From: David Tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Mar 12 2006 - 12:26:09 PST

> ...when people or institutions profit from work and the
> worker does not this is exploitation,

I believe the point that has been made here is that the people or ad hoc
institutions that show new and non-comercial work do NOT make a profit. I
have read nothing but condemnation of those 'festivals' that are run as a
commercial enterprize.

The fact is, there aren't that many people willing to pay anything, as
audiences or funders, to show this kind of work. What the small festival
with fee amounts to -- in a very imperfect way, granted -- is a sort of
cooperative screening. By pitching in entry fees filmmakers get the
opportunity to have their films screened to people who wouldn't get to see
them otherwise.

It seems people are shocked! shocked! to discover market capitaism is
exploitative. The naivete of people who expect experimental filmamkers to
actually get paid is charming but also comic. If you want to get paid in
America, you need to offer goods or services for which there is an
established market of a size capable of generating an income.

> When you are ready to do all your teaching for free, then you
> might be in a position to suggest that artists should do the same. . .
> If your university stopped paying you, would you go on teaching there?

Of course not, but I would not stop teaching even if was no longer
formally employed as a teacher. But more importantly, this teacher vs.
artist distinction is wholly false. AFAIK, Stan Brakhage supported himself
through most of his life by teaching. The film work for he may not have
been 'sufficiently' paid, established his qualifications to attain a
teaching post, therefore he received a kind of indirect compensation.
Almost everyone in academia creates scholarly or creative work for which
they receive no significant direct monetary compensation. I shall bypass
the question of whether the published essays I have written or the films I
co-authored that have been widely distributed are 'art.' But by the terms
you use, yup, I have given all of them away for free or next to nothing.
(I always get a laugh from the yearly royalties statement a publisher
sends we: yeah! another $2.47!) Except that is not how the system work.
Academics are not paid to be teachers alone, but teacher/scholars or
teacher/artists. If you have a pure teaching job, say at a juco, you may
teach 5 or 6 classes a term. At a research university the norm is 2. What
the school is paying for you to do instead of teaching those 4 other
sections is to get there out and write or make stuff that will build the
schools reputation by association. That's the job. Filmmakers who teach at
universities and 4 year colleges are generally, if not explicitly, being
paid to make films by their schools.

Other than the lucky few who can score a big grant or fellowship, nobody I
know who makes non-comercial films doesn't have a day job. Would I make
things work differently if I were King. Yeah. But really, you need to take
these complaints up with Adam Smith, Milton Freidman, etc. etc.

What most artists consider their art, would be considerd by economists or
the IRS exactly as a 'hobby.'

In other words, the worlds of art as a 'vocation' a passion, an identity,
a spiritual practice on one hand, and of 'art' as an occupation for which
one can expect to get paid have no intersection whatsoever. This is what
Marx called the alienation of labor. It sucks, but short of a revolution,
it's kinda the way things are.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.