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McAfee/Weiss Libertarian Presidential Campaign Videos

 
 
 
Here collected together are the famous 4 campaign videos from my run with John McAfee for the 2016 Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination. We didn’t win, but these videos will live forever, and I’m so proud of them. I’ll also say a few words about the story behind each one.
 

I was stoned one night when I came up with the idea for this 1st video. So excited, I wrote it down immediately. The resulting video is nearly identical to those notes. I was super excited in general, suddenly I’m running with John McAfee as his Vice Presidential choice for the Libertarian Party nomination. John Fucking McAfee. I’ve been a fan of that maniac for a while. A brilliant and bold badass I’ve looked up to for inspiration, and amusement. I needed to quickly show what I’m bringing to the table. And that was this video.

I’m well known in the liberty scene for my photography of the movement. I’m trying to make these nerds look cool. And I’ve gotten pretty good, so I constantly receive offers to fly me around the country and around the world to shoot liberty related events. There are over 25,000 Facebook profile photos out there that are mine. I’ve blanketed the liberty scene with my photography. I’m not a professional photographer, and I don’t have a photography site, I’m an enthusiast, and I just post my photos to Facebook, with some highlights from my archive to Instagram.

This video was transitional. It highlighted the sensibilities I brought to the table with my photography, and allowed me to take them in a different direction with a campaign video. These are my photos, and nearly all of them are from liberty related events. I didn’t want the video to be a slide show, I wanted the photos to fly by aggressively, but the vibe had to be beautiful, and fun. NOT GOOFBALL. Whenever libertarians aren’t in a serious mood, they’re usually goofball. It’s weak, annoying, and it shows no taste, repelling too many who might be interested in getting involved. There’s an abundance of nerd goofball aesthetic that dominates libertarian communication, I’m not going to contribute to it.

I got some criticism for this video from people asking where are the policy positions. I specifically didn’t put up an engineering spec sheet that only political advocates could understand. I was communicating with people who are not us. And I wanted this to feel unlike any political ad anyone has ever seen. This was meant as an extremely introductory video. Can you be into this? Is this Libertarian thing something worth looking into? I wanted to show people enjoying their life. But I did hammer home one policy position, at the end, with 3 words, our slogan: Let Life Live.

I used the song Teen Angst by M83, I knew it was the perfect song for this before I played it to confirm. Just selecting the photos from my archive for the 1st video took me about 2 weeks. My talented friend Janek Ambrose (from Assembly Line Entertainment) edited the structure together, and then I went into Adobe Premiere and slotted in my photos to his edit. It was the first time I ever interacted with a video editing app. As I started to kinda figure out the basic moves around the app, the door was opened for me to create my first campaign video on my own: Vote Different

 

When I came up with the idea for our 2nd campaign video, Vote Different, I was so in love with the idea, that I was telling people on the campaign team that this will be the greatest campaign video any human has ever seen in history. But I didn’t know how to use the video editing software. I just learned that you press “C” for Cut Tool and press “V” for Select Tool. That was ALL I KNEW. Until after I finished the video, I didn’t know that the left and right keyboard arrow keys moved down the timeline, I was clicking with my mouse those damn left and right buttons on the screen repeatedly. If only I knew that, it would have saved sooooooo much time.

I love Apple’s Think Different campaign, and the words to Here’s To The Crazy Ones were like gospel to me. The world would be a better place if more people lived by these words. Our Vote Different campaign video was like my cover version tribute to Steve Jobs. I felt like having John McAfee read those words was powerful in 3 ways. It’s a homage from one famous Tech CEO to another, re-establishing McAfee in that realm. These words are a perfect sales pitch for John McAfee as a presidential candidate. And John McAfee reading these words is a powerful sales pitch for the liberty movement.

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
are the ones who do.

I wanted our 2nd video to bring a lot more attention to John McAfee, but without directly making an ad about him. This was an ad glorifying going against the grain. Which is what we’re asking voters to do. Instead of the ones who go against the grain being seen as powerless runts to be disregarded, I wanted to represent them as the leaders who inspire powerful change. Be a hero. Change the world. Vote Different.

This ad took off and went viral. The enthusiasm was extreme. The video was featured in a Forbes article, and number of Apple fan sites.
I got some heat from libertarians for the space shuttle footage at the end, which I explained in a Facebook post here.

I wanted the video to be gorgeous and inspiring. The song I chose is the opening track from Bvdub’s album Tanto (Bvdub is my new favorite artist.)

My heart was into the Vote Different video, but I decided to completely change it up again for our 3rd video: War Is Hell

 

Our third video War Is Hell was a collaboration with Janek Ambrose from Assembly Line Entertainment. I wanted this video to hit a lot harder. The last video was glorious and beautiful, I wanted this one to be brutal and intense. It needed to be WAY OUTSIDE the bounds of acceptable political messaging.

I picked a heavy industrial track, Salvia by Health, and I created a template with the scrolling text and title cards at the end, Janek filled in the rest with footage. He had done some impressive war documentaries (which is why Janek caught my attention in the first place), so war footage is his specialty. We used a lot of footage from Janek’s Unwarranted Influence documentary, mixed with some modern war footage. Before he got started I asked him if I can use the parachutes in reverse for the ending. Otherwise I told him to go to town with the footage, don’t hold back, except it can’t be grotesque and disturbing; people need to be able to share the video. It’s easy to get people excited with war footage, so we decided to make sure it was disorienting, and not a place you want to be. War Is Hell.

I knew this is a very controversial topic, I tried to be pretty fair. Regardless of whether national defense is a legitimate purpose of government, it’s still a government program, riddled with waste, abuse, and corruption, like any government agency. Except there are lives and limbs at stake. Can we look into what’s going on here? Must we treat the Defense Department as sacred? In the business world I encounter conflicts all the time. The best approach to dealing with them is to not focus on who’s right or who’s wrong (it’s never that black and white), instead focus on our respective contributions to the problem. Are we contributing to the hostility we’re receiving abroad? And then I asked the main question of the video: How much should we spend on killing to make us feel safe? Because I think that’s an incredibly important question to ask. No matter what nation you live in. I wasn’t expecting that question to get screenshot and become a Facebook cover photo for a bunch of people in the anti-war scene.

I felt like we broke new ground in presidential political messaging with this video. McAfee is a badass, and an ad like this suits him. But I felt like it was possible to stretch the boundaries even further. How far can I go? I explored that with our 4th and final campaign video: Exit Politics

 

My heart was really into Vote Different while I was making my first video ever, I was operating at the edge of my abilities. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever created. Now I wanted to push my limits even further with Exit Politics. This video was about leaving boundaries. So I broke as many rules as I could, not because I was trying to break rules, but because I didn’t care about them, the message wasn’t going to be restrained. This video is not going to fuck around. The message would be ruined if the video played it safe in any way. I was determined to make something bold, something fresh and unlike anything anyone has ever seen in presidential political messaging. I wanted it to have impact, and if the video didn’t create controversy… I will have failed.

When making Vote Different I told McAfee and the campaign team how awesome the video was going to be; but I was reserved when starting on the Exit Politics video, because I was not so sure. I told my campaign team that this will be the most “Out There”, kind of Avant Garde, but it should be a wild ride. I really had no idea if the response was going to be receptive, I just wanted to make the most balls to the wall video I was capable of. I told McAfee I’m going hard with this one, and he was super supportive. I only assured him that he knows I’m obsessive to the point that I won’t release something unless it’s amazing. He gave me an enthusiastic green light, and wanted to see how far I could go. Seriously, I love him for that. Can anyone imagine me having the flexibility to do something like this with Gary Johnson??

Exit Politics was a partial collaboration with Janek Ambrose from Assembly Line Entertainment. He edited the 2 minute flashing sequence with political figures and chaos. You might notice similarities in the editing style of that sequence and the War Is Hell video. We were trying to show the political world as a poorly constructed facade barely hiding the ugly truth, and how the media and our educational establishment promotes it all. A challenging concept to pull off visually, Janek impressed me here. I love his snarky portrayal of Hillary and Trump; and the way he focused in on Paul Krugman explaining our capacity to “Collect Taxes and Service Debt”. I told Janek to not hold back, go as far as you can, let’s create something no one has seen before.

Some people criticized our 1st video for being too long at 90 seconds. I was told it needed to be 30 seconds or 60 seconds max. So I made the 2nd video 3 minutes, and it blew up big. Exit Politics finished at 5 1/2 minutes. I was crafting an experience and it’s going to be as long as it needs to be. The first video also got a lot of smart asses commenting that there needed to be an epilepsy warning, when it really wasn’t an issue for anyone. So this time I might as well achieve what I’m accused of. The flashing red and blue colors were used to create an unsettling intensity, we were creating a sort of dreamy nightmare you’re waking up into.

I chose Pursuit by Gesaffelstein for the song, because it’s badass, and I like how it can both command attention but also stay out of the way, while remain driving. The editing of each video follows the song, and I liked how the last part of this song had a dance vibe after a dark nazi like buildup; that was going to be my contrast moment. It was fun to pay homage to Serenity and Simpsons, and I felt like the clips I edited in were perfect. The text sequence after the Simpsons clip was critical. Libertarians use large blocks of text to communicate, because libertarians are mostly intellectuals, but failing when communicating to the vast non-intellectual masses. People need to be engaged. I wanted to show how to craft an experience with text. That you can get someone’s heart pounding, even create goosebumps, with text.

The final segment of the video was compiled entirely from segments of promotional videos for the Voice & Exit Conference and Festival. The creators of Voice & Exit were a little startled by this video, but I assured them this video is a tribute by a very enthusiastic fan, not connected with Voice & Exit officially. I highly recommend their upcoming Austin event in November. Check out my photos from Voice & Exit last year.
It’s the future oriented Voice & Exit material at the end of the video that allowed me to complete the message, and allow this to actually be a positive video, even though it went to dark places. I wanted the video to go dark, to create a strong contrast with the last segment, to highlight a much better way.

It’s not the political process that moves humanity forward, but technology and our vision for a better life that moves us forward. We’re all bound into a system that’s not working for us. It time to explore other paths.

We got some press with Exit Politics. And some love on Adland. I loved seeing headlines like “John McAfee Releases Bizarre Campaign Ad“, there never would have been a headline “John McAfee Releases Conventional Campaign Ad” (apparently The Hill since changed the headline, but you can still see it in the URL). Exit Politics went the most viral. People flipped out. The comments wherever this was shared are so fun to read. They were so excited about it, so many people were sharing it enthusiastically. It could have totally flopped. I broke all conventional wisdom. No one would have advised me to follow those thematic paths. There has never been a Presidential Political Ad like this.

I had an idea for a 5th video that I loved. It picks up from Exit Politics, but again goes in a totally different direction. I think this would have been the best one, and probably would have gone the most viral. It was more solution oriented, hopeful, with an intense but beautiful and inspiring feel. It would have been perfect to start off the general election with, I’m kinda sad I never made it. I actually had 22 video concepts I jotted down notes for. Most we’re just a broad concept paired with a song, some I fleshed out a little. Maybe someday I’ll develop more videos for the liberty scene, unaffiliated with a specific political campaign.
 

The only way I know how to make the libertarian message exciting is to have the liberty to make something I’m excited about.

The whole point of these videos was to show how to communicate outside the boundaries of generic political messaging. Political messaging has become so stale and stifling, I wanted to craft engaging experiences instead of recite from the liberty engineer manual. And I wanted each video to be a distinctly different experience from each other, dropping new templates because I wanted to show libertarians some different ways to disregard the rules, to communicate with more power. These videos weren’t meant to come from a different place, I wanted them to come from a different galaxy. To totally re-imagine political messaging, and to show different ways to totally rebrand libertarian packaging.

I wasn’t making ads directly about us, our campaign, or even the Libertarian Party. I was making ads for the cause and the liberty movement. I wasn’t interested in talking about how great we are. I was interested in showing how well we can communicate the ideas, to those who are not us. This campaign was about having a platform to show a different way, it wasn’t about whipping up votes. We could have done SO MUCH MORE if we won the nomination, but I never had any delusions of the White House, I have no political ambitions, and I don’t give a shit about my political future. So I can be honest, and focus on moving away from the norm in politics. No focus groups. No concern for conventional wisdom. Either we’re fans of it, or we’re not doing it. The only way I know how to make the libertarian message exciting is to have the liberty to make something I’m excited about.

Exit Politics - John McAfee/ Judd Weiss Campaign Video

I plan to write more on the entirety of the campaign at another time. Being a VP candidate with John McAfee was a wild experience, politics is more shocking than I could have imagined, it’s a crazy story that needs to be told.

 

For Facebook sharing, Facebook links to the 4 videos:

Be A Libertarian

Vote Different

War Is Hell

Exit Politics

Kathmandu, Nepal – January 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

My photography “hobby” has been picking up lately. Despite all of my public statements that I’m going to tone down this photography obsession and focus more on business, I just can’t help it. I want to do everything at once. When you’re doing something you’re proud of and excited about, it feels like a crime to restrain yourself. And there was just no way I could turn down this trip to Nepal. I didn’t know anything about Nepal except that it’s north of India and that some very different world awaits.

I didn’t Google or Wikipedia anything about Nepal. Nothing. I didn’t want any movie spoilers, I just wanted the experience to be fresh. I was brought to Nepal to shoot a conference, the Asia Liberty Forum. I’m not a career photographer, I don’t market myself as a photographer or even have a proper portfolio site online at the moment. I’m not a professional, this is not my profession. I’m an enthusiast, I’m always obsessively trying to create beautiful compelling photos to the best of my ability. And that’s exactly what the conference organizers wanted. It’s a crazy expense to bring someone from the other side of the planet out to photograph your event in a 3rd world nation, so I knew I had some huge pressure to make sure I deliver. Click here to see the conference photos.

The photos in this post are an album separate from the conference, purely the scenic photos of Nepal I captured outside of the conference.

(Click any photo to enlarge it)

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Most of these photos were taken in a single day devoted to exploring Kathmandu. I knew I wouldn’t have any chance to explore the city while I was at the conference, so I gave myself 2 extra days in Kathmandu to see and capture whatever I could. Unfortunately, due to some serious incompetence and dishonesty from a tour guide, an early morning hike out in the rural mountains surrounding Kathmandu turned into an all day affair that caused me to cancel my packed schedule of sights I planned to see in my precious remaining few hours in the country. Stuck all day in the middle of nowhere, I was furious to waste most of one of my only 2 sightseeing days, but it’s a lesson in relying on your common sense over and above the assurances of strangers who act like they know what they’re talking about when it doesn’t make sense. Even when you’re in a totally foreign land. But I digress. And I did get cool shots of the rural mountain villages and some groups of cute kids after they got out of school for the day. I have no shame, I just go up to groups of random school kids and ask who wants to be famous. They get ecstatic when I show them cool shots of themselves and their friends in my camera. No one asked for my info to get the photos, they seemed happy just that these photos of them would be seen by people in America.

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

One thing I totally didn’t expect was the weather. I knew I was going to the Himalayas. In January. I packed for very cold weather (I remember surviving the coldest winter on record in Romania), but it wasn’t that cold in Kathmandu. Once I was there I was told that Kathmandu is the valley surrounded by the mountains, and that it’s relatively warm. No snow ever falls in Kathmandu. It felt more desert like, maybe a little chilly at night, but no big deal. I had full body thermal underwear packed, but I wish I brought sandals instead.

I didn’t have time to check out any other city, though I’m told there are some real treasures throughout Nepal. Kathmandu was both beautiful and gritty. The poverty is pretty extreme, people often live on $80 a month. There is trash everywhere. Los Angeles is not exactly a clean city, but it feels like a sterile sanitary clean room by comparison. I’ve seen plenty of stray dogs and cats in other countries, but all the stray cows was actually pretty cool. The warmth of the Nepali people was striking. Everyone was extremely friendly and graciously greeted me with a Namaste and a bow. I’m talking about the random strangers I approached with my camera. I learned to reply back “Thank you friend” in their language, which people enjoyed.

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

The temples swarming with monkeys was a highlight. They’re really cute until you get up close. I was warned repeatedly not to get too close, but I didn’t listen, and one angry monkey tried to grab my camera from me. I was ready to fight him to the death, he’s not taking that. The monkeys are rude. They are all unfriendly little shits actually. I can see why our society has so many problems, if we evolved from these bastards. Adorable as they are.

I took a $200 sight seeing flight to Mount Everest with a few friends. I regretted it immediately afterwards. We didn’t get that close, I’ve seen mountains from a plane window before, I wasn’t that impressed, and I really could have used the sleep instead of waking up so early for a delayed and pointless flight. But when I got back to Los Angeles and saw the photos I got of these majestic mountain ridges, I’m glad I did it. I shot those mountains totally sleep deprived, wishing I was back in a bed instead of a freezing cold plane to nowhere, but I managed to still capture a few shots that are priceless to me.

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

One night some of the conference attendees went out to a bar that had a local metal band playing. We were out on the patio where we could talk, which was my intention so that we weren’t drowned out by whatever crappy local band was set to play. But I was surprised and impressed with how good the band actually was. I picked up my camera and started taking some shots of them. They reminded me of some sort of a Nepalese Deftones. A throwback to 90s Numetal when it was still artistic, but driving and aggressive. And the guys were actually talented, the music was great, and fans were in a trance and pumped. I really didn’t expect that when I heard a local metal band was playing that night. I found the guitarist after the show and showed him a few shots I took, and he flipped out, immediately bringing me over to the singer to show him my camera screen. I promised they would eventually get these, and they invited me to share a joint with them. I got a picture of that too ;)
Pretty cool the places a little device in your hand will take you.

One of the craziest things I saw was a citywide protest that shut down all major streets on my last day there, while I was rushing to get to the airport. Fortunately they were letting tourists through (the protesters don’t want to look like they’re cutting off vital income to the country). The protests were orchestrated by Maoists. Not Socialists, not Communists, but Maoists. With flags and banners of Mao. I’m just going out on a limb here, but it felt like it had to be China’s influence to me. Nepal is safe from out right occupation since it’s so closely linked to the massive India, but that doesn’t mean China isn’t going to meddle. Purely my speculation, but seeing very poor people that live off less than $100 a month carry around printed flags and banners of China’s Chairman Mao leads me to assume who’s funding this…
I WISH I had walked around and captured some compelling shots of the protests, but I was rushing to the airport, worried about catching my flight, and could only get a few imperfect shots as my car sped by.

Anyway, these pictures are worth more than any of my words. This is a landmark album for me, and easily the most exotic photos I’ve ever taken. I hope they help you get a better idea of the experience of this different world.

You can follow me on Instagram here:
http://instagram.com/juddweiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

Kathmandu, Nepal - Photo by Judd Weiss

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How Nathaniel Branden Changed My Life, and Impacted Us All

Nathaniel Branden and Judd Weiss

I’m not the only one who’s had some socially awkward teenage years. Mine were pretty depressing. I wore mostly black, I was hostile when I spoke back to everyone, and I had no friends. I don’t blame others, I was pretty uncomfortable to be around. I was a smart kid, but I was way behind everyone else. The most toxic part about it was how self righteous I was. Clearly being a loner meant I was much better than everyone else. This was obviously preferable to associating with all the mindless sheep. But I knew something was wrong because I was always sad. I was stuck in a hole. Discovering Nathaniel Branden’s books were like finding an outstretched hand guiding me out of a dark hole. When I discovered him I quickly read everything of his that I could find. I scoured used book stores and found powerful books of his that had long been out of print. There’s no question that I was transforming myself as I read his books. Everyone has potential, but too often too much of that potential is restrained and untapped. From an incompetent loner who was uncomfortable even socializing with people, I’m still stunned by how quickly I became a massive overachiever with an overwhelming abundance of incredible friends in my life. It seems strange now since I’m such a public person, but I used to be an extremely private person. I had to rip myself open with both hands, I had to fight against my inertia and change my terrible habits, I had to reach up and pull with everything I’ve got. Finally I was excited to become something more than a disgruntled loser. I saw a path out, and I took it. Nathaniel’s writing laid the foundation for me to create a powerful blueprint for my life that I could act on and achieve with. Which is why I’ll always be so deeply grateful to him. And why I often say that I was raised by Nathaniel Branden’s books more than by my own parents.

Nathaniel Branden Self Esteem Respect Kindness Generosity Quote16 years ago, when I was a young 18 year old, I would drive to any book signings for Nathaniel within driving distance, just for the chance to see him in person. I never really got a chance to talk to him back then, I was shuffled along in the line of his other fans. About 7 years ago I reconnected with Nathaniel at a regular local Objectivist salon hosted at the home of a mutual friend of ours in LA. Nathaniel was in his later years at this point. We eventually became friends. What that initially meant is that he would call me up when he had computer problems and I would try to fix it. When he eventually stopped driving, I started giving him rides around Los Angeles. His wife appreciated it since it would relieve some pressure off her busy calendar, and I appreciated the opportunity to talk with him. I held a few events for Nathaniel at my house to speak to a group of friends that I assembled. I later held large birthday parties for his 81st and 82nd birthdays. By the way, his 82nd Birthday Party here was the largest party I’ve ever thrown at my house, with about 400 well dressed high quality people literally stuffed like sardines into my living room (never ever again, never will I ever let my house get that packed again). Nathaniel Branden Judd Weiss like a grandson Facebook commetNathaniel would sometimes tell me fondly that I was like a grandson he never had. I never lost sight of the fact that Nathaniel was a hero to me. If I could go back in time and tell my 18 year old self that “one day you are going to become personal friends with him , and you will even host Nathaniel Branden’s birthday at your house in Bel Air”, probably 18 year old Judd wouldn’t believe me. Because 18 year old Judd did not believe he was capable of that.

Nathaniel Branden 82nd Birthday at Judd Weiss House

Nathaniel Branden’s 82nd Birthday Party I threw for him at my house. The reaction as I introduced him.

Yesterday I was honored to speak at Nathaniel’s memorial in Los Angeles. It’s not easy for me to let go of him. No one in this world has had a bigger impact on my life. If Nathaniel Branden hadn’t been in my life, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have. I wouldn’t be who I’ve become.

Some people touch many lives, Nathaniel Branden profoundly changed many lives. Millions of lives. In fact, all of us have been affected by him.

Nathaniel Branden IntegrityIt’s very challenging to quickly articulate the enormity of the legend that is Nathaniel Branden. I hope I’ll do him justice here.

A world renowned author of over 20 profoundly impactful books   Continue Reading >>   

Photos: Atlas Shrugged Part 3 “Who Is John Galt” Movie Behind The Scenes – January 2014

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Atlas Shrugged and the author Ayn Rand. So when I was asked to shoot the Behind The Scenes photos for the 3rd Atlas Shrugged movie, I don’t think I let Scott DeSapio (the Associate Producer) finish his sentence before I jumped all over this. It’s not just that I’m a fan, but the idea of having real production value and professional actors to capture was so exciting. I’ve been extremely prolific, and I’ve moved very fast, but I’m still relatively new to photography. When I picked up a Sony NEX-3 four years ago, I first treated it more like a much better quality point and shoot. My friends know I went quite OCD with it, but I had NO IDEA a few years later I would be asked to shoot all these events around the country, and now BTS photos for a movie that will come to theaters and bring my photos to a much bigger audience… wow. Behind The Scenes photos are usually boring, so I was determined to create art pieces at the best of my ability. I had earlier gained some notoriety for my event and conference photos. There’s now probably around 10,000 Facebook profile photos of mine floating out there, being used by people for all sorts of purposes, from Match.com to Speaker Bios to Wikipedia to Book Jackets. And now the Associate Producer is telling me “I want Judd Weiss photos. Can you deliver us Judd Weiss photos?”. Hell the fuck yeah! The pressure was on. Fortunately production was starting the following week in LA, so I didn’t have to wait too long to jump in.

(Click any photo to enlarge it)

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Thank god Sony just released their earth shattering full frame mirrorless A7 right before filming started in January. I had been shooting on smaller sensor APS-C NEX cameras before, and I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the full frame mirrorless, following any shred of rumor and news story for the previous 2 years. I knew I needed to move to a full frame setup in order to take my photos to the next level, and the A7 did not disappoint! I had never shot photos of this quality before, and my love for the camera rose along with excitement from the production team for the quality of photos I was delivering them. I was determined to push past my limits, and over deliver, but I didn’t expect to rise to this level. In January I still had plenty of room to grow, but these photos were a massive leap of a milestone for me. I’m so grateful for that opportunity.

The movie comes out in theaters tomorrow. Some of my photos were used in the film itself, not just in the marketing. For me this whole thing has been a real honor. I hope you enjoy some of these :)

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

Atlas Shrugged The Movie - Behind The Scenes - by Judd Weiss

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Photos: Ephemerisle – July 2014

ephemerisle-2014

Ephemeral 2014 - Crystal Jean Baranak I haven’t updated this blog in a very long time. But that definitely doesn’t mean nothing has been going on with me. I’ve had so much I wanted to write about, but photography happened, and it’s overwhelming the time I would have spent writing. Check out my albums on Facebook to see what’s been going on there. I’m proud of my prolific work, but……

This is it. This is the best work I’ve ever done. These Ephemerisle photos are my favorite album.

And now I’m a little afraid. I almost feel like giving up on photography. I’m not sure if I can continue to put out stuff at this level. I don’t want my future photos judged against this. I don’t know if I’ll match this again.

Everyone’s recent enthusiasm about my photos mirrors my own. I am just as excited when I see beautiful photos come from my camera. I continually feel like I can’t believe this is mine. But these Ephemerisle photos… I have never seen such beautiful photos come out of my camera. I’m almost in disbelief that these bear my name. Some of these photos are a little abstract, but believe me when I tell you those are very true to the experience. I almost feel like maybe I need to make some sort of art installation project out of this. Or an Ephemerisle coffee table book. Or something. In any case, you get the idea of how meaningful these photos are to me.

Most of that has to do with how unbelievably incredible Ephemerisle was. What a visual experience! It was challenging to truly capture the entirety of that surreal reality; but you can be sure I did the best I could to run around and convey what it was like to be there, overstimulated by this new beautiful foreign universe everywhere you looked.

(Click any photo to enlarge it)

Ephemeral 2014

Ephemeral 2014 - Jolly I swear to god, the biggest reason I haven’t been to Ephemerisle in the past is because I thought “Eh, I’m not sure it’s worth all the effort to spend a few days trapped with a bunch of nerds on boats.” Verbatim. That is exactly what I thought. Reality will alter wrong pre-conceived notions.

I think Ephemerisle was the most exciting and fun time I have had, that didn’t involve a girl, since maybe my college days. Better even than that. Ephemerisle was one of my favorite experiences. I loved running around in that crazy dream world meeting the cast of characters you’ll see in the album below.

I’m not saying Ephemerisle is better than Burning Man. There’s no way an event of a couple hundred people can in any way rival the scope and all the amazingness of the 50,000+ strong Burning Man festival. But I will say that I enjoyed Ephemerisle more. I loved Burning Man, but the desert is a harsh place. No doubt the sea can be unforgiving as well, but I was very happy to trade an over abundance of dust for an over abundance of water.

Burning Man is incredible as it lights up the middle of the desert nowhere into an epic glorious city; being out in the middle of the water nowhere, lit up only by the most amazing glowy party you’ve ever seen, Ephemerisle too is a bright beacon of a testament to our evolutionary progress, while floating over the type of early ocean microbes of life that began it all. How far we’ve come, to create such a stunning atmosphere. A cool blend of excitement and serenity. Like Burning Man, being at Ephemerisle confronts you to face both our fragility and our promise that can only be truly seen in an intentional community that has left many of the comfortable constraints of modern society.

Ephemeral 2014

Ephemeral 2014

Ephemeral 2014 - Emily Ironstag

Stylistically people often compare Ephemerisle with Water World, and you can see where that’s coming from, only this wasn’t dystopian. Whatever was rough around the edges wasn’t post-apocalyptic, it was prototype. This is from the future, clearly. These are experiences our grandchildren will inherit when they are our age. But it’s a beautiful future. When the sun goes down, we light up even brighter. Humans evolved from a state of continual starvation in a struggle to survive among brutal nature, and now we master the harshest environments to throw parties of abundance like this for recreation. Humans have no shortage of serious problems, but it’s things like Ephemerisle that compel me to acknowledge our bright future of possibilities ahead.

You might think I’m hyperbolizing a little much. And if I hadn’t been there, that’s totally what I would think while reading this. But there’s a reason for these reflections of anthropological grandeur. Ephemerisle is comprised of exactly the group of intellectuals, business leaders, and artists who are focused daily on the topic of our evolutionary potential as a species. These ARE the people consciously working to design a more beautiful future for all of us. What a treat it is to see one of their early prototypes. And I have to say, I’m in love with this particular prototype they call Ephemerisle.

Ephemeral 2014

I’ve got to thank Simone Syed, Scott Norman, Patri Friedman, and Paul Grasshoff for persuading me to come out to this. But most of all, it was Randolph Henken (President of The Seasteading Institute) who put his foot down and insisted I come out to this. Thank you buddy, so much, if you didn’t push past my hesitation, the world would not have these photos of Ephemerisle. And thank you to everyone involved for coming together to create Ephemerisle. You made these photos. I just captured what I saw as well as I could. Your vision created this reality. Congratulations to all of your beautiful minds. These photos are my humble tribute.

Ok guys, get ready to watch the colors move…………

Ephemeral 2014

For the photography buffs out there, I shot this entire set of photos with the new amazing Sony Alpha A7S full frame mirrorless camera, with a manual Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 lens. That combo allowed me to achieve low light shots never before possible in the history of photography. The Sony A7S was the perfect camera to capture the experience of the dark glowy night that made Ephemerisle shine. Your iPhone would have recorded black smudges. Even the widely acclaimed Canon 5D MIII could not have achieved many of these shots.

For example: The below shot, while not the cleanest shot in history, was shot at 51,200 ISO (!!) at 1/125 second, handheld from a bobbing moving boat in the dark. It was challenging to stand, and hard to see clearly, let alone to take a clean photo. Try to get anything remotely usable in those conditions with another camera setup.

Ephemeral 2014

Again, the below shot is not perfectly clean and crisp, but it was shot at 32,000 ISO from a moving bobbing boat.

Ephemeral 2014

I love how the camera rendered the daytime shots as well. Enjoy the rest of the album below.

(ps. if you’re interested in getting this revolutionary camera, if you purchase it through this link for the Sony Alpha A7S, I will get a small affiliate commission from Amazon, and at no cost to you. Thank you for helping to support this site!)

Ephemeral 2014

Ephemeral 2014 -Bonnie Magee

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Photo Shoot: Light

Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss

Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd WeissHere’s another nude set I shot with Monique. You’ll quickly notice that I went a little bit further with these than the “Shadows” set with her. Well, I’ve got to get comfortable with my foray into shooting nudes. Slowly ;)

These were shot last October, right after our night at the Playboy Mansion Halloween Party. Monique’s outfit was a Diamond in The Rough, which makes an appearance in some of these. Monique and I love this set of photos, and both feel like they should be shared.

I love that “Shadows” set with her, but this “Light” set are some of my favorite photos I’ve ever shot (and I’ve got quite a lot of photos out there now). Both sets are good counterpoints to each other.

Shooting in bright light instead of the dark makes shooting nudes, well a lot more nude. I intentionally let the grain remain for the edge I wanted, and to differentiate these shots from shooting porn (which I have no interest in ever shooting). No disrespect to porn, but I’m trying to do something a little more thoughtful and compelling. A major difference is that most porn embraces the social stigma that nudity and sex is dirty, taking that baton and running with it into far raunchier territory. I’d just rather ignore that stigma entirely and focus on capturing the most beautiful and most captivating photos I can. I’m growing with my photography hobby. Though it seems it’s now clashing with my experience in dealing with difficult aspects of our culture.

I’ve experienced some awful behavior from a world so consumed with insanely twisted thoughts regarding the sin of sex. This isn’t the moment for an articulate argument about it. These pictures are my protest. If you could look at something beautiful and publicly denounce it as dirty, does that make you a better person? Does disavowing that which is attractive and hot demonstrate your virtue? Then you can go ahead, give it a try…

(Click any photo to enlarge it)

 

Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss

Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss

Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss

Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss

Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss

Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss Light photos - HustleBear.com by Judd Weiss

[MANY more photos after the break]

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Photo Shoot: Shadows

Shadows - HustleBear.com

Shadows - HustleBear.comThis is my first time shooting nudes. It’s funny that Monique pushed me to be edgier than I intended to be. This girl is braver in front of the camera than I was behind it. She knew I’d only capture something tasteful, so I guess she wasn’t worried. So much respect for that.

I’m in love with these photos. I was considering keeping them private, but we’re both proud of them, and both agreed they should be shared.

My idea was to create images from some foggy shadowy surreal dream on the verge of disappearing that you’re struggling not to wake up from. I wanted to capture that in a way that was hot as hell and sensual, yet beautiful, edgy, and human.

I’m not pretending to be a professional. I don’t have professional equipment. This is clearly not a professional environment, which is obvious because my cat’s litter box is in many of the shots. And there was no way I was able to keep my damn stubborn cat from walking through some of these, no matter how many times I moved her away. I used my pocketable Sony NEX cranked to the max ISO sensitivity, which did remarkably well in virtually no light, creating the rawer grainier look I wanted.

Hope you like these ;)

(Click any photo to enlarge it)

 
Shadows - HustleBear.com Shadows - HustleBear.com

Shadows - HustleBear.com

Shadows - HustleBear.com

[MANY more photos after the break]

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Photos: Libertarian National Convention – May 2012

Libertarian Party National Convention - HustleBear.com

It’s October in an election year, so you know what that means.

It’s Politics Time!

Embrace it my friends, don’t fight it. It’s good for us once in a while to think about what the fuck the government is doing with our money. Yeah, thinking about this stuff can get aggravating very fast, there’s certainly no shortage of negative energy in the realm of politics. So I actively try to mix in some positive energy into an often very negative world. One of my tools is my camera, which has become pretty much biologically attached to my arm for the last 2 years:
My Sony NEX.

Libertarian Party National Convention - Brett Pojunis - HustleBear.com Libertarian Party National Convention - Jillian Mack - HustleBear.com
Libertarian Party National Convention - Dana McLorn - HustleBear.comLibertarian Party National Convention - Gary Johnson - HustleBear.com

Libertarian Party National Convention - Gary Johnson - HustleBear.comThis was my first time at the Libertarian Party National Convention, and I WAS SHOCKED!! Imagine what would happen if a car company fired all its salesmen and stuck all the car engineers in a room and said “You’ve all helped engineer a truly exceptional car, now we want you guys to work together and agree on this year’s comprehensive marketing and sales strategy for the company within 3 days.” Yeah that’s what the Libertarian Party National Convention was like. All out brutal warfare! Nastier because it’s nerd warfare, and they sharpen their arguments to hit as hard as possible, with no account for the damage and fallout.
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Movie Review: Atlas Shrugged Part 2 – A Big Middle Finger to Hollywood

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 - HustleBear.com

What if you were staring at Jesus as he is lifted onto his cross? Suffering and bleeding as the spikes go in, but he doesn’t turn the other cheek, he doesn’t ask God to forgive you because you know not what you’re doing. Instead Jesus spits blood in your face, gives you the finger, and smiles. Here’s the blood you wanted, now go fuck yourself and die you ignorant fools.

Unfortunately none of our ancestors ever wrote the Bible sequel “Jesus Strikes Back!”. Fortunately we have Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.

Hollywood has come out with some worthy revenge flicks, like The Crow and Payback and some others that focus on retribution for a few violent thugs. It takes a lot of balls to create a revenge film that delivers retribution to pretty much all of society. You know, there’s a lot of shock jocks and non conformists out there trying to get a rise out of people. Silly amateurs. It is rare to see to see a movie that culminates into such an aggressive and cleverly well orchestrated middle finger. Atlas Shrugged Part 2 is that middle finger. Those greedy businessmen, how many times are they villains in Hollywood films? Well, in Atlas Shrugged Part 2 it’s the back room business deals that flagrantly violate the law that generate the fondest moments of empathy. It is the affair with a married man that is exalted, and the unloved wife who is the bitch.

Can this movie leave us anything holy without disgracing it? No.

The virtue in the concept of the public good? Fucking smashed!
Money is the root of all evil, right? I don’t think so!
Love your brother, I mean your actual biological brother? Pffft
Government must do something to help us in a time of crisis? HAHAHAHAHA

When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. – Francisco d’Anconia in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

So yeah, I enjoy the attitude of this film. It holds true to Ayn Rand and her vision for the novel. It’s refreshing to see something so bold and intelligent. These are times of extreme political correctness, honesty is very offensive. This movie shows little concern for that. That’s cool :)

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 - Samantha Mathis - Dagny Taggart Flight - HustleBear.comAbout the quality of the movie… Part 2 is a HUGE improvement over Part 1 in many ways. First off, this doesn’t feel like a TV movie anymore, Part 2 is FAR more cinematic and feels more like a studio film. The cinematography, the sets, the action sequences, much better. Being the middle finger in the face of Hollywood that this film is…   Continue Reading >>   

Photos: Hong Kong – February 2012

Hong Kong - Hustlebear.comTo know me is to know that I’ve had a Sony NEX camera attached to my arm for the past 2 years. I get a million messages a day asking for photos, and I’ve come to realize I’ll simply never be able to physically get to all of them, I have many 10s of Thousands of photos waiting to be sorted through, individually edited, and organized into Facebook albums. Cranking out 2 facebook albums a week isn’t going to cut it, there’s too many. But I will definitely get around to the good stuff. I watermark each photo with HustleBear.com because I have absolutely no intention to ever make a professional career out of photography and figured I might as well bring eyeballs to my blog. I’m not a professional photographer, I’m a hobbyist, but I’m heartened to see so much enthusiasm from so many people over the photos. Judd Weiss - Hong Kong - Hustlebear.comIt’s insane, but I have over 1000 (!) Facebook profile photos out there among my friends. That’s pretty fucking cool man. Whenever I log in I see mostly my photos in my friends list. To date I’ve got 819 email notifications that someone used my shot as their profile pic, and much of the time I’m not notified, and never when it’s a cover photo. So yeah, that helps make it feel like a worthwhile hobby. Since the pics are watermarked to this site, and with all the activity my Facebook albums have been generating, people often ask me why I’m not posting these photos up on my blog.

I don’t have a good answer. It’s a good point.

Hong Kong - Hustlebear.com Hong Kong - Hustlebear.com Hong Kong - Hustlebear.com Hong Kong - Hustlebear.com

Sebastian Marshall - Hong Kong - Hustlebear.comSo here you go, I’m going to start posting some of my favorite sets of photos more regularly. I’ll start with my Hong Kong trip earlier this year. I was there for only about 3 days, but it’s an interesting story.   Continue Reading >>   

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