Image for post
Image for post
shadowy character

Movie Making as the Enterprise

You may have seen some of my Youtubes wherein I go on about General Systems Theory. When I was fresh out of the university, GST was on its way to a bright future, with a boost from Kenneth Boulding, the Quaker economist.

By the time another Friend, Joe Havens, moved to Portland and started a Quaker Economics circle (my wife and I joined), I had started seeing Economics might be part of the problem.

Economics had become a monopoly discipline over important bread and butter issues, and needed competition, by its own reckoning (monopolies have many drawbacks).

By then, I was seeing GST as a competing discipline, but still with close ties to many schools of economics, the Henry George school in particular. The book Quakernomics would come out later.

The version of GST I’ve latched onto has a lot of movie-making metaphors baked into it, and indeed you might consider it a Hollywood religion, in that I talk about different kinds of “director” and the kinds of movies they tend to direct.

Tragedy or comedy? A little of both? How edgy?

These kinds of aesthetic considerations may seem rather alien to an economist, but at least lets remember: making a movie is an economic enterprise, with lots of cast members, scenery makers and so on.

Now think of going to the moon, or exploring a continent. Whether you have cameras along (we hope you do) and embedded journalists, you’re expending energy in an orchestrated manner involving live, improvisational role playing. That’s theater. That’s movie making.

Establishing the importance of theater as an economic activity, really the economic activity, serves a purpose. We then think of storyboarding as a form of planning, like city planning.

Suppose you wanted to build a new city from scratch. You want organic growth, a living system, not unlike a garden, and you’ll need to storyboard. That’s what the “directors” (I’ll stop using quotes soon) will want and need to see, as they decide how they want to grow their own careers.

Not that it’s all up to directors. We have producers. We have a lot to think about, in terms of whether a plan of action (or action plan) is worth funding.

Military theater (in-theater military operations) pop up as a subcategory of produced and directed operations, another kind of movie-making (energy expenditure), and a major one.


You might be asking yourself, at this point, whether GST has already caught on in military circles. That’s a good question, but also too broad.

I’m more focused on what we might call the paramilitary sectors, which is likewise a sweepingly broad category, given how much the theatrics in our media economy have military product placement as a major or minor theme.

Not only fictional television dwells in this world, but a lot of the paying work. Cast members tend to have training in military skills, or martial arts.

You may have martial arts skills whether or not you practice with munitions.

One of the biggest game changers to come along in GST world, was hypertext. The ability to link story boards together and see each one in the context of a bigger picture, has greatly improved.

Geo-spatial data displays have also improved. We’re better able to anticipate and predict.

outdoor school designs

By now you might be imagining my Youtubes are pretty slick, however my storyboarding around Asylum City (for example) is still in the early stages.

I have to assure my trackers and backers that I’m not one of those mixed up in Operation Summer Camp, my code name for what some of the directors have chosen, as career defining moves.

I published a Youtube disavowal earlier today, also removing my name for the credits on any needless military theatrics. I keep my budget small and my production values humble because my trackers and backers see through cosmetics.

We will add production values when we’re ready for the product placements. I don’t want a reputation for needlessly wasting money. My studio has the equipment it needs, and no more. I’m a no frills operation.

Asylum City, for those just joining us, is a city built for the express purpose of taking in refugees and testing prototype technologies and lifestyles of tomorrow.

top shelf

The city is not a prison.

However the refugees usually want to stay with their families and friends. There is no bureaucracy that threatens to take children away. That’s the kind of nightmare stuff we cannot afford to get mixed up in.

Remember the Quakers. We’re still wishing we hadn’t gotten in to the boarding school business, after the Civil War. A lot of child separation went on then too.

I think we learned something from that experience, but I’m not sure what exactly, as this mostly happened before my time. I learned quite a bit from the Warm Springs reservation museum.

Written by

Lots online.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store