Patrick Courrielche and Adryana Cortez are a husband-and-wife team who have done all the normal conservative movement things. But they wanted to do more. Political analyses and columns only go so far towards changing people’s minds. And they don’t change hearts at all. Stories, however, do. So they launched Red Pilled America and now they are telling long-form tales that reach people’s intellects and emotions.
I had the chance to interview Mr. Courrielche about RPA. He offered some interesting insights on his new venture, the conservative movement, and more.
Paul Hair: Why did you create Red Pilled America and what is your vision for it?
Patrick Courrielche: I considered myself liberal up until about 2009, when I wrote a piece for a then fledgling blog called Breitbart.com. I’d been in and around Hollywood for decades by that time but hadn’t yet been immersed in the upper crust of Hollywood until 2010, after I had my political awakening.
My wife and I got our daughter into what we would later learn was an incredibly exclusive Hollywood private school system. At the time, none of them really knew what Breitbart.com was and in their eyes we were brown people (Americans of Mexican descent) so I think they just considered us liberal by default. Also, if you Googled us at the time our names would pop up next to Tracy Morgan, Andy Samberg, and Sarah Silverman—all people we’d worked with on a web series we produced. So we presented liberal and Hollywood let us in.
While we were in this private school I had a pretty mind-blowing experience that I detail in Episode 1 of Red Pilled America where my family, along with several others, called out another father at our school for getting in bed with other people’s kids. At first our elite liberal community was appalled by his behavior, but he was able to turn the situation around by telling our Hollywood community that we were conservatives. Aside from a very small number of people, the entire community moved to ostracize our family.
My wife and I were shocked by how these people (the same people that control the biggest storytelling machine that was ever created—Hollywood) were completely uninterested in our story; one about two “people of color” that came from nothing but made it into their hallowed halls. It led us to believe that if they weren’t interested in the story of people that had literally fought for the safety of their own kids, they would never be interested in anyone’s story who was right-of-center. So we decided to create a platform to tell our stories.
PH: I listened to Episode 1 (“One & Done?”) a week or so ago. It was indeed a troubling story to say the least. You and your wife describe some terrible events and people. If you had to do things over, would you have removed your daughter from the school and fled from that circle of people sooner?
PC: Yes. My wife and I are fighters who came from some pretty tough environments, and we [initially] felt like leaving this Hollywood community would have felt like running away.
I think our big mistake was not fully understanding how deeply rooted the disdain for right-wingers is in Hollywood. The loudest voices in Hollywood, the leftist activists that we all know, create an environment that results in fear amongst the rest of the community; a fear of being associated with conservatives that could risk all future work. They’ve created a near impenetrable fortress that purges people with right-of-center world views when they are discovered.
Yes, there are some old-timers, like Clint Eastwood, Sly Stallone, and so forth, that are known Republicans. But these people are just viewed as the crazy uncles of the family.
I didn’t understand that dynamic fully until our school’s community sided with a kid cuddler. If I would have known this, we would have left much sooner. Ultimately, we were wrong in thinking these people would eventually do the right thing. There’s a reason why the Harvey Weinsteins of the world have existed in that culture for so long.
PH: Will all episodes of RPA feature such serious topics like Episode 1 did or will that vary?
PC: No. There are some heavy episodes for sure. In Episode 3 we follow a Trump supporter as he is forced into a violent mob by the San Jose police. In another upcoming episode, we look at the impact that illegal immigration has had on the working class through the story of construction workers in an affluent East Coast suburb.
But we also have some lighter episodes coming as well—including one that follows one of the biggest fake news stories of all time and another that tells the lighthearted story of a girl’s first fist fight. Ultimately, our goal is to entertain people with a variety of stories, both serious and fun.
PH: The production quality of RPA is top-notch, so a lot of time and effort must go into deciding what story to tell, organizing everyone who is going to contribute to it, and then producing it. How has this challenge been for you? Is it what you expected and is everything proceeding smoothly or are you running into some surprises?
PC: Thanks. The biggest challenge is finding people willing to go on the record. Once that hurdle is conquered, it is getting them to walk us through their experience. I think the biggest surprise is learning that there are some really natural storytellers out there that aren’t apparent at first.
One of my favorite stories is Episode 3 (“Shocks the Conscience”). [It’s] about a Trump supporter who left a San Jose Trump rally and was forced by the police to walk unprotected through a violent mob. When I initially spoke to the young man, Juan Hernandez, he seemed guarded and the interview didn’t feel like it was going to go anywhere. Then something happened and he really opened up and this incredibly moving story just started spilling out of him. I choke up every time I hear that episode and I’ve listened to it many, many times.
The beauty of audio storytelling is that, like a book, people are allowed to imagine how things look—you just need to provide the listener compelling audio to trigger those visuals.
PH: We know that culture is important. And we know that progressives control it. Yet my experience has been that while conservatives love to complain about this, they don’t want to change it. One of the reasons I no longer consider myself a conservative is that the conservative movement (with a few significant exceptions) had no desire to assist me or promote my work when I started writing fiction. What has your experience been with getting conservatives involved in culture or at least interested in promoting it—including with what you are doing now?
PC: Excellent question. I’ve wrestled with the same emotion regarding categorizing myself as a conservative for the same reason that you express. I don’t even really like to talk about art in terms of being Right or Left—I either like it or I don’t.
One of the hardest parts of being a creator, regardless of your worldview, is promoting your work. There is an enormous amount of media out there promoting art. The problem is that if they smell even a whiff of conservatism in the themes, you are immediately sent to the circular file at the side of their desk.
I had an eye opening experience a few years ago. I was working with a literary agent for a book I was developing. He was no slouch. He represented Donald Trump for one of his books. He told me that he took the president off of his portfolio because he didn’t want to hurt his career in the literary world. That shocked me at the time. The second that a few Trump-supporting figures got attacked in the media after Trump’s election, the agent lost interest in my book.
Maybe the concept just didn’t work for him. Or maybe it was the marketability of my brand of politics. I’ll never know. But if a literary agent is unwilling to include the President of the United States on his résumé, what chance does a Joe Shmoe like me have to ever get anything published in the über liberal literary world?
The raw truth is that conservative media hasn’t given a platform to those exiled from the liberal media complex. Sure there are “conservative writers” who have had some success—but most are writing hardcore political books. There have been very few cultural writers, that have been sniffed out as conservatives, that are consistently published. And it’s largely because there are limited outlets to promote their work.
I’ve honestly been surprised, given the attacks by the Hollywood Left that my wife and I detailed in Episode One (and what we discussed was just tip of the iceberg), that we haven’t received more coverage from conservative media. There are a few people that get it. Rebecca Mansour, Christian Toto, you guys, and a few others that come to mind, but it is really quite frustrating how little conservative media does to promote talent that are creating themes that help push their worldview.
I truthfully hold the conservative movement—not the people—in contempt for its abdication of any and all territories in the creative industries. Conservatives will be branded, wrongfully, with every “ist” in the book and continue to lose ground in the culture wars if they don’t promote talent that helps change that narrative . . . and those losses will be well deserved.
PH: You’ve produced five episodes of RPA so far. Are you having fun with it and do you have some great stories that are currently in production?
PC: I am having fun with it, and we have some great stories coming up. One in particular that stands out in my mind is how a small group of bloggers changed the course of the world’s economy. It is really an incredible and improbable tale that we are publishing on Thursday December 6th.
PH: What are your future plans for RPA?
PC: Our long term goal—and it is a lofty one—is to create an alt-Hollywood for talented creators exiled from Tinseltown’s leftist cult. We really don’t care about people’s politics and are open to all perspectives. But the Right currently doesn’t have enough platforms for storytelling and we hope to change that fact.
We love the audio podcast format and we always want to be in that space, but we naturally see opportunities in syndication, adaptations for movies and TV, books, etc. At this point though, we are really focused on establishing ourselves as a weekly ritual for people looking for an entertainment alternative and we hope to grow it from there.
Header image courtesy of RPA.