Re: Tanked

From: db (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Aug 23 2006 - 10:12:01 PDT

On Aug 23, 2006, at 8:50 AM, David Tetzlaff wrote:

> Programmers who pay for work are those who are lucky enought to
> have some
> economic resources, be that in the form of grant money, or available
> rent-free space or whatever. Not everyone can get a grant. I would
> guess
> arts grants in New York are especially competitive. Volunteers cannot
> necessarily be expected to put in the extreme time commitment
> involved in
> hustling up grant money. Funding agencies are generally not
> interested in
> either programmmers or artists without an established 'track
> record'. I
> would also note that few programmers have a completely open-door
> policy.
> Even if the people they program are not 'stars' the programmer has
> probably become aware of the work through other screenings or personal
> networking.

Beyond economics--where I'd rather be on this matter--there is the
reality that we make choices to take things on. This is what Susan
has done. This is no different than the choices filmmakers who wish
to submit/pay the fee must make. That she feels it necessary to share
how difficult her venture is, that's her choice. But, as a programmer
who has booked shows (out of my pocket, funded by others, checked out
from Donnell and projected on a wall for free), I find her "my life
is so hard" routine a bit amateurish. She certainly hasn't educated
me with her explanation of how much she has to do to pull this off,
I've been there.

Regardless of grants and all the other crap you're throwing in the
mix, there is the reality that "we don't know Susan from Adam." It is
also entirely appropriate in any economic exchange to ask what one is
getting for their $$. If Susan had simply stated the parameters of
her efforts up front no one have needed to ask the "what do I get for
my $$ question," she wouldn't need to "walk away" from "these
nattering nabobs of negativity," and everyone would have a better
idea of her intentions and the scope of her efforts, allowing them to
make an educated choice to participate or not.

Volunteers do what needs to be done to get the job done. They should
be expected to do so, or they shouldn't volunteer. Again, it is about
choices and understanding the obligations of our choices. If I
volunteer to usher a performance event in order to see it for free,
the exchange is clear. If the usher coordinator tells me I need to
sweep the theater once I get there, we have a problem.

> I can imagine that a lot of people could care less if their work is
> ever
> shown in Manhattan. There ARE screening venues that take new works and
> don't charge, and if you're content with the limits that come with
> that,
> fine. No reason to hassle Susan because her degree of difficulty
> (new work
> / volunteer / Manhattan) dictates artists have to chip in or the thing
> isn't going to happen. And for anyone who would like their work
> screened
> in Tribeca, why don't you try organizing a screening yourself
> instead of
> pissing on somebody else's method. Form a collective with a bunch
> of other
> artists, work out programming, get a suitable screening space, put out
> pub... oh yeah, that all would take TIME and MONEY and YOU'RE not
> getting
> paid...

Actually, I thought the comparison to rock & roll bookers who "rent"
the hall to a band was entirely appropriate. This is a model that
some people choose to work with and that others would never agree to
participate in. But it is entirely fair to know the parameters of the
exchange rate. That Susan took to the "I'm above this" route, while
understandable coming from an "overworked volunteer," would cause me
to be more wary, not less.

But that would be my choice.


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