Our Commitment to Telling Diverse Stories

When I started Obscure Studios as a high school student interested in making short films, I’m not sure the words “diversity” and “inclusion” were in my vocabulary. I was a middle-class, straight, white kid—I had the privilege to ignore injustice and racism. As a rather clueless high schooler and later, as a still mostly clueless college student, many of my early works of creative output were riddled with stereotypes. We were making comedic videos for YouTube and our brand of comedy sometimes relied on hurtful stereotypes for the sake of a joke.

As I got older and my worldview expanded, I realized that even though my words didn’t come from a place of hate, they could still inflict harm. And I slowly began to perceive the injustices around me. Living in a border state, I became aware of immigration issues. I learned about the history of the native peoples whose land (upon which I was living) had been stolen. Many of my friends came out as gay, lesbian, or trans as debates about LGBTQIA+ rights began to dominate American cultural politics.

I knew that I, and by extension, Obscure Studios, couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore. We had to take a stand in support of marriage equality, women’s rights, trans rights, immigrant and refugee rights, anti-racism, and a slew of other issues where we could lend our voice.

We had to be the best allies we could be.

It’s been a long road, but I’m glad to say we’ve taken steps as creators to empower and lift up diverse narratives whenever we can. Diverse voices matter more than ever. Today, I’m proud to announce Obscure Studios’ official diversity and inclusion statement, clearly outlining our commitments and goals to foster a storytelling community where everyone is welcome.

We still have a long way to go, but it’s a start.

With gratitude,

Jonny Eberle, President

Why We Do What We Do

VHS tapes
Photo by DS stories on Pexels.com

I recently watched the film, Be Kind Rewind. In the movie, the main character works for a small video rental business on the verge of losing everything. When all of the VHS tapes in the store are accidentally erased, they remake the films in a nearby junkyard and become local celebrities.

Watching this film reminded me of Obscure Studios. We’re small and the budgets of most of our films are less than $10 or $20. I know that we’re not the greatest filmmakers that ever lived. We have technical problems and time constraints that hold us back, but when you watch an Obscure Studios short film, you are watching a labor of love.

Hollywood is in the filmmaking business to make money off of you; to take 90 minutes of your time for the price of a movie ticket and go live in opulent mansions far from people like you and me. At Obscure Studios, we have yet to turn anything akin to a profit off of our work and that’s okay, because we don’t do this for our wallets or our egos. We do this because this is what we love.

I certainly don’t want to treat anyone like a dollar sign to be exploited. I want to remove you from reality for a few minutes and provide you with original entertainment. If only you could see the love and care that goes into everything we do here. People give up their time and energy, skipping out on leisurely activities and spending their precious free time making the little works of art that we feature on this site. Filmmaking is a passion, and as long as you’re enjoying it, we’re happy and we’ll continue to work hard to bring you more.

We’re far from perfect. We haven’t achieved the level of technical prowess as the big studios in Hollywood, but at Obscure Studios you’ll find more originality and more heart. We’re dreamers and storytellers, not corporate movie-making tycoons. If that makes the big studios better than us, that’s fine — but they can’t match our small studio where it counts.

I dare you to find a more talented and dedicated group of people than all of my friends who have bought into my crazy dream and turned Obscure Studios into a reality. I thank them for making this little business come to life and I thank you, our small band of viewers, for having fun with us. That’s what makes it worth the time and effort. It’s all for you.

– Jonny Eberle
Founder and CEO

Editor’s note: Originally posted on our old site on June 23, 2010