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MISUNDERSTANDING FREE SPEECH
by Bob Schubring on 

The rioting in Libya that claimed the life of the US Ambassador, brings into sharp focus, the difference between the law of Free Speech, and the popular understanding of Free Speech.


The Convention Against Genocide, a UN treaty to which the United States is a signatory, forbids any form of speech or expression that causes or is intended to cause, mental harm to the members of a race, religion, or ethnic group. Enforcement of the provisions of the UN treaty, within the United States, fall to the United States District Courts, which apply the treaty as interpreted under the Proxmire Act of 1987. The applicable part of the Act may be found at Title 18 U.S. Code, §1091(a)(4), which defines as a felon, anyone who


subjects the group to conditions of life that are intended to cause the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part”.


At subsection (b) of the Act, we find the punishment:


(b) Punishment for Basic Offense.— The punishment for an offense under subsection (a) is—

(1) in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(1), where death results, by death or imprisonment for life and a fine of not more than $1,000,000, or both; and

(2) a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both, in any other case.”


That death has “resulted” from Bacile's motion picture, is indisputable. We have for proof, one dead US Ambassador, and numerous dead foreign citizens, who were killed in the rioting. As for intent, a motion picture whose sole purpose is to motivate people to consider Islam “a cancer” that must be “destroyed”, is precisely of the same genocidal nature as Leni Riethenstahl's famous propaganda works, discussing the “disease” of Jewishness in a voice-over narration, while images of rats running through sewers played on the screen...all of which was used to justify the disappearing of millions of Jews into Nazi slave labor and the death camps. (Initially few Germans knew about the death camps. If they asked, they were told to stay away, because the people in them, had a disease. It turned out, that most of those who died in the death camps, died not of disease but of cyanide poisoning, because the Nazi government could not wait long enough for scientific proof that Jewishness was a deadly disease, so they speeded up the dying process with poisonous gas. To this day there is still no proof that Jewishness is any deadlier than say, being born as any kind of human and living to a ripe old age, but this does not deter neo-Nazis from dusting off Hitler's racial theories and attempting to apply them.)


Thus, the necessary elements to sustain a prosecution of filmmaker “Sam Bacile”, are present.


Will the United States indict him?


Probably not. The reasons are political. The Romney camp benefit from the rioting because it creates the appearance that the President is weak. If the President did seek to prosecute Bacile for genocide, candidate Romney likely would rely on popular misunderstanding of what Free Speech actually means, to engage in further acts that support Bacile's alleged “right” to suggest Islam should not be allowed to exist, and that those who believe in it, are diseased in some way.



But it is necessary to consider the plain meaning of the words of the Proxmire Act, if a producer is to steer clear of violating the UN Convention Against Genocide, both within the USA and abroad.


And even the plain words at 18 U.S. Code, §1091(a)(4) are indisputable.


A motion picture creates cultural context.


If in the context it creates, there are “conditions of life intended to cause the destruction of the group in whole or in part”, then the picture itself is genocidal. So the test applied by a US law court, would be whether there was any way to view the art as satire. Mark Twain was satirizing racism, every time a racist in the pages of his books, advertised his ignorance while hurling the N-word around. We read his novels in grade school. A gang of Kluxers burning a cross on a cop's driveway, and using the N-word to describe the cop and his family, would have problems proving any such educational motive.


It's pretty clear when one calls the followers of a religion “crazy” or “diseased” or “a cancer” that must be “destroyed”, that one is advocating the group be forced to give up it's cultural identity. Such US politicians as Andrew Jackson, whose forcible removal of the Cherokee and Seminole native Americans from their homeland, marching them down the “Trail of Tears” to Oklahoma, would have been guilty of breaking this law, had it been in force, and could have been imprisoned 20 years to life, or executed for their crime.


And make no mistake.


The UN treaty itself, is all about cultural identity.


At Section 6 of the Proxmire Act, it is prohibited to “forcibly transfer the children of the group, to another [ethnic] group”, as this constitutes genocide. The reason for such forcible transfers, where they happen, has been to wipe out the memory of an ethnic group's culture, by forcing those children to assimilate a different culture than their parents would have taught them, which is why they are prohibited.


In dealing with European laws that implement the same UN treaty, there is even less wiggle room than is allowed under the Proxmire Act. Merely causing “mental anguish” is sufficient to sustain a genocide prosecution, without meeting the narrower US standard of “creating conditions of life intended to cause the destruction of the group”.


If Nakoula were indicted for genocide, would he have a defense under the First Amendment?


Probably not an effective one.


It should be borne in mind, that the First Amendment is a limitation on the powers of the U.S. government, not on anybody else. The freedom of speech and of the press, bars the US from demanding that we get a license from them before we can publish or speak our ideas. This prior restraint of publication, also known as censorship, is what the U.S. government may not do.


Once a publication is made, the person who published it, is legally responsible for what was said or written.


Chief Justice John Marshall set straight a vandal who caused a panic in a crowded theatre, by screaming that the place was on fire. The vandal, charged with reckless endangerment of the theatre patrons, told the courts that he should not be punished, because he had the right to free speech. Justice Marshall reversed the ruling of another judge, who had been confused by the vandal's argument, by reiterating the fact, that the only absolute right we have, is a right against government censorship of what comes out of our mouths.


Indeed, it is that very right against government censorship, that imposes on us all, the duty of self-censorship. We must not utter words that are false or misleading. If we do, we should correct what we say as soon as possible. We certainly must not utter false or misleading words, with the intent to mislead someone into causing harm to himself or herself or others, for that is the crime of fraud.


Today's Wall Street Journal contains a well-researched bit of investigative journalism, indicating that “Sam Bacile” appears to be one of many aliases of a convicted fraudster of Egyptian Coptic ancestry, recently released from a US prison, named “Nakoula Nakoula”. According to the Wall Street Journal, the most-recent of Nakoula's scams was to pass himself off as a wealthy Israeli businessman, who was making a movie about the “cancer of Islam”, with the aid of $5 million in investment from other wealthy Jews. (Details at http://on.wsj.com/QKL1FI ). It has not become apparent at this writing, how Nakoula was to profit, by pretending to be an Israeli movie producer, and it may not be necessary: Nakoula was on supervised release from prison and will likely be returned there for violating the conditions of his release.


Given the political realities, Nakoula might not be prosecuted for genocide. But he certainly seems to require a refresher course, on not uttering false or misleading words with the intent to mislead someone into harming himself or herself or others. His first trip through prison, he apparently did not learn that he had been locked up for the very same offense, in which the people harmed were the shareholders of a bank, which bank he scammed for money.


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The Double Standards of Politics
by Bob Schubring on 

David Drake posted a dry and factual of the conflicting positions of each of the 5 S.E.C. (http://www.cfira.org/?p=1090" ). Commissioners, all of whom, it appears, have other axes to grind, which is delaying implementation of the JOBS Act.

I made the following comment about the post:

"The irony in this tale of officials bitterly clinging to the wee bit of power they hold, is that any State is free to sell to anyone, unlimited quantities of a security called a "lottery ticket", which guarantees, for limited time, that some of the buyers will receive up to half the total funds invested, the issuing State will receive the other half, and all the other investors will receive nothing...and may advertise these securities, without limitation, to anyone foolish enough to buy them."

I think that fairly expresses the unequal protection of the laws, that has twisted our economy into a caricature of it's former self.  Legitimate opportunities for growth, get lost in a maze of prohibitions and limitations.  Outright fraud, once politically approved, goes on with great regularity.

If I want to invest in a productive business, I am protected from myself...even if it is a sound investment.

If I want to invest in the daydream of winning the Powerball Jackpot, no one protects me from propaganda that tells me someone could get rich by winning the game...but neglects to mention that most of the ticket buyers will walk away empty-handed, to make that Jackpot possible.

As comic Peter-Dirk Uys said of Apartheid, "Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of political intercourse".

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The Ultimate Silly Argument
by Bob Schubring on 

THE ULTIMATE SILLY ARGUMENT: Apple Removes ‘Green’ EPEAT Label On Macs Because Of Superior Recycling Strategy http://bit.ly/ScusC1

Apple Computer is engaged in a squabble with a quasi-governmental organization it helped found.

EPEAT, a once-meaningful acronym that, a decade ago, was the name of a now-obsolete computer program that ranked the environmental desirability of electronic gear, based on both energy consumption during use, and the pollution hazards of making and disposing of the equipment, has now become the name of an organization, EPEAT dot net.

Under the leadership of former military procurement guru Robert Frisbee, EPEAT dot net provides a rating of the environmental desirability of electronic gear...based on choices consumers could make for themselves, but for which EPEAT dot com has intervened to declare itself the expert with decision-making authority.

There is now open conflict between Apple Computer and EPEAT dot net over what makes a computer "green".

The conflict stems from Apple's new Retina-brand display system, which uses glue, instead of screws, to fasten it's components together, resulting in a lightweight and thin device..

Apple proposes to recycle the glued-together parts by shredding the plastic and leaching out the valuable Indium Oxide and rare earths from the shredded plastic.

EPEAT dot net, would prefer it if the plastic parts were assembled with screws instead of with glue.  And then taken apart by unscrewing...before being shredded and leached to recover the valuable materials.

Apple's weight-conscious consumers, who want portable devices as light and small as possible, are being offered what they want...less recycled metal parts and more recycled plastic parts.

EPEAT dot net screams NO!  We consumers will receive fifty lashes with a wet noodle, if we don't carry all that extra weight around with us, to satisfy EPEAT dot net.

All of which would be laughable but for one problem:  Numerous governmental bodies delegated away their capacity to decide issues for themselves, by adopting EPEAT dot net's rankings, into their own procurement regulations.

Thus, San Francisco city workers will be required by law, to waste gasoline and pollute the air, every time they transport laptops, notebooks, or cellphones in cars, because the City of San Francisco prohibits the purchase of such electronic gear, unless it is favorably ranked by EPEAT dot net, and Apple's lighter-weight equipment won't get that rating, because it does not contain enough screws to satisfy EPEAT dot net.

The federal government is likely to follow suit.

Effectively, EPEAT dot net is mandating that aircraft transporting federal officials, must weigh more and consume more fuel, so that the laptops, notebooks, tablets, and cellphones those officials carry, can be assembled with more screws and fewer glued joints.

It would be less laughable were it not for my acquaintance with a university classmate who is an applications engineer for a glue company.  It seems that to keep all the tiny screws from working their way out of their holes, Apple's competitors use glue to attach the screws permanently in place.

Apple's engineers simply got rid of the metal frames and screws, and glued the plastic directly to plastic.

Thus, to recycle the display of a laptop, notebook, tablet, or cellphone, glue joints must be broken and plastic must be shredded.

Apple eliminated a bunch of metal parts and screws, made their devices smaller and lighter, and made their customers happier.

EPEAT dot net is acting screwy about the loss of the screws.  And their sole justification seems to be, that they are supporting an arbitrary set of rules that are now obsolete.  Which is what Apple's engineers thought, in designing the excess screws out.

Politicians and purchasing executives please take note:  Surrender your responsibility to think for yourselves, and eventually, someone will make a decision for you, that makes you seem completely idiotic, for having allowed it to happen.

This is one of those times.

Bob Schubring

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Appreciation for Feminine Strength
by Rob Schubring on 

 I view this as a core competency that our business model requires.  50% of our audience is female.  New business startups...which include among them, the giant corporations of tomorrow, are frequently started by women.  Today's successful entreprenneuse, is typically a woman who gave up on struggling with the internal politics of a male-dominated large enterprise, (which enterprise usually had a flawed business model and was poised to begin hemorrhaging money as soon as the economy went sideways), and instead, formed a good idea in her head, found some folks who could work as a team, and founded a company.
  This is also an idea that resonates with younger women, who comprise the next generation of moms, and whose children are our target audience.  Actress Jennifer Lawrence and her representation team at CAA have been disrupting the formula of ancient formulaic motion pictures, like a bulldozer tearing up a logjam...and everyone who came aboard is making a ton of money.  In recent months, Lawrence has headlined in 4 pictures, that broaden the parameters of female strength:
  • X-Men sequel:  Her character is a flawed person, viewed by society as evil, and by the audience, in more-sympathetic terms...due out in 2013
  • Silver Linings Playbook:  Her character is recovering from some sort of mental illness and challenges Bradley Cooper's character, who recently was released from 30 months hospitalization for mental problems, to improve himself as she is doing...due out November 2012
  • House At The End of the Street:  a picture with all the trappings of a horror-flick and snuff movie, which leads the audience to expect an ending like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but instead, runs into a formula-disrupting character played by Lawrence, and becomes something else entirely...due out in time for Halloween horror crowds, 2012
  • The Hunger Games:  Adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel, that had a $350-million theatrical opening March 2012, continued to draw a theatrical audience until pulled from theatres July 1, 2012, has a DVD release set in August 2012, timed to build on the marketing momentum of House At The End of the Street, and scheduled for at least two sequels and possibly a third.
Lawrence has made a career strategy of disrupting formulaic pictures, that strong girls have historically found distasteful, and built an immense following among girls and younger women, and among boys who like strong women.  The financial success of her career strategy, beyond any observations one can make about her personal strengths and work ethic, are rooted in the fact that audience tastes have evolved.  People in general, and particularly, younger people who've grown up in a society where gender segregation is a rarity in the workplace, are ready for heroes who reflect the reality around them.
I believe that the wild success of roller derby as an amateur sport (growing from 10 women in Austin in 2003, to 70,000 women worldwide in 8 years, with no males allowed in ownership or governance of any team), and Lawrence's career success in motion pictures, indicate that there is an appetite and appreciation for feminine strength, among both genders, and that those who like to see strong women in action, feel under-served by traditional media.
So much so, that alternative media are being constructed to serve them.
As a market entrant selling principally to young people, this is a demographic trend we must embrace, because not to do so, makes our products obsolescent, literally as useless as a sound system for a mime troupe.

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Investor
by Rob Schubring on 

The Congress, in 1933, generally held a static view of value.  The new Federal Reserve Notes (just barely two decades old) represented both the value of a silver dollar coin, and the value of 1/35 of a Troy ounce of gold.

It did not occur to that Congress, that Federal Reserve Notes would someday float in the spot Forex market, against the world's other currencies, nor that the value of silver and gold would shift daily, depending upon the needs of both microchip builders and dentists, for each metal.

Since the dollar no longer represents a pemanently-fixed quantity of value, but undergoes a relativistic time shift in value, we must return to the intention of Congress in defining an accredited investor.  That criterion, was a proven sophistication at identifying claims too good to be true.

In 1933, anybody who had survived the turmoil of bank failures and a powerful secular bear market in stocks, and still had a million dollars of net worth, was pretty adept at filtering out the advertising from the substance of an offer.  Because only the most extreme of skeptics, in the summer of 1929, recognized trouble and took defensive positions.

That trouble, of course, lay in the common assumption that the value of anything, was static.  The US had just seen unparalleled economic growth, brought on by the mass-produced automobile and it's cousin the farm tractor, and the fledgling electronics industry, which at that time, mostly built radios.  During this time of expanding value, the Federal Reserve had been able to keep the market prices of most goods from falling, by printing more money and using it to buy up Federal debt.  (How fortunate we do not pursue this pricing policy with electronics!  If a pocket calculator still cost $400 as it did in 1975, by application of a monetary policy that held it's value constant, I highly doubt that we'd have cellphones and internet connectivity available to everyone.  It was the acceptance by the electronics industry, that expanding output leads to lower prices, that saw them past the folly of the lobbyists of the 1920's.)

The result was easy money.  All one needed for a big bank loan at low rates, was collateral, usually raised by floating shares of stock.

Some firms made their public offerings and raised the money, with no clear idea where to invest it.  One such firm that survived, The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, never mined anything in it's corporate existence.  After the initial raise, the firm decided to invest in machinery to make waxed-paper butter wrappers, even though naïve shareholders thought their money was digging for iron ore!  3M remains a survivor with a diversified portfolio of products, today.

So what were the principal characteristics of an "accredited investor" in 1933?  Primarily, there was a healthy skepticism of claims, AND a willingness to take calculated risks, after applying due diligence in examining a proposal for investment.  Those investors who survived the Black Friday crash and the bank failures that followed, and did so with substantial wealth, had outsmarted not only the ofher investors, but the Government as well.

The challenge for crowdfunding intermediaries, in helping to rewrite the rules, is to build that healthy skepticism, risk appetite, and comprehension of risk management, out into the crowds of interested investors. 

Quite simply, we need to transfer the investment-evaluation expertise of successful,  wealthy people, to people of more-modest means.  A growing economy needs more investors, each making informed decisions about where to invest their funds.  By providing that instruction, crowdfunding intermediaries can perform a tremendous service to a nation in need of growth.

Bob Schubring
Investor,
Wonder Animation

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THE NEW LITERACY
by longtale on 
The Producers Forum

Robert “Bob” Schubring is a Producer, former Libertarian Candidate, and resident Curmudgeon at LongTale. His titles includes TWIST, one of the most viewed documentaries on Hulu—HIGH, and is currently developing The Body Pain with fellow LongTale Producer/ Managing Director, Omar Kaczmarczyk and holds the honor of being the Inaugural Contributor to THE FORUM.

 

The New Literacy


Texan Naturalism in the Documentary


The golden rule of filmmaking: He who has the gold, makes the rules” – Alexander Salkind


My first acquaintance with the Austin Film Society, was through a program of theirs, called “Docs in Progress”. Paid-up members who agreed to secrecy, so as not to spoil the element of surprise for other first-time viewers, would meet over some California sangria, Texas Shiner Bock, fruit, cheese and networking, screen a rough cut of someone's documentary film, answer questions posed by the filmmaker, as to what they followed and what needed clarification, then have a freewheeling discussion about the topic at hand. With one documentary under my belt as a credited producer, I paid my 35 bucks membership dues, attended my first screening, and fell head-over-heels in love with the new trend in documentary work that has taken root there.

Those of us who grew up since the 1960's, at least, know the propaganda-style documentary, having seen them by the dozens in grade school, usually shot on 16mm film and screened from well-worn prints, that occasionally left a class in titters when the projector malfunctioned and chewed up several feet of film. The structure of the propaganda-style documentary is as old as Leni Reithenstahl's Hitler biopic, Triumph of the Will. The filmmaker sets out with a preconceived notion of what the documentary is intended to prove. Then identifies ways to make the point, writes a rough script and a budget, gets financed, and takes a camera crew on the road to shoot scenes “proving” the point. All is edited, voice-over narration is put in, along with suitable mood music, and voilá, cinematic proof of the thesis is ready to be duplicated and shown to sway the uninformed masses.

Frequently, documentaries of the propaganda style, do not age gracefully. Woe to the teacher with a class of bright students that includes a well-read astronomy buff, who shows something filmed pre-Apollo 11, speaking of the theory once in vogue, that the Moon was a piece of molten rock that separated off from the Earth, leaving a gigantic hole where the Pacific Ocean is now found. That pesky astronomy buff with upraised hand, eagerly gushing to the class about how all the new science learnt from actual moonrocks, shows the Moon couldn't possibly have been part of the Earth, and that the Earth wasn't originally molten, but was a cold lump of dust, ice, and pebbles that grew warmer from radioactive decay and eventually fused together under the pressure of its' own gravity, will completely trash an entire year's set of lesson plans with a few good daily questions, and ultimately, will have to be put into “gifted child” classes somewhere, so as not to undermine the more-gullible students' belief that the school system knows what to teach, and that all of it must be believed without question, as well as dutifully regurgitated during exams.

Nobody watches propaganda-style documentaries for entertainment. They're simply too polemical and short-sighted to entertain anybody. Despite the capacity of a camera and film, to capture vastly more raw data than can be assimilated in the initial viewing, the polemic commands the audience to ignore extraneous data not germane to its' preconceived conclusion. An audience must be paid to watch this stuff, or be bribed into it. (“Miss Fields' class won't have homework today! She's showing a movie.”)

So What is Texan Naturalism?

The documentary tradition that has developed in Austin, is vastly more adventurous that the work of the propagandists. Rather than set out to prove a point, the documentarian goes into the field with a camera and a subject...usually one or more persons of interest...and collects footage. As the subject interacts with the surrounding community and natural environment, a story begins to emerge. What is unique about this person? Why? Why do others imitate this person in some way? Or admire him? Or find him revolting? Threads of a plot begin to present themselves. And ultimately, a central conflict arises, that results in a profound change. The person learns something and changes for the better. Or for the worse. The surrounding community learns, and changes itself, as well. Ultimately, a story with a three-act format presents itself for the editing. But unlike a scripted narrative with actors, the story is entirely authentic. Moreover, like a Shakespeare play, it leaves enough unanswered questions to encourage repeated viewing.

An odd cast of characters has drawn the attention of Austin's filmmaking community and been screened at Docs in Progress. Among the most memorable: A brain-damaged Vietnam veteran living in upstate New York's Catskills, who bought a decrepit trailer, buried it, and built a camp of it, a few blocks from his home. And then added onto it. And kept adding. And adding. Ultimately, the filmmaker got the man to verbalize, why he did what he was doing: In case of nuclear war, he wanted a fallout shelter big enough to accommodate everyone he loved. So each new friendship he would form, led him to add more rooms to his underground maze. Meanwhile, his stark terror of war and mass destruction, was held at bay, well-camouflaged by the orderly work of building a human-scale anthill.

Then there was the Texas wild man. The film opened with a closeup of a rabbit chewing on something, and a voice-over by the wild man himself: “That one summer, my girlfriend and I decided to do nuthin but raise Chinchilla rabbits and do cocaine.” Provocative stuff if it came from a screenwriter. More so, coming from the horse's mouth. Even more shocking was how swiftly an infant tamed this tempestuous force of nature.

On a less provocative note, there was Austin's monkish, and frequently homeless, Duct Tape Messiah. This ardent anti-materialist fought his intellectual battles by mockery of excesses. To satirize the 1990's fad of silver toe-tips on cowboy boots and silver tabs for shirt collars...he made similar fashion accessories from grey duct tape. The manner of his death occasioned the telling of his tale...and the film challenged the community's view of homelessness.

Two documentaries by Austin Film Society members had noteworthy commercial success: Werner Campbell's Hell on Wheels, about the 2003 revival of roller derby that began in Austin, has sold globally, mainly to collectors who've spread the sport into other nations. A sport revival that began among a few Austin professional women who wanted something a bit more challenging than the health clubs offered, but didn't want to enlist in the Marine Corps, now has 55,000 active participants worldwide, who have director Campbell to thank, that they can observe the first, baby steps of their favorite sport, by purchasing the documentary.

Another success: The Horse Boy, Michel Orion Scott's work on a professional family's struggle with autism, is not to be missed. Particularly so, if one is fond of either horses, shamanism, ancient/tribal healing practices, transformative journeys, or what the late Dr Walker Percy called, “the ability to get better, with a little bit of help from you”. Where is the boundary between disease and self? The Horse Boy will reframe that question in ways that alter one's view of health, illness, and how they interact. The yin and yang of life, demand that we open minds to what the sick try to teach us, rather than burden ourselves with unnecessary duties the sick prefer us not to do. Overcoming illness is like any other form of human teamwork. The process is completely unforgiving, of those who forget that the family and the community are teams...and, just like an athletic team, function best, by dividing the teamwork amongst the available pool of talent, so as to demand the best efforts of all its' members.

The Future of Media?

In a day when most people have cameras in their cellphones that can capture video, filmmaking has become the new literacy. Some folks practice communicating with the moving image and create interesting views of everyday life. The Texan naturalist documentarians blazed the trail into what is possible, if one keeps a media record of events, then finds the thread of a story in it. Because the raw recordings are personal, so are the stories. The choice to record, or not to record, is personal. The telling of a story from it, is personal. The choice to view the finished product, is likewise personal, but is made by the prospective audience.

20th Century propaganda films required sizable budgets and staffs of people to make them. They required political parties, governments, or corporations to fund them. Texan naturalism can be practiced by anyone with a camera, a subject, and an inquiring mind. Those media of yesteryear drew viewers, because there was nothing else to watch. The proliferation of media today, bring about the opposite challenge. In a world of five billion cellphones, most of which have cameras, it has become easier to collect images than it is to find anyone to view them.

With the number of people with Internet access exceeding 1 billion, it could be argued that the world has a billion potential novelists, with the power to self-publish their work electronically. Similarly, the argument is sometimes heard, that everyone could create the next Blair Witch Project and become famous, using the camera equipment at their disposal. Interestingly, that's not happening.

The ingredients of a Texan naturalist documentary are a camera, a subject, and an inquiring mind. The creation of artful imagery requires more than mere hardware. It requires purpose and resolve. It requires the full human experience of pathos and empathy. A camera and a white table and an actor sitting across it, were necessary preconditions to the making of Rashomon, but were insufficient, by themselves, to complete the directorial vision of Kurosawa...without Kurosawa's work, there would be no Rashomon.

And therein lies the tao of filmmaking. Wanting to be seen, and having something to show, are rarely coincident. The rise of electronic media has put the tools of the filmmaker's art in everyone's financial reach. But the talent and resolve to create great art, remain a rarity.

Those of lesser resolve and talent, create mediocre art, that still acquires the interest of specialized audiences. The TV program, America's Funniest Home Videos, rarely contains video that was shot to professional standards. Still and all, it draws an audience.

In forthcoming columns, I shall present some of today's visionaries, who are cultivating the future of video literacy.

 
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