April 08, 2007
"The Sopranos In Seven Minutes"

There are two awesome things about this story. One is that it exists at all:

[W]here "The Sopranos" has so far taken around 77 hours to deliver the dark saga of family and crime in New Jersey, this other "Sopranos," which tells the same story, lasts only 7 minutes 36 seconds.

Paul Gulyas and Joe Sabia, recent college graduates living in Los Angeles, first posted their video "Seven Minute Sopranos" to YouTube on March 29. It is an audacious effort by two of Mr. Chase's fans eager to prove their loyalty to his creation. But, as they know, it is also an act of violence.

"We included what stood out, what flowed better or images that people would like to see," Mr. Gulyas said. "But we kind of adapted the story to our own taste. It's so reductionist to what David Chase has done."

See it for yourself (NSFW). Truly, we live in wondrous times.

The other awesome thing about this is how the people who actually made "The Sopranos" have reacted to it.

According to a publicist for HBO, [series creator David] Chase does in fact like it. His assistant showed him the video on the set of the series finale, and he laughed all the way through it, said the publicist, Quentin Schaffer. "It reminded him how much has happened during the run of the series," Mr. Schaffer said.


To date "Seven Minute Sopranos" has attracted around 80,000 views and counting. Ilene S. Landress, an executive producer of "The Sopranos," loves the video and insists that it stay on YouTube. (Some companies, citing copyright concerns, have pulled material off this video-sharing site.)

Another "Sopranos" executive producer, Matthew Weiner, said, "The guys really understand not only what happened in the show, but they displayed their knowledge with humor and love."

The point is that not every unauthorized use of copyrighted content is an intellectual property violation, and that giving a little freedom to the consumers of an intellectual property can enhance its value. It's not just about piracy, and it's restorative to one's faith to see that folks like Chase and Landress get that. May others follow their lead.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 08, 2007 to TV and movies