Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Show Bid'ness and The Economy: A Goofy Tale of Woes!

"Show me da money!" I guess I'd say if I felt like beating a dead horse. Here's a tale of life outside of show bid'ness.

Regular readers here know I like to make noise on my guitar and like to every so often make up songs on my own. This is called "writing songs" to most...I humbly just make up stuff that rhymes.

Wayyyy back in 2001 the company I work for had a talent contest at their Christmas party. A "Gong Show" type of thing actually. I wasn't going to enter the contest because I'm a sensitive artistic type of guy and was sure there weren't enough folks at my company to appreciate the high-brow humor and subtle nuance of my craft.

Then they announced there would be cash prizes and I decided it was not beneath me at all to pander.

And so I did.

I made up a song called "Christmas Time at OCB" (OCB is the company I work for, but for the sake of relativity in my story, insert your company name) and is was about as filled with inside jokes about our industry and our company's president and CEO as you can get.

The crowd and the judges loved it and I was honored with 1st prize. Like Loudon Wainwright III said "Shakin' hands with the devil ain't as bad as it seems." and I forsook my lofty artistic knuckleheadedness for good old commerciality...

...and was awarded a $1,000 cash prize. Other than the fact that those big foam-core backed checks don't fit well into ATM machines it was great! My brush wit' Show Bid'ness!

I then opted to go back to my bohemian roots and have fun with banging on the guitar and caterwauling for friends and family and neighbors...whether they liked it or not.

Somewhere along the line my nephew, Scott Campbell got into real show bid'ness. That's him below during one of our shared birthday parties. His birthday is the 14th of August and mine is the 8th and damned if some one's gonna spoil 2 weekends celebrating with us!

He appeared in a small independent movie a couple years back and did a scene where he was to play the guitar and sing a song. The only part I'll really take credit for in any of this story is that Scottie was inspired to learn to bang on a guitar after hearing me make noise on one...I'm proud to say that I helped pay forward the fun that can be had doing this.

During the filming, he decided to play a different song with every take. On one take he did a song made up by his old Uncle Jeffy called "A Phone Call We've All Made" alternately titled "The Telephone Song". For anyone who may have missed this universal broken hearted love song, here's my version.

Bring a tear to your eye? I thought it would.

Anyway, to make a short story long, in the editing bay the director decided to use the take with this song in it for the final cut of the movie.

I spent 9 months or so receiving e-mails and phone calls from lawyers on both coasts trying to convince them that they could have the right to use this made-up song in the movie at no charge. The movie was a little $300,000 indy film and I'd be proud to see my nephew up on screen singing something that I was gonna write even if they didn't pay me.

Besides the real fun would be to one day be walking down the street and hearing some stranger humming the dang thing. THAT would be cool.

I did work out that they only had the rights to use it in conjunction with this film at no cost and that I was the sole publisher and would receive credit as such.

Well the movie, after a long delay was finally released straight to DVD this week. Here it is.

After months of e-mails and stacks of pages signed, I got a call from the production company last month. It was time to reimburse me for my efforts.

Giving up on telling me for the unpteenth time that I wasn't seeking pay, I just folded and confirmed my address and waited to see what would happen.

This happened.

Don't get all jealous now...shooooooooot...anyone could negotiate like me!

The Brothers Crowley and Co., Nay Nay, Kelli and Frank all ran out this last weekend to celebrate my windfall!

I of course threw down the base of the cost from my $1 payday, everyone else filled in the rest!

I don't understand the why's a wherefor's of all this, I can just assume that there's some legality that says that even if I sign 27 contracts saying it's for free, they have to pay at least a dollar to prove acknowledgment.

And I got a copy of the contract stating this.

That's right...Uncle Jeffy's in the movies.

I gotta say though, over the course of 10 years the value of a song can drop 1,000%, from $1,000 to $1...times are tough all over.

Next time though I'm gonna take the advice of this anonymous "Jeffy's Angel"...



Doug Gray said...

That's a great song and a great story!

"gimme a woman" is great too. You should put a permanent button linking to your song posts up by your profile, I think.

Jeff Overturf said...

Thanks Doug and I'm glad you like the songs.

I've thought of putting up a permanent button for songs and some cartoon posts I'm most proud of, but I worry my sidebar is a little too cluttered now. Between all my favorites in my blogroll and my never ending list of tags/labels (which I originally thought would streamline things...heh) I'm not always sure about adding things.

Thanks for the input...anyone else? Outside eyes see more then mine.

Marco said...

I think they overpaid you...

Jeff Overturf said...

Shhhhhhhhhhhh...don't let on Marco! They'll want the money back and I've already squandered it!

Marco said...

I always knew you'd piss away your fortune!

Mykal Banta said...

Jeff: you are a man of many talents and suprises, but on a more serious note, I want that barmaid so bad I can't see straight.

Jeff Overturf said...

I agree Mykal...never have I coveted the US dollar than when I saw them strategically placed on this Angel

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