Topic: Insider Stuff
The Industry: Very Local Organizations
A block south and one block west is the Directors Guild of America (DGA) an impressive Sunset Boulevard building (photos here). It's a place - if you can manage it - to see major Hollywood movies before they're released. I seem to recall seeing "Braveheart" there some weeks before its release, with short Mel Gibson answering questions after the lights came up. And there's the annual City of Lights thing there each spring - a screening the year's top French films (attended this one - the late director John Frankenheimer gave a short talk in awful French). Then there was that prerelease screening of Serendipity, where the lead, John Cusack, after the film, told us all it would be a big hit. It wasn't. In any event, the DGA isn't exactly a tourist destination. It's a fancy union hall. People in "the industry" hang out there, and hangers on. But there's a good car wash across the street. They do nice work.
Where the industry folks also hang out is another union hall a few doors east - the International Cinematographers Guild (7755 Sunset Boulevard). This is their national headquarters - for six thousand cinematographers the camera crews, and the still photographers and the publicists - the folks who work on studio and independent films, television, commercials, documentaries, music videos and broadcast news. It's a union for the "below the line" folks.
The building was redone and they moved into it in 2003 - Ron Howard gave a speech and all that (see this). It's a cool building - palm trees, reflective glass.
And across the street is Bug Music with the logo (see the shot below) that makes you think they're in the same business that made Tom DeLay wealthy enough to be able to run for congress. But they don't do pest control. They do something else - administering and collecting royalties on behalf of independent publishers, songwriters, and artists - they track down and collect royalties for their clients, like the Dixie Chicks, Iggy Pop, and the estates of the late Johnny Cash and Janis Ian. They're lawyers, administering publishing catalogs and anything that has an income-earning copyright. They "bug" people.
It all started when they were asked to administer the Del Shannon catalog - "There was a dispute over the copyrights of Del's songs, but when we got the copyrights back for him, we also started to pitch his songs for cover records. We had a big breakthrough, when Bonnie Raitt recorded Del's hit, 'Runaway,' and it became a cover hit. We got a taste for that cover success, and we started aggressively promoting our catalogs."
And it took off. They're international now. You have a copyright and aren't getting paid? They'll get your money for you, and take a cut of it for themselves. And now they work in movies, where many use pop and indie tunes for a soundtrack. They'll work out the licensing and all that - legal consultation. Seen Kill Bill 2, with all those odd songs in the background? They worked out the copyright details.
It's another below-the-line industry insider place. That's the neighborhood here.
And they have a cool bug.