Skip to comments.How Conservatives Misunderstand Moviemaking (Getting Hollywood not quite right)
Posted on 03/20/2013 8:24:15 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Daniel Wattenberg, the arts and features editor of the conservative Washington Times, wrote a piece last week chiding Hollywood for being confounded by the ratings success of the History channel’s mini-series The Bible. ”Blockbuster ratings for a compilation of bible stories from a reality TV producer taking his first crack at drama? Cant be,” Wattenberg writes in the persona of a studio exec. “If there was a market for biblical epics, then Hollywood wouldnt have long ago abandoned the genre. … Makes no sense.”
No one can blame Wattenberg for taking a poke at Hollywood’s apparent reluctance to capitalize on the huge audience of the faithful. As I myself have joked repeatedly, if The Passion of the Christ had been about anything else, the Book of Acts would already be in the can.
But just for the record, no one in Hollywood is baffled by The Bible’s success. I think The Passion of the Christ blowout took them aback a little, but everyone gets it now: There’s a large audience of religious people who are tired of being mocked and put down by a small cadre of coastal sophisticates, but who will show up for solid, non-pandering faith-based entertainment. They’re not stupid; they’re not changing their minds; they’re not going away.
So why isn’t there more good work for the faithful? The problem is not Hollywood cluelessness, nor is it Hollywood evil. Conservatives tend to over-emphasize both.
Just in the nature of things, you aren’t going to find a lot of stupid people succeeding in the entertainment business. It’s too competitive; the dumb die young. People in movies and TV have to invest tens, sometimes hundreds, of millions of dollars, plus a lot of time and sweat, on the off-chance of touching the hearts of the audience. No one knows what will work and what won’t. And even when you have a good property, there are so many moving parts including a large number of temperamental and unreliable creative people like myself that almost anything can go wrong along the way. You have to be sharp and lucky to stay in the game.
The people I meet in Hollywood aren’t bad people either. There are some true creeps, narcissists, and belligerents that’s in the nature of a business in which huge amounts of money can be made through ego and fakery. But most of the people I’ve met are decent, funny, hard-working, and genuinely eager to entertain with high-quality material.
If conservatives and the religious are excluded, mocked, and even blacklisted in Hollywood and yes, they are the problem arises primarily through provincialism. The people who are attracted to the biz tend to be more left-wing and secular than the rest of us. The more they congregate, the more they tend to demonize people unlike themselves. Pretty soon, they become convinced that, while personally flawed, they are nonetheless one of the good guys, and that those who disagree with them are the bad guys. This feeling is encouraged by a small but powerful group of politically minded activists doling out rewards for right thinking and punishments for error. Believe me, I’ve seen these phenomena among conservatives too.
What’s more, no matter what you think you know, no one goes into the arts for money alone. Those who tell you Hollywood is about profit and nothing else either aren’t in the business or are in denial. In the old days, when Hollywood was run by businessmen, money more or less ruled. Now, that old order has been overturned. Creative people including actors, directors, and even writers have a lot more power. They instigate projects and can even push them down the road to completion. Money and profits are still important factors, but there’s a lot of other stuff in the mix. Prestige, awards, glamour, creative satisfaction, the respect of people you respect, pretty girls, whatever.
So… when a bunch of people who trend left and secular are making films to win the praise and respect of other people who trend left and secular egged on by a handful of powerful executives and reviewers and stars and politicians who will go out of their way to praise them for leftism and punish them for speaking kindly of God, country, Republicans, or conservative values you get the situation you have now.
The way to change that situation is for conservatives and believers… to complain, yes… but also to get involved get involved as creators, executives, financiers, reviewers, award-givers, and as a vocal audience demanding what they want.
Do that and The Bible will just be the beginning.
I do not know whether it is true, but I heard on BOR that both Downing and Burnett are a bunch liberal obamatrons.
This writer doesn’t know what he wants.
On the one hand, Hollywood people aren’t so bad. On the other hand, they blacklist conservatives and religious people.
On the third hand, those blacklisted people are supposed to ‘get involved’ as financiers.
On the fourth hand, even though money evidently isn’t the issue when pretty girls are to be found, all studios need to profit to stay in business.
Make up your mind and get back to us.
There's lots of other conservative -themed topics that will never be made. "Passion.." was made because Mel Gibson made it happen. I won't hold my breath waiting for another conservative-themed flick to come out.
Not so easy for Christians or conservatives to “get involved.”
If they reveal what they really believe, they’ll be shown the door, or put to work sweeping the floors. And if they hide it, they need to live a lie of silence most of the time, never talking about what they really think during working hours.
And at what level are they free to open their mouths and suggest that it might be a good idea to make a really moral, Christian movie? Not even a director can do that, without having the producers and the money guys down on him.
Much likelier that you might persuade the buffoons who run things to hold their noses and hire some outsider Christians to make some movies. Or advise them on how not to drive most of their audiences away.
The same with academia and the public schools. I think maybe the only thing possible is be to start a new operation, completely separate, with clean money, rather than try to fix what has been corrupted over so many years. The corruption is entrenched.
If Hollywood took on the bible, Jesus and his disciples would be 13 gay men who were trying to figure out their sexuality.
It would no doubt be nominated for best picture.
I thought that this was a pretty fair article, even if it only stated what I already know. (For the record, I am trying to break into the industry myself.)
“During the Iraq war, every single movie made about the war was either anti-Iraq war or non-confrontational. There was not one single movie that championed the war.”
I don’t think a single one of them made a profit, either, at least until “The Hurt Locker”.
The wife and I haven’t attended a movie at a movie theater in ten years. We do subscribe to several premium cable movie channels of which I am imploring her to cancel. She says they come with a package deal for our cable bill, so we can’t cancel for a year or two. But at the first opportunity, out they go.
The author should try pitching a Christian script to Hollywood producers and see what it gets him. “Get involved” is advice far more easily given than taken.
Agree. I had not thought of clean money or clean cut from "corruption...[that] is entrenched."
Need a financier like Trump, I guess.
Best wishes, LovedSinner!
I started opting out of "prime-time/big network TV" some time ago.
Haven't missed it and I've got a lot more time for reading...The Bible!