Re: Tanked (good vs evil)

From: db (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Aug 24 2006 - 18:10:18 PDT

All good points, David, but there were some misunderstandings of my
intent. Sorry for that, but hopefully I can clarify, below.

On Aug 23, 2006, at 12:45 PM, david tetzlaff wrote:

> It is hardly 'crap' to analyse the material conditions necessary to
> do screenings of different types in different locations.

By crap I just meant stuff I found extraneous to the topic at hand,
or at least the topic I felt was at hand. There was no qualitative
judgement intended, just laziness in use of language on my part.

> That fact that you have booked shows out of your own pocket and/or
> by checking out prints from Donnel doesn't mean you've 'been
> there', unless you issued an open call for work and watched all the
> entries, be they perfect, passable or pathetic.

In that case, I've been there. Many times. But while that point may
be significant to you in the context of this matter, it isn't to me.
Also, I had no intention of comparing my efforts with anyone else's.

> Moreover, I get very tired of the Frameworks attitude, "well I've
> done such and such and so you should be able to as well." We all
> have different talents, different resources. So maybe you are more
> heroic than somebody else. It's bad form to dump on other
> volunteers because they don't put in as much as you do, if that's
> the case (of which we have no evidence).

You missed my point entirely. Well, actually, you got it but twisted
it 180 degrees. Whether that is the result of my writing skills or
your reading skills is somewhat irrelevant, but, suffice it to say,
what you write above (after the first sentence) was the point I was
trying to make: we all have different talents and resources. What
matters is what we do with them (even when the resources are
nonexistent). But, again, this is kind of off-topic in the context of
asking for a fee to consider work for screening.

As to your assertion of my cravings for heroic recognition, you are
entirely off target there. This is my opinion of the term hero:
Heroes are commodities created post facto by outside entities riding
on the backs of the people who did unexpected things, usually
dangerous or self-sacrificing. Those people are who they are,
regardless as to whether they have "hero" attached to their name or
not, and they might even react the same way every time (I thought
Cronenberg touched lightly but effectively on this very matter in "A
History of Violence"). To call my random programming efforts heroic
is a travesty of the term.

As an aside, I take exception at being summarily dismissed as a
"frameworks" attitude. I am not an "attitude." I am a person with my
own views, opinions and stances. In other words, I am a person with
convictions and a personally developed belief system, yes. But an
attitude? I think not. At least not in the sense I have of the term.
But, if you want attitude, I can give you fucking attitude!


> Since you don't know Susan from Adam, I wonder why you're rattling
> on about irresponsible volunteers in the complete absence of any
> compelling evidence that Susan has been irresponsible.

1. I didn't rattle on. I made a brief statement. I didn't even use
the word irresponsible because that wasn't what I was thinking about
at the time. I was thinking about volunteers carefully considering
what they are committing to BEFORE they commit. In other words, about
making informed decisions before leaping into an activity which might
overwhelm them (or result in a horrible experience like Victoria had--
and, yes, I understand that event has no connection with Susan's

2. I never meant to imply that Susan was irresponsible. I only made
the statement that, had she been fully transparent in her invite,
most likely none of this exchange would have occurred. Transparency
isn't difficult, though some people find it frightening (NOT meant as
a comment on Susan's situation or resolve).

3. Maybe you missed this post of mine:
There's no reason to be disheartened, Susan, especially because this
kind of questing [this should be questioning, not questing] is part
of the gig you--and the other volunteers associated with Tank--have
taken on of your own volition. Admission/"consideration" fees are
financial realities which must be weighed by filmmakers on a case by
case basis, so thanks for stepping up to clarify your group's
activities and what these fees are used for.

> In general terms, I happen to agree with you: in the world of
> filmmaking once you've made a commitment it should be sacrosanct
> whether you're getting paid or not. If you engage with the artform
> you owe _it_ due respect, not to mention the people you work with.
> But where's the fire in this case?

I never implied there was a fire. I don't see a fire. But I did feel
it appropriate to offer my opinion since I do have strong feelings on
these issues. I don't even consider what Susan is doing as wrong,
especially when she replied with information that clarified her
situation. As far as I'm concerned, people can pay whoever they want
whatever they want to have them "consider" screening their work. But
that ain't even "pay to play." In fact, that means they are using the
submission fees of filmmakers whose work is NOT selected to subsidize
the screening of other people's work. And I do find that rather
distasteful. In the rock & roll analogy offered, at least the
musicians do get to play. They aren't just "considered."

> No doubt there is a lot of pent up frustration among film people,
> and for good reason, but this whole thread seems to be full of
> indiscriminate and un-aimed release of angst.

I hate to say it but, to me, you're the one exhibiting angst. I have
no angst on this issue at all because I am comfortable in the fact of
what I will and will not accept. Sending a video and $10
(economically, about $23 when all is said and done: dv tape cost,
shipping cost, insurance if one decides to buy it, etc) to someone in
NY, even if I were still in NY, is not one of the things I would do.
Ergo, no angst.

> Could we actually take some time and figure out who the REAL bad
> guys are, who truly and thoroughly deserves some righteous anger
> directed their way? Or would that only reveal our own impotence in
> that we have no means to touch the true villians or even make
> ourselves heard by them. So as humans tend to do, the shit just
> rolls downhill and we vent on whoever is available and just happens
> to look cross-eyed or something at the wrong moment.

Well, here you have touched upon some important issues, though I
think they have little to do with my intent or thoughts regarding The
Tank's experimental programming activities...

But, to address your statements in that last paragraph, taking the
route of "outing" the "bad guys" is a tough road to follow. For one
thing, many of those "bad" guys you are referring to are in positions
of power that cocoon them from the "random oddball" or "wingnut" (the
bad guy's term for opponents & antagonists) who has the temerity to
challenge them on their own turf. Usually the only result of an
individual challenge is to have the matrons and patrons cover their
mouths and titter at the fool who just committed career suicide (I
think these are the same people who laugh in restaurants when someone
on staff drops a pile of dishes). I had enough run-ins with those
kind of folk in my small town that people started to avoid me,
eventually forcing me to leave (the best thing that ever happened to
me!), so I've been down this road myself. Nothing heroic in my
efforts, no claims to be better than thou. I'm just wired that way
(for many, many reasons not film-related) and I responded accordingly.

So, in returning to your stated objective, to effectively fight such
"bad guys" (and gals, I might add), a concerted and public effort
must be made by a LARGE group of individuals, not just random
individuals. In my experience, Power listens only to crowds. Power
either locks up the individuals who make protest, or it calls them
loonies, demented, jealous, troubled, uninformed, young, ill-tempered
(basically, fill-in-the-negative-blank), or it trivializes them into
obscurity. If that weren't the case, the director of the film center
here in Portland would have been gone 20 years ago. Instead, some of
the best work in the State has been suppressed, unscreened and, in
some cases, the creators of that work have been deliberately
undermined. Some filmmakers and exhibitors have become so frustrated
that they can think of that institution ONLY in negative terms and
therefore avoid it entirely. Other filmmakers push these problems to
the side because it is to their advantage to ignore the problems as a
means to attain their personal goals. It's a sad story, but an old
story, and obviously not particular to Portland. The most effective
response I've seen, which has worked far better than my pre-NY
departure finger pointing, has been to ignore the facility and pursue
goals completely out of the institute's sphere of influence, and this
has been a good thing for Portland, even if it makes me sad to
consider the un-approached potential of said institute.


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