Tell Your Story

By Alex Shapiro, Composer
Today's posts have been wonderful, and for the moment I want to comment on Casey's contribution a short screen scroll down.

Thanks to three of my fellow blogerati here on this week's ArtsJournal-hosted discussion (Molly, Jean and Casey), I was the sole artist invited to testify last September at one of the FCC's public hearings to which Casey refers below in his post. The topics at hand were broadband access and digital piracy (details, and stories of my adventure can be found here). When the session wrapped up, I chatted at some length with one of the commissioners, who made it very clear that she wanted to hear from more artists and that they should feel free to be in contact.

The following week, I sat in a committee meeting in New York City that was attended by a good number of respected composers and publishers. After I reported on my D.C. experience, I repeatedly stressed to my colleagues that they, too, should add their voices and make their opinions known to the FCC. In fact, I think I stated this enough times that being hit over the noggin with a two-by-four might have been more enjoyable for those having to endure my impassioned entreaty.

To my knowledge, not one person in the room chose to follow up and contact the FCC. I would love to learn that I'm mistaken.

It's possible that some artists may view participating in the process to be intimidating. But they can calm their nerves by remembering that since the corporate and government world is not their world, they shouldn't feel as though they've got to be a polished expert to be worthy of being heard. Indeed, it's the lack of polish that often makes what we have to say most meaningful.

Look, we already know that we can't match the lobbying power of multi-gazillion dollar corporations. But we can tell stories.
Artists have extraordinarily valuable insights that the business world does not. Our stories and our perspectives are important, and it's vital that people outside our field hear from those of us with the stories, since they're the ones signing policy suggestions into laws and regulations that will affect how our upcoming chapters unfold. U.S. citizens often forget how fortunate they are: despite turns of politics that may dismay, they still live in a Democracy in which much of the time their opinions can be voiced and registered.

I'm not suggesting that just anyone from the arts community is going to be sitting across the table from the CEO of Comcast in a high-stakes horse trade.
Agreed. But I say to any fellow artists reading this, that if they want to be sitting at that table, it's not beyond the realm of possibility. I wasn't doin' no horse trading, but there I was, questioning the COO of Paramount Pictures. Intimidating? You bet! An addictive and enjoyable experience? Absolutely. 
July 19, 2010 2:55 PM | | Comments (0) |

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