I read somewhere a few years ago that during a bad economy is the best time to start a new business. The risk is high and the stakes are higher, but the pay off is worth it. For some, working for oneself is the only viable option. If we've learned anything over the past few years, it's that the American worker is undervalued and the illusion of job security went by way of the Y2K bug.
When one usually thinks of opening a business, it's a brick and mortar type business--selling products or services. But now that entrepreneurial spirit is also alive and encouraged with artists. When I say artists, I mean anyone creating something, be it a song, a piece of fiction, a photograph, a painting or a film. That in large part is due to the advances in technology and showcases such as YouTube and Amazon.com.
This past week, something was done that was pretty groundbreaking. Two cancelled thirty year old television shows were brought back to life and have a new home online. I'm talking about the daytime dramas, All My Children and One Life to Live.
When ABC Television cancelled the two longtime sudsers about a year and a half ago, it looked like that was it. The lights were going out in Pine Valley and Llanview. But no! A new production company called Prospect Park bought the rights to the two shows and after an agonizing year or so, finally were able to bring the shows back together for presentation on the internet--where many are already viewing their favorite shows. If this is successful, television networks better watch out. There's new competition in town and they don't have to play by the FCC rules.
This week when All My Children re-premiered, I had to watch. I'll admit that I didn't have very high expectations. I envisioned choppy camera work, subpar writing, bad lighting--all the things that usually come from doing something on a low budget. Boy, was I surprised. Prospect Park was able to capture the look that was All My Children. The sets are great. The actors are great. The writing is crisp and it has a faster, more edgy pace. And guess what? They aren't playing by the same FCC rules. Several characters said words they can't say on tv. The most shocking was Angie Hubbard, played expertly by Debbie Morgan, saying "shit." Now when she drops the F-bomb, I'll piss my pants (and they can say that now too).
Aside from the new life for AMC, independent film makers, and musicians, are finding YouTube to be a great place to produce a web series, show their films, or get their music heard. Just as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble are giving writers the tools to produce their work in ebook, or standard print form, and the opportunity to sell their work. Sure, some of it might not be good, but the rules have all changed. Finally, the little guy can put something out without the big publishers censorship or marketing analysis telling us what we want to read. We know what we want to read, and finally we're able to get that sent right to our Kindles.
I have to say I like this new era. It kindles that entrepreneurial spirit in me. That one that invokes the original American dream--if you work hard, you can enjoy the fruits of your success. I've never been afraid of hard work, but I want to control my destiny, not some corporate big wig who only sees me as a number. Why should I be making him rich when I could be doing the same for me?