10 thoughts on “Your Fourth of July Picture

  1. Hahaha. But seriously, “please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a time-traveling Sopwith Camel of wealth and taste”

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      1. πŸ™‚

        I’ve been laughing at the replies to this post on Twitter.. the battle of baggage claim… hahaha. So funny

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  2. Cam. Can I borrow your blog for a moment? Or at least the comment thread? Thank you. I’ll give it back later. I saw something earlier today, and it’s been bugging me, and the more I think about it the more it bugs me, and then I found myself typing up why it bugs me, and I thought “where would be a good place on the internet to bother total strangers with crap they barely care about but slightly more than anywhere else” and of course I thought of you. And this comment thread right here will do nicely.

    By “barely”, I mean of course the level of interest in Vox Day. He’s released the trailer to his movie. (vimeo.com slash 345389018 for reference but it’s not worth the … well, read on)

    Out of a three and a half minute running time, we have approximately 25 seconds of the heroine in action – that is, the material that one would suppose is the reason to watch the movie in the first place. The rest of it is devoted to talking up the people behind it. Look: when I went to see “Looper”, I had never heard of Rian Johnson, and while Joseph Gordon-Levitt struck me as a name I had probably heard somewhere, I certainly wasn’t enough of a movie buff to place it. But from the trailers, the story looked good, and that’s what got me to buy a movie ticket. And it was. It was a kickass time travel story and I don’t care what anybody else says. This trailer is the total opposite to that: it tells us zip about the story, zip about the concept, zip about anything worth knowing. It’s instead trying to sell some sort of cult of personality, instead of the quality of the product itself.

    Said heroine has yuge dark sunglasses covering half her face. I noticed this in my online dating time: large sunglasses conveys a message of “I’m hiding from you, I don’t want you to see me and especially not my eyes because I’m very insecure about my looks” whereas no-sunglasses portraits, where the eyes are clearly visible, are much more assertive, attractive, and easier for the other person to convince themselves that either a connection exists or that they really want a connection to exist. The eyes are the window to the soul and all that.

    Her two most distinctive traits are the red hair and the sunglasses – we basically don’t see anything else on which to judge her. If she has to have sunglasses, why not have them pushed up on her forehead or bangs or something? That just naturally lends itself to a wink and a grin, a playful look, the sort of thing that will stick in a guy’s head and make him want to see more. Marketing, people. Make your audience like the character. Absolutely trivial change and increases the charisma tremendously without changing the character – the sunglasses can be pulled down for the moody shots in the movie later. But the guys doing this don’t know enough about what they’re doing to see what’s right in front of their nose.

    (This seems like a good place to note that Vox insists he’s an expert on male/female interactions and sexual attraction.)

    This woman … I have no idea what she’d be like with a different outfit or direction but the choices on display aren’t great. Leaving aside the sunglasses, you’ve got these face shots at :20, :50, and :54 – she has her chin angled up in every single one. A typically masculine and aggressive stance – again, there’s a fair amount of research connected to online dating with this, women very often take their selfies from above their heads, camera angled down with their chins tucked in demurely, or angled in such a manner as to produce that visual effect, because it tends to cause men to be more attracted. The chin-up stance tends to reflexively trigger the monkey brain into a competitive attitude. Given the rhetoric surrounding the people making this and the nature of the market they’re supposedly aiming for, wouldn’t an attractive woman be the goal, and – to borrow some terminology – a ball-busting hard-assed competitive female be exactly what they’ve been screaming they don’t want?

    So why are they making a movie with exactly what they say they don’t want?

    Or, at the very least, a trailer that presents the movie as being such a thing. What the movie really is, we won’t know for a while. But the trailer is suposed to tell us, no?

    Anyway the manner in which she is presented makes her look like an aging and marginal actress scrabbling for a role she can’t physically sell, but that any actress that COULD have sold it wouldn’t touch because it’s too lame. Not saying the actress IS in such a situation – I could see her headlining a cop drama, for example – but that’s what this presentation brings to mind. If Suicide Squad could put Ditzy Wotsername in as Harley Quinn, why couldn’t these guys find an aspiring instagram model with eyes they weren’t afraid to show to the public?

    (Having typed that, I must add: I suspect most, probably nearly all, instagram models have better marketing instincts than to come anywhere near something like this)

    And, most definitely, there is absolutely NOTHING here to make a guy think of the hot little sticks of dynamite he went to high school or college with, and that’s totally critical to selling a thing like this to the target market they’re supposedly aiming for. Look: you do a hot southern babe, you’ve got to have her do the thing with the T-shirt where she ties a knot in it to make it barely cover her ribs and leave her midriff bare. (Fun fact: that particular modification of an otherwise ordinary shirt by women of Appalachian ethnicity dates back to colonial days and possibly to the Borderers in Northumbria.) That plus superpowers, you’d get men watching the movie, no question. Is this actress the type of woman who would do that? Would the heterosexuals out there WANT to see her doing that? Why aren’t these things being taken into account in marketing the product? Yes, I’m talking a lot about sexual attractiveness, because that is – supposedly – the direction in which these people WANT to take their content. It’s something on which comic book material has been marketed for a long time. They say that’s what they want to continue. Yet they completely flub it.

    In short:

    The lead actress and main character can’t sell the product on the basis of personal charisma.

    The trailer isn’t selling the product on the basis of quality of content.

    Without personal charisma or quality of content, there is nothing here to persuade any sort of broader market to be interested in the product.

    The strategy that IS being employed to sell the product is cult of personality, and loyalty to the overall outrage marketing “stick it to the libs” approach. That reduces the whole thing to political donations, and most definitely not cultural propaganda, persuasion, value shifts, or – and bear with me here, I know it’s crazy – genuine quality storytelling.

    This will tank, and Vox will blame the failure on his customers’ insufficient loyalty and dedication.

    That’s a forecast. I could be wrong. I’ll be watching to see what happens with this. One way or another, I’ll be entertained.

    Okay, Timosaur. Back to you.

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      1. Yup, I’m pretty sure they want to sell the cult of personality. I also suspect that they only have about 10 minutes of new material of the actual movie, since all of those helicopters, SWAT teams, etc… stuff is likely stock footage (plus a shot of Tom Hardy as Bane, which is a huge no-no).

        However, they had someone interview Chuck Dixon in a comic shop (and can I say how disappointed I am in him, since he used to make good comics once upon a time) and they had footage of Vox Day smirking, gazing out across the land and toasting the camera. So they put that stuff into the trailer and spliced it together with stock footage and some shots of the protagonist riding around in her car.

        BTW, did anybody notice the little kid dressed up as Captain Marvel during the Chuck Dixon interview in the comic shop? More things they claim to hate.

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    1. πŸ™‚ From what I could see in that trailer, there was some basic footage of the main character from one of Vox’s Alt-hero comics and then a lot of editing, stock footage and pictures of the comic book. Put another way: a lot of the effort demonstrated is from one person on a computer rather than the multiple people needed for actual movie production.

      I considered writing a post on it but as always, giving attention to Vox Day is a trade off. I assume the whole movie thing is essentially a scam to get investors from the right to through money into a pit — and even pointing that out can perversely help Day get that money.

      Having said that, I thought the same thing about the comic line and they ended up making actual comics — not good comics but things that still would have development costs. A movie though? That’s a whole other level of a way to burn bundles of cash and end up with nothing.

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      1. ” they ended up making actual comics β€” not good comics but things that still would have development costs”

        They’ve been doing kickstarters for lots of that, though, haven’t they? All of it? Each one? I haven’t kept track closely enough to know, I just know there always seems to be another kickstarter. From what I’ve seen at the customer end, the books aren’t exactly in demand – not enough to show up anywhere I could see them. Which makes me think the costs are being mostly covered by the kickstarters. Which again makes it a not-market-product and entirely-political-donation. People aren’t buying these because they like the product, they’re buying it to support an ideological outlet. But that sort of support always has an expiration date.

        You can get away with that with a book. A movie is an entirely different cost scale.

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      2. True but my first suspicion was that they’d take the money and then not deliver or underliver and cite SJWs as the cause. Other parts of Comicsgate have been more clearly scammy.

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  3. And he stated that Alexander Graham Bell was American, despite being born in Scotland and doing most of his inventing in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canada… Can’t forget that.

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