May 26, 2006

Script Notes From WHP

What we need in this scene is a very dramatic showdown over separation of powers. Perhaps we could all pretend to argue amongst ourselves over some picayune case, preferably one that involves a corrupt Louisiana Democrat. That way, not only do we get to look concerned over separation, Hastert gets to look separate, and Gonzales gets to look principled [maybe he could even threaten to resign.] Then while that's going, we can get provide cover for getting Hayden--who was behind...
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Posted by greg at 10:34 PM

May 10, 2006

Oh MyGOP, The iPod For Special Republicans

I realized when I grabbed this screenshot, I didn't capture the actual GOP disclaimer, which disclaims any affiliation between the Republican National Committee and Apple Computer. Still, given how hard it was to believe that such a thing as iPods for Special Republicans really existed, I thought my own interpolation was appropriate. The Special Republican Edition iPod Video will be presented to the top 10 fundraisers who organize and host house parties on May 22nd using the RNC's new...
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Posted by greg at 02:47 PM

May 01, 2006

Sforza Is Clearly NOT In The House

The House of Representatives, that is. Here is a long lens snap of Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert climbing out of the hydrogen-powered minivan he'd just appeared in at a "we feel your gas prices pain" photo-op--and into his official SUV in order to, as the AP caption puts it on Yahoo, "drive the few blocks back to the U.S. Capitol." Sweet. Hats off to AP snapper Pablo Martinez Monsivais for the get, and thanks to the morning news...
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Posted by greg at 11:34 AM

Speaking Truthiness To Power

I don't know what was more hilarious: Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, or the not-at-all-amused faces on some of the folks in the crowd at his unflinching criticism, which was delivered, of course, wrapped in Colbert's dumbly sycophantic supporter character. There were, of course, obligatory "defending the American way of staging elaborate photo-ops" jokes. I know what wasn't funny, though: the interminable audition tape bit, which dragged on ten times too long and was lamer than...
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Posted by greg at 12:03 AM

April 21, 2006

Hu-haha: The Politics Of Camera Angles

When I heard the NPR report of all the pomp and ceremony and symbolism on display during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House yesterday, I expected the news service photos to show a classic Sforzian set, with all the carefully calibrated money shots: statesman-like profiles while the two men review the troops; dual podiums with a Sforzian Background of artfully fluffed flags. You know, like the kind of thing White House Prod. did when they went to...
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Posted by greg at 10:22 AM

March 14, 2006

Good Evening, Mr & Mrs Green Zone, And To All The Ships At Sea

Do I have readers in the Green Zone? Did somebody somewhere write a memo? Because Saddam's crib used to be white, and now it's painted brown. [image: ap/bob strong via yahoo] Previously: American Dream: Astroturf and a White Picket Fence...
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Posted by greg at 01:30 PM

March 04, 2006

New Dehli, New Orleans, They're Both Foreign, Right?

Josh Marshall gets in on the Sforzian Backdrop fun by noticing the similarities between GWB's post-Katrina speech in Jackson Square, and his nighttime speech to invited guests only at the zoo in New Delhi. Here's the AP's Gerald Herbert's shot of the set and the audience. [via yahoo news] Meanwhile, no trip to the third world would be complete without some native dress, indigenous art, and dirt flooring. [image: reuters/jason reed via yahoo news] Yet nothing can top this...
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Posted by greg at 08:44 AM

February 16, 2006

Life According To Comedy Central

1) That series of Maxwell House commercials featuring badlibs of Madness's "Our House"? HOW DESPERATELY WRONG IS THAT? Someone in Madness's family better need some super-expensive operations that require maximum sellout. Otherwise, they need to be taken to the woodshed. 2) The world needs to see the "Election Wars" Star Wars parody that was created for the GOP House offsite last week. From the baffling insanity of the clips on The Daily Show, it's as if Scott Sforza has never...
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Posted by greg at 11:30 PM

February 14, 2006

CNN Is The New Blog

It hit me again during the Super Bowl: the perpetual motion, 3D overkill design language of on-air TV graphics is in serious need of rethinking. Sundance Channel did something about it, and now CNN International has, too. It'll be interesting to see if/how other networks react. [I'm watching The Daily Show, and they're using CNNI clips of the White House briefing. It looks great.] Another Look At The New CNNI [tvnewser via kottke]...
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Posted by greg at 10:50 PM

January 31, 2006

Fool Me Once, Shame On.. Fool Me.. Twice We...Won't Be Fooled Again

Unless this was somehow the on-message Backdrop for the day. Let's go to the tape. Look at this wider shot, where the pre-existing monitors have been used for the Backdrop. Somehow, this was intentional. Maybe that capuccino-skinned jester was supposed to read as Mayor Nagin? I don't think it came off that way, though. [image ap/evan vucci via, and eyeteeth]...
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Posted by greg at 07:48 AM

January 30, 2006

WH Beat Photogs Upset At Staged Photographs They Don't Take

Stockholm Syndrome? Job security? The White House News Photographers Association was so worried about the sharp increase of staged photographs, they undertook a study and filed a complaint about it with White House Productions. Don't get them wrong; they're not complaining about the image control the White House exerts via Scott Sforza's strategically placed backdrops and camera pens. They're upset at the increasing number of WH events at which press was banned altogether, and the only pictures released were from...
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Posted by greg at 08:44 PM

January 25, 2006

Gentlemen, You Can't Threaten In Here, This Is The Threat Operations Center!

Gotta admit, the rather mundane, unimpressive visuals of the NSA's Threat Operations Center are a boost to the secretive agency's credibility. The place looks like utilitarian Government, right down to the bald-ponytailed sysadmin on the front row. The TOC had enough wallscreens plotting enough suitably important-looking, real-time metrics that the WH advance team only needed to dress a media meeting point for GWB--which turned out to be a hallway. Looks like the doors were taken off their hinges, and...
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Posted by greg at 09:43 PM

It's All About The Benjamins, Baby

Yesterday Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was shooting some b-roll at Georgetown Law for this week's WH production [working title, according to the AP: "Bush to Visit NSA for Pep Talk"], but it looks like they ran into some problems with the extras. You know, when leafblower-wielding hustlers were driving around, disrupting shoots in LA, the studios got some anti-nuisance legislation passed. Makes you wonder if WHP isn't thinking that'd be pretty handy right about now....
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Posted by greg at 10:35 AM

January 23, 2006

The American Dream: Astroturf And A White Picket Fence

Wow, we have entered the Sforzian Baroque period. A GWB "townhall-style meeting" at a moving company in Sterling, VA took place on one of the most soundstage-like sets we've seen in a while. These screened supporter-packed events were very popular during the campaign. Here, the classic "Sforzian Backdrop" gives way to a more spatially complex theater-in-the-round composition, complete with white picket fences, white white people [oops], and on-message Astroturf [oops again]. But wait, there IS a Backdrop, a pop-out house,...
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Posted by greg at 05:41 PM

January 09, 2006

Kris or Julie? Which Angel Is John McCain?

Because it matters FAR more than you know. You have to be a certain age to remember the shock and confusion of 1977. That was when, just as Farrah postermania had crested, America turned on the TV one Wednesday night, only to find that Jill Munroe had been replaced by her harder, kind of meaner-looking, equally cop [but not, alas, equally hot] cousin Kris. [You cry nepotism? cronyism? family connections? Whatever, Kris did hold down the job longer than Jill...
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Posted by greg at 08:46 AM

December 02, 2005

Mission Accomplished, Indeed

Just when you [and by "you," I mean "Scott Sforza"] think it's been a rough month or two, and you're reduced to staging photo ops in a yurt on the backlot of Far and Away, you wake up and find one of these on your doorstep, and it makes it all worth while. It's an early Christmas at the White House. And then you catch the headline right under it: "US is Said to Pay to Plant Articles in...
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Posted by greg at 07:39 AM

November 21, 2005

[Mandate of] Heavens To Murgatroid

White House Productions ordered up this backdrop for use at GWB's hotel press conference. As the camera angle in the BBC screenshot above shows, the "China" & "Beijing" characters are perfectly placed to flank GWB's talking head (in the TV camera's frame). The trompe l'oeil gates and knockers--they're copied from The Temple of Heaven--complete the backdrop, and provide an exit "backstage." According to wikipedia, the Emperor would visit the Temple of Heaven each winter to make elaborate ceremonial offerings. "It...
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Posted by greg at 10:43 PM

October 22, 2005

And Nancy Swats His Pesky Little Hand Away

In his efforts to duplicate Ronald Reagan's political career, he forgot one crucial lesson: watch your back around Nancy. Here's a paragraph from Elizabeth Bumiller's NYT story, "At California Ceremony, Bush Reaches for Reagan Mantle":Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan were at the president's side for the dedication. In brief remarks before he spoke, Mrs. Reagan recalled that on her husband's last flight on Air Force One, home to California, his staff poured Champagne and shouted, "Mission accomplished, Mr. President!"...
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Posted by greg at 10:06 AM

October 14, 2005

Get A Grip

You can fake the accent, you can fake the peppy talks with the troops [oh, actually, you can't fake those anymore, sorry], and when it's off-camera, you can fake being a rancher. But what you can't fake, turns out, is looking like you've ever hammered a damn thing in your life. The problem here is the same as it's always been: too many conflicting backstories for the character either muddles the plot along the way, or it mucks up the...
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Posted by greg at 11:26 AM

September 24, 2005

Neither Wind, Nor Rain, Nor Dark Of Night

He can orchestrate his star to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier--at magic hour--while never letting San Diego in the shot, even though it was just off the port bow. He can dispatch a barebones crew with a DV cam at a moment's notice when Barney the dog makes a break for it across the snow-covered White House lawn. He can light up Jackson Square--and the road to it--bright as morning while the rest of New Orleans sits...
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Posted by greg at 10:37 PM

September 16, 2005

Ooh, What A Little Klieglight Can Do

[images: reuters/larry downing via yahoo;] Scott Sforza: I'm gonna put these giant spotlights here in New Orleans, just like I did with the Statue of Liberty on 9/11/02, and if you think the next three years won't be a half-trillion dollar sinkhole of devastatingly corrupt cronyism, too, it's your own fault. [update via TPM: In other lighting news, Brian Williams reports the lights came on for the first time last night in the Warehouse District --from about 30...
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Posted by greg at 11:32 AM

September 14, 2005

Let Free Some Rain!

George Bush asks Condi Rice for permission to pee, plus zoomed back version and on flickr [reuters/yahoo via waxy]...
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Posted by greg at 08:22 PM

September 07, 2005

Sforza Shooting Katrina On A Closed Set

As with any big feature production, studio publicists are compelled by a primal instinct for the preservation of their own power to attempt to control any and all information coming from the setAt first the evidence was scattered and anecdotal. But now it's pretty clear that a key aim of the Bush administration's takeover of the NOLA situation is to cut off press access to report the story.- Talking Points Memo On the other hand, they do put out carefully...
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Posted by greg at 10:21 PM

September 05, 2005

WH Heathers Give LA Gov The Katrina Treatment

Bush went to Louisiana again today to shoot some more footage of grateful evacuees. Governor Kathleen Blanco traveled with him, although she had only first heard about the trip from reporters. Seems no one from Washington bothered to coordinate the trip with her, or even let her know it was happening until this morning. I'm sure it's not politicizing anything. And I'm sure it's not an infantile, petty, personal snub by the administration meant to punish an outspoken critic who...
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Posted by greg at 06:35 PM

Maybe Scott Sforza Should Be Running FEMA

GWB: 'Only you Republicans get to see these here 6-day-old maps.' Wes Anderson did it with Bottle Rocket, and it's since become a classic indie scenario: you shoot the short in order to get funding for the feature. Turns out White House producer Scott Sforza's latest short was Friday's George W. Bush Does Too Like Black People, See?. German television crews reported that Potemkin food & aid distribution centers Bush visited were dismantled and abandoned soon after the mediapack following...
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Posted by greg at 07:39 AM

July 05, 2005

"I Call It An 'Ownership Society Skirt'"

At least in public, anyway....
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Posted by greg at 12:18 AM

July 01, 2005

Who Has Final Cut At The Lincoln Memorial?

About that 8-minute short subject documentary showing at the Lincoln Memorial, the one about all the people who use "America's Soapbox" to protest in support of their causes? Well, the Religious Right screened the first cut, and they loved it, they just had a few notes... Aww, who're we kidding? They hated it, and they had a ton of notes, which they sent to the producers at the National Park Service. So consider that you've been watching the rough cut...
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Posted by greg at 01:04 PM

June 11, 2005

"Oh Sure. And We Got Khaki Day, Camo Day, Not Enough Armor Day, IED-Day, Did I Mention Khaki Day?"

From the imagemaking insurgency at the Associated Press: Army Aims to Catch Up on Recruits in Summer [wp, img jamie roper, ap]...
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Posted by greg at 11:05 AM

January 15, 2005

Sforza vs. Toyota on "The Youth Movement"

Don't quite know what to make of this: For a town-hall-style pitch for phasing out Social Security, G. W. Bush's hand-selected audience included Josh Wright, a representative of "the youth movement," who is also a Utah dairy farmer (and son of a Republican state senator.) When Wright started talking, Bush said, "Wait a minute, you don't need to talk about private conversations. OK, you're a dairy farmer? Good. Milking those cows." For the introduction of its new Tacoma pickup at...
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Posted by greg at 08:28 AM | TrackBack

December 17, 2004

Bush: There's No 'I' In Social Security

Or 'U', for that matter. Or Anybody. And after Scott McClellan gets through explaining, America will think we're the ones who've been misspelling 'Challanges' all these years. [thanks, Tyler] Bush's Social Security Phase Out Summit [Yahoo News] Related: I thought Chas Bowie's Scott Sforza piece for The Portland Mercury was hilarious and brilliant, and then I realized it was an interview with me....
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Posted by greg at 09:36 AM | TrackBack

December 08, 2004

Your Homework For The Day

I'm a bit crazy with an offline deadline, so I'll just give you your assignment: Starting with the prospect that wax does not, in fact, melt when submerged in the fiery pits of hell for all eternity by a wrathful God, please plot rank the following in order of sheer implausibility: David Beckham as Joseph Posh Spice as Mary Samuel L. Jackson as a wise man (What's that, he's a shepherd? But he's wearing his Jedi outfit!) The Duke of...
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Posted by greg at 11:16 AM | TrackBack

December 05, 2004

I See Dead People

Bush has been haunted by the Ghost of Churchill before he went to Canada. Seriously, though, is there some kind of running bet among the wireservice photographers, whoever discovers the exact shot Scott Sforza has designed for them first, wins a, a what? I have no idea. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants [wonkette, via MAN] Bush speech at the Library of Congress Churchill Exhibit, with backdrops on loan from The White House Collection[]...
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Posted by greg at 10:37 PM | TrackBack

November 02, 2004

If you build it, maybe they'll think it's a barn

Scott, you got me again. I first marveled at photos of this event: "Day-um, Sforza's advance people got in there and repainted that fine barn with that rustic typeface. And here, I thought the entire state had been turned into an industrial hog factory." All images are AP via Yahoo, from inside the Journal Pavilion in Sioux City, Iowa....
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Posted by greg at 09:39 AM | TrackBack

November 01, 2004

Dear Republicans, Aloha! Wish U Were Here! Love, Scott Sforza

Whenever they go to a foreign country, the Bush-Cheney people like to show respect for the quaint local culture, and Hawaii is no different. Dressing the natives in their colorful local garb and dressing the stage with indigenous plantlife? That's just like their trip to Africa. And thoughtfully providing a caption to let us know what country they're in? Just like their visit to Romania in 2002. Related, on Gothamist: Dick Cheney laughs in the face of Death...
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Posted by greg at 08:56 AM | TrackBack

October 31, 2004

October 28, 2004

'Sforza' Now Spelled With A Ctrl-V

Ah, the end of October. When Bush's multiple obfuscatory attempts to disown a Sforzian Background-related scandal change faster than the autumn leaves. Last year this time it was "Mission Accomplished." This year, well: The Bush-Cheney campaign's final TV ad, aptly named "Whatever It Takes," contains a doctored image of a Scott Sforza trademark the Military Backdrop. Check out the original image--with Bush and his podium--and the Photoshopped version the campaign started running yesterday--with its obviously cloned warriors. Still, Bush has...
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Posted by greg at 11:57 PM | TrackBack

October 27, 2004

The Architect of The Marshall Mathers Plan

This summer, GNN director Ian Inaba had come up with a concept for a music video that could get young voters out to the polls, when he found out Eminem was working on a song to do the same thing. The result of their 5-week [!!] collaboration is "Mosh," an angry, compelling, and invigorating incitement to revolution-by-ballot. If you thought conservatives were disturbed by a wifebeatered army of Eminemonites [Sounds like Mennonites. Go ahead, pronounce it; I'll wait.] outside...
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Posted by greg at 01:48 PM | TrackBack

And Fox News lose a sweet urban market? Don't scare us like that, Sean

[Mr. President,] Is it possible—is it a reality that we could turn on our television sets one day—Fox News Channel I hope—and find out that America is—that a nuclear weapon has gone off here—that a biological agent has been released or a chemical agent—is that a reality?Sean Hannity fairly balancing his sycophancy for both Rupert Murdoch and George W. Bush in an interview with the latter. The inaugural entry in Cretinisms, Dana Stevens' collection of cable news show idiocies, on...
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Posted by greg at 11:55 AM | TrackBack

October 26, 2004

I'm A Registered Republican, And I'm Voting For Kerry

Buy me a drink some time, and I'll tell you the long story about why I'm a registered Republican. But not right now. My first film was set in November 2001, the period when New Yorkers, when Americans were still coming to terms with what'd happened two months before. When our country had the deep, unwavering sympathy and support of practically the entire civilized world, and when it was possible to imagine that, just maybe, having experienced the terrible shock,...
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Posted by greg at 11:44 PM | TrackBack

October 25, 2004

Switch II: Bush Voters For Kerry

Errol Morris's series of John Kerry ads are powerful precisely because they don't use any of the tactics--treacly hagiography, deceitful misrepresentations, fear-baiting, or mudslinging--that are the mainstay of politician-produced political ads. He interviewed hundreds of people who voted for Bush in 2000 who are now voting for John Kerry and captured their individual stories and reasons for switching. Taken together, they form a persuasive argument for relieving Bush of duty. See Errol Morris's Switch ads and--if you're a billionaire or...
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Posted by greg at 10:14 AM | TrackBack

October 18, 2004

Am I Boogin' Ya? I Don't Mean To Boog Ya

Brilliant remix of George W Bush singing U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday [via fimoculous]...
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Posted by greg at 06:22 PM | TrackBack

October 07, 2004

RNC Highlight Reel

Don't know the editor, but the actors are familiar, and the script, we all know it by heart now ("September 11th, Saddam Hussein, very dangerous, global terrorism"). BoingBoing points to a video that distills the 4-day message of last month's Republican National Convention into three or so rhythmic minutes. The award for Most Hysterical goes to New York's own Rudy Giuliani. How Do You Run A Convention On A Record Of Failure? [via BoingBoing]...
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Posted by greg at 01:43 PM | TrackBack

October 05, 2004

Village Voice: It's The Split Screen, Stupid

Even the weekly, leftwing, activist, downtown media (owned by a religious conservative, suburban billionaire) said the George Bush media masterminds flubbed the debate last week. Late to close, but still wanting to kick the man when he's down, the Village Voice's James Ridgeway discusses gloats how the split screen--which captured Bush's antsy reaction shots for all the world to see--tipped the outcome of the debate. See Bush Twitch! [Village Voice]...
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Posted by greg at 04:06 PM | TrackBack

September 05, 2004

Scott Sforza's The Passion

Cross? Check. Jew? Check. Gavel? Check. via NYT "President Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, told CNN he did not think the podium's decorative woodwork looked like a cross. "'My God, where do they come up with this stuff?' he said. 'Does it look to you like it's a cross? I don't think so.'" - Jewish Groups Irked by Cross on Republican Podium [Reuters, 9/1/04]And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom...
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Posted by greg at 05:20 PM | TrackBack

September 02, 2004

Triumph of the W.

So you're saying, if you suspend habeas corpus and pre-emptively arrest hundreds of pedestrians, I'll be able to drive my Mercedes [sic] to the Upper East Side from the Holland Tunnel in 10 minutes every day? I have to confess, it's a seductive proposition. [First they came for the carless, yet I did nothing...] And while I'm watching the giant flag behind George Patton Pataki--It's rippling!-- I'm thinking, "gots to get me one of those 3-story high monitors." [Then, they...
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Posted by greg at 09:23 PM | TrackBack

How Rosecrans Baldwin Would Protest at The Republican Convention

I dunno, but from readin' his notes, I have to guess it'd be a helluva lot smarter 'n funnier than what anyone else's doin': "...Sony has apparently sponsored the protests. Everyone has a video camera, and every second’s worth recording. I feel for the protest film editors, back in the yurts drinking Red Bull." (Apologies for the vernacular. Like George Bush, I pump up my accent when I'm trying to score political points with the masses.) Notes From Protests Around...
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Posted by greg at 11:21 AM | TrackBack

August 31, 2004

Yeah, I DO see a family resemblance

Stephen Baldwin: "Stephen Baldwin doesn’t feel that he has this mission to make Christianity cool...God made me [Stephen Baldwin] cool so that the youth culture would look up to me." NY Mag: We hear you’re going to the Bush twins’ convention party. Stephen Baldwin: "Yeah, I’m going to pop in there, and, uh, make my presence known. [Chuckles.]" - NY Magazine, RNC Edition Dr. Jed Hill: "You ask me if I have a God complex. Let me tell you something:...
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Posted by greg at 09:15 AM | TrackBack

August 14, 2004

How ____ would protest at the Republican Convention

Dale Peck, writer/Hatchet man: will periodically leave Soho House to "commit civil disobedience as many times as possible." [via Gothamist] Maer Roshan, magazine non-launcher/editor: will bombard and disorient conventiongoers with daily rundowns on the best plastic surgeons and spa treatments in town. Also, will depict attendees as big-hair-sporting, cowboy-hat-wearers. Not clear that this will be recognized as protest. [via Gawker] Various anarcho-geeks: will ride around town on wi-fi- and gps-enabled bikes, hoping someone will text them. Ooh, you've got'em scared...
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Posted by greg at 09:46 AM | TrackBack

The Lord Spins in Mysterious Ways

So which way does this go? I mean, I'm a pretty religious guy from a religious, hurricane-prone state, and I can't figure it out: Does getting pounded by two history-making hurricanes mean God is displeased and punishing Bush and his supporters for their election year sins, OR does it mean God's blessing him with several weeks of high-profile disaster relief photo-ops and FEMA-distributed largesse?...
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Posted by greg at 09:05 AM | TrackBack

August 04, 2004

How Billy Baldwin would protest at the Republican Convention

from an ongoing series: If his behavior on my flight to Ozaka is any indication, Billy will dress like a 40-year old cop trying to go undercover at a high school. He will sport long, greasy hair, with a ponytail on top, a la Patrick Rafter circa 1998, and a t-shirt that reads BUllSHit in foot-tall red letters. The t-shirt will be tight enough to reveal that he hasn't been back to Equinox 76th street since he used to hit...
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Posted by greg at 02:26 AM | TrackBack

July 29, 2004

Pakistan: 'If you need me, I'll be in my trailer'

Steve Martin said it best: it's all in the ti-MING. ti...MINGming. It's always risky shooting with locally cast talent. But after five tense days, the White House screening room erupted in fits of backslapping and high fives as the rushes showed Pakistan nailing its mark like Meryl Streep with a mustache and the bomb. The interior ministry just announced--at midnight local time, which is 2pm in, say, Boston--the capture of a major Al Qaeda terrorist, his entourage, and his fearsome...
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Posted by greg at 05:36 PM | TrackBack

July 08, 2004

White House Production Notes: Summer Blockbuster Edition

From: Scott Sforza, Head of Production, White House Studios To: Karl Rove, CEO, RE: Summer Schedule As requested, sir, an update on this summer's production/release schedule. It's filling out quite nicely, and there's no doubt in anyone's mind it'll go well. That said, it IS a lot of work for one man. I would ask you again to rethink the NO INTERNS policy; we could really use an extra hand down here. - The Sidekick/Mentor/Villain is still causing trouble, and...
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Posted by greg at 10:02 AM | TrackBack

July 02, 2004

White House:: Happy Days, State Dept:: Joanie Loves Cha-Chi

This is so beyond jumping the shark. At least the shark was jumped on the main show. Colin Powell singing YMCA in Jakarta (he was the construction worker.) is the political equivalent of a bitter, aging Erin Moran, who--realizing her series isn't going to be renewed, and without even a glint of hope for a Charles in Charge of her own--just pushes through the script and tries to get through the week so she can cash her check and suck...
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Posted by greg at 11:54 PM | TrackBack

June 25, 2004

GWB's Black Box Soundstage

On Monday, the Bush-Cheney show had (yet another) location shoot in Ohio. Exec Prod. Karl Rove is guarding the script closer than a CIA agent's identity, it appeared to be (yet another) Bush Liking Black People scene. The production company has published some pictures from the set on their website. They reveal some useful tips for imagemakers who need to utterly transform an alcohol and drug treatment center into a TV-friendly black-box studio. First, the basics: Design backdrops with...
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Posted by greg at 01:39 PM | TrackBack

June 22, 2004

The W is for WTF?

"W Ketchup would like to thank President Reagan for his selfless service to this nation. "Reagan won the Cold War, let private enterprise flourish, and most of all made Americans proud to be Americans again... "You don’t support Democrats. Why should your ketchup? "W Ketchup is America’s Ketchup™."...
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Posted by greg at 07:55 PM | TrackBack

June 06, 2004

Credit Where Credit is Due

Reagan hits his last mark, stumping for the Bush/Cheney campaign Love him or hate him, you've gotta give Karl Rove credit for pulling the plug at the optimal time. He manages 1) to divert attention from whatever new Bush administration embarassments are set to unfold this week, and 2) he figures out how to get some campaign appearances out of Reagan. Related: Joan Didion's Reagan myth-puncturing essay, The Lion King, in the NYRB. [Update: finally, a Nader for the...
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Posted by greg at 11:58 PM | TrackBack

April 10, 2004

Hook, Line and Sinker

I usually confine my viewing of OLN, the Outdoor Life Network, to pen-to-pen coverage of the Professional Bull Riders Tour. But then, like a shiny object dancing before me, on-the-set production details for OLN's Fishing With Roland Martin appeared on Josh Marshall's Talkingpointsmemo: On Saturday, Bush and his father were to go fishing at the ranch's bass pond with a crew from the Outdoor Life Network's "Fishing with Roland Martin." The White House approached the network about coming to film...
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Posted by greg at 11:53 AM

February 16, 2004

Sforzian Background of The Century of The Week

It's not political theater, even political amphitheater. It's beyond political grandstanding, even though there are grandstands in the picture. It's the political imagemaking equivalent of the chariot race in Ben Hur: Air Force One taking off next to Daytona International Speedway during the Daytona 500. And it was purely for show; GWB had already run a partial lap around the track in his motorcade before turning the gaggle of NASCAR drivers into colorful extras for his own photo op....
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Posted by greg allen at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2004

My Worlds Collide: Scott Sforza Discovers Shipping Containers

No run-of-the-mill PowerPoint banners in South Carolina. No, the money shot of White House Productions' primary mitigation show was clearly the Coast Guard cutter, positioned behind Bush's podium. Forget the boat, though, and go wide. Bush is addressing his crowd of extras in a mini-amphitheater made from shipping containers. This set is my pick for Sforzian Backdrop of The Week. Related: posts about how I [inexplicably heart] shipping containers...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2004

Calling Scott Sforza

To protest Bush's 2005 budget, the party of Liberal Hollywood ignores the dark art of image manipulation (cf. White House Productions' favorites, PowerPoint wallpaper and carefully positioned crowds of (skin)color-coordinated soldiers) in favor of some intern's clip art. Let's get one thing straight: this is not Democratic indie authenticity going up against Republican soulless studio spectacle. Just 'cuz Karl Rove is playing Jerry Bruckheimer doesn't mean the Dems are suddenly Steven Soderbergh; they're the dweebs sending their darndest "accidents"...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2004

The Political Gospel, According to Reuters

Just a quick Sforzian note of these two Reuters photos, which were side by side on a Yahoo News page this morning: Related: Producer Scott Sforza, who's built a Potemkin village centered around the White House....
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Posted by greg allen at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2003

More On Dependent Filmmaking, or Barney Cam II: White House Boogaloo

[via Gothamist] Jimmy Orr, the Choire Sicha to George Bush's Nick Denton, has posted his new short film, Barney Cam II: Barney Reloaded, on his weblog, Elizabeth Bumiller, the Times' specialist on the dependent film industry, gives it a glowing review and talks with Orr, who co-produced Barney II with Bob deServi. DeServi is best known for his work as the key grip on many of Scott Sforza's productions, which are being shown on TV everywhere, all the time,...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2003

The Reagan Movie I want to see

Over at GreenCine, David puts the Reagan TV movie in perspective; it doesn't sound like it's worth going to the mat for. And instead of reading the 213-page script, I just rebought Joan Didion's NYRB article, The Lion King, and I'm glad I did. I say rebought, because it's also included in her collection of essays, Political Fictions, which is sitting in a box in our storage unit. Didion's got an agenda, sure, but she backs it up with a...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2003

Sforzian Backstabbing

Since before Elizabeth Bumiller came up with the term for the Times, I was a fan of Sforzian Backgrounds, the news-manipulating slogans created by Scott Sforza, a key member of the White House's advance scenery and production team, for just about every public appearance of George W. Bush. [After giving up hope for a commentary track from Sforza himself, I wrote my own interpretive post for Bush's trip to Africa last July.] And yet this week in a rare...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2003

After the '04 Republican Convention, we'll be calling them Patakian Backdrops

White House stage manager Scott Sforza better enjoy the attention while it lasts; when the Republican convention rolls into Manhattan next September, er, 1th, they'll be stumping in front of a George Pataki-crafted backdrop, construction of the foundations of the "Freedom Tower" on the site of the World Trade Center. What that Tower'll look like, and even where it'll be, are still TBD; these are, frankly, irrelevant details. The NY governor doesn't care what gets built by whom, just that...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2003

Sforzian Backdrops: Africa

While looking through Yahoo News for a linkable photo of those elephants protesting George Bush's abstinence-driven AIDS program funding, I was happy to find that African Bush has the same production design team as White House Bush and Crawford Bush. Sforzian Backdrops is the term NYTimes reporter Elizabeth Bumiller coined (and I latched onto) for the made-for-TV-and-only-TV sets and wallpapers that White House image czar Scott Sforza deploys whenever Bush (and the White House press corps) goes anywhere. And...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:40 PM

May 16, 2003

White House Stagecraft: Will this be on the DVD?

Shoot the conference title from this preset camera position; state seal and flowing flag when allowed to shoot head-on. Sforzian Backgrounds. So that's what they're called. At least that's what Elizabeth Bumiller's NYT article calls those glib slogan-filled, PowerPointy, made-for-TV backdrops that show up behind Bush whenever there's a camera around. They're named for Scott Sforza, a former TV producer, who is finally getting credit/scrutiny for his tireless work behind the scenes in this White House's quantum leap...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)