I just discovered this week from an online search that a Paris theatre had a screening of my Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett film in October last year. It was apparently part of an event organized to launch a new book about Syd by a French writer . The grouse : no one ever bothered to ask!! It is actually a huge piece of cheek, as well as being a breach of copyright.
Is that French author expecting to give his books away without any payment ? Making documentary films is a massively fragile undertaking. Most of us lurch from project to project with bank managers biting at our heels . And income from DVD sales and screenings can be a lifeline to getting new films off the ground.
* So is this Blog just going to be a load of intemperate grousing ? …well I reckon filmmaking is 80% about money and only 20% about creating something…so I’m afraid you may have to get used to the grousing, dear reader.
Talking of books about Syd, with “Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head” (Faber)
Uk music journalist Rob Chapman has produced the best one yet in my opinion.
But don’t take my word for it. Here is Sean O’Hagen in the Observer :
“A Very Irregular Head is a consistently illuminating, and often surprising, read….Syd is a looming presence here, an elusive to the point of spectral figure, who haunts the pages of this, the best book yet about him. It sent me back to the music, to songs such as "Dark Globe" with its almost unbearably plaintive final refrain: "Won't you miss me, wouldn't you miss me at all?" In the grain of Syd Barrett's intensely troubled voice, you can hear the darkness descending and his terrible awareness of the same. It is the sound of a man not shining like a diamond, but sinking like a stone.”
In fact the reviewers are at one in rating the book head and shoulders above any previous attempts.
Rob gives me a very generous acknowledgement “for access to to the full tape transcripts of his interviews with Messrs Gilmour, Mason, Waters and Wright.” And I am delighted that I was able to help, because although this is the first book where the writer was given cooperation by the Barrett family, none of the band themselves agreed to be interviewed.
..and this could be the first of many dilemmas..
The DVD : “The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story” in the UK and Europe can be bought on Amazon and a lot of other sites out there for as little as £2.49 (though a few for some unfathomable reason are as much as £39.95 too).. There’s just one catch – none of the money from sales will come back to us, the production company. The reason is the DVD distributor went into liquidation over two years ago..but the copies are out there and they will sell on..and on.. until they are all sold out…
The money goes to the sellers and apparently there is no mechanism for us to get hold of any of it.
There’s no way of knowing how many it will take before they are all gone because we have no way of getting access to the records of the bankrupt company – if they actually kept any.
Ok . So what’s the dilemma ? It’s this .Do we put a link to Amazon Uk,etc on this site to encourage people to buy those cheap copies? Well it gets to be a pretty tortuous argument, but yes I actually think we should. The reason : until those copies are sold, burned off from the marketplace, it makes no economic sense to produce a new DVD through a new distributor. It would compete at a huge disadvantage with the low-priced copies that are already out there.
I would love to produce an updated version of the film as it was made five years before Syd’s death in 2006. There is a new distribution company in the wings. But we do need to get rid of those existing copies out there first ! So go for it…buy them in bulk for your friends too!