Burned Again

I finally got to see “This House Must Go,” the special that aired on The Learning Channel last week, thanks to the efforts of a friend who recorded it and rushed me a DVD.

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.

B & Xy Shooting

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?

OX Episode 93

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).

This House Must Go

“This House Must Go” airs on TLC this week. Portions of this show were shot in our house back in April. Dates and times are below. I’m assuming that the times are Eastern.

JUN 10 2006 @ 10:00 PM
JUN 11 2006 @ 01:00 AM
JUN 17 2006 @ 08:00 PM
JUN 17 2006 @ 11:00 PM
JUN 25 2006 @ 02:00 PM

No, I haven’t seen it yet, and don’t really know what to expect. And we don’t have cable these days, or a VCR, so I’m not sure how I’ll even get to see it.

Beyond Beyond

The Beyond crew has come and gone. They consisted of an Australian director, a camera guy from Pittsburgh and an audio guy from Metairie. They shot an interview with us on Thursday, plus some scenes of us walking around our gutted basement. (Earlier in the day they got a termite expert to examine our damage, but I wasn’t there for that.) On Friday they got scenes of Xy working on a gardening project with some kids at school. Then they got some shots of me editing ROX video and uploading it to rox.com. (We had to fake it, because we still don’t have internet at home.) And this morning Xy and I did a ROX shoot, and they shot us shooting, and of course we shot them shooting us. Oddly enough Rob, the director, seemed mighty adverse to being on camera. Too bad for him!

It remains to be seen if viewers of their program will be able to discern the name of our program and the address of our website. They’ve got the footage to do it, but it’s in the hands of an editor in Australia. Hopefully there will be some collegial solidarity there. Us video editors got to stick together.

If we don’t get a spot of publicity for the site, I will feel burnt for letting them use our creative work (ROX #93). Actually I feel a little burnt already — they didn’t even buy me a drink.

Xy and I continued shooting even after the Beyond crew departed. I took the camera with me to our polling place and videotaped myself voting. It was really funny how this freaked people out. Taking a camera into the voting booth seems vaguely illicit, but I doubt there’s any law against it.

The voting went smoothly and there wasn’t even a line. Maybe Li’l Kimberley got her act together for once.

Beyond Inc.

I was contacted last week by an Australian television production company. They were looking for a termite-damaged house and they’d read about us in the Times-Picayune. They were interested in shooting a segment about us for a special on real estate disasters which they’re producing for The Learning Channel.

I told them if they wanted to see what Xy and I looked like on TV, they could watch ROX #93 online. They did, and they liked it a lot. In fact, it seemed to seal the deal. They’re headed down here today and will be shooting us over the next few days.

I suppose I should be kind of excited about that, but I’m not really. In fact I’m a little apprehensive. We’re letting them use some of our video, and I didn’t like the dickering over the accreditation. I want an on-screen credit saying “rox.com” at the time the video is used. They say that Discovery (TLC’s parent) just won’t allow that. I probably should have told them to kiss off. But the producer said they’d make it clear who we are (and where we are on the web) through the actual production. Plus I have a hard time saying no. We may actually get some good publicity out of it, but is it worth the stress of dealing with these strangers coming into our lives and making a TV show?