A Filmmaker’s Thoughts On Movie Piracy by James Cullen Bressack
James Cullen Bressack: I also find it interesting as well on the flip side because my auto-dm goes out [Automated Direct Message) and says “Hey, check out my movies on Amazon.” or whatever. And I’ll get responses from all these people around the world saying “Hey, I love your movie. I saw this one or that.” And everyone is always responding saying ‘I love them’ or ‘I’ve seen them.’ And my response is either A) A distributor owes me a lot of money that I don’t know about or B) (which I think is the more likely one) is that things are probably getting downloaded on the Internet a lot. A perfect instance of piracy is a movie I did…I won’t say which one but the first month that it was out, it only shipped like 5,000 units. And then I looked at one of those piracy websites and it had something like 150,000 downloads. And I was like “Wow! If I only had like a dollar for every single time that this happened, I’d be”…but at least they’re watching them right?
Film Courage: I’m not advocating piracy but do you think it can sometimes help someone’s career or a project in some way?
James Cullen Bressack: I think sometimes. I mean if you look at that movie INK, if you saw that? They actually released it for free online. They encouraged the piracy of it. So I think yes and no. Personally I’m against piracy because I think it’s stealing. Legitimately stealing from the filmmaker. And I know it’s kind of weird to say but it’s like messed up to pirate stuff. But if you’re going to pirate stuff, at least don’t pirate the indie film. Like the really low budget indie stuff, the difference between one extra DVD and one extra download is somebody rent that month, possibly. So it’s like I feel for people because I have a lot of friends that are at this and haven’t really been doing well because of piracy. So I want people to understand that it really does hurt the filmmaker. It really does.
Film Courage: How do you think a lot of people in your generation and slightly older feel about this because they have gotten so much for free on the Internet [to now put parameters in place for force payment]? How do they view it?
James Cullen Bressack: I mean the weird thing about it is I will be talking to friends from high school or childhood, elementary school or whatever, people I’ve known for years and years. And I’ll be like “Hey, you should check out my new movie.” And they’ll be like “Oh, yeah. Sure. I’ll just download it.” or they’ll be like “Oh yeah, I’ll watch it on this website or whatever.” And I’ll be like “You’re literally just telling me you’re going to steal from me.” Are you really just going to be like “Oh yeah, I’m going to take $20.00 out of your wallet.” No! But for some reason it’s so okay amongst that…they actually think that it’s become so part of the culture so that it’s fine when it’s really not. So if there is a way to monetize that, such as if we release movies for free online with ads on them or something, that is at least better than having them stolen. You look at those websites that have those movies hosted for free and all this traffic is driven to the website, they’re making money on those sites because they are selling ad space on those sites. People are making a lot of money off of our hard work.
Question for the Viewers: What do you think of movie piracy and its impact?
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