Tag Archives: Shift Happens

Let’s talk about the rights and wrongs of IP for creative and cultural projects

2 May

I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, get some people’s backs up and that kind of thing. But it really is time we addressed the issue of rights in terms of creative work that has been made and produced using public money.

At some point in the journey of a piece of work that has been made using funding that is essentially public money, should, at some point, become feely available for all to see, and benefit from. This point should be arrived at after the piece of work has had chance to recoup costings and profits, and to use the word ‘monetise’ its potential.

I am talking about the capture of theatre work and live performances, and the ever growing  archive and body of work that we are now creating and producing. I am also talking about the archive and body of work that exists from days before the internet that is stored and hidden away. Lets be creative about the licensing for its use…

Why can’t we have some of the recorded work captured by leading theatres and organisations made available for people to revisit, study, share or enjoy? As long as they are not being traded further for monetary gain, they are then in a Creative Commons bank of ideas and inspiration for all to see and learn from. A digital public space for creative endeavour and understanding. A free library of visual, audio and performing arts.

I take my thinking from the talk I saw at TED way back in 2007 – yes 9 years ago – by Larry Lessig, who was then introducing the whole concept of Creative Commons Licences. Let’s reconsider these now. After all, where did the money come from in the first place to make the work? From either public subsidy, or people buying tickets. So actually, we are also stakeholders in each project, so at some point it must be OK to ask for a return?

As Professor Lessig says ‘let common sense prevail’

 

 

 

Looking back / Going forward 13/14 #blogpost

30 Dec

This year was full of stuff – some great things and some less so. I don’t want to dwell on the crap bits or over expound the positives. I want to rather put a list together, with some pictures of things that have been important to me over the year. I am looking forward to 2014 with a renewed vigour and I am looking forward to creating interesting work with interesting people, and to spending more time with my family and friends who are so important to me. At times it felt as if several things were pulling me in different directions – but not quite as hard as the dog walker I managed to get a picture of in Buenos Aires…

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So, in no particular order

1. Blood + Chocolate – was the most extraordinary project ever. It was the culmination of two years of planning and an intense nine months of preparation and pre-production, resulting in a truly great project – my thanks go to all the people of York who came on the journey with us and to the hard work of all the teams who made this possible – so a big up to Pilot and SlungLow for making it happen.

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The full webcast video of the whole production is available on demand here to watch again Blood + Chocolate webcast

2. The Knife That Killed Me – This year we finalised the edit and did the test screenings at Universal Pictures and I am very much looking forward to this being in cinemas in 2014 as we move towards the release date. This has been the culmination of 5 years work since I first pressed ‘send’ on the first draft of the screenplay to the producers. I am incredibly proud of the work that the whole team put into this, to make this completely new feature film happen

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The quality of each of the frames is amazing – considering that there are 137,000 of them – and each has been hand finished and has hand drawn artwork on each one…

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Great hand drawn artwork from Stu Ord on all these frames and screengrabs

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3. TED Conference 2013 – I had an amazing time in Los Angeles in February at the annual TED conference. Some standout talks and great moments and new friends made…Like here ‘California Dreaming’ in front of the Hollywood sign

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One of the talks by Spoken Word Poet Shane Kocyzan is well worth a moment of your time.

4. Our house – the sale fell through after 6 months of messing about. Shift Happens, I know… I have now moved back in. I love this house. We may sell it this year, we may not. Either way I am not going to stress about it as we realise how fortunate and lucky we are.

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5. Shift Happens V – again we ran this in York and a big thanks to the fantastic line up of speakers – a couple of stand out moments for me were the fabulous Jenny Sealey from Graeae…

and to Matt Mason VP of  BitTorrent who came over from San Francisco to join us in York

the brilliant Julia Unwin, CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

and of course Elliot Barnes-Worrell

6. Twitter stuff – now whilst this is not really a big deal it has been one of the stranger moments this year – I read a post by a facebook friend which I adapted, thanked and tweeted. Turns out someone had done this earlier in the year too and I hadn’t seen it or was even aware of it. By that time it was too late – it went viral. I thanked all parties and then sat back and tried to fend off the 30k email notifications of each RT or favourite. I now know how to turn of those notifications btw…

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7. A proud dad moment as our son Christy Romer graduated with a 2:1 from LSE.

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8. And a finger selfie from Porto in Portugal as we crossed over the bridge to the old town was part of a great summer break too

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9. Where both Christy and Mills agreed to pose for their one annual picture for us, which was offley good of them…

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10. As proud moments go – this one of Susie on the BBC news – which was the first of her many live TV interviews in the course of her high profile job made me a very proud husband indeed

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11. So as I head towards our next programme of work which includes the No Boundaries Conference in February and then Pilot’s co-production with the Theatre Royal Stratford East, Derby Theatre and York Theatre Royal of a new version of Antigone adapted by Roy Williams, I feel very excited and privileged to be making this work…so watch this space for more updates and…

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12. Onwards and Upwards my friends…

A rather good view from The Pilot Theatre office today…

20 Aug

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…looks good today – we are back and up and running – and with two sets of great news about our work. Our role as Cultural Leaders with an emphasis on our local and International work have been confirmed today with two great pieces of news

Firstly, we have secured a 2 year contract with the City of York Council to deliver a programme of livestreams. Here we will deliver the Council meetings as part of their open democracy and innovation strategy. This is very exciting news as it really reaffirms our role as a theatre organisation with civic and Cultural responsibilities. Together with the City Council we are providing leadership and increased opportunities for engagement for the whole of York and Yorkshire – hence for our audiences and participants too.

Secondly our EU funding bid with our partners Elsinor Theatre in Milan, and O’Bando Theatre in Lisbon has been successful. Which means we will be making work in Australia and Vancouver, which looks at emigration and movement of European peoples. Working with two theatre companies in Canada, and one in Sydney, we will create work to be presented at Sydney Opera House which will then travel to Vancouver, Canada, Lisbon, Portugal, Milan, Italy and York, England over the next three years.

Both of these initiatives are the result of our approach to making work in partnership with other organisations. A strength of Pilot Theatre, as we have always made work with other organisations. Which is why…

Thirdly, our Blood+Chocolate co-production with SlungLow and York Theatre Royal is now in pre-production – we are excitedly heading into rehearsals in September, and all the teams are working really hard to make this an extraordinary event for the cast of 170 and the 140 strong community support team. This is a true partnership project for the City of York…so a good reason to see the trailer again…

So what does a multi-platform theatre company actually do?

20 Jun

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As Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre, I can really see the evolution of the company and track its DNA right back its early roots and incarnation. Whilst, not being an original founder member I did work with Pilot as an actor back in the mid 80’s and it is where I got my Equity card, and where my career was started.

This has always been the ethos of the company, providing the opportunities for emerging artists and practice – where projects can be ‘piloted’ and tried out. So, contrary to some of our recent airplane-spotter followers on twitter, we are actually nothing to do with air travel at all…Rather the organisation that creates the ‘pilot episode’ or ‘pilot project’ where something is made or developed for the first time.

So what’s new? well that’s the question the team asks itself all the time. Not that we endlessly pursue the new and shiny stuff just because it is new and shiny, but with a real creative and artistic approach to innovation we are constantly asking ‘what is out there that we can work with to help us tell our stories more effectively’

So, in the next few weeks the range and diversity of our multi-platform work will become more apparent than ever before…

We open a new piece of theatre at York Cocoa House, called ‘Clocking In’ – this is a site specific and verbatim piece that tells the stories of the workers in the chocolate factories of York. It opens on June 24th and we perform it twice each evening, where you will also get a cup of hot chocolate…

This is part of our Blood + Chocolate project which we are working alongside SlungLow and York Theatre Royal. This is now in rehearsal and will be a citywide headphone adventure piece – utilising the skills of SlungLow and their technology. In October 2013 an audience of 300 each evening will move through the City of York whilst the community cast of 200 will uncover the stories of life, love and death in York at the start of the first World War…So our theatre storytelling across the city, working with a voluntary team of over 500 people who are working already on this amazing project – here is the Flickr group from the team of 31 photographers and their 600 photos of the project thus far.

The following week on July 3rd we screen The Knife That Killed Me for the cast and crew. This is the film that was made by Green Screen Pictures in association with Pilot Theatre and Premiere Pictures, Matador and with support from Universal Pictures. It was adapted and written and directed by Marcus Romer and Kit Monkman – with Producer Thomas Mattinson. We shot this on a greenscreen studio set in East Yorkshire in April / May 2012 and the post production and compositing has taken another 12 months to complete. We deliver the film at the end of June, and this is the first time that any of the cast, crew and Pilot Team will have seen the movie in a cinema. This is exciting stuff indeed.

The week after that on July 8th we launch or 5th Shift Happens conference – which is our version of TED for the Creative and Cultural sector – where International Speakers share their inspiring visions and thoughts for the audience – alongside great food and the best coffee in York. The speaker list and schedule is here – there are a couple of tickets left and you can book online on the links on here

So innovation and making shift happen has been at the core of our work here at Pilot – we are currently also working with the City of York Council – delivering the livestreams of their council meetings as part of their open democracy initiative. This is a key element for us. Where we recognise our civic role within the community in which we are based. We want to increase the engagement of all our audiences and create the opportunities to ‘pilot’ new ideas and projects. So, all our work from our theatre and performance, through to the innovation of the new movie and online projects, sit hand in hand with our ability to share thinking and ideas across the whole sector with our conferences and training.

You can also catch up every week with our #PilotLive livestream broadcasts via our Pilot-Theatre.TV channel on this and all our work.

So we look forward to working with you too very soon…