Re: [Harp-L] Harmonica Documentary Website Update

Richard has made some very good points, but the contest does appear to be a
"jump on the bandwagon" activity -- trying to stir up excitement, more than
get the producers a free theme song.  What kind of theme song would they get
afterall?  The folks who do well with their original songs would eschew the
project because of the legaleese and the only submissions might come from
those who feel they really have no prayer of winning the contest because
their songs suck (no blow, no suck, ha ha).  It would appear the legaleese
is to protect the film makers from someone who might sue them over a project
that they consider to be a labor of love.  (These guys have day jobs just
like so many of the rest of us.)

I have no idea how much money there is to be had farming your project to
PBS, but that was one of the first places it was headed when I talked to the
documentary guys last.  The show my group did that was picked up by PBS
produced no direct money for us (the songwriters) or the show's producer
(but a lot of interest outside of it).  PBS simply asked if it could offer
the show to its member stations.  We did not worry about it because the show
was produced on a local access station and could not make a profit anyway.
But is there a lot of money to be had from PBS that is not initially funded
by PBS?  I don't know.

As far as originals were concerned, so many of the songwriters in the less
commercial markets may get frequent play, but very little in the world of
royalties.  The stations that play the music are not polled by the
organizations that demand money from them to support the songwriters, so the
money that was collected obstensibly for the songwriters goes to someone
else who better fit on a commercial radio station which was polled.  It is a
fact of life for many that royalties are little to nothing no matter how
well the music was received.  So those songwriters/musicians depend on
bookings and sales to "bring home the bacon".  They only worry that they
will lose rights to their compositions -- again in Richard's comments.

I do know, though, that if I were expecting to obtain a worthy theme song
for a project like this documentary, I would have commissioned it directly
with worthy parties or run a competition with benefits and constraints
better meted out in benefit to both parties.  The rules appear to me to be
more like the rules found in a newspaper photo essay contest:  all
submissions belong to the paper, the paper has the rights to ..., Thank you
for participating.

For all intents and purposes, this project has always appeared to me to be a
labor of love for the film makers.  When they started, they knew very little
about harmonica and learned more as they went along.  One fellow, a
harmonica player, was their initial guide into the world of SPAH in 2003.
They had no idea what to expect at the convention or what they would find
and, quite frankly appeared overwhelmed with what they found.  It was like
watching poor children at the foot of a bottomless stack of presents under
the Christmas tree.

I don't know now how they feel about the project or what their goals are.
But I do know that I am interested in seeing the results.  If it only shows
on PBS stations or the History Channel or the Discovery Channel or whatever
else there is out there, those who see it will be seeing the good, the bad,
the wierd, the special, ... the world of harmonica as it was at the time the
film was made.  There are people that they wanted to include in the project
that they never could catch up to.  There are events that occured when they
were unable to attend and film them.  But they have done a great deal of
work to try to obtain as broad a view of harmonica and its players as they
can.  I don't think that they intended to insult or harm any of the
wonderful folks that they have met along the way.  I think they just wanted
to create a little excitement about their project, and the contest certainly
has done that (one way or another).

Besides, anyone or anything that was left out of the first version, might
get included in the sequel.  ;-)


On 4/17/07, IcemanLE@xxxxxxx <IcemanLE@xxxxxxx> wrote:

To give the benefit of the doubt to the film makers, perhaps it is a labor of love for them (almost anything promoting the harmonica to the greater awareness of the public IS a labor of love at this time) and they are not experienced/sophisticated enough to understand the professional picture, therefore asking for "donations" to help make their dream a reality.

It sure beats the negative pre-judgmental mind set that they are  trying
take advantage in any way (whether they really are or not) - I suppose  it
up to every individual to decide how they wish to see this project.

I applaud and support any reasonable attempt to educate and interest the
public towards what we, as players/promoters/hobbyists on this list
already know
and love.

Besides, if anyone has an issue with how they are creating, do  something
better yourself rather than wasting creative energy trying to  discount
efforts (something I recently learned myself as a better  path to walk).

The Iceman

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