Thursday, April 22, 2010

Video Games vs. Art Critics

Roger Ebert, a film critic who I respect, said that video games aren't art. OK, of course he's entitled to his are you and I. I've actually heard quite a few people argue this point.

To put it as eloquently and articulately as possible...this is a load of shit. This argument should be resolved by simple fact that it takes just as many (if not more) skilled artists to make the average video game than it does to make the average movie.

Star Wars: The Old Republic video game has more actors than any of the star wars movies. So I don't understand what these people are arguing?

On any given major video game there are graphic artists, animators, actors, motion capture performers, composers, script writers, musicians, composers, engineers, producers, concept artists etc... So I'm supposed to believe that these great artists are not creating art on video game projects?

I think that interactivity is on the horizon for art, and a lot of people (especially film directors) are going to have a hard time handing the reins over to the audience. I can relate, I don't know how I would feel about someone changing my songs from the way I want them to be.

Maybe I experience games differently than other people. I stop to look out windows, I never skip cutscenes, I look at textures, walk around objects so I can hear them pan around in surround sound, watch how my shadow bounces off objects... I don't understand how these components can all be art, but cease to be art once they are put together.

I've had the pleasure of working on a few video games. There are definitely talented artists working at the game companies and to say that what they're doing is not art just seems wrong to me.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Booking gigs is hard work.

For the first 16 years of my musical life, I booked almost all the gigs. I wasn't good at it. I never got many great paying gigs, and I was very easily bullied by shady club owners. I dreaded the process of constant phone calls, meetings, making press kits...remaking press kits, etc... In the end all that hard work was rewarded with getting crummy gigs for low pay. But, at least we were working.

When I started doing club dates and playing with BOC, I was very thankful that someone else was booking the gigs. When I went back to booking my own gigs I found it even more difficult. I lost some of my nerve/business sense, and had to build it up again. What made things even more difficult was that there were more bands and fewer venues.

My point is this: Booking gigs sucks and it's really hard. It takes patience, persistence, and it means developing relationships with some people who do everything they possibly can to NOT pay you. So after you do all this work, what do you get? You get to hear every member of your band complain to you. Why are we starting so late? Why are we starting so early? Really, 3 sets? Is this all you're paying me? Why won't this place give us free drinks? I don't want to play at this place anymore, why don't you book us somewhere else? Why do we have to bring people? Why can't my girlfriend get in for free? And on and on.

Now that I'm in a position where musician friends of mine are putting me on their gigs, I always make sure to say thank you. Thank you for booking this gig and putting me on it.

Believe me, after weeks or months of going back and forth with club owners the last things someone wants to hear is you complain about the gig they just busted their ass to get you.

So the moral of the story is: If a musician friend of yours gets you a gig, say thanks.


PS: if you don't start saying thanks, your gig booking musician friend will stop calling you for gigs, book solo acoustic gigs for himself and be happier, he doesn't care who you play with, stop being a dick.