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StandCreative™ Series One features creatives telling their own stories about what they do and how piracy has affected their ability to make a living. Whether you are a photographer, a filmmaker, a musician, songwriter, novelist, playwright, or painter – the work that you do matters and has value. And we want to hear from you, because your voice matters.

A letter from CreativeFuture CEO Ruth Vitale:

In February 2014, we launched CreativeFuture as a coalition of 65 companies and organizations. Today, we are over 490 companies and organizations and over 100,000 creative individuals – encompassing film, television, music, photography, and book publishing. We speak up about what’s important – creativity. We speak up about our fundamental right to determine how our works are distributed.

For two years now, we have heard countless stories from emerging and independent creatives about their personal experiences – how the for-profit digital theft of their work has hurt them.

We know that piracy does not only impact established creatives and large studios. It affects every creative. And for many emerging and independent creatives, the effects of piracy are even worse because they are not insulated against losses the way that more established creatives often are.

People create. Not machinery, not conglomerates, but people. People you may know. We think it’s time to put faces to the stories they are telling.

It is the woman working on her laptop at Starbucks. It’s the guy picking up his kids from school. It’s your neighbor. Not all of them are famous celebrities or executives. They may not be well-known, but they are also talented, hard-working people trying to make a living doing what they love.

We want to share their experiences in a new series we’re calling the StandCreative™ Series.

Here’s an excerpt from the one of these stories written by artist and musician Lisa Hammer:

“I spent thousands of hours and dollars studying film-making, music, and acting. I have been creating my own work since the 80s and for many, many years I was able to make a good living as a filmmaker/musician.

I am a small, indie filmmaker creating content with my own pocket money and fan-funding. For the first time in my career, my bills are piling up and I can’t keep up. I have no idea how to monetize my work or continue to afford making my films and music.”

For two years now, we have taken a stand and spoken up about the value of creativity – and now we are providing a platform for creatives to share their stories. Stand with us by sharing these stories and sending us your own. Tweet at us, post a message on our Facebook page, or post your story on your own platform and tag CreativeFuture. You can even email us your story here.

Thank you for sharing these stories and for sending your own.

StandCreative™ – we are all stronger when we stand together.

Bret Hampton

By: Bret Hampton

Thirteenth in the series. When Hollywood legend Paul Newman spoke at my film school, he remarked that only three of the 200 students in the audience would likely go on to work in the entertainment industry. Maybe it was a slight exaggeration back then, but in today’s digital world where... Read more

By: Shane Ryan

Twelfth in the series. Growing up with a film editor as a father, I fell in love with all kinds of cinema at a young age. He taught me how to edit film when I was five, and I’ve been making movies ever since. Despite achieving some success and recognition... Read more

Christian Keller

By: Christian Keller

Eleventh in the series. When I was 19 years old and just out of high school, I read about Gloria Trevi, the controversial “Mexican Madonna.” This would be the beginning of an epic 10-year journey for me to get the film on the big screen. Being Swiss, I had never... Read more

By: Dan Selakovich

Tenth in the series. Some years ago, I wrote and self-published a book for filmmakers called “Killer Camera Rigs That You Can Build.” As I was the publisher, I was neck deep in the sales and distribution of the book. The first edition sold extremely well (this was the only... Read more

A couple of months ago, we launched our StandCreative™ Series to put faces to the names of creatives who have shared their stories about the for-profit digital theft of their creative works. We collected these stories to help us make an important point to the U.S. Copyright Office. The Office... Read more

Doug Maddox

By: Doug Maddox

Ninth in the series. I produced The Bill Collector with actor Danny Trejo from Machete and Undaunted starring Allen Williamson from Abduction with Taylor Lautner. The Bill Collector had great success with its theatrical worldwide release. After some time, I got a call from the FBI stating that the film... Read more

Mark Leibowitz

By: Mark Leibowitz

Eighth in the series. I love taking photographs. It’s one way I relate to the world – capturing the beauty of life in an image. After 13 years as a professional photographer and filmmaker, I still take pictures non-stop for personal enjoyment. My personal images, however, are very different from... Read more

Kari Tieger

By: Kari Tieger

Seventh in the series. My name is Kari Tieger and I’m a bilingual singer/songwriter and composer registered with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). I have written and performed in English since the age of 15 and, in French, since my mid-20s. I duly obtain copyrights for... Read more

Cassian Elwes

Sixth in the series. I cut my teeth in the film business in the mid-80s, before the internet or even piracy was even a thing. Piracy back then was the guy on the street corner selling bootleg copies or the guy sitting in the back of the theater recording the... Read more

By: Wayne Kramer

Fifth in the series. The day my most recent film, Pawn Shop Chronicles debuted on Video-On-Demand (which was on the same date as its theatrical release), the film was recorded in a perfect HD quality copy from one of its VOD rentals and illegally uploaded to the web. By the... Read more