“This is such an advance over the old way, it’s hard to explain,” says Lee Jon Taylor, considered one of Occupy L.A.’s best editors. “I used to have to call people and ask if they had any footage of this and that, and then get permission from them to access their hard drives. Some of them didn’t want to do that, and the process was so cumbersome.”
Mr. Taylor and Clapier say the advantages are a quantum leap over such current sites such as YouTube, because the clips can be longer, can be labeled and cross referenced more easily, and the individual shooter retains copyrights.
“This is the first, truly free media,” says Taylor.
The new platform has been donated by Citizen Global, a Venice, Calif.-based firm that creates ways for businesses to communicate with their customers.
“[Citizen Global CEO] Steven Starr is betting his reputation on this as a true gift because he supports the movement politically, ideologically, and spiritually, “ says Occupy L.A. project coordinator, Jeff Vander Clute.
One of Citizen Global's existing applications has long been used by Hollywood film studios to put out pleas for various kinds of content footage, such as home movies and old photographs for use in major motion pictures.
“We are looking to be of service and for the demonstration of co-creativity,” says Mr. Starr, who has worked with musician activists such as Bob Marley and produced the film “Flow” about water rights.
Some sociologists and media analysts say the idea may have as much promise as the Occupy leadership hope.
“StudioOccupy has the potential of being a ‘game changer’ for the Occupy movement as a whole, by going beyond the neatly circumscribed political and media-driven categories prevalent in civic life," says Professor Catherine Wilson, who studies social movements at Villanova University. "This platform allows Occupy to engage American political culture on their own terms and in their own way. Occupy has prided itself on being an alternative movement – now they have an alternative media platform – that allows the movement to bypass a variety of intermediaries and take their message directly to the American people.”