stagehand unionEach year I wait with baited breath for the mecca of Geekdom, Wizard World, to arrive in my fair city of Philadelphia.

Leading up to the event, the good PR people of Wizard World are always ready and willing to assist with making a reporter’s life easier. However, this year I received a very disturbing email.

The Pennsylvania Convention Center has some specific rules regarding VIDEO RECORDING at the show.  If you have any kind of video camera equipment, please note the following Union rules:

1. All filming in meeting rooms for production purposes does fall under the jurisdiction of the stagehands union. This will be strictly enforced and all media should be aware that if they want to record meeting room sessions, they will need labor.

2. Photographers may shoot without restriction as long as they are not setting up backdrops and lights.

What the sweet fuckity fuck is this? Well, basically the commoditization of media equipment that has allowed Bloggers to compete with the big media outlets is effectively being squashed for the sake of profit.

Have an iPhone, tough titty no recording! Have an Flip Cam, tough titty no recording! Want to actually take a good picture with enhanced lighting, tough titty no picture!

This is BIG, huge actually. Most reporting for comics is a labor of love. For the few that do make money, it’s a pittance – certainly not enough to pay union wages for help. So essentially even though technology has become a rock bottom price purchase along with the software to edit video, reporters are now going to be stymied by the all mighty dollar.

I can’t wait to see how many people still try to film and how Wizard World and the Union will deal with the infractions.

Unions were meant to help people, not impose a draconian rule over any and all facets of business. Here’s problem #4,543,643 of how America has had logic suffocated by bureaucracy.