Dear Streaming Services,
You don’t know me…yet.
My name is Lisa N. Alexander.
At the time of this letter, I’m 53 and have just written my first feature film, My Father The Queen.
I have every intention of producing and directing the project.
Now before you click away, you should know I have won awards for my documentary work, and I’m equal parts creative artist and businesswoman. And I’m one helluva storyteller.
In regard to the artist disparity within the streaming industry, Snoop Dog went on record and said one plus one is not equaling two. He further stated that the system is “not working for the artist right now.”
I get that.
I knew fundraising for this project would be an uphill battle.
I knew that I would need to bring you a sizeable and engaged social media audience.
I also knew that the right networks are tightly guarded by faithfully adherent gatekeepers.
So, when I learned that the CFO of a production company that funded women indie filmmakers wanted to hear more about my project, I was thrilled! I had broken through!
When we finally did chat, she let me talk about my project and loved it as far as I could tell. But the company had just agreed to put a freeze on funding any new projects. Why? They needed you to figure out a payment strategy that works for artists and production companies.
She told me a project that cost $3 to $5 million dollars to produce would need to sell for $6 to $10 million dollars. The CFO said that you weren’t willing to pay that amount. I told her my film came in under that $3M mark to which she congratulated me. However, there was no path forward until you all get this straightened out. So much so, the company even took down its website.
At the time of this letter, it’s week two of the writer’s strike.
And there’s talk of the SAG-AFTRA and DGA following suit.
These artists and craftspeople deserve a living wage. They deserve to be fairly compensated for their work.
It appears I’ve chosen the worst time in entertainment industry to produce this work!
Or maybe not.
Maybe an even better distribution deal awaits My Father The Queen once all of this is over.
Maybe all the calls for content from Black women will expand past familiar borders and funding and distribution deals will be equitable and profitable for all.
That’s my hope.
So while y’all are working things out, just know artists and creatives like myself are watching and waiting.
Will art and creativity truly be valued and fairly compensated?
We’re waiting to see.
Lisa N. Alexander
Writer, Producer, Director