The RAW Artists Experience: The Aftermath
Last spring I was a showcasing artist at the Raw Artists ‘REVOLUTION’ event at club Rumor in Boston. I showcased two of my short films, ‘Ice Cream For Breakfast‘ (2013), and ‘The Robber‘ (2011). I screened my films, sold my art print work, and met some great artists. I even made back all of the money I put into the show due to ticket sales - so I’d call it a win-win!
RAW Artists is a company that holds art shows throughout the United States and abroad. They offer artists a free artist interview uploaded to the RAW Youtube channel, promotional headshots taken the night of the event, and artists can sell their work at the showcase. You have to apply to be a showcasing artist with RAW, and if they accept you - great! You have to pay $300.
On the one hand it makes sense - a company is supporting you by showing your art, so the least you can do is support the gallery by promoting the show, yourself. And if the showcase was run with any degree of professionalism, I wouldn't have anything further to say.
The day of the event, artists were individually called to the center of the room to be photographed by Greg Caparell Photography, and to be interviewed on-camera for their 'complimentary RAW artist video.'
In fact, the promotional videos that were produced from these interviews were, for whatever reason, grayscale. They were poorly cut, with some flash-frames that the editor clearly overlooked. Each video was between 1.5 - 2.5 minutes in length - but mine was about 6 minutes long. I couldn't figure out why, so I watched the video. It seems the editor decided to include the film I screened at RAW directly in my artist interview, in its entirety - and placed the 'RAW ARTISTS' logo over my video as it played.
I promptly emailed RAW Representative Vy Pham with the following concerns:
Hey there Vy,
We just got off the phone after speaking about my 'RAW' Artist interview video, I'm Geena Matuson. Again, the majority of my 5:46-minute interview video is actually another video I made entitled 'Ice Cream For Breakfast'. I need the intercut video of 'Ice Cream For Breakfast' removed entirely (it starts at 00:58).
[Here is my 'RAW' YouTube video link]
Not only is this intercut video my own work, separate from RAW, but the 'RAW' logo is placed over my video. And, this intercut video runs longer than my own interview. Further, the intercut video is not even on my RAW Artist profile page. As the intent of this RAW video is an 'artist interview,' I don't want separate video work thrown in. At the most, if necessary, up to 00:15 seconds of my film may be used in the interview video when edited. Further, the lower-thirds text when any of my work appears needs to read www.geenamatuson.com, and not any substitute URL. I never Ok'd the link to my Vimeo account, and this does not help my work. We were not only told our website links would be included in our artist interview videos, but we also said our website links aloud [in the interview], and were told they would be audibly heard - both are absent from mine.
Thank you Vy for taking the time to correct this!
I also added a P.S.:
In addition to the other issues I noted in the email (part of this thread), the display image for my interview video on YouTube is not even a thumbnail of my time at RAW - it's an image from my other video work 'Ice Cream For Breakfast' - this also needs to be fixed when edited and uploaded to YouTube.
A month passed before RAW Media Director, Thai Chau, contacted me to tell me the edited video was now live - but he didn't send a link. I replied and asked for the link, and received no response. I tried calling, but the phone numbers listed in several RAW employees' signatures were inactive. In September - now four months later - I contacted them again via email, asking for a link to the new video.
It has been about 4 months now, and my RAW Artists YouTube video from the May 'Revolution' show is still not online; I have called both your phone numbers listed in this email (one is out of service), along with Thai's numbers listed in email, and no one answers. I have asked Thai to edit the artist video so only up to 15 seconds of any of my film work is included. This was in late June. He has not gotten back to me, nor has he uploaded a new video.
If this is how RAW treats their artists I will not recommend them.
Vy responded with a link to the new video and insisted her phone number wasn't out of service. Right then and there I dialed the phone numbers listed in her email signature - and wouldn't you know, it's a disconnected number.
When I replied and told her 'This [number] I copied and pasted from your email signature - says it is not in service when I call.
That video has since been deleted (if you clicked the link you'd see that), as Thai again added the entirety of my video to the RAW Artist video. On June 23 I asked him to remove the video as my email stated use only 15 seconds (at most) of any of my film work. He has since not responded, and has not created another video.
Vy never responded, but Thai did send me the updated video.
While I wouldn't recommend RAW Artists, I hope that the organization has since improved on all fronts and is doing more for the artists, and that its hired professionals all act as such.
Please feel free to share your personal experience with RAW and additional links to others' experiences with the organization!