So the question is, how do you prepare yourself to walk into a whirring propeller?
Today in Sugar Land, Texas, Mark Birnbaum and I will announce a national distribution deal that will see a film we've labored on for three years on our own dime not only show up in theaters, sold in stores and on the net, but also become the subject of an unprecedented national grassroots campaign. (Described in today's New York Times Opponents of DeLay Make Use of a Film)
What's not to like?
It's called The Big Buy: How Tom DeLay Stole Congress. It's a documentary.
So now the targets on our backs are starting to form in your mind. You're saying to yourselves, "Gee, I hope these guys have good tax attorneys."
Wait. It gets better. We're Texans. As in living and working in Texas.
We've had front row seats to one of the most blatant political power grabs in American political history. We know stuff most of y'all don't know. That makes us more credible as film makers. And of course, it
makes us more dangerous.
OK, now you're thinking, "That reminds me, how long does it take to get Canadian citizenship?"
But really, the punch line is still coming. Consider also that my partner and I were already involuntarily thrown into the rotating blades last Fall when Delay allies learned of our project and used it as a political weapon against Travis County DA Ronnie Earle. From NRO to Drudge in 10 minutes.
Now, here it comes. As a result of all that premature attention (Thanks RNC!), we had film industry folks contact us about distributing our work in progress.
And the pros we picked to make sure that every hamlet, village and city hosts at least one viewing of our show? They're the same hardworking people that just brought you the Wal-Mart movie phenom and Outfoxed - Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films. In fact, this is the first movie they've distributed that hasn't been produced or directed by Greenwald.
Feeling the wash of the propeller blades on your face now, huh?
But you have to trust us on this, we couldn't be happier.
Mark and I are grassroots film makers. It's just him and me. We're Texas video wildcatters. Freelancers. Entrepreneurs. The revolution in digital technology means you can, as we did with The Big Buy, make a broadcast or theatrical-ready film - if you're willing to not pay yourself. All you need is a camera and tape - and a loving family.
What digital did to film making, Brave New Films is doing to film marketing. They've got a new grassroots model for films that otherwise would never have such a wide audience. We think their plan will get The Big Buy in front of more eyes than traditional roll outs, and with any luck, also come close to compensating us for three years donated labor.
Getting this film in front of people is important to us. It captures, as Jim Hightower would say, "a when-in-the-course-of-human-events moment" in our national life when the collusion of Big Money and Big Government is literally being put on trial.
The Big Buy has no "Voice of God" narrator. A lot of it was filmed at night. There's a political boss named "The Hammer," You're dealing with "hard money "and "soft money." As one account put it: "The Big Buy is not a typical documentary. The film is dark; the music, eerie." Yup. No penguins here.
By admission on all sides, Tom Delay had a master plan: takeover the Texas state house and personally force through a new redistricting plan that would hatch more hard Right Republican congressmen.
He executed that plan in Texas. Delay got 5 new hard right Republicans in Congress. But at least one civil judge and a couple of Texas grand juries think DeLay's plan involved funneling large sums of banned corporate money to the state house candidates that helped put the plan into action.
Meanwhile, those five new DeLay votes in Congress have been the difference in some of the most important pieces of legislation over the last 14 months. The Energy Bill. Budget battles. CAFTA. All passed with fewer than five votes. Delay's custom-made Congress that is still in full steam even after he's had to step down as Majority Leader. The White House was,and still is, an active ally. All kinds of powerful interests are still benefiting from Delay's plan.
Hear that? They're gunning the engines.
But Mark and I haven't gone through three years of toiling in the trenches, of emotional roller coaster riding, of obligation and self-doubt just to leave it on the doorstep at this point. We started doing this because we thought it might be important. We were dead on.
How do you get ready to be sliced and diced? To paraphrase Mr. Earle's example he uses in our film on the eve of his Delay Inc, indictments, "Like the cowboy said to the rodeo rider, take a deep seat and get a faraway look in our eyes." Yehaw.