Arts, Culture, Current Events, Television — August 17, 2012 8:00 am

Put up Or Shut Up

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I’ve become one of those people who complain. I complain about the “state” of things. I look at the music of today and I say things like, “Man, this really isn’t as good as I remember or the classics sound much better.” I reflect on old things and think, “Why can’t we have it as good now as it was then.” I keep waiting at the edge of my seat for the next awesome thing to blow me out of the water but I have been disappointed. Basically, I’m pretentious. But, that’s not the point of this writing.

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I watch a lot of television as well. I happen to watch certain shows that I think are good and complain when they are taken off the air. (See? Pretentious) When they are I look at the things that have not been taken off of the air and wonder why it is that they are still on. Why do we have 5 different Law and Orders, CSI’s and if I see another reality show with a cliffhanger commercial I may just give up all together. I complain that the state of Art in our current society is sub-par, mediocre…lame.

I am also one of those people that listen to NPR and get really annoyed when pledge drive time comes around. For a week, or however long they ask for money, I listen to something else. I show back up when they stop that god-awful begging.

Recently, I found the problem. I complain too much and don’t do anything about it. Maybe this is the problem with our generation. Whatever. That’s why I gave to kickstarter project. I didn’t give a lot, because I’m still poor. Like $50.

Here’s how it happened:

Not long ago, I had coffee with a friend who just successfully funded their kickstarter project and we were talking about whether or not people would give. Prior to this conversation, kickstarter seemed like a really intimidating and anxiety provoking prospect. It reminded me too much of middle school, asking people to like me. Instead of invitations to sleepovers, it is cold hard cash. Anyway, she said some really interesting things about the age group we are in, the fact that we are making some money and we like and believe in each other, so why wouldn’t these people give? Interesting thought.

What really sold me (Aside from the cool rewards) was that I wanted to see their short film get made. I wanted to watch that story. I wanted to see it live. I liked the idea and all of a sudden I have the chance to make it happen.

There has been a lot of talk recently about DIY stuff, podcasts, youtube videos and movies etc. We are in a unique place to make content on our own and have a lot of people consume it. Why I appreciate kickstarter is that it allows these people to raise the funds to make their ideas happen and make them happen well. But, what I am more interested in is the investment into good things. This benefits me.

Along with this DIY culture is the seeming requirement of giving it away. People spend countless hours creating in the hope (maybe in vain) that some day they may be able to get paid to do it. We have all heard the stories of a singular youtube video crossing that coveted 100,000 view mark or something going the infamous “viral” and then the they are taking meetings with the President of NBC or meeting the actual President or they end up in a WEEZER video. These stories are inspiring but of zero help. People generate and create some exceptional stuff that never goes viral or receives 100,000+ views. But, they still do it. They trudge on and spend their weekends and give up time with their kids and suffer failed marriages so that they can get you that two minute youtube video. Are you grateful?

Seriously though, I have been the happy recipient of countless podcasts, articles, videos and music (Thanks Kanye!) and maybe it is about time that I pony up. That is why I supported that kickstarter and intend to support others in the future. This culture of free expectations is not going to help the problem of bad T.V., music and movies. Crowdsourcing may not be the answer to mediocre media but I think if we all can get on board to try, others will have to take notice.

Ultimately, this benefits you and me. We get content that we are proud of and have invested interest in. And if it sucks, it’s on us and we can make excuses for it.


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