A number of Emerson students are taking control of their futures by establishing the world’s first student chapter of CreativeFuture, the anti-content theft advocacy group.
Led by Erin Burbridge ’17 and Joann DiBuono ’17, the students have worked together over the past year to bring the chapter to life.
Erin Burbridge '17. Photos by Emily Theytaz '17
CreativeFuture is a national organization whose mission is to spread awareness about the harms of piracy and illegally downloading content,” said Burbridge, a Visual and Media Arts (VMA) major who is studying screenwriting. “What Joann and I have done is adopted that mission, brought it to Emerson, and adapted the conversation to best fit Emerson’s culture.” Di Buono is a VMA producing major and business minor.
Last year, both students attended a panel discussion hosted by the Board of Overseers during which Ruth Vitale, executive director of CreativeFuture, discussed the overwhelming problem of piracy in regard to artists. (Other panelists included Overseers Chair Dan Black and Senior Distinguished Producer-in Residence Linda Reisman.) The event sparked their interest.
“Ruth was so passionate about the cause, which got us passionate, and she did a great job of illustrating how harmful [piracy] is to the creative community. It inspired us to think about how this is such a huge problem that not many people are talking about,” explained Burbridge. “I contacted Ruth and proposed starting something on campus, and it turns out that Joann had emailed her a similar idea. So we put our ideas together and now we’ve been working for a year to bring CreativeFuture to life.”
Burbridge reiterates that as a communication and arts school, Emerson students are the future employees of the industry. “It’s important that Emerson students know that the first jobs that are going to go because of piracy are the ones that we want. Our big motto is ‘The job you could be saving is your own.’ I think it’s important to make people aware that if they’re going to break into this field they should know that piracy is going on, and we need to find ways to prevent it or at least educate people so they don’t do it.”
Joann DiBuono '17
The students recently hosted their first panel, “Behind the Scenes of Black Mass: Meet the Creators,” which featured numerous crew members who worked on the recently released Whitey Bulger movie. The speakers discussed how piracy would ultimately affect their jobs. Burbridge called the event “a success.”Co-presidents Burbridge and DiBuono are focusing this semester on gaining SGA recognition and attracting more members. But they have bigger goals in mind, too.
“We want to have creative talks and panels three times a semester. We also want to start going to local schools in Boston and talking about piracy with younger children. If we can teach kids at a younger age, the hope is that they won’t do it when they’re older. After we’re SGA-recognized, we want to start making promotional videos so that people can see them and hopefully write a couple of opinion pieces for the Berkeley Beacon,” said Burbridge.