Every system has two sets of rules: The rules as they are intended or commonly perceived, and the actual rules (“reality”). In most complex systems, the gap between these two sets of rules is huge. – Paul Buchheit, Applied Philosophy, a.k.a. “Hacking”
The middle-ground of Canadian film and television (and web video), and just about any industry or system, is a fascinating area where innovation lies in wait. While we aren’t going to proclaim ourselves the ones about to change everything that you know, we are interested in exploring what lies in and outside of the rules of producing in Canada.
Still early on in our own independent productions, we see the system’s rules, as they may be defined through the term “hacking” from Paul Buchheit, as being largely tied into film, art, and cultural grants. There are processes within that to be sure, whether it’s applying for a grant for cast or crew, applying for grants to travel for a documentary, receiving a promise to produce from a broadcaster that opens access to grants, or another option within varied and multiple federal, provincial, and other arts grants.
Failing to get grants, one is usually left with the option of self-funding, or to get money from friends and family, and occasionally through a site like Kickstarter. They can also give up on their plans, or wait for the next round of grant funding, but let’s leave those two options out out of the discussion of finding new ways to produce and distribute.
(There are also options to work with a broadcaster or cable channel over a longer period of time, but those don’t necessarily apply to the idea of producing your movie or show in whole.)
Reading Buchheit’s ideas on hacking, it’s clear that this doesn’t just apply to a system that’s computer or software-based. It energizes us into thinking Canadian film and television can be hacked, and we won’t need to spend hours filling out grant applications.
Sometimes we catch a glimpse of the truth, and discover the actual rules of a system. Once the actual rules are known, it may be possible to perform “miracles” — things which violate the perceived rules.
What that hack will look like, what kinds of production or distribution models we can create, we can support, or will be successful in another corner of our country aren’t known just yet. We’ve got some ideas, there are more services like Netflix and Video-On-Demand popping up to disrupt traditional film and television industries, and we hope to keep reading great ideas like those of Paul Buchheit and meeting people that are looking for ways to make things.
We think that in placing a higher value on finding a way to get our productions to an audience, rather than just trying to secure a job in a cool industry (which film and tv are most definitely) or claiming our idea worthy of a grant, we can create new ways to reach audiences and support content creators and storytellers.