Do you want more Independent TV?
A group of independent filmmakers called the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) want the FCC to mandate that 25% of Prime Time TV be reserved for independent shows. I don’t think this is a bad idea.
I’m not writing about this because I want to see better movies or better television (which I do, for the record). I am writing about this because more than being an issue about specific content, this is an issue about gaining access not only to the media, but to the people.
From the article:
“In this new world of media behemoths,” IFTA writes, “creativity and diversity of programming are sacrificed to the bottom line; fresh and engaging dramatic and comedic productions stand no chance of being purchased from outside producers when the buyer can produce internally another repackaged version of the same old low budget reality and game shows.”
We have been talking a lot about the media and media reform this year. I think that this is an important topic because, simply put, media matters. Images matter. Perceptions matter. These three things play a large part in dictating how people interact with one another.
A need for a new perspective
How does that connect with independent films/TV shows? Well, independent film and TV are traditionally expressions of viewpoints and styles that differ from the mainstream. By mainstream, I mean corporately-controlled media (Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS), which represents the majority of what we see on TV. Generally, things that are different, or things that contrast their surroundings, stand out in the artistic realm. If one were to consider the TV/film industry as an “artistic realm,” then it seems only natural then that the “difference” represented by independent content producers would not only exist, but it would be embraced by both the industry and its audience.
Despite a few successes that are noted in the letter, this has not been the case. Why not? Do the principles of art not exist in this particular artistic realm? In a word, no. They don’t exist because the art has been corrupted by money and greed, which both have the potential to corrupt literally every and anything they come into contact with in excess.
The money comes from us consumers, who are more than willing to pay good money for bad TV. The greed comes from media companies wanting to hoard all the loot for themselves. For the SAT heads, an analogy: NBC, Disney, CBS, and Fox are to the TV/film industry what OPEC is to the oil industry. They are literally locking their industry doors and preventing their “opposition” (read: independent producers) from even getting a chance to reach an audience. No one is even given a fighting chance to see different images than one these big media companies spit out. No wonder people stereotype me, Garlin, the computer nerd, when I’m walking down the streets with a black hoody on: Viacom’s BET Encyclopedia on Black men says that I’m a threat to society.
What to do about it
- Take a second and listen to/watch alternative sources (See Alternative Information Days).
- Instead of, or at least in addition to seeing that summer blockbuster, see an independent film.
- Instead of, or at least in addition to clamoring to see some network shows season finale, watch a channel with truly unique content.
Let’s celebrate uniqueness and diversity in people and in expression. Let’s encourage the media to do the same.
One Love. One II.