It’s Monday morning. You just had a great weekend with your family (or friends for all of you single people). It was great, but it’s back to reality. Rent is about to be due, and you’re running low on groceries. But you’re okay, because your steady paycheck that’s coming at the end of the week is more than enough to handle all of that. Then, your boss walks in. You can tell by his face that’s it’s not good news.
He tells you that you’re a valued member of the team, and he wants you to stick around. Your skills are irreplaceable. However, because of recent thefts, profits has drastically been reduced. For this reason, your pay will be significantly reduced. When you asked how much, it’s by as much as thirty-five percent. Doing the calculations in your head, that’s nowhere near enough to pay rent, get groceries, pay for your car insurance, and other bills that you have coming at you.
This probably sounds a little drastic, but I had to put it in perspective for you. Every time you go around looking for free movies through these movie sites, or buying movies from your boy from around the corner or in front of the liquor store, you’re potentially doing this to many people who actually worked hard to bring you entertainment.
Yes, at one point in our lives we’re guilty of trying to download free music or movies. Remember Limewire and Napster? But when I started taking my work more seriously, I saw how unfair it was just to go around trying to get free art.
Whether you believe it or not, being an artist; whether it’s a writer, painter, graphic designer, comedian, or musician; is a real job, and it requires a lot of work and time. Now you might be wondering why am I tripping about getting some free movies. After all, the money made from the movies are going to rich executives and actors anyway. That’s true. But executives, producers, directors, and actors are not the only ones to consider, all though being a producer or director is not as easy as it seems. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who put together any kind of production, large or small.
In the film and TV industry, there are people who are called above-the-line personnel and below-the-line personnel. Above-the-line include the writers, producers, and directors. Below-the-line include camera personnel, the assistants, make-up artists, film editors, etc. I’m not going to take to time to explain why they are called this, but just know that if it wasn’t for the below-the-line people, there’s no way in hell a film could come together. While they are independent contractors (most people working on a production are) and their work is done once their piece is completed, these are people who sometimes struggle to find quality work in their fields.
But I’m not here to explain the ins and out of the entertainment industry, or what knowledge I have of it, because most of you could give two shits about all of that. I’m not even going to rebuke you for committing something so wrong, because most of you don’t even realize the consequences. What I do want to say is that knowingly doing so is a demonstration that you don’t give a damn about the artists out there, in my opinion. You don’t consider what we do as real work. The funny thing about it is that everybody enjoys art, but never want to pay for it. If you were providing a service, or selling a product, would you want your money for it? It’s the same damn concept.
For you who like to download the free shit to your computers, you don’t realize that a lot of these free sites are loaded with viruses, just like Limewire. Honestly, if your computer shuts down from watching a movie that only came out last month, you deserve it. People have put a lot of time into putting that piece of work together. Time away from family and friends. Time from their lives period. All of this so we can be thoroughly entertained and enjoyed the work of the artist, who in the case of film is usually a writer…
Hmm…I’m a writer, too. So imagine how much it pisses me off. Think about that writer who spent all of his time putting together a script, trying to convince a producer to take a chance and pick it up for production (which is a VERY difficult feat, especially if you don’t have representation), then by the grace of God gets it picked up. Once it’s finally on the big screen (because it can take years for a script to be a completed film), it has rave reviews. For those of you that missed it, you can simply catch it on Netflix or Redbox, or buy the DVD when it’s officially released. But you just can’t wait. So you go to these illegal sites or go to your hook up. When you do that, you are taking away from the value of the work. While the writer might have already gotten paid, you don’t know what deal he has arranged. You’re taking money right out of his pocket.
My point for this ranting post is this: When you get bootleg shit, you’re stealing from the pockets of people who have obligations just like you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a free e-book (if it’s not legally made free by the author or publishing company), illegally free music, or film, you’re taking away from the hard work and money of artists who have real lives. Putting together art is ten percent creativity and ninety percent business. They tell you that when you put your work out there to get people to buy it. It also applies when you’re bringing in income for your household. Think about that. Think about if you go into work Monday morning and find out that your pay is about to be slashed.
I’ll see you bootleggers later.