Sunday, September 27, 2009

Film Stuff.

This week Bangkok is holding it's 'International Film Festival', and with it comes the standard film industry seminars. I have been attending some, because well, it's about film. I like films - I like making them, I like watching them.

Today's seminar, held in arctic conditions, because it's totally fashionable to dress in a full piece suit in the tropical climes of sunny Bangkok, was about "protecting your project in a digital age" or some craply aptly named thing.

Oxymoronic if you ask me.

I had a couple of questions which I didn't bother asking, and they were covered in a studio tow-the-line propagandic type of way. As you can expect of three piece suit men, clutching onto an old system, living in fear their big money lifestyles, and golden parachutes are coming to an end.

I was wondering how can 'big film business' stem piracy, when popular torrent sites (apparently the industry's biggest threat, but least broached upon subject for the day) are being shut down, yet the next day, three more pop up in their place. And why not take on an offensive attitude by putting more money into embracing a comprehensive, equitable, and universal digital distribution model, rather than spending shit loads on trying to kill off piracy, before losing what little hold traditional distributors, such as studios, have left.

And why, when a person can download a decent or watchable copy of a film, not to be released in their territory in the near future, and be able to watch said copy in the comfort of their own home, through a media server, projected onto a large screen, or a 72" plasma, would a person bother to go to the cinema, or buy a hardcopy of DVD at an overly inflated price, months later.

Especially when the majority of films being distributed are questionable, mostly regarding the quality of reductive writing and rehashed story lines, AND by assuming their audience has the intellect of a 7 year old. Because Transformers 2 was really challenging, as was the new Terminator (insert number here)

We have come to a day in age where viewers are dictating the terms of distribution, how they want it, when they want it, and what format they want it in.

Apparently the 'good' Suits in the well paid but redundant positions (mainly because they can't make the old model work anymore) are working on a solution. One which probably means a combination of sponsored ads, and paying a minimal fee for watching a film, which will be digitally distributed over the internet. But the amount of time they are doing it in… well it kind of confounds me. They say it's going to take another 5-10 years to resolve itself.

Another 5 - 10 years of them trying to retain their jobs and lifestyles in my opinion. But, that could just be my anti-the-man upbringing talking.

The film industry is clearly flailing about, while it tries to resolve how to get its product out whilst still "maximizing profit". What becomes abundantly clear is someone is going to have to pay.

My question is, why does it have to be us, the poor people? Because clearly they want it to be us, and they expect it to be us. Why should we support their hyperbolic lifestyles, which they are obviously in great fear of losing? And this starts at the above the line talent, who I think are grossly over paid and generally under skilled, following on to those *ahem* 'producer' types who take an incredible fee out for doing sweet fuck all. The under the line budget which actually gets the film made, is proportionally a lot smaller, once these tossers are paid.

Look, I understand the concept of "show business", but fuck, wake up people, like the other guy said, "the 80s are OVER".

In the end I had to agree with the independent documentary film maker who totally offended the whole panel, and all the money grubbing whores in the crowd. Maybe a $120 million dollar film's real worth is reflected in the price you would pay for an illegal copy - about $3.00. Because with the type of shit Hollywood is putting out on a regular basis, price point doesn't count. A $120 million dollar pile of shit, is still, just a pile of shit.

And yeah, maybe my take on the situation might be an oversimplified one. Sure, major piracy using hard copy counterfeited discs, probably involves a level of heavy organized crime, world wide. But a large part of it comes down to bit torrent sites, the Industry's self proclaimed biggest threat, which is what they should be focussing on. You aren't going to be able to stop people file sharing, but if you stopped being such greedy cunts, maybe you could profit from digital distribution more quickly.

I can't help but think, hurry up and revolutionize the system. Because whether they like it or not, it's being revolutionized for them.

I also bet every one of those audience members had a pirated copy of something in their collection, because in Asia, it's virtually impossible to find a real copy of anything.

Give it up people… Apple is going to kick your ass.

Edit: I think this subreddit has some valid points about internet piracy

along with some of the notions in this one:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Koh Samet.

Belated Posting.

I had 2 requirements for accommodation.
1. hot water
2. own bathroom.

First night the cheapest and worst hotel - 500 baht: No hot water, no aircon, own bathroom but not connected to our room and when I went in to use it, the dankness made my skin crawl, a fan which oscillated, no top sheet but a 'blanket' and a bed like wood. 2/10 for comfort. We moved.

Second night, twice the price of the first hotel, but "half of what it was on weekends" (their maths doesn't add up): hot water - tick, half decent bed - tick, own bathroom inside - tick, television - tick, aircon - tick, bedding - mmmmmm... a fucking deluge of small biting ants which besieged our room, bed, shoes, clothes, bags - totally fantastic. We moved. I left several imprints of my tacky henna tattoo on the sheets. Whoops. 6/10 for comfort.

Third night, little huts on a secluded beach at 1500 baht a night (recommended by a friend and quite picturesque): own bathroom - yes, hot water - no, a lamp for reading - woot, aircon - no, fan which oscillates - yes, a towel like blanket - yes, a plague of mosquitos - yes, leak in the roof which dripped straight onto my head when it poured down, excellent. Winner of the lot due to Mike coming out of toilet from his morning shit with a dirty bot bot saying "I can't reach the toilet paper because there is a snake in the way". Awesome. Unscorable. Like paying $80 bucks a night to stay out at Tuntable.

It was a bit too close to a camping experience with the biting insects, the indoor reptiles, the leaky roof, the hard beds, the bad sunburn. And because I spent the first few years of my life communing with nature and living in tents - I have a policy of no camping.

By then end of the three days and waking up to a snake in the shitter, I was quite eager to pack up my shit up and get the fuck out.

Returning to my own creature comfort bedroom, with my own bathroom and a hot shower - total relief. Luxury, it's like being on holiday.

Koh Samet the Island. Quite beautiful. Prices - 'Tamada' (meaning normal/neither here nor there). Snorkeling much fun, being with friends who are as moody as I am, pretty cool. I don't recommend the oil massage on the beach, think sand paper on sunburn. It's why I could never understand the notion of copulating by the seaside. The food was surprisingly good, but we mostly ate at one restaurant, its menu spanning the cuisine of about five nationalities. Next time I would look around, and stay in a more expensive place, making sure I could get as close to my bedroom as possible.

Have formatted pics into 'comic style' sans humour, and pithiness, purely because I am lazy, and it's easier to post 13 jpgs rather than 100.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What The Fuck.

What is wrong with this picture? Cheap Charlie's, Sukhumvit Soi 11, 11.30 PM, last Friday night.