Sita now a FREE iPhone app!

Sita_iPhone_FREE

Hooray! The complete Sita Sings the Blues movie is now available FREE for the iPhone, rather than for $3.99. The former price was required because for every copy of Sita “sold,” I had to pay almost $2 to extortionate corporate licensors. That’s a flat fee; doesn’t matter what the sale price is. So selling Sita apps for the customary $.99 would result in a huge loss for me, since I’d be paying far more than that to the licensors.

The solution of course was to make it FREE. They’re all Promotional Copies. No sale, no license fee. To support Mars Yau, who created the app, and me, who created the movie, you can buy the Sita Wallpaper App for $.99. And of course you can always donate to the Sita Distribution Project.

If you have an iPhone please rate the app highly (5 stars? if that doesn’t violate your conscience) to help it spread.

SitaWallpaperLeft.480x480-75 SitaWallpaperRight.480x480-75

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Quality, Freedom, Money: Choose Two

quality,freedom,money

People seem to want to believe that just freeing works is some magic recipe for success. It isn’t. But since people crave simple business models, I came up with one this morning:

Quality
Freedom
Money
______
Any Two = success

A very good (Quality) film can succeed if it is Free (Freedom) OR has a big promotional budget (Money). A Free film can succeed if it is very good (Quality) or, if it’s not so good, it has lots of paid promotion (Money, because if it’s not good people won’t promote it on their own initiative). A film with lots of Money will succeed if it’s good (Quality) or if it’s Free. Imagine how much further a crap film could go if it’s not only heavily advertised, but Free to share too.

With only one of these properties, a film is unlikely to succeed. If a film is very good but neither Free nor Moneyed, no one will hear about it and it won’t have a chance to become popular. A Free film that sucks won’t go far. A Moneyed film will garner attention only as long as it’s being promoted; once ad spending stops, audience attention goes away.

With all three of these elements, you’ll have a success the likes of which the world has never seen. Moneyed productions have yet to be Free, but maybe someday, for some reason, someone will pour tons of cash into promoting a Free, Quality production. Of course if it fails, that will be due to insufficient Quality, which can’t really be measured and for which no one wants to take responsibility. If someone wants to try this experiment with Sita Sings the Blues, which is already considered “good” and is forever “free,” be my guest!

Given the financial dire straits of the independent film industry, filmmakers should really be looking at Free, because they’re unlikely to have Money. And everyone, always, should be focused on Quality, no matter what business model they prefer. Except Quality is a mystery, and worrying about it does not lead to better Art. But if you happen to luck into some Quality, you know what to do now.

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Sita for the iPhone

demo-1

I don’t have an iPhone, but you kids that do can now watch Sita Sings the Blues on it for $3.99, thanks to Mars Yau.

Why so expensive? Well, $1.712 per “copy” (argh!) goes to these giant faceless corporations licensors that contribute nothing to culture. The breakdown is as follows:

List Price: $3.99
After Apple‘s 30% cut: $2.79
Profit after paying $1.712 (License fee): $1.07

So I will get 50% of the profit: $.535 (fifty-three and a half cents) per copy – less than one third what the corporate extortionists licensors get. A better way to support me is to just watch the movie for free on the web and then send me a donation. I certainly endorse this project, but I wish there were a way to support Mars Yau’s valuable service – bringing the film conveniently to the iPhone – without supporting anti-social Big Media corporations more.

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WNYC today at 2pm, 93.9 fm

Smackdown: Open Source or Closed Doors? (click here to listen)

The director of Sita Sings the Blues, Nina Paley, had to pay $50,000 to use old songs in her animation movie. She then put the movie online for free and turned herself into a free-culture activist. Composer Jaron Lanier was a digital pioneer in the ’90s, but in his new book he claims that open-source is destroying creativity and fostering vicious behavior. They join us to debate the pros and cons of free love in art-making.

Sita Sings the Blues site
More about Jaron Lanier [NY Times]

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Everyone pays for my art.

They pay attention.

Attention being the most valuable, and most limited, resource there is for humans. It’s more limited than money; you can’t just print more. People don’t “consume” art, they attend to it.

Meanwhile, here’s a little thing on Sita’s distribution model in the Wall Street Journal.

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