You Say You Want a Revolution, Part 3

 

In a recent post, we revisited fifty years ago, a cultural turning point with many similarities to today’s, a tumultuous, angry year when much of Hollywood saw mass audiences respond to Easy Rider and M.A.S.H. But inadvertently, it triggered a powerful law-and-order backlash whose inexhaustible fury would ensure that Archie Bunker, General Patton, Dirty Harry, Popeye Doyle, Vito Corleone, and Charles Bronson would provide the most iconic screen moments of the early Seventies.

To understate things, it sure seems today like a lot of people in this country, tens of millions of media consumers, are frustrated by their relative powerlessness. The Woke Market is not as big or bigger than the rest of America put together, and yet you’d never know that if you looked at a list of current films or TV shows. We can debate the reasons why, but there’s clearly an unsatisfied need to hotwire a path to cultural change, because whatever market mechanism is sending a corrective signal to the media, it’s not reaching enough of a real response.

The two articles so far in “You Say You Want a Revolution,” which began in June, and continued with part 2 in July, are invitations to imagine how to move towards a healthier culture, unabashedly aiming at putting ideas into practice, not proving them in theory. It’s an ongoing Ricochet conversation that seeks to move the ball a little farther down the field each time. We suggest specific examples of possible projects and ask you to dream up other, better ones.

Praise and shame; it never goes out of style. The Left’s playbook is a strong one: Attach your story to emotion, to a lasting, if not inextinguishable cause that nearly everyone can understand: For example, hard-line prewar segregation versus the rise of an oppressed people. Or women finally getting an equal chance at work, but at a time when they were more sexualized than ever. It’s not tough getting dramatic and colorful stories out of those raw ingredients, which have persisted as film material for roughly half a century. There are conservative variations on the stories just described, but by and large, they are considered liberal stories. They’ve proven that they have staying power, like it or not. They could be milked almost indefinitely.

What could be the equivalent on the Right? There are plenty of possibilities and you’ve already seen many of them discussed on Ricochet. Resentment over endless generations after generations of identity politics. Questions about the continuing relevance of affirmative action. Or even the seemingly incurable social-cultural abyss between groups of American whites who might as well live on different planets.

Not: Abstractions about the free market. “You didn’t build this.” “Ownership society.”

Those are only some of the deep and lasting emotions that a new direction in culture could turn into powerful screen stories. We’ve identified a few “causes”; now, we have to create or choose the specific projects that will embody them. When I posted the first in the series, @SkipSul said that in an age of many fragmented media choices, we’d be foolish to swing for the fences and bet everything, tentpole-style, on a handful of once-in-a-lifetime, win or lose it all kind of message-laden films. SkipSul, as usual, was right.

Nobody knows what will “hit,” so produce dramas, comedies, action pictures, documentaries, even dating movies appropriate to the chosen mission. A production slate is always needed. For a century, a studio putting everything on a single roll of the dice has been a prescription for disaster: Cleopatra, Heaven’s Gate, and Waterworld. Yes, Mel Gibson (a troubled man with undeniable gifts) got away with it on The Passion. No, that doesn’t mean you’re a sure thing to get away with it when your current project finally meets its audience in 2021 or 2022.

Netflix, despite its financial ups and downs, is becoming Hollywood’s new business model. The Industry has a suicidal tendency to go with bet-the-house tentpoles, but Netflix and Amazon focus on an annual collection of lower-budget productions with growth potential if any one of them should catch on.

This new scattershot approach should have some relevance to social conservatives. Bluntly, if you were, for example, devoted towards extending the beneficial effects of the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) and a wealthy member of the church donated a lot of money towards its media ministry, you could produce one mid-sized theatrical movie about Martin Luther. For the same sum, you could present an array of online “products” at as many levels as possible—kids, pre-teens, teens, young adults, families, and the elderly.

So you’ve decided what movie projects are missing from American life, and you’ve got writers and actors who are ready to make them. At this stage, to get them made and sold, it’s not like you’d need a rich pal: It’s worse. You’d probably need a couple of them, with different skill sets that don’t always overlap. The impresario, the super-salesman, and the keeper of the faith are not usually the same guy, and you need them all. The impresario is the showman, the braggart, the dynamo with a thousand contacts who can keep a production pipeline organized. He or she works in collaboration, and creative tension, with the head of sales. The impresario knows what artists and entertainers want to do; the sales boss only cares what people want to buy. Sales bring in the money, production spends it. You’d also be wise to have a Keeper of the Flame; someone of eminence who deals with Wall Street, the banks, the lawyers and the auditors.

Where could you even start such a process? Do it the way the pros did it—and by the pros, I mean the progressive Left. Make a handful of successful small projects and prove that developing a wider market is possible. That’s how the Sundance Institute changed Hollywood. It started with a “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” symbiosis. Robert Redford was the handsome prince. Harvey Weinstein was the ugly hunchback behind the throne. Redford’s holy, immaculate non-profit created a forum; Harvey’s down-and-dirty Miramax skillfully exploited the opportunity. The two were inseparable. Think of the synergy of Intel and Microsoft, or (once upon a time) Apple and Motorola, Sundance, and Miramax. Sundance discovered and encouraged new social trends; Miramax weaponized them and made a fortune.

My electronics analogies aren’t up to @hankrhody quality, but here goes: you know how amplification works? In a heated vacuum tube, or a transistor, a strong flow of electricity is interrupted and shaped, controlled by a much weaker one. Studios, TV networks, streaming platforms capable of serving millions of simultaneous streams; that’s big money by anyone’s standards. Yet, rather like the Church acting as a throttle (at the best of times) on Medieval kings, intellectual institutions like AFI (the American Film Institute), AMPAS, (the motion picture academy) and the Sundance Institute, all with a relatively modest financial profile, manage to lead the big money boys around by the nose. Prestige, praise, blame, and shame; that’s how the non-profit “clergy” of Hollywood work their cultural magic. I’ve got no right to distance myself; for decades, I was in it up to my neck. There’s no more efficient way to change Hollywood movies than to be in charge of praise and shame.

When Leonard Nimoy read about the astonishing grosses of Star Wars in 1977, he would recount later, he smiled and waited for the phone call, knowing that Paramount Pictures would suddenly realize, “Hey, we’ve got one of those!” When you look at the AFI or other cultural arbiters, conservatives should remember, “Hey, we’ve got one of those!” and work with @titustechera to make it a more powerful instrument of change.

There are 47 comments.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Gary McVey: When Leonard Nimoy read about the astonishing grosses of “Star Wars” in 1977, he would recount later, he smiled and waited for the phone call, knowing that Paramount Picture would suddenly realize, “Hey, we’ve got one of those!”

    Heh, heh.

    • #1
  2. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    I believe you are on to something here.  Sony has Affirm Films, which is a start.  But there needs to be a small breakthrough.  

    • #2
  3. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Clavius (View Comment):

    I believe you are on to something here. Sony has Affirm Films, which is a start. But there needs to be a small breakthrough.

    I should have mentioned them. Thank goodness my readers are better connected than I am!

    • #3
  4. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):

    I believe you are on to something here. Sony has Affirm Films, which is a start. But there needs to be a small breakthrough.

    I should have mentioned them. Thank goodness my readers are better connected than I am!

    Thank you, and we need more.

    One effort out there is to have a studio produce a truly low budget film (imagine that!).  That could be an in for innovative and conservative content.  Hollywood likes money from wherever.

    • #4
  5. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):

    I believe you are on to something here. Sony has Affirm Films, which is a start. But there needs to be a small breakthrough.

    I should have mentioned them. Thank goodness my readers are better connected than I am!

    Thank you, and we need more.

    One effort out there is to have a studio produce a truly low budget film (imagine that!). That could be an in for innovative and conservative content. Hollywood likes money from wherever.

    “Hollywood likes money from wherever.”–truer words were never spoken. There’s always PR space for younger (i.e., cheaper, funnier) talent to work with smaller crews and more immediate shoot-to-stream workflow. I thought we had low budget production solved in the Seventies, but I didn’t anticipate a day when the streamed phone camera of a teenage kid in Jakarta could lead the TV news here in America, or that $500 35mm-scaled digital cameras would allow the post-2008 gang to fill 65 inch screens with flawless images. There’s never been a better time to make a low budget movie, cost-wise. The challenge is getting attention. That’s where an unconventional point of view can actually be useful. 

    • #5
  6. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Gary McVey:

    Netflix, despite its financial ups and downs, is becoming Hollywood’s new business model. The Industry has a suicidal tendency to go with bet-the-house tentpoles, but Netflix and Amazon focus on an annual collection of lower budget productions with growth potential if any one of them should catch on.

     

    The model you describe for Netflix is not terribly dissimilar from the old Studio system.  Make 50, or even hundreds of movies per year.  Some of them will be great; you’ll find out which from the audience.

    You can make big budget movies after you’ve made enough money to pay for them.

    • #6
  7. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    The main difference at the moment between today and 50 years ago is social media. George C. Scott, Franklin Schaffner and Francis Ford Coppola did not set out to make the feel-good pro-America movie of 1970 in contrast to films like ‘M*A*S*H’ or ‘Easy Rider’, but if someone was to stumble into the same happy accident today, they would be destroyed by the woke SJW crowd on Twitter, who have become something of a digital version of the Committee for Public Safety, in part because the regular media outlets amplify their tweets due to sympathy with those feelings.

    So unless you’re Clint Eastwood — who began his current association with Warner Bros. in 1970, is 89 years old and is pretty much given Carte Blanche by the studio to make whatever he wants to make while not giving a damn about what social media or regular media thinks about his story choices — you’re going to have to have pretty thick skin to follow your dream to make a movie that would appeal to what the masses want to see, because you’re going to be accused of thought crimes by the usual suspects.

    (My suspicion here is the best way to expose the insanity of the SJW scolds would be more in the comedy field than in the dramatic movie scope. Since the standard line today is you couldn’t remake “Blazing Saddles” in 2019, if someone was actually able to do a movie roughly on the same level of comedy and politically incorrect storyline and get it into the theaters, you’d have the chance for box-office success while exposing the woke crowd for the humorless totalitarians they are. But the downside of the risk-reward metric would be you’d have to score a bull’s eye, because if you did an un-PC movie that didn’t have the same level of laughs that Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor got into their film, you’d be a pariah in Hollywood with no box office success to offset those attacks.)

    • #7
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    The main difference at the moment between today and 50 years ago is social media. George C. Scott, Franklin Schaffner and Francis Ford Coppola did not set out to make the feel-good pro-America movie of 1970 in contrast to films like ‘M*A*S*H’ or ‘Easy Rider’, but if someone was to stumble into the same happy accident today, they would be destroyed by the woke SJW crowd on Twitter, who have become something of a digital version of the Committee for Public Safety, in part because the regular media outlets amplify their tweets due to sympathy with those feelings.

    So unless you’re Clint Eastwood — who began his current association with Warner Bros. in 1970, is 89 years old and is pretty much given Carte Blanche by the studio to make whatever he wants to make while not giving a damn about what social media or regular media thinks about his story choices — you’re going to have to have pretty thick skin to follow your dream to make a movie that would appeal to what the masses want to see, because you’re going to be accused of thought crimes by the usual suspects.

    (My suspicion here is the best way to expose the insanity of the SJW scolds would be more in the comedy field than in the dramatic movie scope. Since the standard line today is you couldn’t remake “Blazing Saddles” in 2019, if someone was actually able to do a movie roughly on the same level of comedy and politically incorrect storyline and get it into the theaters, you’d have the chance for box-office success while exposing the woke crowd for the humorless totalitarians they are. But the downside of the risk-reward metric would be you’d have to score a bull’s eye, because if you did an un-PC movie that didn’t have the same level of laughs that Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor got into their film, you’d be a pariah in Hollywood with no box office success to offset those attacks.)

    An astute analysis. Here’s how it could happen: a combination of more Hindenburgs like “Ghostbusters” 2016; a couple of off-the-wall minor hits that threaten (subvert?) the cliches of modern comedy, and modern culture; plus writers and performers with little to lose. 

    • #8
  9. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Gary McVey:

    Netflix, despite its financial ups and downs, is becoming Hollywood’s new business model. The Industry has a suicidal tendency to go with bet-the-house tentpoles, but Netflix and Amazon focus on an annual collection of lower budget productions with growth potential if any one of them should catch on.

     

    The model you describe for Netflix is not terribly dissimilar from the old Studio system. Make 50, or even hundreds of movies per year. Some of them will be great; you’ll find out which from the audience.

    You can make big budget movies after you’ve made enough money to pay for them.

    Most of the money in the theater side of the movies is Disney. It’ll be the last studio. Its great success comes from great investment–billion dollar purchases: LucasFilm, Marvel, Pixar, FOX (with all these Avatar movies coming up now)–& billion dollar movie projects. Tentpoles as far as the eye can see, dominating most of the calendar year.

    As for Netflix–unlike the studios, it cannot rely on talent or on the properties talent creates. It throws a lot of money around, but we have no evidence of what the money buys. We’ll find out, as Disney & the other studios take their content away from Netflix. Will people still like it without the TV shows?

    • #9
  10. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    As for Netflix–unlike the studios, it cannot rely on talent or on the properties talent creates. It throws a lot of money around, but we have no evidence of what the money buys. We’ll find out, as Disney & the other studios take their content away from Netflix. Will people still like it without the TV shows?

    I suspect that’s why Netflix has invested so much in its own original content. Much more than I ever expected them to do. Because they know that all those studios will soon be building their own version of Netflix, and then Netflix will be just one app among thousands.

    • #10
  11. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    As for Netflix–unlike the studios, it cannot rely on talent or on the properties talent creates. It throws a lot of money around, but we have no evidence of what the money buys. We’ll find out, as Disney & the other studios take their content away from Netflix. Will people still like it without the TV shows?

    Netflix already relies on a sort of tentpole strategy, at least in regard to conservative viewers. It has a different pole for each audience. 

    Every month, I watch Netflix’s trailer for upcoming shows and grimace. Typically, only one or two items interests me. But for the monthly cost, one TV series equaling hours of entertainment can be sufficient to justify the package. 

    That’s how cable TV worked. If the average viewer ignores 90% of content offered, that’s alright so long as the remaining 10% is attractive enough. Those few shows or channels don’t need to be blockbuster scope or quality. But the niche needs to feel like home. 

    Conservatives could make small inroads with content comparable to The Guild or Con Man — web “TV” shows with episodes only 15 minutes long that feed a neglected audience. But production quality is challenging even at that scale. Cheap cameras take great pictures today, but getting audio to sound more like movie conversations than family videos requires an education. 

    I would also like to see more content similar to what the YouTube crew at Outside Xbox do with video games. They combine clever editing with skit-like narration to produce comedic documentaries about common gamer experiences. The closest conservative equivalent might be Remy or Klavan. But rather than direct political commentary, we need lightly poignant entertainment.

    • #11
  12. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    I saw an advert on TV last evening that Thelma and Louise was going to be on this month on one of the free, over the air stations. That triggered something in my brain because I had a strange dream last night that someone on our side pulled a “Ghostbusters 2016” and did a male version of Thelma and Louise called Ted and Lou. I didn’t dream of what it was about but even in the dream, I remember thinking “Finally, I can’t wait to see it!” I could imagine one of the characters having gotten the fake “metoo” treatment and it triggers a similar style romp through a SJW-dominated, revenge story line.

    • #12
  13. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    I saw an advert on TV last evening that Thelma and Louise was going to be on this month on one of the free, over the air stations. That triggered something in my brain because I had a strange dream last night that someone on our side pulled a “Ghostbusters 2016” and did a male version of Thelma and Louise called Ted and Lou. I didn’t dream of what it was about but even in the dream, I remember thinking “Finally, I can’t wait to see it!” I could imagine one of the characters having gotten the fake “metoo” treatment and it triggers a similar style romp through a SJW-dominated, revenge story line.

    Greenlight that baby!

     

    • #13
  14. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    I saw an advert on TV last evening that Thelma and Louise was going to be on this month on one of the free, over the air stations. That triggered something in my brain because I had a strange dream last night that someone on our side pulled a “Ghostbusters 2016” and did a male version of Thelma and Louise called Ted and Lou. I didn’t dream of what it was about but even in the dream, I remember thinking “Finally, I can’t wait to see it!” I could imagine one of the characters having gotten the fake “metoo” treatment and it triggers a similar style romp through a SJW-dominated, revenge story line.

    Greenlight that baby!

    My movie would be where they devour each other. Oh, no need for a movie. Just watch Democrats “debate”.

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Although I’m just not the type to come up with big ideas, Gary, I love the opportunity to build on others’ creations, and can offer a lot. So for those of us who may not the be paradigm changers, we’ll be in there to back you up!

    • #15
  16. Danny Alexander Member
    Danny Alexander
    @DannyAlexander

    If what “we” (in the Rico camp) asked of him — at least at the outset — were sufficiently modest in scope and message, and if in turn what he asked the studio types and his creative collaborators were to be similarly modest, my hunch is that Jerry Seinfeld would/could serve as the present era’s “can’t mess with him” Clint Eastwood equivalent for a succession of projects per at least some of what’s been emerging/brainstormed on this thread.

    At one point maybe about 12-15 years ago, Judd Apatow seemed to be fulfilling such a role — albeit obviously he hadn’t previously built up an iconic status on the other side of the cameras.  But the hopes invested in him from about the time of “Knocked Up” didn’t take long to evaporate, regrettably — he’s gone pretty much full SJW, and anyway I personally would be hard-pressed to name anything in his oeuvre since 20 January 2017.

    But Seinfeld may be a different story — so long as we don’t insist on all-pirate-shirt-all-the-time, and particularly not from the get-go.

    • #16
  17. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    I saw an advert on TV last evening that Thelma and Louise was going to be on this month on one of the free, over the air stations. That triggered something in my brain because I had a strange dream last night that someone on our side pulled a “Ghostbusters 2016” and did a male version of Thelma and Louise called Ted and Lou. I didn’t dream of what it was about but even in the dream, I remember thinking “Finally, I can’t wait to see it!” I could imagine one of the characters having gotten the fake “metoo” treatment and it triggers a similar style romp through a SJW-dominated, revenge story line.

    Have you seen the S. Craig Zahler Vincent Vaugh / Mel Gibson movie Dragged Across Concrete? Kinda like what you’re saying…

    • #17
  18. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Although I’m just not the type to come up with big ideas, Gary, I love the opportunity to build on others’ creations, and can offer a lot. So for those of us who may not the be paradigm changers, we’ll be in there to back you up!

    Many thanks, Susan! 

    • #18
  19. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    As for Netflix–unlike the studios, it cannot rely on talent or on the properties talent creates. It throws a lot of money around, but we have no evidence of what the money buys. We’ll find out, as Disney & the other studios take their content away from Netflix. Will people still like it without the TV shows?

    Netflix already relies on a sort of tentpole strategy, at least in regard to conservative viewers. It has a different pole for each audience.

    Every month, I watch Netflix’s trailer for upcoming shows and grimace. Typically, only one or two items interests me. But for the monthly cost, one TV series equaling hours of entertainment can be sufficient to justify the package.

    That’s how cable TV worked. If the average viewer ignores 90% of content offered, that’s alright so long as the remaining 10% is attractive enough. Those few shows or channels don’t need to be blockbuster scope or quality. But the niche needs to feel like home.

    Conservatives could make small inroads with content comparable to The Guild or Con Man — web “TV” shows with episodes only 15 minutes long that feed a neglected audience. But production quality is challenging even at that scale. Cheap cameras take great pictures today, but getting audio to sound more like movie conversations than family videos requires an education.

    I would also like to see more content similar to what the YouTube crew at Outside Xbox do with video games. They combine clever editing with skit-like narration to produce comedic documentaries about common gamer experiences. The closest conservative equivalent might be Remy or Klavan. But rather than direct political commentary, we need lightly poignant entertainment.

    You touch on a tech topic that more fledgling filmmakers should learn quickly: Even though doing camera is harder than doing sound, sound recording can’t be neglected. Sure, you can dub later, but it generally shows. On low budget features, often the DP (director of photography; cameraman) is accepting low pay because he or she is convinced the finished work will be good enough to go into his “show reel” and get him higher paying jobs. Like the actors, the DP is trying to use the film as a launching pad, so he can be exploited a little. No such glamour attaches to sound, so you end up having to pay (relatively) full price for it, or you cut corners–foolishly, IMHO. 

    • #19
  20. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Adam Corrolla and Dennis Prager’s documentary about comedy versus political correctness No Safe Spaces still doesn’t have a firm release date. But many comedians therein might offer name recognition to indie films with subtly conservative settings or themes.

    • #20
  21. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    As for Netflix–unlike the studios, it cannot rely on talent or on the properties talent creates. It throws a lot of money around, but we have no evidence of what the money buys. We’ll find out, as Disney & the other studios take their content away from Netflix. Will people still like it without the TV shows?

    Netflix already relies on a sort of tentpole strategy, at least in regard to conservative viewers. It has a different pole for each audience.

    Every month, I watch Netflix’s trailer for upcoming shows and grimace. Typically, only one or two items interests me. But for the monthly cost, one TV series equaling hours of entertainment can be sufficient to justify the package.

    That’s how cable TV worked. If the average viewer ignores 90% of content offered, that’s alright so long as the remaining 10% is attractive enough. Those few shows or channels don’t need to be blockbuster scope or quality. But the niche needs to feel like home.

    Conservatives could make small inroads with content comparable to The Guild or Con Man — web “TV” shows with episodes only 15 minutes long that feed a neglected audience. But production quality is challenging even at that scale. Cheap cameras take great pictures today, but getting audio to sound more like movie conversations than family videos requires an education.

    I would also like to see more content similar to what the YouTube crew at Outside Xbox do with video games. They combine clever editing with skit-like narration to produce comedic documentaries about common gamer experiences. The closest conservative equivalent might be Remy or Klavan. But rather than direct political commentary, we need lightly poignant entertainment.

    I’m taking a second pass at this comment because I agree with so much of it. New formats can work, and if we’re not going to broadcast, non-standard show lengths are no problem. We’ve all seen comedies that look like a 9 minute SNL sketch blown up to 90 minutes; on the web, the 9 minutes is enough. 

    But rather than direct political commentary, we need lightly poignant entertainment.

    Amen! One of the questions I’ve glossed over is, what’s a “conservative movie”? One with lots of respect for national traditions? Social conservatism? “Free Minds, Free Markets, Free Movement”? Is “American Sniper” a conservative movie? “Juno”? There’s no easy way to categorize works that differ as much as “The Searchers” and a Dinesh D’ Souza documentary. Yet, like the judge said about pornography, we (sort of) know it when we see it. I’m using the non-standard definition of “something that conservatives would like to see on screen but aren’t seeing today”. 

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Amen! One of the questions I’ve glossed over is, what’s a “conservative movie”? One with lots of respect for national traditions? Social conservatism? “Free Minds, Free Markets, Free Movement”? Is “American Sniper” a conservative movie? “Juno”? There’s no easy way to categorize works that differ as much as “The Searchers” and a Dinesh D’ Souza documentary. Yet, like the judge said about pornography, we (sort of) know it when we see it. I’m using the non-standard definition of “something that conservatives would like to see on screen but aren’t seeing today”. 

    Your point is partly true. I would say that a conservative movie does not have to be thoroughly and completely conservative. For example , I wouldn’t care if it had a gay character. I would also say that if the film has too many Leftist values, it’s probably not conservative. If it glorifies abortion, anti-police, attacks on religion, same-sex marriage as emphasized points, for example, it’s not going to fit into the conservative milieu.

    • #22
  23. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Danny Alexander (View Comment):

    If what “we” (in the Rico camp) asked of him — at least at the outset — were sufficiently modest in scope and message, and if in turn what he asked the studio types and his creative collaborators were to be similarly modest, my hunch is that Jerry Seinfeld would/could serve as the present era’s “can’t mess with him” Clint Eastwood equivalent for a succession of projects per at least some of what’s been emerging/brainstormed on this thread.

    At one point maybe about 12-15 years ago, Judd Apatow seemed to be fulfilling such a role — albeit obviously he hadn’t previously built up an iconic status on the other side of the cameras. But the hopes invested in him from about the time of “Knocked Up” didn’t take long to evaporate, regrettably — he’s gone pretty much full SJW, and anyway I personally would be hard-pressed to name anything in his oeuvre since 20 January 2017.

    But Seinfeld may be a different story — so long as we don’t insist on all-pirate-shirt-all-the-time, and particularly not from the get-go.

    Comedians are the canaries in the Wokeness coal mine, and the canaries are trying to avoid becoming dead pigeons; more than any other branch of show business, they are under the SJW gun. That doesn’t necessarily make them conservatives–I don’t expect to see the Sunset Strip Comedy Store start hosting fundraisers for Mike Pence–but it gives them battle scars. 

    • #23
  24. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    I’m using the non-standard definition of “something that conservatives would like to see on screen but aren’t seeing today”. 

    Exactly. In most cases, conservatives find content distasteful not because they’re not being catered to specifically, but rather because the content actively offends with derision of conservatives and our values.

    I have considered starting another game design blog for that very reason. The professional journalists almost universally sneer at traditional values and, more innocently, reflect aesthetic interests more common in Democratic states. Sometimes I just want the same previews and reviews without the antagonism. 

    Conservatives want to let their guard down during entertainment. If it’s accompanied by inspiration, all the better.

    Even among conservatives, values and interests vary. But if Fox News proved anything, it’s that there is a large conservative market to carve niches from. 

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The Revolution will not be televised.

    It’s going straight to Netflix.

    • #25
  26. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    As for Netflix–unlike the studios, it cannot rely on talent or on the properties talent creates. It throws a lot of money around, but we have no evidence of what the money buys. We’ll find out, as Disney & the other studios take their content away from Netflix. Will people still like it without the TV shows?

    I suspect that Amazon has the better model than Netflix.  Netflix is in a money trap – losing all of its 3rd party content as rivals launch their own streaming services, while burning through piles of debt trying to build something in house.  They got the Obamas and a bunch of other lefties on their board too, and paid for it dearly when those patrons demanded they carry some atrocious bilge like Michelle Wolf (thankfully not renewed) or Chelsea Handler (past her prime and too old for her schtick).

    Amazon, by contrast, still can carry the big studio stuff and more besides because their model is that if you want to watch it, and some studio won’t let them spin it for free through Prime, you’ll then pay to watch it, and the 3rd parties are not so dumb as to say “no” to that, even while Amazon is making its own content.

    Both Netflix and Amazon are making interesting and quality stuff, but I think Amazon has the edge here.  They’ve been willing to finance 1-off pilots and toss them out by the barrel, see what’s popular, then turn them into series (The Tick, Jean-Claude van Johnson, and others).

    But Amazon has I think caught one other edge – they’re the ones putting out the shows mocking the big studio trends.  The Tick was gentle mockery, but The Boys is not.  With both shows, Amazon is catering to the people who are actually kinda sick of both Marvel and DC.  

    This all points to something: when the culture swings too far, there is often a backlash that is reflected in the movies, TV shows, etc.  Not everyone can be Amazon, of course, but just as anti-super-hero stuff is finding its place, conservative film makers should be able to find their own footing in tapping the demand for anti-woke stories, particularly if they are, like the Tick and The Boys, telling actual stories that show the horrible underbelly of the Great Awokening, rather than whinge about it.

    • #26
  27. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Percival (View Comment):

    The Revolution will not be televised.

    It’s going straight to Netflix.

    Truthfully, if I can’t sell this revolution to the only people who can carry it out, it won’t even reach Netflix. It’ll be carried on a digital subchannel, between Ring of Honor and reruns of American Gladiator

    And that’s okay with me. I like those shows. 

    • #27
  28. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    As for Netflix–unlike the studios, it cannot rely on talent or on the properties talent creates. It throws a lot of money around, but we have no evidence of what the money buys. We’ll find out, as Disney & the other studios take their content away from Netflix. Will people still like it without the TV shows?

    I suspect that Amazon has the better model than Netflix. Netflix is in a money trap – losing all of its 3rd party content as rivals launch their own streaming services, while burning through piles of debt trying to build something in house. They got the Obamas and a bunch of other lefties on their board too, and paid for it dearly when those patrons demanded they carry some atrocious bilge like Michelle Wolf (thankfully not renewed) or Chelsea Handler (past her prime and too old for her schtick).

    Amazon, by contrast, still can carry the big studio stuff and more besides because their model is that if you want to watch it, and some studio won’t let them spin it for free through Prime, you’ll then pay to watch it, and the 3rd parties are not so dumb as to say “no” to that, even while Amazon is making its own content.

    Both Netflix and Amazon are making interesting and quality stuff, but I think Amazon has the edge here. They’ve been willing to finance 1-off pilots and toss them out by the barrel, see what’s popular, then turn them into series (The Tick, Jean-Claude van Johnson, and others).

    But Amazon has I think caught one other edge – they’re the ones putting out the shows mocking the big studio trends. The Tick was gentle mockery, but The Boys is not. With both shows, Amazon is catering to the people who are actually kinda sick of both Marvel and DC.

    This all points to something: when the culture swings too far, there is often a backlash that is reflected in the movies, TV shows, etc. Not everyone can be Amazon, of course, but just as anti-super-hero stuff is finding its place, conservative film makers should be able to find their own footing in tapping the demand for anti-woke stories, particularly if they are, like the Tick and The Boys, telling actual stories that show the horrible underbelly of the Great Awokening, rather than whinge about it.

    Skip’s an electronics guy, a businessman in a very tough, competitive field who has to meet a payroll. His business analysis of Hollywood’s streamers is IMHO opinion flawless, factual and fad-free. 

    We can do what “they” do. “They” can’t do what we do. We ought to be able to make something of that. 

    • #28
  29. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Amen! One of the questions I’ve glossed over is, what’s a “conservative movie”? One with lots of respect for national traditions? Social conservatism? “Free Minds, Free Markets, Free Movement”? Is “American Sniper” a conservative movie? “Juno”? There’s no easy way to categorize works that differ as much as “The Searchers” and a Dinesh D’ Souza documentary. Yet, like the judge said about pornography, we (sort of) know it when we see it. I’m using the non-standard definition of “something that conservatives would like to see on screen but aren’t seeing today”.

    Your point is partly true. I would say that a conservative movie does not have to be thoroughly and completely conservative. For example , I wouldn’t care if it had a gay character. I would also say that if the film has too many Leftist values, it’s probably not conservative. If it glorifies abortion, anti-police, attacks on religion, same-sex marriage as emphasized points, for example, it’s not going to fit into the conservative milieu.

    There’s something important to remember about fiction: good fiction, while fictional, is true.  When stories fail, they fail because they ultimately are untrue stories, and often we can feel that.  That’s what makes so many liberal stories so terrible – whether they insult us or not, what makes them unwatchable is that they also fail as stories.  This is also why so many conservative projects fail, especially when they try to skewer liberals – they’re bad stories because they’re flat and don’t even tell the truth about liberals, just a flattened and oversimplified strawman version.

    Story matters.

    • #29
  30. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    This was a lecture I attended at a writer’s conference back in June (you can see me in the audience).  It’s not a short lecture.  It’s also not a lecture aimed at conservatives or revolutionaries per se, but at Christian writers, artists, podcasters, musicians, and so forth.

    I’ll distill a key point, but encourage the rest of you to watch it if you have the time.

    Madeline L’Engle said of Christianity that it is a light so lovely we should want to share it with the world.  And that’s another facet of what needs done with conservatism and the culture: if we’re right about what we have, we need to show how great it is, not merely hatchet those who cannot or will not see it.  

    • #30

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