Posts tagged Judd Weiss

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

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 >>   

Judd Weiss interviewed by Jan Helfeld

While at the International Students For Liberty Conference in DC last weekend, I sat down for an interview with the famous Jan Helfeld, notorious for tripping up famous politicians and media figures with difficult ideological questions. He employs a type of Socratic questioning to get their fundamental principles, which always exposes their contradictions and humiliates them on camera for being inconsistent at best, or hypocritical and lacking integrity at worst. Press secretaries usually pull the plug and motion to abruptly end the interview. His major media figure guests are not expecting his line of questioning, most of the time they get violently hostile when they end the interview, and I’m amazed that Jan is still able to successfully get these interviews with major figures after over 2 decades of this.

So when Jan asked to interview me, I told him to do his worst, dial it up to 10, and find a chink in my armor. I think I was the first person he’s ever interviewed to come out unscathed! I don’t know what all the other interviewees are a complaining so much about. Next time he needs to ramp it up a bit and try harder! I guess my background in philosophy paid off. To be honest, after the fact I realize I could definitely answer the questions more succinctly and articulately, but considering that I was completely put on the spot and I had no talking points ready at all, I think I did ok.

Enjoy ;)

[Another Jan Helfeld interview with me, and more hilarious interviews with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and others after the break!]

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Judd Weiss on The Peter Schiff Show!



Well guys, I got on The Peter Schiff Show. That’s a pretty big deal for me, as I’ve been a massive fan of Peter Schiff for a while. I wasn’t on with Peter, I was on with Neeraj Chadhary, who was guest hosting the radio show. I was talking about connecting with people, and a more effective approach to communicating our ideas, especially when there’s a difference of opinion.

After you listen to my segment, if you’re familiar with Peter Schiff, you’ll realize that he certainly does violate a lot of the principles that I’m discussing, as he’s rather well known for infuriating those who disagree with him. His (lack of) ability to persuade those who disagree with him isn’t what makes him an exceptional communicator, or what makes me such a huge fan. What makes Peter Shciff such an exceptional communicator is that he possesses a legendary ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and powerfully. In that regard he is among the greats, and one of the best speakers I have ever seen. Now I do wish he would stop attacking the character of those who disagree with him, be a bit more considerate to where they’re coming from, I think he’ll be a lot more effective in his outreach. Yet his extraordinary ability to explain these complex ideas simply and convincingly has certainly brought a tremendous amount of understanding to many (me included). I’m so impressed with his ability to articulate, that I’ve learned about as much from studying his technique as I have from studying his ideas (i.e. turn everything into a metaphor).

For a crash course in why Peter Schiff is incredible, check out my earlier article on him here.

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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 >>   

Memories from Freedom Fest 2012

Freedom Fest 2012 - Naomi Brockwell - Money Is Good[Photo Album at the end of article]

This is the most epic set of photos I’ve ever taken, not because they are my best shots, but because I’ve never captured so many living giants in one photo album. Just about every person in every photo in this album below has had significant impact, or clearly will have some significant impact, with many people in our culture. These are the incredibles. And I was struggling like hell to try to capture some human element from them. Which is challenging because they are often so guarded, and usually when they see some guy with a camera they tell him to fuck off. So like the bastard that I am, I made it my task to find a crack in their armor and capture that human moment. Not some awkward defensive goofball reaction, but something true and authentic.

Freedom Fest 2012 - Peter SchiffHere you go my friends, if you’re a fan of anyone in this album, you can see that the legend is a human, like you. Reach out, pull up, join them.

[more info and MANY PHOTOS after the break]

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