Brand-Funded Entertainment and the Next Revolution in Filmmaking / by Chris Weigl

I wasn’t sure I wanted to create a production company at first.  I didn’t know that much about the business side of things.  I believe in my product don’t get me wrong, but when you face the very real possibility that what you’ve worked so hard to create might actually get made something happens to you.  You start to wonder if you haven’t been overselling yourself.  I wonder if I’m going to be able to churn out the kind of film that I want to make.  I’ve got the experience, but the self-doubt kicks in because other people’s livelihoods are in my hands.  I believe in the film that we’re working to create and I believe in the show that we’re setting up. 

The premise is pretty simple: a man decides to run for mayor as George Washington.  He enlists the help of his good friends and fellow founders in an effort to get elected.  The man is not the real George Washington, but he is counting on the ignorance of the populace and the apathy of the media not to ask any questions along the way.  So, I ask you: is this all that far-fetched?  It might be.  I don’t think anyone with the talent to portray a founding father would accept a low-paying job like that of a government worker, but hey, politicians have done dumber things.  I can tell you from interacting with members of the historical re-enacting community that their rates are quite high and they would have to be willing to take a significant pay cut to do something like this.

Some wonder whether what our company is doing will be worthwhile or whether it will matter.  I can’t really answer the first part of that, but I can address the second.  The show Living History, which is what we’re fighting to get produced, matters because it is unique, it is creative, and it is unlike anything that has ever been tried on television.  That last sentence is why TV executives think that this show will never get produced.  Keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen, that they said the same thing about Breaking Bad.  TV isn’t all that different than any other business.  They want someone with a proven track record of success, boatloads of experience managing tons of successful ventures that is young, preferably still in their twenties with an open mind that is willing to be indoctrinated by their management professionals.  See any puzzling dualities yet?  Keep in mind that this is, to the TV executive just as it is to the recruiter, all quite obvious and logical to them.  Indeed, why would they settle for anything less?  It is not difficult to see why most TV executives are legitimately frightened by what a real innovator like Netflix is doing.  These companies are taking risks on unproven talent who have big ideas.  These folks also tend to be self-starters and because of their relative inexperience are willing to work for relatively little money.

We find ourselves living in a creative cesspool of larvae and glorified horse manure.  When I turn on my sixty inch television and tune into some original programming I lament the decision to invest in a television.  It is that bad.  Don’t get me wrong; every network has a serviceable show and by serviceable I mean I could watch it in a Clockwork Orange situation where a machine was holding my eyelids open while a doctor sat next to me pouring eye drops into my eyes.  These aren’t anything to get excited about.  Even TV mainstays like The Daily Show have become rundown, aged leviathans that make me yearn for the yesteryears when they at least tried to engage in comedy and didn’t try so hard to be the new MSNBC.  You know that you’re past your peak when you’re more interested in making a political point than you are in making a joke.  What some folks at Comedy Central are doing right interestingly enough comes up after they’ve had the nice lead-in audience from the Jon Stewart produced hour of programming prior to it: @Midnight.  It’s a clever little show that makes use of social media and comedians in poking fun at the internet which was something the Daily Show used to do, but traded it in to become the new Walter Cronkite or whatever.

What we’re doing at Living History Productions is change how people approach the process of creating entertainment.  We look forward to talking more in depth about our business model and our upcoming ventures with you over the coming weeks and months ahead.  Stay tuned for our new video coming next week!