Monday, March 3, 2008

Where nothing, nothing at all, means nothing at all

I'm in the student center a couple days ago, waiting to get a burger I had ordered. Two guys dressed in a horribly calculated fashion walk up, talking real loud. They start talking about how things are so hard and busy, after all, we're theater students. I don't know what I'm going to be doing this weekend, I'm so burned out, you know, being a theater student. It's so hard to be a vegan and eat here, you know, I can't eat gross meat being a theater student. Well, there might be a party this weekend... there must be, after all, because we're theater students. I don't know if they really really wanted attention or were intentionally broadcasting repeatedly to the world that they are in the theater program. I wanted to shove my burger down their throats and yell out that they just supported the cruel treatment of cows. Or, you know, make them choke.

I've bought tickets to a lot of shows in the past few days. I'm going to see My Chemical Romance with my sister on her birthday, got tickets to two shows for The Swell Season (Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova from Once), one in WI in May and one here in June (just in case I get an internship and am not here in the summer), and finally tickets to see the pillows in NYC. Each of these were two-ticket orders. All together, it's about... $230, maybe? In the long run it won't be that much - my parents are paying for my sister's MCR ticket (maybe even mine) and I'll be selling the tickets to one of the two Swell Season shows. However, after Ticketmaster charges, it comes to over $350. Yes, that's over $100 in Ticketmaster charges. These were all tickets that couldn't be purchased from the box office for one reason or another, and it really pisses me off that I have to spend that much extra money just to be able to, you know, go to a show I'm already paying a lot for.

However, that isn't really my point, that's a little tangential annoyance. My point is that I'm not going to hunt down and kill the Ticketmaster people, because there is admittedly a way to save money most of the time. For example, if there's a show I want to see at House of Blues, I can just go to the theater and buy tickets directly from the box office. Ticketmaster isn't the only option all of the time, it's mostly just an unfortunate coincidence that it was the only option so many times in a row. Finally, we come to my point... the "matinée" no longer exists at almost all first-run movie theaters, or is so expensive that it only saves you a quarter or two.

Piracy is something I've been back and forth on a lot in my life. Being really computer-inclined since I was 6 or 7, I was on the forefront of the Napster stuff back in the day, and Morpheus after that and then BitTorrent (I was one of the biggest users of Suprnova I knew). At this point, I'm almost entirely against piracy. I pirate TV shows, but only because I would skip commercials if I watched them on TV anyway. However, if the DVDs are out then I Netflix it. But I don't pirate music, I very rarely pirate games (and when I do it's actually to test it out for stuff you can't really rent like PC or DS games), and I most definitely don't pirate movies.

It pisses me off when I hear people's explanations for why they pirate movies. The most prominent one is a simple "I don't pay for movies." Upon further questioning, I usually get stuff like "well it's too expensive" or "they have enough money" or "one person won't make a difference," the usual avoiding responsibility for stealing bullshit. If people are pirating movies on DVD, I don't get why they don't rent them, or just do the $5 a month Netflix deal (realistically you could rent 8-9 movies a month for $5 bucks... what is wrong with that?). However, when we get into pirating movies currently in theaters, the line gets a little more blurry. "Well, it's too expensive to see a movie." I do agree that $10+ is fucking ridiculous to see a movie. However, being kids, we'll find a way to pay for stuff, and you always had the option of seeing a matinee. With the demise of that, however, I start to wonder myself.

It's $10.50 to see a movie at night at the local awesome theater, the AMC River East 21 in downtown Chicago. It pisses me off to no degree that I can see a movie at 1pm and still have to pay that much. At the other chains like Kerasotes, they still have a matinee, but it's $9 instead of $10, hardly a worthwhile difference. Even theaters out in the suburbs have adopted the pricing plans they have in the middle of a huge city. This is getting ridiculous. I like seeing movies, a whole lot. It is my "thing," if you will. I saw 60-70 2007 movies, maybe 40-45 in theaters. I simply don't have the money to see that many movies anymore if it'll be at least $10. The thing that sucks is that it's really a sign of the end, unless the theaters decide on a new business model. Studios make the vast majority of their money from home video sales (if you hear movie industry gloom-and-doom people talking of lower box office returns signaling dark times, they have not done their research), and that is bad for theaters. Instead of finding a new way to run their business, though, they just keep raising prices to try to make money, and this is driving people to piracy. I know that most pirates are morally bankrupt thanks to the anonymity of the internet, but there are some out there who would honestly see movies in theaters if it were affordable. I don't pirate movies, but I wonder sometimes.

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