Wednesday, September 07, 2005

World of Tulsa

I am fighting for something here...I am fighting for the art in an art-less land. It is frustrating enough to live in a place and time where people are self-absorbed and indifferent, if not all out belligerent, but to fight your way up...fighting for a cause, fighting for becomes a "slight" irritation! So I write this e-mail to my press contacts. Please NOTE, that I do NOT make any reference to anyone by organization or by name. I am ethical, even in my impulsive rebelliousness! Here is what I wrote:

So I have made every effort to contact people in
regards to the Festival. I only have FEW local films
and I have spoken with so many people that are
spreading the word for me, and I thank them. However,
this is an amazing thing that is happening; not only
is it FREE to attend, it is FREE to enter your film!
You think that everyone would jump on this
opportunity...I know I would! That is one of the many
reasons I created the Fest. This is a rare thing in
OK, and even in the US. I have extended the Deadline
until the 23rd, postmarked, and I may have some
packages coming in the next few days, but here is the
[pathetic] situation and the frustration that follows:

I have spoken in person with people in the community
about their own personal films or contributions...this
has expanded to local businesses - I have heard

it has taken an act of God to get any press...I have
not heard from anyone who wants an article for the
news regarding deadline, and I can only hope this
changes festival time

it took repeated and ridiculous efforts to gain
attention from the press...I try to understand both
sides and consider that someone at a newspaper or
television station might be "busy", however, I do
notice that immediate attention is given to the
typical mundane stories and those with a
paycheck...this has been noticed by others as have to remember that I am NOT doing this
for myself...there are amazing artists here that are
being overlooked...if the Overground can receive a
"proper" news article (with regurgitated text from
last year's article) for showing films that are
nothing more than pre-existing material with new audio
overdubs, kids screwing around with camcorders and hot
dogs being flushed down toilets, then I think the
filmmakers that have taken the time to submit their
films to Tulsa, films such as the documentary I
received from a South African on the viewpoint of
South Africans pre and post Apartheid, I think they
deserve better support from the community where the
Fest is being held - bottomline: if you say you
support the community, DO IT!

interviews were scarce last year: none from radio,
lackluster attempts in SOME areas, and only one
television interview at 5am...I can't go around
knocking on every door in Tulsa, even if I wanted to.

This isn't a huge festival, but it definitely isn't
small. We support many of the artists that Tulsa
never sees, but should! Tulsa seems to lack the
concept of art. Our "local" music scene is composed
of too many cover bands, and the original bands tend
to sound like the radio so they're not any different
than a cover band. Yet, there are many underground
artists that write and perform music that borders on
magical...and they don't play at Casinos or night
spots. The artists are very talented here as well,
although the well-known are rather pretentious and
exhibit only in pretentious circumstances at
unapproachable galleries that try to "define" art,
which is indefinable...and I have yet to meet anyone
that is qualified to determine what art "is" or
"isn't". There are so many possibilities that are
overlooked here, and I try to support the true artists
of our city...even Tulsa's beloved Mayfest turns its
back on Tulsa artists, unless something has changed.

So, you tell me...what is supposed to happen here?
This can be huge and profound given the right support,
which is exactly what is NOT being received. I have
spoken to too many people who say "oh, that sounds
cool! I'd love to submit", and yet they never do.
What's the excuse? It is FREE! It is a great space,
projected professionally and competently...if you
submitted anywhere else, it would cost $25-50 or more
to submit your film, and possibly be rejected with no
refund. You can expect the same for admission. I
have to find all of this stuff (venue, volunteers,
musicians,etc.) for free or pay for it out of my
pocket. How many "film" or "festival" organizations
in OK will do that? I work 40-50 hours a week like
everyone else, and I have been dedicated to this for
three years now. Everyone else will have a dozen
different ways to take your money, and I fail to see
where their efforts are better. In fact, I choose not
to associate with many of them for their lack of
professionalism, ethics or conduct.

I have spoken with some of you, recently in fact, and
I thank you. Others, mainly in radio and television,
I have not heard anything. Maybe something has been
done, and I am not seeing it. I feel that my
impression is correct, however, and we are virtually
being ignored. The sad thing is, many of Tulsa's
artists and musicians are having their city turn their
back on them.


Captain Chambers

If I read this, I would try to understand the situation, whether I was pissed or not! And the other thing is, I wrote this e-mail fighting for other people. It wasn't written about "my film fest"! I never received acknowledgement of my 30 second responses, "we received your e-mail, will be in touch soon!"...never happened. However, it appears that there was PLENTY of time to raise the flag of martyrdom, and write this:

Captain Chambers:
My editor and I are in receipt of your latest email.
Neither of us is very charmed by it.

She tells me we have been carrying your call for entries for the past several weeks. I had planned to do a feature story on the festival as the time grew closer, just as I have for the past two years. In fact, I have been the champion of your festival here at the paper.

To suggest, as you did, that we're busy doing " typical mundane
stories" and, especially, "those with a paycheck," is disingenuous at best and
deeply insulting at worst. You seem to be suggesting, among other
things, we sometimes do stories because people pay us to do them. That is
just about the worst thing you can say to a journalist.

We do stories because we feel that they'll interest the public, they
interest us, or that they need to be told. At any given moment, any of us
worth anything is juggling at least a dozen potential articles, trying
to figure out when the best time is to do them to provide maximum
exposure to the readers, for the benefit of the people we're writing about
and their projects. Yes, we are "busy," sometimes with scores of
potential pieces about people who feel just as deeply and as passionately
about self-expression and the arts as you do. We understand that the
festival is the most important thing to you. We have, at any given time, a
dozen or two Most Important Things in people's lives that we're trying
to give proper representation in the paper.
You have every right to think we concentrate on the mundane, or that
the Tulsa music scene is composed of too many cover bands, or original
bands that sound like cover bands, but it's more than plausible that
those musicians have their own artistic agendas, their own dreams, their
own frustrations, their own artistic aspirations, and to tar them all
with that same brush does a disservice to the very spark you're trying
to fan in this town.

I understand that you're an artist, and you have a need to express
yourself. I respect that. But you did yourself no favors with this email.

Someone who no longer matters.

I look forward to leaving this city behind...


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