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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old November 29th, 2005, 08:50 AM   #1
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Bugs, no, not that kind.

So what does the community think about "bugs"? You know, those annoying bits of video that float over the bottom edge of everything on the air these days.

I hate them. I was with NBC for 16 years and always argued that they were covering program material that some producer/director/TD, etc created as an artistic endevor. We had no right to alter the content or presentation of their works. Like that argument ever worked.

We are having a talk about credits and whether they are still worth doing these days because the networks keep diluting them, speeding them up to fast to bother trying to read or they are squeezed into some tiny little keystoned box. And the soundtrack under the credits, forget it. If it's on cable, broadcast or even pay per view in some cases, you will be subjected to commercials over it.

I still argue the producers and directors can stop that abuse of their hard work, their money for title effects and soundtrack music scores, etc by putting a clause in their contracts that their works must run uncut or at least with the credits intact and NO BUGS.

Some folks think even high powered producers/directors can't stand up to the movie factories for this. I say baloney. If folks Ron Howard and Rob Reiner sat on a few completed projects until they caved, I bet it would work.

And why shouldn't credits run intact? They are part of the programming material - in TV language. They have every right to be on the screen as any scene in the film. If you have ever had the out-takes or bloopers run over by some over anxious weather anchor telling us there is more weather in our future, or that another great film is only moments away, then you should be mad and you should say something about it.

As for me, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." Thank you Howard Beale, Prophet of the Airwaves. (Go see "Network" if you need grounding)

I have refused to watch cable channels that abuse the credits. I have written AMC, Starz and a few other corporate giants asking them why they do this dis-service to the people who helped make the very thing they are making money on. Doesn't make sense to me to piss off the hard working film and video crews that are putting these corporate monsters kids through Rutgers and Yale, on the backs of these talented artists.

So, time to stand up and do something folks. Call or simply e-mail when you see a broadcast that doesn't measure up or when they run the credits to a good film at 3x normal speed with a keystoned weather guy talking about how there will be a period of darkness this evening followed by lightness areound dawn, or that stinking, annoying "bug" stays up for 2 hours over Casablanca. Hey if they can do it to Casablanca, they'll do it to The Matrix or any other film.

OK, OK. This thread was meant for me and others to vent and also to give the folks from the divergent thread a place to split off to.

Everyone play nice but consider what I mentioned here. Anyone see the Saturday Night Live parody they did some time back where they had a CNN-like news program and different lines of text going both directions on the bottom, double box with video and all sorts of "news" type stuff on the screen. I think folks may have missed the point that it was a parody...

That's it. I'm going back to work now. End of Rant.

Sean
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Old November 29th, 2005, 11:30 AM   #2
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I don't think theres too much that can be done about it. It bugs me too. I suppose a grassroots effort might work better than a Top-Down sort of thing. The unions hold more sway than the directors and producers do. If credits have become 'valueless'... than the unions can insist on either full play of credits, or delete credits for HIGHER PAY. This gives the studios, TV and Cable a choice. It's all about money. Basically, the cable/broadcast networks have devalued a 'payment' that is negotiated upfront in the actors/crew contracts.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 11:59 PM   #3
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Amen brother. The 16 years I was with our NBC OnO, I was on the union negotiating commitee. Interesting times. Degeneration of the contract every four years, interns and other non-paid people pushing my buttons (literally), teenage news producers who want to be in TV, talent changing stations every contract, news directors hiring psychics - no kidding, ours did that, as part of the news program... - dropping an entire paid classification, Engineers became Technicians, etc., etc.

I'm rather suprised they haven't killed off credits completly by now. I will say this, I would rather not have my name at all on something where they are flying by so fast I have to hit pause to see them. Apparently the producers don't think enough of the crew to even make a few seconds available for them to get real credit for their work.

Back in school, I was taught the credits should sit there long enough for the average reader to read it at least 1 and a half times. Good luck these days.

I'm leaning to putting them in the front and blending them as often as they can be with the program material. then they can't be eliminated at all without extensive re-editing.

I would have to ask our old programming people exactly what it is that allows them to edit movies for time in the first place. Rather like me getting a movie from the library and editing out the parts I don't think are necessary.

Sean
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Old November 30th, 2005, 08:16 AM   #4
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You know, when I watch and old, OLD classic film... say from the forties... and almost ALL the credits are up front, and they ammount to like, SIX credits or so... I think how simple and clean it looks. And at the end, there aren't more than a couple of dozen.

Yeah, movies were simpler creatures back then... you didn't have an entire flotilla of accountants and assistants to the assistants getting credited. What you are looking at, is a long history of "We can't pay you, but you'll get CREDIT..." The great American dream of your "Name in LIGHTS" (which when you get down to it, is what the screen credit is) has comletely lost its value. I really do think that its a shame they've been dilluted to the point, that the production company can't use it as a bargaining chip any more.

"What, you'll put my name on it instead of paying me??? Fuggedaboutit"
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