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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 20

Re: Media & The Truth

From: Paul Kimball <Kimballwood.nul>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 19:03:49 EST
Archived: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 07:14:04 -0500
Subject: Re: Media & The Truth


>From: Tom King <tomking2030.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 15:51:49 +0000
>Subject: Re: Media & 'Truth'

>>From: Paul Kimball <Kimballwood.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 22:08:18 EST
>>Subject: Re: Media & 'Truth'

>>>From: John Velez <johnvelez.aic.nul>
>>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>>Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 12:03:25 -0500
>>>Subject: Re: Media & 'Truth'

>>Dear Mr. Velez:

>><snip>

>>>I don't think even contracts would make a difference. I've
>>>gotten to the point where I ask one question and one question
>>>only whenever I am invited to participate in one of these 'UFO'
>>>programs: "Is the material being presented as 'news' or as
>>>'entertainment'? The end result... I haven't consented to do
>>>anything I have been invited to participate in for more than
>>>three years.

>>'>We don't need no stinking contracts!' We just need to refuse to
>>>participate in any more 'for entertainment only' productions
>>>that we are invited to appear in.

>>As a lawyer who also happens to be a film and television
>>producer/director, I can only respond by saying that you always
>>need contracts, and they do make a difference. Further, they're
>>always open to negotiation.

>>A case in point: When we were doing the Stan Friedman film, one
>>of the interviewees refused to be interviewed unless we removed
>>the line from the release form stating that he could not sue us
>>for (among other things) defamation - a standard clause, which
>>usually won't hold up in court, but better to have than not from
>>a producer's point of view. I could have walked away, but I
>>wanted to interview the guy (we ended up not using his material
>>for other reasons), so I agreed to strike the clause.

>Sounds like it could have been me. :) The Legalese the contracts
>are written in is done purposely to be difficult to understand.
>They are merely to screw the amateur person to be interviewed
>and protect the production company of legal recourse. The
>interviewee it typically given a basic 'waive your rights'
>contracts. I consider these the first round contracts only the
>suckers sign. If you read them carefully they describe a myriad
>of ways you can be sued, screwed, tattooed all while giving up
>universal rights to yourself, videotapes, or other wares. All of
>this can be negotiated away or simply don't do the production.
>If the contract was in plain English you'd learn about how
>they're screwing you and you won't sign it. How come the
>interviewee doesn't have their own separate contract and make
>the network sign it? Everyone who signs a contract should place
>in a date the contract expires and say it needs to be
>renegotiated.

I pay over $9,000 in Errors and Omission insurance for every
production (on a budget of perhaps $100,000 to $150,000 Cnd.).
Why? Because there are just as many questionable interviewees
out there as there are crooked producers (I would suggest far
more) who have made life (and business) miserable for those of
us with a camera. Rather than being sued we protect ourselves. A
lesson learned from hard experience, more than a few legal dust-
ups, and the edict of the broadcasters, who won't air a program
(rightly so) unless they are protected from any one of a number
of false claims for... well, you name it, it's been done.

>Most producers are pretty slick, they kiss your ass up and down
>all while pretending to like you to get what they want. Low
>production costs! Most try to win you over by a 'power ass
>kissing session' in which you get the privilege of being on TV
>for 3 seconds. While they get the privilege to make a small
>fortune off the interviewee. They all claim they are broke and
>production is over budget and you need to help the producer out.
>That same old song and dance must be taught in TV producer
>college or something.

You must live in Hollywood! Cards on the table - as a
producer/director/editor of the Friedman film, I made a less
than grand total of $22,000 (Cdn, which is, I think, about $30
US). The film itself took over two years to research, film and
edit. I sure didn't get rich, and most of my colleagues here in
Canada don't either; I suspect the situation is the same for
independent documentary producers south of the border. It is a
very 'small' fortune indeed. Ask my wife.

Your comments strike me as very similar to those debunkers who
claim that men like Friedman have gotten rich off of book sales,
and are only in it for the money.

This is not to cry poverty. I did the film because I wanted to,
for a lot of reasons, but primarily because I thought the
subject was important. No need to shed any tears for me - I
chose this career - but don't label me and my peers slick, money
grubbing hucksters. For the vast majority of us, nothing could
be further from the truth.

>Editing can be where they'll make you nut job or a hero. Most of
>these "UFO entertainment/news" shows are pre-scripted to some
>extent.

Not in my company, nor in those of the people I know in the
industry. We film what happens, and what people say. The story
is usually constructed in the editing room, after the big
picture makes itself clear. Tell me that authors of UFO books,
or Internet websites, don't make the same kind of editing
decisions, often to advance their own agenda. Of course they do.
The important thing is to make sure you don't misrepresent
someone's views. For an interviewee, if that does happen, you
can always sue (something Americans are far better at than we
Canadians).

>Before the TV crew arrives in your town. The producer/director
>probably already has some vision of what "they need you to say".
>They're not really interested in what you have to say more what
>you need to say. They read of a list of loaded questions to get
>a measured response and trap you into saying sound bytes that
>they need. Most like you get you to say something with 'Alien'
>in a sentence. Much like making a real film they know what the
>show is going to be about and just need to go get all the
>soundbites and cheap UFO video clips to make the show.

Nothing like painting us all with a pretty broad brush loaded
with tar. What are Stan's second and third rules for debunkers?
Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up, and if one
can't attack the data, attack the people. It works both ways.
Finally, nobody can make a person say something they don't want
to say, short of unethical editing, which I agree is a plague on
my industry, even as I maintain it is rare.

>These shows are not here to solve anything or present
>ground breaking material. They're merely 48 minutes of filler in-
>between the commercials($$money$$) and that's what its all about
>to the TV producer, the network, and the 5 people that own the
>media.

I make my own films, pre-licensed to a network. Not once in four
years has a network ever interfered in my productions. As for
the 'five people', I've never met them, just as I've never, to
my knowledge, met anyone from MJ-12, to whom one private
correspondent suggested I had basically sold my soul. The kind
of person for whom you definitely need legal protection!

>>>Without us... they have no Show.

>>Alas, no... there will always be a show, because people find the
>>subject of UFOs/abductions/alien life fascinating. And all
>>television and film, like it or not, is about entertainment,
>>especially the news.

>There will always be the Art Bell UFO whores that never turn
>down a TV interview, or radio spot to promote their garbage. So
>you producers always have them to sell the conflict of your
>shows.

So, because they appeared in my film, Stan Friedman, Kevin
Randle, Don Ledger, Karl Pflock, and others are "UFO whores?" I
don't think so. Maybe they just see a bigger picture, and
appreciate that if ufology is ever to move into the mainstream,
it has to reach more people, in whatever ways it can. That's why
I have such a great deal of respect for Stan - he's taken his
lumps, gotten his message out, and done good work as a result.
As for Don, "The Shag Harbour UFO Incident' is another example
of a good film that balances the need to entertain with the
desire to inform. Maybe we just do it better here in little old
Nova Scotia.

What I have the most trouble understanding - in my final post on
the subject - is the difficulty some folks have with 'conflict',
as if it didn't exist in the UFO field. A quick perusal of the
UFO UpDates Archive should be enough to disabuse anyone of that
notion. I say again - a UFO film that portrays 'conflict' (or
would you prefer 'debate') accurately reflects the way things
are. Kevin Randle and Stan Friedman both agree that something
extraterrestrial happened at Roswell. They disagree about
specifics. That's conflict. There are still people who think Bob
Lazar is telling the truth, and many others who think he's a
serial liar. It's perfectly legitimate to portray these
differences.

Or would you prefer an audience of sheep? I have more faith in
people, that they can weigh both sides of an issue, and reach
their own conclusions. And, before you say that we producers
don't present both sides of the equation, I must add that I have
further faith that people are capable of seeing when they are
being snowed, and will instinctively react againt it. If they
see only one side, they will seek out the other.

>Paul you summed it all up just like I thought. With or without
>credible people the TV producers got a job to do. Their gonna
>get their soundbites from somebody, anybody. I'll be sitting on
>the sidelines most of the time. I've got burned enough I'm not
>helping TV producers get rich off of me. I have the internet -
>what do I need TV for?

Whether you agree with them or not, the aforementioned certainly
strike me as credible people. As for the Internet, I'll assume
you meant that in jest. If there is one thing worse - and more
dangerous - than television, it is the Internet, where the gold
is buried in a thousand tonnes of dross.

>Tom King
>www.ufovideo.com

Best,

Paul "I'm sure ufovideo.com is gold" Kimball


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