June 7, 2016
Conservative filmmakers have long tried to mimic Michael Moore. They demonstrated that they, too, could pull together philosophically biased films to preach to the choir.
But there was a difference. Love him or hate him, Moore’s documentaries are sophisticated and entertaining. Meanwhile, most conservative films are awful. They have no story lines, are obsessed with preaching, use contrived and robotic dialogue and employ none of the storytelling tools filmmakers use to make their work memorable.
Many are the movie-editing equivalent of paint-by-numbers. Stock footage is frequently unoriginal and on-the-nose. There is no story boarding or creative vision and filmmakers fail to use the best of what they have. Far too often they put political messaging before art.
But it’s starting to change. Skilled conservative filmmakers are now producing documentaries of comparable quality.
Part of the credit goes to technology. High-definition film equipment and filmmaking software, such as Final Cut, Adobe Audition, and Final Draft, have shortened the learning curve and increased opportunities for producing a quality film.
As a filmmaker who has produced numerous independent films and TV shows — and studied film — I say with some authority there is more to this than software. There is a deeper understanding of the craft and artistry of storytelling. The status quo is changing — and rapidly — thanks in part to some of these films and cultural changes:
The First American
In addition to running for president and doing punditry on cable news networks, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has spent the past few years as a filmmaker. (In full disclosure, I was involved in producing three of his previous documentaries.)
His most recent production, “The First American,” tells the story of our country’s first president, George Washington.
“The First American” is a unique conservative documentary because it has all the elements of a History Channel-quality program — top-notch interviews with historians, re-enactments, historical sets, appropriate dialogue, action scenes, and compelling narration.
This documentary is a production of Gingrich Productions and Peace River Productions. Gingrich’s director, Kevin Knoblock, who previously produced Biography Channel productions, has been instrumental in producing quality productions with the Gingrichs.
Conservatives Take Back Filmmaking
- on June 7, 2016