Here's an interesting post - not by me, I hasten to add, but some thoughts from Soror Nishi: An Unexpected Alliance at LEA Opening.
As for me, I attended the opening night of the inaugural Month of Machinima yesterday too. I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't consider entering anything, but so pleased that Daveypup Nirpaw got his Karma Kong on the shortlist!
It's nice to see my favourite creative medium getting some long overdue exposure and recognition. But it's an interesting question: who exactly does this benefit? The Lab? Almost certainly, when used correctly; they have no direct input in any of the films, either creatively or financially, yet will take the credit for allowing the films to have happened. But is that so bad or unheard of?
Consider this: Pirates of The Caribbean - Disney film, Johnny Depp film or Gore Verbinski film? Well, actually all three but you can almost guarantee that if you ask Joe Ordinary, he'll probably tell you it's a Disney film. What input does Disney have in the finished product? Well, yes Hollywood is a different animal admittedly, but overall their input was probably minimal once the cameras started rolling. Their logo will still be all over the film, the posters and the press material, and they'll take the chunk of the money it brings in - so does that mean that the talent behind it suffers? Not at all. In this case, the Lab just acts as distributor to your film.
So consider the Lab as a film studio, and where does this leave the film-makers? Will they get any reward from this, either financially or artistically? This situation can be turned round by the machinimatographers themselves, as long as they're not putting their efforts into ranting about it. They can market themselves, exclusive of the Lab's efforts. The right thing for the Lab to do would be to not only give these film-makers a forum, but support these creators beyond that and make sure that if they (LL) are using residents' machinima as marketing material, that they will make sure that credit is given where it's due - and if that's a financial credit, and a creator earns from the work that they've created, the Lab should support that accordingly too; after all, they will ultimately benefit without taking a cut of any earnings but from the free exposure they're already taking. That will be the thing to watch, not picking apart someone's sentences.
Artists should use these opportunities to do just that. Use the stuff you create as a portfolio and use it to find other opportunities, if that's what you want; but don't try and tear it down just because you're not involved. At the end of the day, it'll be what you the creator puts into it that'll make it successful; a film studio (or in this case, the Lab) can dress up any old piece of junk and promote it, but an audience will still see it for what it's worth.