WARNING: THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS EXTREME GRAPHIC IMAGES. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO STEEL YOURSELF.
Are you ready? Because it's time to talk about piracy. Here's an extremely revealing list of the most-pirated TV shows of the last year. That's important; we'll come back to it in a moment. Now watch this:
For those of you too scared to watch the video, it's an announcement of something that will surely be standard practice in Hollywood within five years: A full month before it hits theaters, you can instantly download the "Best Horror Film of the Year," John Dies at the End (yes, based on the novel I wrote, motherfucker), on Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, the PlayStation Network, Xbox 360's Zune service, and pretty much any other on-demand streaming service out there. Soon, this Day One Downloading will be the way it's going to work for all movies, and for fans, this is a good thing. Especially in this case, as this is a movie you're absolutely going to want to watch without pants the first time through.
Which brings us back to that list I linked to earlier. While the most popular shows on television are stuff like NCIS and The Voice, none of them are the most pirated. That would be HBO's Game of Thrones at No. 1, and Showtime's Dexter at No. 2. See, nobody needs to pirate those other shows because the networks make them available online. HBO shows are only available to subscribers. In other words, if you show up at their website perfectly willing to pay a few bucks for just Game of Thrones, too bad -- you have to pay for all of their programming, or wait for the DVD ... which comes out eight months later. "Or," you say, "I could just torrent it." Which is what millions of people do, as we saw on that list.
Because for most of you, it's not about money; it's about availability. Somebody made something we want to watch. We're willing to pay a reasonable price for it -- the people who pirate are also the ones who spend the most on entertainment. But we want it now, and we want it without leaving the house, and we want it without being forced to buy other shit. Where did we get such a terrible sense of entitlement? Uh, I'm thinking it's from the same logic that led to the invention of every technological advancement in the history of civilization. Everything from indoor plumbing to the cure for smallpox happened because somebody looked at the state of the world and said, "This is bullshit. We deserve better."
That's right; I just compared writing a story about dong monsters to curing smallpox.
Of course, the flip side is that this stuff that we love watching and playing still costs shit-tons of money to make. John Dies at the End is an independent film starring actual famous actors, and if you watch it for literally five minutes, you'll see why no studio would have made it (or you can just watch the NSFW red band trailer):
If you want more movies like that to exist, you have to fork over cash. That's the deal we're making here: You can have the movie whenever and wherever you want, but if you don't pay, then eventually the only way these things will get made is through advertisers. So instead of the [withheld -- spoiler] that pops out of the deep freeze in the opening scene, it would be a giant sentient can of Monster brand energy drink(TM).
So it's not about feeling guilty for stealing, or feeling sorry for me, or making sure I can feed my pet rabbit ...
Shown here next to the John Dies at the End paperback for scale.
... it's simply about voting with your dollar. All proceeds I personally make from this film will be donated to my local Harley-Davidson dealership in exchange for a motorcycle of equal value. For your convenience ...