Friday, October 12, 2012

Remix Mix

I found that this topic interested me the most. When I first got into broadcasting, I was a news videographer who also had to edit my own video. Prior to this, I knew absolutely nothing about copyright, editing or music rights. So when I learned to edit, the way I did it at the tv station was how I thought it was everywhere. I edited any musical clip or song into video without having to worry about getting in trouble. This was, of course, because of the BMI and ASCAP fees the station paid, allowing news organizations to use parts of songs for their use. And I'm not quite sure of the law, so don't quote me, but there was also some law that allowed us to use video of anyone, as long as we were not on private property, without having to get a consent form signed. So basically, I had it in my head that I could edit and use whatever I wanted.

 It wasn't until I worked for a tv station without a newscast that I found out this wasn't true. My manager and I got into quite a debate about having to get consent forms signed for anyone I videotaped, and got our lawyer to go over our musical/editing license and contract with a fine toothed comb. Being that at this station I also edited my own video, I would edit different pieces that convert different emotions, sometimes in the same video story. So I would use up to four songs in one video, most likely from different artists.

 These videos would then air on the channel over the air, and also online. But a digital copy would be made and stored somewhere. A database existed that contained keywords from the story and video, i.e., a certain location was shot, a certain person was used and a certain piece of music was used. So in the future, if there were another person who was working on a story that needed footage of other things, all they had to do was access the database and retrieve whatever piece of video or music they wanted to. Even if they didn't shoot that piece of video, it doesn't matter. It's free game. And this is all ok and how the business works and nobody cares, because we are nothing more than employees of a station that owns the rights to the videos themselves. Once I shot video of Hurricane Floyd and it was picked up and aired by CNN. Do you think I got the money paid? Do you think I was credited by CNN in their airing? No, the station go the money and the credit. And again, this is fine by all. But take that principle to the private market and it doesn't work that way at all. Videographers are very, very (rightfully so) territorial about their video.

 I say all of that to say this. Lessig's point in the book we read was that the current copyright law for new media is outdated. Somebody makes a song, someone else takes and and makes changes, who know owns that material? I mean, the second person technically did make something new. I know that if I turn on the television and see even a ten second shot of my footage without me knowing, I would be quite upset. I can't even imagine how I would feel were I an artist who made music. And here is irony in it's finest. Lessig appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss the book. After the interview, Colbert took Lessig's book, signed it with his name, and then said that The Daily Show was going to start selling copies of it by calling it "The Colbert Edition." I went to YouTube to try and find a link to post here, but, and here it is, all I could find were remixed versions of the interview. Dozens and dozens of clips from people who took the interview, remixed it with some audio beat, and renamed it. I couldn't find it!! I had to go to the archives on the Colbert website to find it. Below is a portion. Enjoy, and don't take my video...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Media Managers

Had I made this post at the beginning of the semester it would have had a different tone, for multiple reasons, but the main being the information I learned through my research. My original topic for my research paper was something of extreme importance to me, media management. I myself was a manager at a traditional television station. However, when I was in that roll (it was prior to me returning to school for my undergrad degree) there was no Facebook, or Twitter or any other social media tool. There was the Internet, obviously, but there wasn't a great emphasis in making it interactive. We had a website, but when I first started it was merely to say that we had a website, and to use it for informational 2D information. 

We did use interactive media, but it was to interact with the "viewer" instead of us interacting with them. How we did this was, we partnered with a radio station that had the same demographic as our programming. We would then tape the on air personality for the radio station, asking our viewers to watch a certain show that evening, look for a special word or phrase, and then call in to their show the next morning and repeat that word or phrase for a prize. It was amazing the power this technique had. We used this technique for quite a while, while also slowly adopting a web technique. We would put a phrase or word on the screen (pre-edited of course) and then ask the viewer to log onto our website, click on the corresponding logo and type in that phrase or word. The entire thing was interactive, yes, but again, this was before the social media tools. I remember when they first came out, media managers and employees in general couldn't figure out exactly how that would fit into their business model. No one could figure out a) how to engage the public, and b) how to profit from it. 

It is through my research this semester that I am realizing that they are slowly starting to figure it out. Data and research are also starting to emerge, and a clearer picture is starting to form about what the future of the media organizations will look like. Not so much from a production viewpoint, but from a mangers viewpoint, and that makes me happy. It is here where I will place my Abstract.

Traditional organizational theory deals with efficiency in the workplace, involving both human resources and traditional organizational behavior. For the most part, this is a sustainable model. For most industries this model can sustain as long as the industry itself. But according both academic and industry articles on media, not only is the media content starting to change, so is the way it is managed, thus introducing a new model for media management.  A new model for managers who still value the traditional world of media, but also want to manage from a point of knowledge and empathy, is feasible.
            What has been heard from those that actually produce new media is that the current managers hire people like themselves to make the media, and they literally stay out of the process. Meaning, the manager merely dictates what he/she wants done and isn’t involved in the process for the shear reason that they don’t know what they are doing. And from what is presented as research, are also unwilling to learn. This is a dangerous model, and one that needs to be explored further before it comes to fruition.

I look forward to taking my newly acquired information and applying it to media organizations...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Like My Movie?

So far this is the most interesting of the reading and a topic that, believe it or not, I absolutely love. I even took a class about it in undergrad. So when everyone in class, including our professor, groaned at the topic, I actually smiled. I like it for many reasons, but one is that I remember the time before digital music. I can remember like it was yesterday, coming home from school and turning on my stereo. Yep, I said stereo. With tape deck. And to then sit around and wait forever for your favorite songs to come on and press record. You'd stop the tape after that last song and record another one, with clips of Casey Kasem in between. A mixed tape could easily take weeks to make. And the funny thing is, everyone would label their tapes and share with friends. But after a few copies were made and passed along, the distortion was so bad it sounded terrible. But you know what? Those days were awesome and nobody cared. I think the only difference today, besides the technology of course, is the fact that people can make money now. Nobody could make money off of mixed tapes, so the wolves stayed away. But here they are.

And after watching that movie in class, I had a question. What would happen if I took that movie, downloaded it into my editing software, shot my own personal on camera commentary, edited that on the end and then called it my movie? Is that similar to what our author was talking about????

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Potaytoes Pototos

When I first started reading this book, I thought it was a refreshing change from McGonical, who I thought was so far gone from reality it's not funny. But the more I listen to the class discussions and the more I read of You Are Not A Gadget, the more I dislike it and the author. I know think the only thing I like about him is the fact that he invented the term virtual reality. And maybe his weird instrument that he plays, but I now think he's the type that sat at home and thought, "Hmmm, what's some weird instrument I can play to make people think I'm weird." It's forced in my opinion. He's smarter than I and he thinks he smarter than most, and I don't like people like that. DOn't get me started on Ted Nelsen.

But seriously, I really did start out liking this book and somewhere in section 4 I started shifting away. It may have had something to do with his Wikipedia rant. He seems to be sticking up for the layman while at the same time insulting them. That makes him a rare individual to use those skills simultaneously. I can't tell if he's making fun of or advocating for sites like Thinkquest, as he himself states in the book that websites like it haven't been updated or edited since about the same time Wikipedia came out. Although I do sort of admit that it has made us as the consumers sort of lazy.

I also think he dislikes the open software for reasons that don't make sense to me. He says that it will hamper open communications between scientists and mathematicians and the public at large, which, surely they can conceive of another delivery method? I'll admit that at this point I may not be smart enough to follow what he says.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Can I Please Use Mickey Mouse

I think I have been thinking about this way too much because even as I type that title, I'm thinking there has got to be some Disney employee sitting somewhere flagging my post the future possibility of being sued. Moving on, something clicked in my brain this evening as I was preparing to make this current post and it was something Dr. Lackaff said in class.

I don't remember who initially said it, though I am sure we were all thinking it, but it is very true that this is dense writing. It's very drab and will put you to sleep should you need help though the information is actually interesting. Lackaff was sort of making the point that in some ways, it's an even better read than McTheWorldRevolvesAroundMe, though written from a slightly different point of view. And I disagreed with him because it's just so dense. But then tonight as I was glancing over the material it clicked that yes, he's actually right. Though I do think the author is assuming the audience is reading it for a different reason than the above mentioned author. It is very straight forward and he doesn't beat around the bush. 

And I actually enjoyed todays class discussion and wished we could have continued. I have always been interested in copyright in the media and even took a law class regarding this very topic. I just think it's interesting to note that anytime in the past when legislation was due to expire regarding something of importance to someone or some company with money (see title) could swoop in and get the laws changed. (Research and look up the history of Mickey Mouse and the copyright involved.)

And while we were talking about digital music, it can also cover many things. Pirating movies, music, games and even video. Do you ever see in the near future, or at least in our lifetime, the issue of the internet and digital media working itself out? They told us at my last job of a women who owned a German restaurant. To add to the ambiance, she purchased a CD of German music to play in the background. A representative from the distributor happened to be eating there and asked management to see the paperwork allowing the use of such music. Being that she didn't have it, she was fined, and I don't remember the amount, but it was well over $20,000. How crazy is that and why is that fair? Shouldn't there be some sort of warning clause? Or even an example clause instead of using them as examples? It doesn't seem fair. And as Benkler even states in his book, if it continues, it "will lead to substantial redistribution of power and money..." 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reality is Broken

I just read through my classmate Marshall's blog post and something he said spurred a thought. He said that he thought the author was doing a great job of arguing for her theory. My thoughts exactly! Whereas Marshall loves games and is reading this book from a gamers perspective, I on the other hand am on the opposite end of the spectrum.

When I was a young kid in school, I can actually remember when the first gaming systems came out, or at least the first few video games.  A lot of my friends had the Atari, but my parents couldn't really afford the Atari, so instead my brother and I got the knock off-ColecoVision. And man was it cool. We played on occasion and after school, but playing too much was never a problem then. I then got the original Nintendo 64 when it came out, and that was just as cool. The best part was learning that there were secret codes to games, which is what the majority of out break time at school was spent discussing. I especially remember when the code was leaked for how to beat the main boxer in Mike Tyson, and how to beat the last level of Super Mario Brothers. Those were the days...

And I can honestly say that that was the last time I owned any game system. Sure, I have played games since a few times, and have lots of friends who are like Marshall, but I honestly could take them or leave them. Which is what brings me to my next point about the author and something else Marshall said. She really does seem biased and almost annoying in her way of trying to prove to us that there are more intelligent reasons for gaming than it's just something to pass the time by with. I do like the real world statistics and examples she gives us (innovation strategy, real world examples and statistics of gamers usage). And especially going into the 2nd section of the book, she really transitions into intelligent arguments for her beliefs and theory. Her alternative theories on the benefits are great reading.

But let me finish with this. I actually liked and enjoyed reading these couple of sections. I think the author is extremely intelligent, makes wonderful points and somehow managed to keep my attention on a topic that I honestly have no knowledge of.  But, I don't think it's an exit from reality. I think it is the users attempt at trying to incorporate a hobby into their current reality and writing it off as such. But then again, what do I know. The last system I owned was Nintendo 64. However, if games aren't a part of ones life and an existence is made without games, how does that fit into the argument? I don't think reality is broken, I think the definition of reality is broken. Games don't need fixing, the actual real world does.

Introduction/COM 530 Post

Greetings and salutations. A bit about myself...

I am originally from South Carolina (stop me if you've heard this) and currently reside in Apex, NC with my wife Lauren and baby girl Taylor (we also have a cat named Hootie). I absolutely love the town of Apex and the Raleigh area in general. I don't foresee myself moving anywhere anytime soon, so whatever I do after I graduate will have to involve staying here. I moved a lot before settling in Apex, so it is nice to finally plant some roots.

I started my broadcasting career as a part time teleprompter operator for the morning show at the CBS affiliate in Augusta, GA many moons ago. As I found from the cool website that Prof. Walsh showed us in class today, they didn't even have a website when I started. However, I quickly fell in love with television and anything television related. That position I held was truly as entry level as they came and I really wanted to climb through the ranks. So I came in on my days off to learn different positions, I taught myself how to edit (pre-computers, mind you) and pretty much did anything I could to learn all that I could. I was promoted a few times before finally becoming a News Videographer, where I shot all the footage for different newscasts. I absolutely loved it and stayed as long as I could, which was when I felt I needed to move to higher markets to learn better skillsets. So, I moved to the Fox affiliate in Greenville, SC/Asheville, NC, and then on to the WB affiliate in Raleigh, NC. I then became the Director of Promotions for the WB affiliate in Greensboro, NC and knew by then that I had a nice little career on my hands. It was about this time I felt bad about not having a degree, so for some reason that is still a little hazy, I left my job to return to school full time at UNCG and graduated with a BA in Media Studies/Media Management. I freelanced professional videos the entire time I was in undergrad, which is what brings me here to Elon. All of my clients are starting to ask about Interactivity and how they can become a part of that world. Until now, I couldn't really help them and was losing out on money. This program will allow me to communicate to them what they need, and to then find the help I need to get it done. I also teach Media Management and Video Production to community college students, and again, this program will help me incorporate interactive material and to also teach at a higher level.

Being a good manager involves becoming involved and knowing what all of your employees are not only capable of, but are tasked with as an employee. Since the world of media is headed in the digital world, it's my job as a good manager to be able to talk to and relate to the employees that will be producing it day in and day out. I am both clueless and terrified with some of the material we have so far been introduced to, but like anything else I encounter, I will have a positive attitude about it and learn as much as I can.