September 12, 2003

"The Real World: Washington" hits a snag

Apparently, only real lobbyists have unfettered access to the halls of power.

TMN points to a Roll Call story that the Trent Lott, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee has deemed shooting of Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney's new HBO series K Street a "commercial or profit-making purpose" and banned them from using any Capitol locations.

One solution: get the crew--and the talent-- some press passes and slap some CNN logos on those cameras. The show's on-the-run, "shoot and air it" schedule is designed to make it an influential voice in the real world's political debates. If things go according to HBO's plan, DC's power elite would start spending their Sundays parked with George Clooney instead of George Stephanopoulos.

good enough to praise J-Lo for, image:soderbergh.netOr maybe the solution's so obvious, it takes the subtlety-free Lott to point it out. After all, K Street is about lobbying, that dark hotel bar of an industry* where "politics as usual" chats up "commercial and profit-making" before they head off to bed together.

K Street features cameos from real politicians, including--according to the report--John McCain, Hilary Clinton, and Orrin Hatch--senators who were, coincidentally, the #1, 2, and 5 recipients of cable TV industry campaign contributions in the 2000 election year. McCain and Clinton each got well over $100k, and continue to get mad money from cable. Lott was #9, with $20,500, and he hasn't gotten a dime since. You do the math.

Rather than a challenge unique to shooting in Washington, Lott's disruption tactics are business as usual. If anything, they're similar to problems the LA film industry's already familiar with: extortion artists who follow film crews around with leaf blowers, angling for a few hundred bucks to go away. How'd they address that problem? By getting the Calif. state senator from Warners and Disney Burbank to introduce a bill that bans the disruption of location filming. I have a feeling this'll work out just fine.


* The seduction scene between George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez in Soderbergh's Out of Sight is one of the greatest sex scenes ever. Read my posts about it here and here.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: September 12, 2003.

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