Art from the outside world. The title undoubtedly owes a debt to Agent to the Stars.
Background. People live on the Moon. Some temporarily; some permanently. The temp residents carry over a modified earth social structure. The permanent residents have changed their living habits to survive where space and air are expensive. They prodcue an autobiographical/lifestyle web comic (or future incarnation thereof) called Moon Rats. [Archives]
I have a formal, contractual title, that is over a dozen words long and contains the words Lunar” and “Consultant” and “Intellectual Property.”
Everyone just calls me Agent to the Moon.
I got this gig because international corporations cannot handle working with a group that refuses to recognize individual creators. They kept signing their contracts, “We Live Here.”
Drove the corporations nuts.
So I became the contact point.
The Moon Rat comics are free and always will be. You wouldn’t think that would require an agent. Ha. We operate under the old open source philosophy. If you use the work for free, you have to offer it for free. If you charge for it, you have to pay. Since movie studios aren’t going offer their movies from free, they need to negotiate with me. That’s a bad example, making a movie has a lot of expense added to the original idea. Still they have to pay for it. Through me.
I don’t think my clients care about the money as much as wanting someone keeping an eye out and reporting back. Or maybe that’s me making myself feel important.
I mean, the corporations are not wrong. It can be extremely frustrating when I am trying to get something done and I have no one to contact. At first I would send the same email to several different addresses. Sometimes I would get several different responses; sometimes no response at all.
The solution we came up with is a secure website that acts as a single point of contact. I post my report. I explain whatever the situation is. Then – this is the important bit – I end by saying I will be taking X action if I do not hear by Y date.
Sometimes the date passes and I do the thing. Sometimes, I get a small novel’s worth of thoughts on the subject.
I have no idea who or how many people I am communicating with. They might be having long, Quaker-style meetings to come to consensus. I might be getting an off-the -cuff answer from some random person who wandered through the computer area at the time. I never know. It could go either way.
They seem willing to live with the results.
But dealing with that vagueness is why I have this job, otherwise it would be straight up artistic licensing deals. Well, as straight up as interplanetary copyright can be. Copyright on one planet is confusing enough.
My firm has had to hire several lawyers. We are basically writing new law with each contract.
Why me? I’d rather not discuss that. It’s between me and my client.
I’d say the only disagreement we have is about merchandising. They could make soooo much money with mugs and pins and stuffed toys and so on. But no. Encouraging the accumulation of stuff goes against their fundamental principles. That’s one message I get consistently no matter who or when or what I ask.
I’ve tried to convince them that accumulation of stuff *is* a fundamental principle down here on earth. No dice.
I also let them know what is playing well in Peoria. They can see the online numbers as well as I can. I let them know what is being talked about over the proverbial water coolers. I’ll tell them if a story line is playing well or pissing people off. Numbers don’t always tell you if people love it or are spreading it from a sense of outrage.
If the comics are getting into a touchy subject, I let them know. They may modify their approach. They may storm straight ahead. I’ve seen it go both ways. Still, I let them know when the waters are getting deep. At least they have a heads up.
I often fall into the habit of thinking I am protecting their image. As I said above, that may be more me than them.
They aren’t idealistic hippies living up there in some out-of-touch lunar commune. They don’t have any trouble understanding the value of money. They are raking it in with the Moon Rat Experience.
They don’t use money internally. However, they share the Moon with people and companies who do have a use for money. They make a deal up there, mostly for machinery or parts. I pay the company down here.
Of course I ran this by them before I talked to you. I know where my loyalties lie.
If you will excuse that’s a notification I need to answer.