Collaborators Needed for Outward Looking Film/Series

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jesuithitsquad
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Jan 11 2009 19:24
Collaborators Needed for Outward Looking Film/Series

This came up in another thread, and I was wondering if anyone would be interested in collaborating on a project. Anyone with a video camera can help, but I also need ideas for content.

I need input as to whether a regular series or longer-form movie would be best. Currently, I'm of a mind to do a series showing responses to the crisis around the world, but I can see the benefit of doing an "all-about" style film.

Film-making isn't what I do; I'm a musician, but I think I do this somewhat okay. I threw this together yesterday. It's not my best work, but I think it can serve as getting the idea across. I work in Logic and Final Cut.

BTW, Youtube compression totally sucks.

So you know where I'm coming from, my politics can best be described as Dauveist, if one can be such a thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chnf6CWNz_A

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Jan 12 2009 14:50

Not too bad (though the world at the beginning is horribly overused), might need the voiceover tweaking though.

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Jan 12 2009 16:57

the voice over is TERRIBLE. it will absolutely need to be rerecorded with a decent mic--and preferably someone else speaking. i put it together very quickly, and yeah the opening shot is totally cliche.

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Jan 12 2009 17:03

Seems like a good idea to me, what sort of stuff are you looking for in terms of content?

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Jan 12 2009 17:47

the first thing is to decide whether to do a longish form or serial. either way, i am looking for workplace and community success stories, no matter how small the success.

it's really important to me that the stories are international, told by the participants, and not just some yank dishing out "this is what you should do."

tsi
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Jan 12 2009 19:04

Not bad! I didn't think that the voiceover was terrible, I just thought it could use a bit more compression to make it a bit louder. In a documentary I think that dialogue should always be the loudest thing by far.

I think that both ideas are good, although one thing I will comment on is that there is definitely NOTHING out there that could serve as a basic "Anarchism/Communism 101" primer, which is something (if done properly) that could be pretty useful.

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Jan 12 2009 23:46
tsi wrote:
I think that both ideas are good, although one thing I will comment on is that there is definitely NOTHING out there that could serve as a basic "Anarchism/Communism 101" primer, which is something (if done properly) that could be pretty useful.

then let's do it! seriously.

tsi
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Jan 13 2009 07:38

I'm down. Send me a message and we'll exchange emails. I think that it is something that will take quite a while to put together and do properly, but that it would be very worth doing. We should try to get other people onboard, but not at the expense of pandering to any shitty "teh anarky" politics.

Lurch
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Jan 13 2009 16:04

Well I've just looked at your Tube effort & I think it's v positive, though as a dinosaur unused to this medium (hate Facebook; no space for Myspace, etc, etc), I don't have much to compare it with.

As a (left) communist, I'd also make some (subtle?) changes to the script: ie the idea that this is just another in a long succession of crises, rather than seeing it as a profound deepening, a more serious stage in an on-going decline.

I also look forward to protracted arguments about the response of 'people' rather than the 'old fashioned' 'working class' (though I don't believe the working class is the only element in society to react to crises) and, as a musician, I'll fight for my selection rather than yours (though I have no quarrel with your v/o or the image of the world in the opening sequence).

In short, though my techinical abilities are limited to mini-DVD, in principle, sign me up, please.

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Jan 13 2009 23:02
Lurch wrote:
Well I've just looked at your Tube effort & I think it's v positive, though as a dinosaur unused to this medium (hate Facebook; no space for Myspace, etc, etc), I don't have much to compare it with.

As a (left) communist, I'd also make some (subtle?) changes to the script: ie the idea that this is just another in a long succession of crises, rather than seeing it as a profound deepening, a more serious stage in an on-going decline.

I also look forward to protracted arguments about the response of 'people' rather than the 'old fashioned' 'working class' (though I don't believe the working class is the only element in society to react to crises) and, as a musician, I'll fight for my selection rather than yours (though I have no quarrel with your v/o or the image of the world in the opening sequence).

In short, though my techinical abilities are limited to mini-DVD, in principle, sign me up, please.

excellent!

you should send me some of your tunes. i really want to score it, but i asked for collaborators so all roles are open, and as communists we believe we should be connected to all stages of (the) production. smile

i'm not sure about the decadence suggestion being as i think this should be a primer that can be as unifying as possible and while most of us share 99.99% of the same politics, in my time here it seems decadence is one of those 00.01% sticking points.

btw, the ordinary people line is a way to be outward-looking not a way to avoid talk about class-struggle. i'm a class-struggle guy through and through. i'm thinking in a propaganda sort of way about the language we use.

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Jan 13 2009 23:01
tsi wrote:
I'm down. Send me a message and we'll exchange emails. I think that it is something that will take quite a while to put together and do properly, but that it would be very worth doing. We should try to get other people onboard, but not at the expense of pandering to any shitty "teh anarky" politics.

the more people involved, the better this will be on so many different levels. maybe to avoid "teh anarky" thing we should set out a list of principles for theoretical consistency, mine would be:

anti-authoritarian, class-struggle revolutionary communism.

tsi
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Jan 14 2009 03:20
jesuithitsquad wrote:
the more people involved, the better this will be on so many different levels. maybe to avoid "teh anarky" thing we should set out a list of principles for theoretical consistency, mine would be:

anti-authoritarian, class-struggle revolutionary communism.

I'm very much agreed. I'd put myself somewhere broadly within the interplay between the Anarchist-Communist and Left Marxist tendencies. I see communism as a concrete movement emergent within the Class-Struggle which comprises capitalist society.

we can get into more detail on principles of theoretical consistency off list.

As far as content goes, I think that if we were to cover the basic ground that Prole.info's "Work Community Politics War" does (although in more depth, and in a different fashion given the difference of medium), that would likely be a good start.

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Jan 14 2009 04:16

I like it. The only problem I see is that after presenting different ideologies and what they think the problem is caused by (immigrants, freemasons, liberals), your viewpoint doesn't necessarily stand out compared to them to an apolitical viewer. You need to show why your analysis is more accurate and shouldn't be rejected as just another ideology blaming a different section of society.

Lurch
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Jan 14 2009 17:40

OK, given that we all come from different (political) backgrounds, and possess different skills (very few in my case), this 'ain't going to be easy. But I feel the attempt is worthwhile. I repeat, that while I may have approached the 'opening' a little different from you, I think your basic approach is positive and is a blueprint, a fine template.

Why?
- Because it adresses the crisis of capitalism, and poses questions in a way which, I'm convinced, are of interest not just to those of us committed enough to show our faces on Libcom.
- Because it does so with visual flair: it integrates different media (cartoon; stock footage; original footage, graphics, music) in a way which may well be necessary to attract a generation not particularly enamoured with mainstream broadcasting.

To concretely answer your question about what form in which to proceed: well given the current state of distribution of 'radical' views on existing media, I think 5 minute segments, dealing with different aspects, is the way forward. The Internet is the immediate (potential) audience. It's not an accident that your 'opener' adheres to this format.

I've had, on various hard discs over the past 15 years, different projects attempting to promote visual treatments of the economic crisis, its history and perspectives. They've previosuly bowed to the broadcast TV format of 30 minute or 50 minute 'documentaries'. They've all been lost along with the computers that died with them, and along with my own (lack of) enthusiasm.

I'm now convinced that the shorter, UTube format, is best. 5 or so minutes each sub-division dealing with different aspects of the crisis. Hopefully, if they are coherent, they could always be re-edited, but that's jumping a long way ahead.

To this end, I'm drafting a framework, beginning with the existing introduction. I'll post it on here - at whatever stage it's reached - before the end of the week. Then let the bloodletting - and the creativity - begin.

I've no idea how long it took you to produce what I call your 'introduction': as a former media employee, I'm aware of all the conctractual, copyright and other pitfalls ahead. Let's cross such bridges if this beast ever builds on your launch-pad. To infinity - and communism - and beyond!!!

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Jan 15 2009 15:51
888 wrote:
I like it. The only problem I see is that after presenting different ideologies and what they think the problem is caused by (immigrants, freemasons, liberals), your viewpoint doesn't necessarily stand out compared to them to an apolitical viewer. You need to show why your analysis is more accurate and shouldn't be rejected as just another ideology blaming a different section of society.

fair point. i think that's what we'll do with the rest of it though.

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Jan 15 2009 15:53
Lurch wrote:

To this end, I'm drafting a framework, beginning with the existing introduction. I'll post it on here - at whatever stage it's reached - before the end of the week. Then let the bloodletting - and the creativity - begin.

awesome lurch let us know what you come up with.

Lurch
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Jan 18 2009 11:00

Bitten off far more than I can chew (of course). But below some undeveloped and incomplete suggestions for discussion.

Apart from obvious omissions (we’ll, they’ll be obvious to others) and inevitable downright political disagreements, there’s the small matter of how to turn a jumble of words and ideas (having reached some semblance of agreement on same) into something visual.

There might be some useful resources on the recent thread posted by Catch: see here: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/open-source-news-cc-copyleft-etc-13012009

No doubt there are others:

Anyway, this might be a project too far but...

Crisis: A Film Project in 5-minute bitsesize chunks

1) Introduction.
- Already completed (subject to discussion?)

2) The Gravity of the Present crisis:
- Its global nature and simultaneity in all countries;
- Comparison to the 30s Depression (apparently not as deep – yet - but...)
- It’s unfolding despite all historic and conjunctural attempts to, first, deny it, and then, to avoid it
- And as a consequence, the ‘experts’ all agree on one thing: ‘we’re in uncharted territory’.

3) Why it concerns us:
- The whole of society suffer as a result of the open crisis
- The proletariat – the producer class, the source of most ‘value’ – in particular bears the brunt:
- Through unemployment
- Through increased exploitation
- Through the destruction of the means by which we make a living (including the planet we live on)
- Through reduction in services/’social wage’
- Through the tendency towards greater economic competition between capitalists, a tendency which expresses itself in tensions leading to war
4) So we’re helpless in the face of the crisis?
- Before we dive into history (and to stress something positive, plus a link to a future episode, Capitalism as a Social Relation), a brief round-up of global struggles against the effects of the current phase of the crisis. Well, make your own choice: mine include:
- The action of ‘apathetic’, ‘de-politicised’ youth: France 2005; Greece 2008/9;
- New York subway workers struggle of 2005 against degradation of contracts – in particular their concern for future generations;
- Struggles in Bangladesh, Egypt, Britain (Gate Gourmet)

5) What is capitalism?

Probably the most difficult 5 minute segment of the lot: some suggestions:

- The exploitation of man by man, hasn’t always been the lot of humankind (primitive communism, historically, existed for far longer).
- Nonetheless, exploitation, money, commodities and trade have existed for millennia without taking on a specific capitalist form or ‘mode of production’ which is characterised by:
- Production not for human need, but for the reproduction and enlargement of capital;
- The divorce of the producers from the means of production: the creation of ‘free labourers’, ‘wage slaves’;
- A tendency conquer the whole planet, ‘making the world in its image’ and the creation of a global market
- A tendency to ‘socialise’ production on the one hand (for the workers, collective, associated labour; for the capitalists share holdings in giant companies) against a framework of ‘private appropriation’ by a minority of the results of this production

6) What does capitalist ‘exploitation’ mean?
- How to explain the production of surplus value, product of labour power, the ‘secret’ of capital?
- The book, Ragged Trousered Philanthropists contains a scene (‘The Money Trick’) which attempts this: it’s been performed on stage many times (and filmed for TV). Get a copy? Stage our own ‘re-enactment’?
- Specificities of capitalist exploitation: denouncing the ‘equality’ of ‘free’ labourers and ‘capitalists’ who apparently meet to mutual benefit
-
7) What causes capitalism’s crises?
- ‘natural and necessary’ spur to capitalist expansion and the concentration of capital
- Over-production: the tendency of capital to produce to the limits of existing technology, regardless of whether there’s a ‘soluble market’ for its products (ie whether they can actually be sold);
- Falling rate of profit
- Saturation of markets

8) Timeline of capitalism’s crises, part I: the early years:
- crises as a spur to further growth

9) Timeline of capitalism’s crisis, part II:
- The 20th century and today: qualitatively different crises?

10) State capitalism

11) Capitalism and War

12) Credit and Capitalism

13) Capitalism as Social Relation:
- Not a set of written rules or immutable laws, but a relationship between classes.
-
14) Perspectives of the crisis: ‘Same old same old’ v ‘Socialism or Barbarism’

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Jan 18 2009 11:27

Has the potential to be really good smile

jesuithitsquad wrote:
BTW, Youtube compression totally sucks.

Make sure that you get your stuff uploaded in the higher definition format that youtube now allows.

You could also check out other video websites when it comes to it, no need to limit yourself to just one. http://www.vimeo.com/ (for example) has good quality and is confined to user-made videos.

no1
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Jan 18 2009 15:11

I think this is a great project, and the introduction is pretty good. A few thoughts on it.

The format of 5-10 min clips for youtube is best. But this could also be made into a high quality DVD divided into chapters, to be distributed on the internet with bittorrent, and burnt on blank DVDs to hand out together with freesheets etc.

I think the approach should be to engage the viewer at the level of consciousness they are at, explain a few basic concept that help to push that consciousness a little further, and then make a case for the kinds of actions and organisation that libertarian communists advocate. I don't think it should aim to convert the viewer to an ideology that may be internally consistent and theoretically perfect, but that requires the viewer to first accept specialised terms that are new and a bit alien. If shouldn't become a long lecture.

The views put forward will be competing with other worldviews, esp. the bourgeois propaganda spread by the mass media, but also fringe ideologies like conspiracy theories and christian fundamentalists. A case should be made (in very simple language) why the methods we use are superior to those of competing worldviews, i.e. we start off with looking at the material reality of our lives, we analyse history and try to use its lessons to understand the present and predict the future. So through the series, a case should be made why our explanations are superior to bourgeois propaganda, and on occasion the ridiculousness of other world views.

As to the overall structure of the series, we need to be aware that the majority of viewers will not watch a dozen episodes, they'll watch at most 2-3. Esp if the first ones are overly theoretical, they'll never get through it. The best we can hope for is to ask questions that genuinely make the viewer think, so that they come back because they want to know the answers. Basically the structure should correspond to the viewer's perspective and not to the logical structure of theory.
I think it should contain approximately equal amounts of theory, history and current working class struggles.

Resources:
archive.org have a huge collection of copyleft film footage in MPEG2 (DVD) quality. It includes a lot of historical footage (see Prelinger archive) and often absolutely hilarious US cold war propaganda/'social guidance' films (off-topic, but check out the 1951 Duck and Cover that teaches kids to duck and cover to survive nuclear war).
There are other sites that use CC licences, like ourmedia.org

tsi
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Jan 18 2009 18:38
no1 wrote:
The format of 5-10 min clips for youtube is best. But this could also be made into a high quality DVD divided into chapters, to be distributed on the internet with bittorrent, and burnt on blank DVDs to hand out together with freesheets etc.

I think the approach should be to engage the viewer at the level of consciousness they are at, explain a few basic concept that help to push that consciousness a little further, and then make a case for the kinds of actions and organisation that libertarian communists advocate. I don't think it should aim to convert the viewer to an ideology that may be internally consistent and theoretically perfect, but that requires the viewer to first accept specialised terms that are new and a bit alien.

I like the idea of a "modular" film that can be viewed in standalone chunks for youtube, that can be put together to make a longer film that would be a bit more comprehensive.

I also agree that any outward looking prop should avoid the use of jargon and terminology with historical baggage.

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Jan 21 2009 19:27

I've spent the last few days watching various social commentary documentaries, and it occurs to me we might not need to spend as much time laying out the problem and instead, spend a bulk of the time on our solutions and confusion regarding our solutions.

tsi
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Jan 22 2009 08:42
jesuithitsquad wrote:
I've spent the last few days watching various social commentary documentaries, and it occurs to me we might not need to spend as much time laying out the problem and instead, spend a bulk of the time on our solutions and confusion regarding our solutions.

Probably a good call. After all, this is intended to be practical. I think that (as a rough estimate) 1/4 of the length will probably give us enough time to lay out as much as we need to about the problem.

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Jan 22 2009 19:11

This looks like a really great project. Unfortunately, I don't want to be on camera for it, but I will think about other ways I or libcom more generally can support it.

Good luck, I look forward to seeing how it develops.

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Jan 23 2009 00:25
Steven. wrote:
This looks like a really great project. Unfortunately, I don't want to be on camera for it, but I will think about other ways I or libcom more generally can support it.

Good luck, I look forward to seeing how it develops.

thanks steven. i think it's totally reasonable not to want to be on camera.

i was thinking the workplace and community organizing sections of this site would be a great basis for a section on what people can do right now.

tsi
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Jan 23 2009 04:17
Steven. wrote:
This looks like a really great project. Unfortunately, I don't want to be on camera for it, but I will think about other ways I or libcom more generally can support it.

Good luck, I look forward to seeing how it develops.

I don't think anyone would want to let their politics become public knowledge by appearing on film.

One thing that came to mind to me today, is that if we are unable to find or capture relevant footage to cover a specific topic (which would obviously be preferable), I think it would be handy to have access to a library of copyleft or public domain high-resolution stills so that we could use the Ken Burns effect.

It may be a bit cheezy, but we will have to work with what we can get our hands on. I know that the libcom library has a lot of historically important photographs, but the ones available for browsing on the site are probably not high enough resolution. If not, it's no big deal, it was just a random thought I had.

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Jan 23 2009 04:30

definitely interesting

what can people do to contribute?

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Jan 23 2009 16:01
Tarwater wrote:
definitely interesting

what can people do to contribute?

i'd say right now we need people willing to write. no one needs to take the whole thing on. if there's a way you usually describe ideas to people one on one that seems to work well, you could put that together. someone could do a bit about state capitalism or the spanish revolution, russian revolution, argentina, greece, or iceland. also, i think we'll do a few "victims of capitalism" sections so if you know somebody who has been fucked over and is willing to tell their story see if you can film them. or ongoing workplace or community struggles. if you have a dv cam or just a digital camera and can't get anyone to do interviews, so-called b roll shots (like exterior shots of a factory where a wildcat took place for example) will be essential. if you have an area of expertise or interest that we haven't touched on feel free to add as well.

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Jan 23 2009 16:06
Lurch wrote:
- The book, Ragged Trousered Philanthropists contains a scene (‘The Money Trick’) which attempts this: it’s been performed on stage many times (and filmed for TV). Get a copy? Stage our own ‘re-enactment’?

Lurch, I think this is an excellent idea. I'm thinking maybe an animated section would be great for this. Or you could recount it through the story of a Walmart employee making poverty wages, cashing their check, and spending their money buying necessities from Walmart.

BTW thanks for the work you put in. I think we can use a lot of this.

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Jan 23 2009 16:07
jesuithitsquad wrote:
i'd say right now we need people willing to write. no one needs to take the whole thing on. if there's a way you usually describe ideas to people one on one that seems to work well, you could put that together. someone could do a bit about state capitalism or the spanish revolution, russian revolution

prole.info's Work. Community. Politcs. War. covers these iirc, and could form the basis for an accessible narrative, it's well-written and pitched at about the right level.

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Jan 23 2009 16:20

tsi and i were talking about this. i hadn't seen it prior to his pointing it out, and it really is excellent.

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Jan 23 2009 16:25
tsi wrote:
[
One thing that came to mind to me today, is that if we are unable to find or capture relevant footage to cover a specific topic (which would obviously be preferable), I think it would be handy to have access to a library of copyleft or public domain high-resolution stills so that we could use the Ken Burns effect.

i've been told morgue file is pretty decent--amateur photographers who have talent but don't think they can make money is how it was described to me. i haven't really had time to browse though, so i can't say.