Machinima is a phenomenon. It is collecting fans by the minute, especially males in the mid teens to mid thirties bracket, apparently a very hard market to capture. Teenage boys are living their dream as they play out fantasies, fighting with state of the art weapons, hanging out with gorgeous women and getting paid at the same time. Incredible! Even the big boys are jumping on the band wagon with Microsoft teaming with Machinima to release “Halo 4:Forward Unto Dawn” at a cost of almost $10 million. Giving the cinemas a wide berth, Forward Unto Dawn was aired on the YouTube channel Machinima Prime in five 15-minute segments as a precursor to the release of the Halo 4 game and DVD.
It all seems idyllic. Even the little guys, the game players who actually spawned this revolution, make some money, sometimes substantial amounts of money.However as we all know, there are no free lunches, and as some of these machinimakers are finding out, there are some rather large booby traps. Whether you are big or small, the lure of wealth can catch us all. If you sign up as an affiliate of Machinima you are actually committing your creative output to the company for life. That’s a bloody long time when you are 19 years old and maybe still living with your mum.
It all comes down to the issue of sharing. There is an open platform/technology where everyone benefits or a ‘closed shop’, where large corporations try to keep the whole idea/technology for themselves and make as much money as they can. They can get big exposure and they can make it happen pretty fast, but as we have seen from clips that have gone viral such as the Stars Wars Kid, individual users can bring about overnight notoriety as well. Some followers believe that machinimakers are selling out when they sign up with companies such as Machinima but as one commenter on Braindeadly’s untimely departure said
There has been several people who has released the contract to the public and pointed out the flaws, I don’t remember the exact quote but the contract states that they pretty much “Own you for perpetuality”.
Imagine it yourself, your making videos and a big company like Machinimia contacts you, you know them as this renowned company and believe they have good intentions in helping you out, they send you this contract and you see all these perks and you blindly sign it. And besides, who knows the “true meaning” of the word perpetuality? It’s not your everyday word.
Couldn’t have said it better myself!
Post script: The publicity from the internet commotion surrounding Ben Vacos and his contract with Machinima, has resulted in the company changing their contract life to 5-7 years. Nowadays you can’t keep anything a secret!
- Contract control crushes creativity