Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Left-hand turn, Clive

And then we all got sucker-punched by the Gatineau Orangutan.

In case you forgot:

On February 8th some of the most talented - and ballsiest - writers/directors/actors and producers in the Canadian Film and TV biz got together. Their goal: To convince the CRTC not to rip the backbone out of the Canadian Entertainment Industry. They made passionate, well-thought-out pleas, suffered through a banal, borderline-hostile environment and fought valiantly against an indifferent foe. (You can read the full transcript here, they start about halfway through.)

Yet it looks like it may have all been for naught.

The CRTC is poised to not only cleave the CTF in twain but serve the choicest bits on a silver platter to hungry, hungry Cable coms. It looks like there will be a "Heritage" Fund and a "Broadcast Distribution Undertakings" Fund and that (infinitely smaller) Heritage Fund will effectively 'ghettoize' anything to do with 'culture' in Canada.

You want to make a movie about Wayne Gretzky? Oh, sorry, wrong fund; You have to go wait in that other 'Heritage' line. The 'smelly' line.

You want to make a miniseries about the struggles of young Canadians to define their culture? Sorry, smelly line for you.

Want to make a Canadian TV show telling Canadian stories about Canadians living in Canada? Smelly line.

That's how it's going to work. Unless you're GUARANTEED to turn a profit (Yeah, good luck with that) you're better off racing to the trough early - gonna be a lot of people pushing their way to the head of that smelly line. The one that they created to deal with people like us. The ones who would dare to tell stories with our perspectives focused on our own people and country.

Essentially the CRTC and its Buddies will be saying - as was so brilliantly pointed out by Karen Walton in her speech to the CRTC - "... we are not successful enough because there are too many Canadians involved. "

To make matters worse, not only will the CBC have to draw from this smaller fund (almost halving the available cash) but the process to get at said money will only become harder and more complicated. The Cable coms, on the other hand, will be given a blank check to your tax dollars and a friendly pat on the butt out the door as they run off to spend it.

So, what can we do? Well, there's always something that can be done and if there's one thing I've learned it's that when someone steals from you, you don't keep quiet. You get loud. You tell everyone. If you can't get it back, then you let everyone know that they've been robbed, you keep it from happening again (and again, and again...)

'Cause that's what's going on. You are in the process of having your tax money stolen away from you. Your money will be given to companies who don't need it, companies who will use your public money to buy private assets with which they will make private funds. You are not going to see a dime of it. It's not like they're going to lower their cable rates with this sudden influx of cash. If anything else, with their new line up of 'quality' shows, they can charge you a premium!

That's right, they can take your tax money, buy new programs from elsewhere, air them here and charge you more for the right to see them!

Good times.

I, for one, am not going to go quietly into the good night on this one. My Grandpa always told me to pick my battles. And what better a battle than the one upon which rests my very future in this country?

Writing Challenge #3:
Format: Letter
Length: 1 page

Topic: Get informed here, here, here and here. Write a letter to your MP regarding your thoughts on the recent CRTC hearing Re: CTF Taskforce. Tell the people in charge of representing you that you're not happy with the direction the CRTC is taking. Let them know that you do not want your tax money subsidizing a private company's profits and allowing the ghettoization of Canadian Culture in Film and Television.

I'll try and put together a template letter sometime this week.

Alternate Topic: Write a love sonnet about Pandas.

Cheers!
Brandon

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