My Digital Life

By Martin Anaya

So this past weekend some friends and I put on a major Telethon fundraiser for a TV station. Now when I say TV alot of people in related industries kind of snicker. Especially when I ad the words "local" or "community".

It seems some of our Hollywood "film" friends just think they are, well, let's be honest, above all that. But here is an interesting little tid-bit. Those same Hollywood types are very intrigued when it comes to the internet and new media. Some Yahoo (haha) with a Youtube channel could quite literally be an object of fascination for these bourgeois types and their fascination with anything new and shiny.

To be certain TV is a somewhat old school notion but I'm struck with just how amazing and flexible the medium is. For example, the reason I was able to raise so much money in the last week with a fairly minimal investment had largely to do with the fact that many internet folks are very, very enamored with TV! How ironic. Many of these "new media" types are, in fact clamoring to "make it" in the old media.  With so much amazing national TV being produced these days who can blame them. But even though my "show" was local in nature, they are still impressed. So much so that with the help of the internet audience, we raised more money this year than in the past 5. It is almost as if the TV function of the event was supporting the online and vice-versa.

So it appears that what we have discovered here is not that the pie is shrinking for old media like TV but that the complimentary media, the new media is supporting the old and, as I said, vice-versa. Fascinating! How many shrewd programmers have found niches the way I have to grow audience by leveraging old and new media? The best part is that now these things can even be done on a relative shoe string budget. In the coming months I will write more extensively about how new media has become the greatest compliment to old and how both, one may argue, need each other to thrive.  For now I simply want to introduce the concept of this "convergence media" as I refer to it.

Well now here is a problem: As the FCC currently examines the internet it is being forced by the TV/Internet industry (what a shock! They are one and the same) to do away with "Net Neutrality". Here I will repeat what I've said before: Net Neutrality is an issue that makes a direct economic impact on all of us and is an issue every single one of us NEEDS to champion! The fact that most so called “professional” film organizations are nowhere on this issue shows that they lack a fundamental understanding of where and how many folks like me earn a living these days. This dangerous silence could be very damaging to all of us, consumers, film makers and entrepreneurs. Therefore, I'm making an impassioned please for you to join me to address the FCC on this pivotal issue.

Listen, as TV and the internet merge, the reality is this is where our bread is buttered. Yet, I have attended FCC hearings literally alone as an independent film advocate. Oh, don't get me wrong, there have been free speech advocates at these meetings and some within the Alliance for Community media to be sure. But where are all these so called film groups?? They aren't just late to the party. They are 100% completely absent. 

Oh, I'm certain some of them will get off the dime now that I'm taking them to the woodshed but look if you call yourself a film maker, digital media creator or producer you MUST become educated on this issue. The alternative is that four or five big, bloated media oligarchies will tighten thir group on the pay media universe and the rest of us will continue to wonder what happened. What happened to free speech? What happened to the little guy having an opportunity. Remember, Google, which is now the largest media company on the planet, used to be one of those little guys. Now they wanna shut the door behind them. Are you going to allow that to happen? Not me. I urge all of you to attend our DIGITAL ODYSSEY CONFERENCE tied to the Sac Film Fest in the spring. I urge you to become educated on these issues and force these coffee clutch film groups you belong to to do likewise. Your livelihood and freedom of speech could depend on it. I don't know about you but I love my digital life, and I don't want to live it as just a consumer but as a producer. 

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