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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

Outro - S3 E12 - Hollywood


Outro S3 E12

Hello my survivor friends. For those playing along it is the end of January 2023, rolling its way into February like a beached whale caught in the surf, waiting helplessly for the scavengers of scrimshaw and ambergris to descend.

Sorry – weird metaphors is how my brain works.

Which is an interesting topic in itself that we should delve into some time. Metaphors help in story telling and scene painting because our brains are relational databases. Meaning, they understand new things only in relation to existing experience. So…if I can turn a clever comparison to something you already know it creates the scene in your mind with instant connection to the atmosphere. Instead of creating my own scene, I’m stealing on of your existing scenes in your database.

But that was not what I intended to talk about today…

And I won’t spend anymore digital ink, (or would it be digital audio radiation?) on the pending AI apocalypse. The digitization of the creative is the topic de jour. It is having its moment. Its fifteen minutes.

Currently everyone is focused on the creative digitization of prose and art.

But you know what else falls under the category of human creativity?

You know what else is being digitized?

Humans.

That’s right! Our DNA and what it does is in the digital world. (Turn of your Rod Serling voice) Imagine if you will a world where generative AI creates the perfect humans. Imagine a world where basic flaws and imperfections of the human form and mind no longer exist. Where flawed humans, like you and I are a threatened species.

Behold the age of homo perfectus and the eradication of homo imperfectus.

And let us ask would homo perfectus still be human?

But that was not what I intended to talk about today…either.

I know my piddling production pace of a podcast every two weeks is not enough to satisfy your voracious appetite for content. So one of the things we like to do, as a community, is to share other stuff we are consuming.

I’m going to talk today about a couple of well-produced podcasts that I have listened through that I, for the most part, enjoyed.

And, I would be remiss not to note here that this is one of the common things we share in our Facebook group – the ‘what else are you listening to?’ conversation.

I’ve got two podcasts for you today. Both examine the same subject matter, but come at it from different angles. Both have professional production and lots of episodes for you to consume.

The first is You Must Remember This by Katrina Longworth. The tag line is ‘exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century.’ It is well researched, well written and well produced.

If you are a fan of old Hollywood or movies in general, it’s a good listen.

The second is a newer podcast from TCM by Ben Mankiewicz called The Plot Thickens.

This is also a show about Hollywood, but comes at it from a different perspective.

Allow me to compare and contrast, because the way these two shows treat the subject matter is the very essence of the schizophrenic nature of Hollywood.

After listening to Katrina’s show you walk away feeling like Hollywood is just a cesspool of broken drunks and egomaniacs. A wasteland of destructive misogyny and power slaked sociopaths. Especially in the more current seasons, it’s feels like she has an axe to grind.

But, Mankiewicz is an industry insider. He’s the commentator on TCM if you’ve ever tuned in between movies – that’s Ben talking about the movies and the stars. It runs in his blood. His Grandfather was THE Herman Mankiewicz from the Hollywood blacklist purges, who wrote Citizen Kane with Orson Welles.

Ben is much more accepting of the Hollywood dark side. He sort of shrugs it off in service of the greater prize of that Hollywood magic.

And that’s the challenge with Hollywood. Here you have a place that attracts the smartest, most driven, most beautiful humans on this planet and makes them compete for attention. Sprinkle on top of this milieu of prodigies a staggering amount of money and attention and power – and it comes to a full boil that produces the best we can be and the worst we can be.

It’s the contradiction of this evil place that eats its young with the same place that is the dream factory of the world.

Let’s all hope that After the Apocalypse never gets discovered. I would be eaten alive in Hollywood. I’m smart enough, but I don’t have that 24X7 killer instinct that they all seem to have. 100% all the time. I’m surprised any of them live past 50.

Anyhow – those two shows should keep you busy for a few weeks if you like movies and appreciate the creative struggle it takes to produce those stories in the dream factory of Hollywood.

Remember if you like what we’re doing here you can subscribe or buy me a coffee. I would like to thank my old friend Gordon for buying me some coffee, Gordon if you want a patch shoot me a direct message and I’ll mail you one.

New topic:

Let’s do a contest!

I know I have a lot of creatives who listen, so I have an idea. Let’s call it a story contest. If you have written something you are proud of, that has a complete story arc of less than, let’s say, 5,000 words. Send it over to me and we’ll pick some to get professionally read on the podcast when we hit the season three break in a couple months.

You can claim the publishing credit for your resume, and I’ll get some fun content to fill the dead air.

DM me on facebook or the website or directly at cyktrussell at Gmail dot com.

I hope you are all doing well. I truly appreciate your attention in this cluttered world where it feels like we are all cowering in a thunderstorm of information with the hail of unsolicited data banging incessantly against our collective tin roofs. (see what I did there?)

Tin Roof!

Rusted!

Don’t keep your heads down, stand up, rage, rage against the dying of the light!

And keep surviving.

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