Sunday, July 3, 2016
INTERNET CREATORS GUILD! IS THIS THE ANSWER OR JUST THE BEGINNING? Time to be ICG WATCHDOGS folks!
I usually have been, or tried to be up to date on some of the major incidents involving some of the major Youtube and other internet creators, at least the ones within my purview of the entertain and criticism world. Um, there was that bizarre thing involving somebody called the Fine Bros who tried to, I guess "Franchise" they're Youtube, um, "Franchise" I guess, awhile back. These do those "Reaction videos," the ones that show something to some group of people? I don't really get why or what they were thinking, it's like they were trying to copyright the structure so that others could do that-, I don't know, it sounded like they thought they were "Romper Stompers" or something (And that idea barely worked when they did it btw) but I was so late onto that, that I didn't even really bother with that, and frankly there's more minds with more legal knowledge than I do that commented before me, so....
The other weird one involved an infamous James Rolfe declaration. Rolfe is the guy who portrays the Angry Video Game Nerd and runs Cinemassacre. I've seen his video, although I can only take so much of "AVGN" before I start losing it a bit, but he's usually entertaining and funny and fairly observant. Anyway, it's well known that he's an excessive, "Ghostbusters" fan, and he decided to come out with a video declaring that he was not going to see the new "Ghostbusters" film, which had already been the subject of much scorn, for reasons that, I honestly don't get, but anyway, he got criticized on several fronts for this, one being that, he was being sexist by declaring he wouldn't see the movie, to the fact that he made the video at all, which immediately led to much, much mockery, even by some of his most noteworthy compatriots in the internet creator world. Anyway, I've seen his video and his second video explaining the history of the never-made third "Ghostbusters" film, and I guess should comment on this, so here's my thoughts on AVGN deciding not to see "Ghostbusters":
(Clears throat, long pause)
Yeah, I don't really care. Yeah, that's about it. First of all, he's mainly a video game critic; alright he does do film reviews and analysis, and yes he is a talented filmmaker who has made a theatrically-released feature, but I-, yeah I don't care. He doesn't want to watch something, fine. I don't like his reasoning for not seeing a movie, but nobody was ever forcing him to go either, and he's a civilian he has that right not to see something. (Although nobody forced him to make that video either, so I can't say he isn't at fault.) And besides the entire internet's superfluous over-reaction to basically every little aspect to this new "Ghostbusters" movie, from the trailer supposedly being so bad, it got more dislikes than anything in Youtube history, (I watched it, it looked fine to me, so I don't get that at all) to everything regarding the casting, or the idea of doing to who's doing it...- it's all been so much fandom over-analyzing and jacking off to their own superego, all before the movie or the reviews of the film started coming out, just.... ugh. (Like really, were we really clamoring for a third "Ghostbusters" movie? Why, did you not see "Ghostbusters II" people? I kinda remember it sucking pretty badly, so did we need another of that? Jesus!)
So, yeah, I've been avoiding some of these non-issues and non-starters in recent months, internet creator-wise, because I honestly found very little interest in these sorta things lately. That is until recently, when suddenly a Guild popped up. A guild for who create media, with the internet.
Now, this is exactly the community unionizing, for one thing there are some technical legal differences between a Guild and a Union, basically a Guild is forward independent contractor while a "Union" is specifically for employees, That's why most of the "unions" in Hollywood are technically Guilds. But, yes the "Internet Creators Guild" was started recently. This was started by a Youtuber named Hank Green, who I've never heard of but has been doing that for ten years, and is fairly legit. He's got some people involved in it who are also legit, and he's gotten a $50,000 investment from VidCon, which is a-, what the hell is that... (Searching) it's a convention for people who love online videos. Huh. Okay, god there are conventions for everything. Why are there conventions for everything? Oh well, sorry, that starter money, and they'll be charges fees for members, and well, let me just post the website, it's at the link below:
Anyway, it's got fees that are fairly cheap and should be affordable to those who do have a somewhat successful job/career posting videos online, either on Youtube or some other video-sharing site, and has a board of directors and a prominent advisory board. Now, I think if you're putting two and two together with the major discussion points recently regarding internet videos, than you're probably that this is mostly created as a way to protect creators against copyright protections, right? Well..., actually if you read their guidelines, they actually don't bring that up once. In fact, that's not listed among the things they say they'll do, at all. They do list eleven things they'll do, most of them fairly solid goals, and most of them actually have to do not with copyrights, but with monetizing their products. There's a lot of talk about unification of online creators as well, but a lot of it is a about sponsors, advertisers, and the transparency, even talk about providing case study and understanding one's audience, so there's a lot of helping members with in the group as well. There is one indirect passage about acting as a bridge between creators and platforms, that's probably vaguely written intentionally to eliminate the possibility of being a protector of the Fair Use Doctrine against invalid copyright claims, but it's not specifically about it, and actually that's probably a good thing. For one thing, it's so early in it's infancy this Guild, and nobody if it'll even actually work, plus, nobody knows exactly whether or when that kind of issue will be brought up or that they'll to deal with, and this leaves open the possibility of other issues down the line that maybe they haven't thought of yet. Plus, if this was just a group that focused on fair use, that actually could alienate a lot of creators many of whom are probably far less likely to be involved with such an issue as others might be. I know, I tend to focus on a certain group of Youtubers mainly because they're the central focus in the entertainment world that I focus on, but there's plenty of others out there and quite a few of them have no knowledge or basis in my field. How this'll transpire if the Fair Use issues ever comes into their purview and what they'll do and what that situation will be, well, time will tell, so we'll be Guild watchers on it ASAP.
That said, there is something that kinda threw me for a loop here, once I thought about it a second. And, it's basically, trying to figure out where Internet Creating's place is in the entertainment world.
Like, okay, internet creating, creating video on the internet, great. So, does that mean Chelsea Handler can join this Guild? What, she's creates her talk show for Netflix, right, that's an internet site, she's technically an internet creator, or does that count as television, and therefore she's ineligible. What about eh, Abbi Glazer and Ilana Jacobsen, who used to be internet creators, but eventually evolved and got their own show on Comedy Central based on the characters they created for their webseries. And actually, what about regular television shows, most of them aren't just airing on television, they're streaming now, often on the networks' own website, which often has their own original content on their websites. Like, would the people who made the webseries for "The Office", are they internet creators?
You see, it's not just the fact that the line is blurred now, I'm not even sure the line exists anymore. I mean, by no means is everybody who's ever had a regularly-updated Youtube Channel, say, has an easily accessible IMDB page, but most of the really big ones do, and usually they're listed as TV shows. That\s at the far end. What about another end of the spectrum, how about podcasters? I have a few friends who do podcasts, are they internet creators, or are they radio, and if they're radio, then, we're possibly into another set of Guild overlap.
I could also make a joke about how I'm technically an internet creator, but all I have is this blog, I don't think that counts. Hell, I'm about the most outdated person internet-wise there is; I'm often told that not only is the look of my blog outdated, but having a blog is outdated. Hell, I'm often asked why I'm not just posting my movie reviews to Letterboxd like everybody else, and that way you can have a list readily available of every film you've ever seen! Like I posted on here:
Yeah, for those who wonder, this should be the clue about the time I'm living in, and how I little I care about being directly apart of it, still doing a blog when no one else is and they've all moved to streaming, yet starting listing all the films I'd seen, long before Letterboxd existed. Maybe in the future I'll join the internet creators and transform this blog into a video format but that's just not in the cards at the moment. (Besides I'll need a talented editor, minimum for that. Oh, and camera equipment, and lighting equipment, and about a jillion more dollars than I make with this blog, which is about, $5/year, almost. CLICK ON THE ADS, FOLKS, PLEASE!)
Oh, I didn't even get to porn yet....! (Well, I guess I don't need to)
Yeah, that's my big concern over this Internet Creators Guild, not whether or not it'll be useful, but whether or not this'll be relevant in a few years. How mainstream is internet creating, and exactly how or what will become involved in it years from now? And from the entertainment industry perspective, does this legitimize internet creators as apart of the entertainment milieu, or does it do the opposite and perhaps de-legitimize some who were probably already on the road to getting entertainment industry respect or credit, or simply, place into this category of only being internet creators? That could definitely be limiting. A lot more people than we realize start off on the internet now in some capacity and then, they make their way towards other more successful future endeavors. The Emmys are giving away more and more category awards for webseries and more people stream than watch television, and even movies are being made just for streaming online.... Many of them, are made by some of these internet creators nowadays. I'm not sure what this idea of having a guild for this group of creators means, for the future. In all likelihood, this is probably just, one more Guild to sift through, and nothing much will change, but we'll see.
This is all really gonna depend on, what challenges the Internet Creators Guild will have to take on first, and how it responds to that. So that #WTFU cloud haunts over it for it and we'll find out how valuable this Guild is or could be. For all we know, this Guild could basically be as relevant as the Playwrighter's Guild, and only be interested in protecting the creators work, or maybe it's going to be as relevant to the internet world as the DGA, PGA, SAG and all the other major Guilds are to Hollywood.
Well, it's the fastest growing entertainment medium, and that's my market, so, time for us all to be ICG watchdogs. Whether we're video, written word, or whatever other form of media that creates/produces on the internet, or those who just are entertained by internet-based media that's created, this could be big. Or, maybe it's the first page. We'll see,...