RevolutionZ / Next American Revolution Update

The following is a transcription of a very recent session of the Podcast called RevolutionZ. It is a brief update on the experience so far and also that of the screenplay for Next American Revolution – including reporting on the first and so far only serious reaction to the latter from Hollywood.

As of this update, RevolutionZ has About 750 regular weekly listeners. They, plus I guess some intermittent listeners, access an average of three episodes a week, each. That means a lot of people are starting at the beginning and catching up, which is very nice since the episodes are not pegged to news cycles or otherwise dated.

Currently, which is to say for a six week stint that we are new half through, I am doing three episodes a week, albeit, with two of them, on average, a little less long than the usual one a week entry.

The two shorter ones are verbal presentations of segments of the screenplay RevolutionZ. The longer one is of the usual RevolutionZ sort, featuring vision and/or strategy for social change.

I have also begun having guests on episodes, and we have had two guests thus far. Stephen Shalom and Cynthia Peters. The former focussed on political vision and strategy, The latter on kinship vision and strategy. And we will soon have two more guests, Justin Podur and Bill Fletcher, as we take up issues of race/community vision for a new society.

And then, we will hopefully have still more guests, and in time two episodes a week, one just me, and one featuring a guest – though my ability to prepare, record, edit, and present two sessions a week, will depend on getting additional support from listeners.

So far …. almost exactly 100 people are donating almost exactly $800 month.

I was surprised to find that that is quite a success for a leftist podcast begun in the recent past.

I was also quite sad to find that that is quite a success for a leftist podcast begun in the recent past.

My contending reactions reflect my wondering how it is that podcasts that offer nothing challenging and helpful, or that even offer rather moronic and juvenile or completely redundant content – and there are tons of such offerings – can yield their production teams – and they often do have teams of people working on them – much much more revenue than progressive listeners offer projects like RevolutionZ.

At any rate, the nearly $800 that patrons are already donating to RevolutionZ each month is certainly enough to sustain my continuing doing one episode weekly once the Next American Revolution sessions are completed.

However, as noted already, I would like to go to two a week, not just for the duration of the Next American Revolution experiment that will continue for another three weeks, but for every week thereafter, alternating guests and solo offerings.

Now, a few words about the Next American Revolution sessions you have been listening to. I mentioned at their outset that I am doing them – despite how odd an audio presentation of a proposed movie is – in hopes of three results.

1.  That the sessions will entertain and perhaps inspire those who listen.

2.  That some folks will reply with ideas, suggestions, or criticisms, that might lead to improvements.

3.  That someone in Hollywood with the means and knowledge to help make Next American Revolution into a movie might learn of it, listen, seek a pdf to read, and react.

So, how is the experiment going?

I don’t know if 1, people are being entertained or inspired.

I do know that 2 is not occurring, with only a couple of exceptions, which is to say people are not sending suggestions.

And as to, 3, reaching Hollywood, the effort has already caused a very helpful listener to get me an email for a very brilliant and prominent Hollywood writer and director who I then wrote, and who then wrote back, and who next received a pdf of the screenplay, and who then wrote back again.

I will not offer his name, as that seems inappropriate. But I will share the exchange which is exceptional and exemplary, at least in my experience to date, because it is incredibly difficult to get a screenplay seen at all and almost impossible to get a reaction unless you are already a Hollywood figure or represented by one.

At any rate, so you know what is happening with the screenplay that is being described to you in the NAR podcasts of RevolutionZ, here is the Hollywood personage’s email to me, after receiving the pdf, and my reply…

Comment to me:


Hi. I got to look at your screenplay. It reads more like an organizing pep rally than a dramatic story.

First of all, interviewing people about events that already happened is never dramatic, only informational.

Drama needs conflict, and you are presenting something that has already been won.

People have to do things, not tell them.

Many of the incidents described by people in exposition, like the strike at an assembly factory, could be dramatic – the audience has to wonder if the characters they side with will win or lose, there are twists and turns, gains and losses, and suspense about the outcome.

What you have here is a bit like the movie The Shape of Things to Come which is futuristic but pretty uninvolving due to that lack of uncertainty, of drama.

I don’t think this is a movie.

And here is what I wrote back…offered so you know why I am not just pitching the screenplay into the trash bin:

Thanks for replying so quickly.

I agree that Next American Revolution, if made, would not be a movie of the usual sort. Not remotely.

What I am not sure of is can an informational film, with lots of dramatic scenes, but without a story-line star, and without the usual kind of suspense, be worth making supposing it would reach an audience?  And, in addition, would it stand a real chance of reaching an audience?

In this case, can a film which shows the possibility of fundamental social change accomplished without technology and without super people and the like – where the revelation is the how of it and the goals of it, and where the result is positive and not apocalyptic, where the process is the focus, and not an individual or two struggling and suffering and succeeding – attract an audience at a time like ours.

I guess you don’t think so, but I am not sure why.

I know, and I already knew, why you wouldn’t think Next American Revolution can become a film of any familiar sort. What I don’t know is why a film of this very different sort is impossible.

Are audiences such that only a time tested approach (which, however, fails far more often than it succeeds) is worth trying?

At any rate, thanks for replying at all. That turns out to be exemplary in Hollywood.

So my motivation and logic for trying to do Next American Revolution, while bloodied, nonetheless persist.

First, I believe a film about vision for a better future that shows diverse possible steps to win could be hugely informative and inspiring.

Second, I think a film that features successful process and not poignant pathos and that offers historical possibility and not apocalyptic catastrophe can appeal to contemporary audiences who are fed up with lived reality, nauseated by fears of worse to come, and ready to consider better.

And third – well, third is problematic. Just maybe Next American Revolution, improved by a wise progressive director and enriched not only by actors’ talents but also by their ideas for the voices of their characters, can reach an audience.

In any case, returning to my hope to enlarge the podcast RevolutionZ to at least two sessions a week, and to have at least one featured guest each week, to accomplish that will require a bit more listener support. And there are two possible ways for RevolutionZ to grow and develop.

On the one hand, a few more listeners – even just 10% of our current listeners – would need to become patrons. I hope if you are not a patron already, you will visit our Patreon Page and consider becoming one. Every donation helps.

On the other hand, we could also, and even more important in the end, add new listeners. But for that to happen, again, RevolutionZ needs your help. We don’t have billboards, tv promos, radio promos, and/or other costly ways of reaching out. By far our best bet for even being heard of by new people, much less for those people to have reason to check us out, is a personal request from a current user.

Post a review, and it helps. Send an email, and it helps. This is the road to greater effectively.

One last point. I would love to receive questions and comments which I will either reply to directly via email, or, if there are enough, use as a basis for additional episodes…including presenting and then answering the submitted questions in those additional sessions.

I do hope to hear from you soon. You can append comments on Patreon or other host sites, but please also send them my way at sysop@zmag.org

Thank you, and this is Michael Albert signing off until next time for RevolutionZ.

Leave a comment