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Burned Again

I finally got to see “This House Must Go,” the special that aired on The Learning Channel last week, thanks to the efforts of a friend who recorded it and rushed me a DVD.

The program itself was somewhat interesting, but of course I’m preoccupied with the segment featuring Xy and myself. I’m happy to report that we don’t look like idiots. Our story is presented with some sympathy and respect. They didn’t get into the termite damage we discovered when I gutted our house, which is funny considering that was their initial interest. But I think we come off as resourceful, creative people who are coping with disaster pretty well. We represented New Orleans in a positive light, and I’m glad of that.

B & Xy Shooting

If it was just a matter of coming into our home and interviewing us, that would be the end of my critique. But it’s more complicated. I let them use our creative work, namely, snippets from ROX #93, depicting our evacuation and my return to our flooded home. It’s gripping stuff, if I do say so myself, and I think it adds to the interest of the program. I didn’t ask for financial compensation in return. All I wanted was a little publicity for our show and/or our website. I said back in April that if I didn’t get that, I’d feel burned.

Well, guess what?

OX Episode 93

The ROX title does appear on-screen for almost three seconds. However, the editor chose a portion of the title sequence where only the letters “OX” are visible. The “R” never makes a full appearence. The web address does appear in the end credits for one-third of a second. The title of our series is never mentioned in the voiceover. The closest they get is to note that Xy and I met “while making a show for cable access television.” While that’s true, it makes it sound like we’re a strictly local proposition. And note what they didn’t say. They didn’t mention that we’re now on the internet and on satellite.

The upshot is that I’m certain virtually no one viewing this program will be aware of the name of our television series or the fact that it’s on the web or that it can be seen on satellite. In other words, this has no real publicity value for us at all. They got value from our work. What did we get in return? Nothing that I wanted. And yes, I feel burned. It’s Time Magazine all over again. I mean, really — would it have hurt so much to put a graphic on the screen that said “footage courtesy of”?

No, I’m not angry. I’ve got Katrina perspective, so I know this is not a big deal in the scheme of things. I am disappointed, but only a bit. Maybe I’m a little wiser, and that’s surely worth something. Thank you, Beyond International, for reminding me to stick by my guns next time. From now on, we won’t license ROX for any commercial production without a clear contractual stipulation of attribution that I’m happy with.

If you have cable, you still have a chance to watch a repeat of “This House Must Go” and judge for yourself. It’s airing on TLC June 17th at 11:00 PM and June 25th at 02:00 PM (times are Eastern, I think).

Published inRadio & TVROX


  1. This sounds all too familiar. In fact, it sounds like every other experience we’ve had with offering content to other commercial tv producers. They won’t pay, and they won’t give attribution, and they act like they’re doing us some kind of favor. It’s like a fucking plague of selfishness. Fuck ’em.

  2. Lee Lee

    I found some of those points interesting as well. It really threw me for a loop when they didn’t mention the termite damage. I even saw the damage and thoguht to myself, “now they are going to talk about the termite problem.”

    I kinda got pissed as well when they didn’t “mention” The name of the show.

    What do u think of that label? I found it interesting, it’s a feature of that label program I use. It basically takes 2 or more pictures and mixes em up.

  3. Jeff Elbo Jeff Elbo

    sorry about that b.

    i’ve also learned to ‘stick to my guns’ when it comes to stuff like that.

    i was the Campus Coordinator for the Ralph Nader campaign during the 2004 election and was asked by the local newspaper to do an interview.

    i prepared and prepared some more until i was ready for ANY kind of question that i might have been asked.

    the guy sat and listened, and i did an excellent job in my opinion answering some tough political and ideological questions.

    when the paper came out the next day…

    to put it lightly, they twisted and turned it around to make me look like a complete fuckin’ fool. i felt like a laughing stock.

    i swore i would never do another interview unless they print what i say in it’s complete form.

    the situation is different, but the outcome is similar.
    i’ll be watching the program tomorrow.


  4. B, don’t allow the use of your stuff any more without a contract that spells out what you want, signed by an authorized representative of the production company. If they don’t do it, you will have recourse should you choose to use it. You’re a star, baby. Start acting like one.

  5. Adam Endwright Adam Endwright

    I wondered how you would feel about them not mentioning rox by name. I noticed it too. BTW is something completely different…stocks or something.

  6. Hmmm… I guess subconsciously I placed the “R” in there when I saw the program. Beyond Productions can suck the big one. Sometimes when a company’s division makes 47mil. in a year, things like respect are lost. For what its worth you come up 3rd on the Google search for TLC this house must go. Work up your papers, and be prepared for the next videoploitation. Or is Copyright Theft?

  7. Jeff Elbo Jeff Elbo

    just saw the episode…

    xy: ‘our wedding was an episode, buying this house was an episode’

    (narrator’s voice)

    ‘fixing this house would DEFINITELY be an episode’

    crock of shit.

  8. I know you’re unhappy with the results, but at least you were pretty much the only smart people featured on the episode. [I mean, the bat guano lady had to be the stupidest person ever!] I also love that your “press pass” was from WFHB. Awesome.

  9. Sharon Sharon

    Its not all for nothing. I watched the episode today, curious as to how they’d show New Orleans. You guys were interesting and after the program, I googled your name and found your blog. Now I’ll watch Rox #93….

  10. I taped it today, and Paul and I just found and watched your segment. Paul wanted me to rewind it and play it again. We enjoyed it twice.

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