online. Want to get a distribution deal? Sorry, it can’t also be available online.

How does this screw everyone? The people who want to see the film can’t see it while the person who needs it to be seen by people is SOL.

Posting one or two of the films here may not do much, but it won’t hurt either. Animation should be seen by everyone, not just the folks who made the effort and braved the rain to see them.


Why The Tangled DVD Is A Waste Of Your Money


It’s not secret I like Tangled. It’s fun and although the story and characters are slightly less than mirror-polished, it’s an engaging film that manages to astound with it’s visuals, as Jim Hull managed to put it on twitter:

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It’s true, the visuals are stunning and its the main reason I like the film. However, I am one of those folks that has an old-style TV. You know the ones, with a square screen and that take up as much space in the living room as an elephant. Am I behind the times? Yes, I am and I realise it. However for me, if it came down to it, I would rather spend the couple of hundred dollars on a flight to Ireland than a new TV. It’s not that I don’t like watching the boob tube [snicker], it’s just how I prioritize things.

Despite the fact that I like the movie, I was disappointed by the Tangled DVD. The only extras included on the disc are some original “storybook” version of the film’s opening and a countdown of films that makes Tangled the (supposed) 50th feature released by Disney.

Here’s my problem, and it’s likely to be your problem too. Why the heck would you pay $14.99 for a DVD with basically just the film on it? If you’re a truly insane or disadvantaged in who supplies your DVDs, you would have to pay the $29.99 that Disney recommends!

First of all, $14.99 is expensive, even for a DVD (when stores can sell CDs profitably for half the price, you know there’s something up). The extras included were and are available online so you do not gain anything by having the DVD. The ultimate insult is that for an extra fiver on, you can get the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack but that is a matter of economics and I’m sure most people plumped for that version despite the fact that it offers only a few more extras and even then only on the Blu-Ray disc, the DVD is exactly the same as the stand-alone version.

So ask yourself: “why should I pay money for a plastic disc with just the movie on it? Why not save my money and download it from the internet? It’s not like there’s a lack of choice there”:

Snapshot of just some of the torrents available out there.

I do not advocate downloading films from the internet. The practice is quote/unquote “illegal” and if the MPAA thinks they’ve caught you, it can be a legal nightmare trying to get it sorted out. If you have ethical feels about it, there are always plenty of free (as in speech) and public domain films out there just gagging for your attention.

The point is, why on earth would I fork over a pile of money for something I can just download from the internet (legality aside)? It doesn’t make any sense to sell films like that any more because there is absolutely no incentive to the public to buy the film. If it came with some kind of extra that I could not download form the internet (read: a physical item) than there is a chance that people would be much more likely to purchase it.

I think that’s something that content producers cannot get their heads around. People no longer consider content a physical good whose reproduction can be controlled. People today (myself included) generally assume that if we can get it from the internet, then it probably should be free (there’s an economics background to this that can wait for another day, but trust me in the meantime).

Just to add insult in injury, there was a time when DVDs came stuffed to the gills with extra features. Since the introduction of Blu-Ray, we’ve seen those features gradually get pulled as the studios have attempted to incite use to get Blu-Rays instead. Unfortunately a new HD TV is a heck of a lot of money to spend and a few extras that I used to be able to get aren’t going to be the deal-breaker for me.

With less features on the DVD and with a nominal difference in price, why the heck would I buy the single DVD? If I just want to see the film, there is a heck of a lot of reasons why I should just go and download it or watch it through other means and I’m pretty sure that’s what plenty of folks are doing to the detriment of the studio and the artist who work in the industry.


Quick Note: The ‘Shame’ of Going to See an Animated Film

Just a short post today, but it’s quite a serious one in all fairness. Do you ever notice that some people, like, grown adults are sometimes embarassed when they tell you they went to see an animated film?

We’re talking adults in general here, not necessarily the ones with kids, who believe they’ve got a genuine excuse in the little ones. I mean adults, the ones without kids. Sometimes it seems like they’re downright ashamed to admit that they went to see an animated film, kid-friendly or otherwise. Why is that?

Is an admission the evidence someone needs to torpedo your reputation as a mature individual? Hardly. Is it perhaps the lingering remnants of the peer pressure of your teenage years? Again, hardly, although as humans, we do tend to suppress certain elements of individualism in favour of conformity.

I’ll admit that I have no problem saying I went to see an animated film. heck, I’ve no problem telling my co-workers that I went to see an animated princess film. And guess what? They didn’t judge me, or laugh at my face either! They actually asked what it was like, either for use as a yardstick when taking their own kids or for some other reason.

The point is, no-one, and I mean no-one should have to be ashamed or worried about the state of their character just because they saw an animated film. Years ago when I was just beginning to watch cartoons regularly again, someone asked me how I could watched something that was aimed at kids. My reply was that grown men and women make the shows so why couldn’t a grown man enjoy the shows? They were silent after that.

Who cares what you watch and if someone judges you based on that then they have some very poor inter-personal skills that need to be addressed.