Dirty Laundry

By | Monday, July 16, 2012 2 comments
Here's a ten minute video Thomas Jane made. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look before I spoil it for you.

I'm not a huge fan of the character; I read more than my fair share of his stories back in the 1980s. But I love that professionals of that caliber are getting more and more willing to go out and produce a high-quality piece like this just for the love of it. I mean, this is basically a Punisher fan film. Made by Jane. With a not-insignificant cameo by Ron Perlman. Produced by the same guy who's producing the new Judge Dredd movie. Probably a bunch of other professional movie-makers as well -- the film's a little light on credits. (Including a distinct lack of creator credits to Gerry Conway, John Romita, Sr. and Ross Andru. But that's a whole other issue!)

But that people are going out to create something just for the sake of creating it is fantastic! My understanding is that's kind of how Joss Whedon's upcoming Much Ado About Nothing came about. "Hey, why don't I have a bunch of talented friends over to my house and we can film Shakespeare?"

There have long been people who create for the sake of creating. That, in and of itself, isn't new. And for the last couple decades, there's been a growing number of people who are able to produce professional-looking material, thanks to the decreasing costs of equipment (most notably, computers).

But those are people, generally, who create for the joy of it because they're not able to express themselves fully in their day jobs. Whether that's working retail or stuck in a cube farm crunching numbers or whatever. Also, their creative work tends to be isolated. They make a webcomic or run a blog or something.

But the number of people needed to make something like that video? I counted around 20 people who show up on screen. Plus the writer, director and producer. Maybe two or three camera operators. Some sound people. There's visual effects and a full score. It's only ten minutes, but there's definitely a crew of at least 30 people who directly worked on this.

Because they thought it sounded like fun.

These people are professionals who do this for a living. I think that's the key here. That's a significant change in thinking when what you do for a living becomes what you do anyway for fun. "Let's step outside the business aspect of this and do what we want to do." Especially in case like this -- where Jane has ALREADY done a Punisher movie -- there's something significant going on.

Back in the 1600s, technology evolved enough that people didn't have to spend every waking moment working on their survival. The word "hobby" came about because they needed something to describe what they did in their newly-found free time. The word "fan" came about in the late 1800s when, as technology continued to improve, people had enough free time to devote to hobbies for extended periods.

In the Star Trek universe, technology has advanced enough that don't need to put any real effort into survival at all, and their pursuits are based almost solely on personal motivations. (Of course, why Ferengi then had this whole Rules of Acquisition thing going on, despite having replicator technology, I don't know. But that's a whole other topic!) It always struck me as sounding naively optimistic, even by Star Trek standards, but as I watch "Dirty Laundry" I can't help but wonder if this is how it starts.
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Ethan said...

I've heard of this fan film but didn't check it out until I saw it on your blog. Really well-made. Kinda dark and cynical for my taste (like Garth Ennis after a bender), but still well made.

Matt K said...

One can hope so. Because the "work hard or you'll starve and be homeless" economic model seems to be breaking down relatively rapidly in the face of automation. And I don't think that's necessarily optimism either, until/unless we have some glimmerings of a replacement. (I'm not sure this represents them, but again one can and indeed must hope so.)