The program itself was somewhat interesting, but of course I’m preoccupied with the segment featuring Xy and myself. I’m happy to report that we don’t look like idiots. Our story is presented with some sympathy and respect. They didn’t get into the termite damage we discovered when I gutted our house, which is funny considering that was their initial interest. But I think we come off as resourceful, creative people who are coping with disaster pretty well. We represented New Orleans in a positive light, and I’m glad of that.
If it was just a matter of coming into our home and interviewing us, that would be the end of my critique. But it’s more complicated. I let them use our creative work, namely, snippets from ROX #93, depicting our evacuation and my return to our flooded home. It’s gripping stuff, if I do say so myself, and I think it adds to the interest of the program. I didn’t ask for financial compensation in return. All I wanted was a little publicity for our show and/or our website. I said back in April that if I didn’t get that, I’d feel burned.
Well, guess what?
The ROX title does appear on-screen for almost three seconds. However, the editor chose a portion of the title sequence where only the letters “OX” are visible. The “R” never makes a full appearence. The web address rox.com does appear in the end credits for one-third of a second. The title of our series is never mentioned in the voiceover. The closest they get is to note that Xy and I met “while making a show for cable access television.” While that’s true, it makes it sound like we’re a strictly local proposition. And note what they didn’t say. They didn’t mention that we’re now on the internet and on satellite.
The upshot is that I’m certain virtually no one viewing this program will be aware of the name of our television series or the fact that it’s on the web or that it can be seen on satellite. In other words, this has no real publicity value for us at all. They got value from our work. What did we get in return? Nothing that I wanted. And yes, I feel burned. It’s Time Magazine all over again. I mean, really — would it have hurt so much to put a graphic on the screen that said “footage courtesy of rox.com”?
No, I’m not angry. I’ve got Katrina perspective, so I know this is not a big deal in the scheme of things. I am disappointed, but only a bit. Maybe I’m a little wiser, and that’s surely worth something. Thank you, Beyond International, for reminding me to stick by my guns next time. From now on, we won’t license ROX for any commercial production without a clear contractual stipulation of attribution that I’m happy with.
If you have cable, you still have a chance to watch a repeat of “This House Must Go” and judge for yourself. It’s airing on TLC June 17th at 11:00 PM and June 25th at 02:00 PM (times are Eastern, I think).