... Jacobin’s Meagan Day talked with Burton and Hayes about busting American class myths, creating a new socialist vocabulary, preparing for Bernie 2020, and about Means TV — a “post-capitalist subscription-based streaming service” coming in 2019.
MD: Everyone seems to agree that the Ocasio-Cortez ad was not usual campaign fare. What made it different?
NH: It’s socialism. This ad performed well because it communicated a working-class story with a socialist politics behind it.
We spent a lot of time in pre-production talking through her whole story, talking about her politics, about the community she’d represent and what it’s like to live there. We wanted to root the ad in that community, so people would watch it and recognize it as the place they live, addressing the issues they face, like how insanely expensive it is to raise a family in New York City.
NB: The reason we were so struck by her in the first place is that she was just a normal working-class person who shared our politics. She’s our age. She lives in an apartment that has the same shitty yellow tile that mine does. And she’s someone whose experience is incredibly important to her politics, so we tried to create an authentic portrayal of that experience, and give it a pace and an energy that would make people want to watch the whole thing.
MD: The goal of a typical campaign ad is usually just media saturation and brand recognition. Most campaign ads are devoid of political content, because the candidates and the filmmakers treat them as marketing, not as political messaging. Where does your approach differ?
NB: Yeah, a typical campaign ad is just like thirty seconds, three vague talking points. Sometimes an emotional scene, but there’s never any substance behind the words that they’re saying. Even the more substantial ones are often just using platitudes.
We’re a generation who, or at least I did, totally bought into the Obama hope-and-change messaging. That’s what consultants tell political candidates to do, to use this flat language. We’re trying to stay away from that. We want to talk about actual things that could change people’s lives ...
Read full interview at Jacobin