"Right Turn on Sunset":Prequel to a Documentary
by Steve Finefrock Hollywood Forum
Lionel Chetwynd noted while promoting "Celsius 41.11" on a PBS show in Los Angeles, that "When it comes to pop culture, liberals are on the cutting edge, and conservatives are on the ragged edge, falling off." Which sums up the current situation, but not what is possible for a New Hollywood.
The Movement of conservative cinemaniacs is rising, and soon may be a flood. Two film festival events this past year in Hollywood which featured "traditional" themes, and more coming add to the rising political solvency of Hollywood Conservatives. Networking is increasing, confidence is building. It's not here yet, but sooner than most might imagine -- especially Michael Moore, Janeane Garofalo and George Clooney -- there will be a conservative presence of substance.
But the Rules come first for those seeking "victory" in these hostile precincts. Rule One: We ain't never gonna be a majority, and we don't need that to be winners. Rule Two: We don't need to recruit conservatives to come to Hollywood in order to stoke our numbers, for there's already at least one-quarter of the working "creative" community who are conservatives. They just haven't found each other yet. But they will. Rule Three: Before our "message" can work, our "art" must work, meaning more than right-leaning scripts and a director, but also good craft in acting, costume, set, and even location management.
At present, such a puny percentage of Hollywood output, in TV and feature films [and documentaries, Chetwynd's occasion for his comment] is right-leaning, or even right-friendly, that our allies nationally despair that it will ever change. Moving merely to fifteen percent, then twenty percent, and ultimately to thirty percent of Hollywood product created for red-state America is enough 'victory' to turn the tide in the culture wars.
For you see, unless the left can dominate totally a realm of public access to information, analysis or indoctrination, they lose that realm of the cultural/political battle. Once their supremacy is reduced from ninety percent to seventy percent, they no longer keep out our message; witness the turnaround in elections when talk-radio offset the otherwise left-dominated electronic media. And think tanks are still mostly left, but about a third are rightwing, making a big dent in the "perspective" of Congressional decisionmaking. Once the news media was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DNC, as were think-tanks, and opinion journals. Now a significant "minority" of right thought reduced leftwing domination to under 75% gave America a "second opinion" -- and our message is so strong that we don't need more than 30% of the message to win the debate.
We don't need to be a majority in Hollywood to make a Big Difference in the entertainment influence that gets to the TV and silver screen. A healthy third of this towne will do nicely; it's just that most conservatives don't even know how many of their own red-state kind are all around, for they are all silent as lambs, for fear of losing their job, income, health insurance, children's college fund.
What is missing in a major way are more Phillip Anschutz patrons, folks with big bucks and brassy cojones to take the risk which traditional Hollywood financing veterans do as their daily bread. Anschutz single-handedly made the Narnia series into serious product with his bankrolling. But such a man cannot do it alone. Op-ed pieces don't pay for the Teamsters to drive the trucks, or the actors' trailers, or the makeup team. The talent is already here. Directors and actors and writers and even location scouts with an "R" on their voter registration card are present, experienced and ready for duty, once there's money to finance a project that would enrage Clooney, Moore and Garofalo.
They can be enraged for their remaining days, to their End of Days [and Daze] with merely a boost from five percent to twenty-five percent of Hollywood getting together, getting motivated, getting financing, and getting product to the American public that is thirsting, yearning, begging for something they aren't getting now.
Again, conservatives are already here; after eight years' searching, I've begun to find them, and they are getting a bit bolder, a bit shrewder, and a whole lot interested in finding more Anschutz support. Money is the mother's milk of politics, and so it is in making product in the cultural wars.
There is a right turn coming on Sunset Boulevard. Right now, the right is resting, awaiting greater numbers. Or more accurately, finding their own kind among the working professionals on Sunset, and in the studios, and production companies all across the "Hollywood" creative community. In due time, we will no longer be on the ragged edge, falling off. Conservatives may never be on the cutting edge -- save for "Southpark" efforts! -- but we will give our hungry audience the protein and carbs they want, instead of the offal and dreck which fills so many theatres today.
Documenting it will be a joy, and a sign that the turn-right on Sunset has occurred. This is the new realm of challenge for the right, for we've met and matched the left in opinion journalism [starting with Buckley's effort in the 50s], then think-tanks [thank you Heritage Foundation, for starting the turnaround], and onward to other conquests, most recently the blogosphere. Next comes pop-culture, and we can bake some pretty good pie in that kitchen.
But we are short on venture capitalists like Anschutz, who know how to drill for oil and manage its risk, but are yet to bring their cash to the cache of conservative talent which is already here. Waiting. And eager for that mother's milk to nurture the talent that is already in place, experienced, and able to meet all three rules set forth above. Know any cows?