Style, Post-irony, Sam Hyde and Paywalls

by Mike Retter

Sam Hyde in the cult TV show Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace

Grizzle grazzle, sloobin sleebin, cloimage zendorth. Carving out space as a medium changes can be seen as either a time of 
disruption or opportunity. This crisi-tunity is a high-risk / high-reward scenario, but skillset and quick, raw aesthetic can be 
the pragmatic risk to create sustainable independent production and forge that niche. But in Adelaide, it often feels like film
culture hasn't discovered the internet.

Unlike Australia, there isn’t a world of public-grants in America. There are a few philanthropic institutions, but it's otherwise 
a vast-majority free market with plenty of private investment and startups. This has bred generations of lean, mean,
competitive productions from Roger Coreman, PM Entertainment, right through to today’s modern web pioneers. All those crews 
were innovative, all opened up new markets with their creativity, aggression and shrewdness. Australia by comparison is flabby 
and not battle-ready.

Get ready for a crude crash-course in going it alone, indie paywalls like Gumroad and Vimeo. Don’t forget to check out the videos 
embedded for some context, their own insight and revulsion.

Promo for HYDEWARS "HAPPY WORLD DADDY" available on gumroad

Sam Hyde found biggest public exposure with his Adult Swim TV show as part of a comedy troupe called MDE (Million Dollar 
Extreme). It was cancelled after Trump was elected despite rating well and Adult Swim executives being strong supporters of the 
creative team. All it took was one Buzzfeed hit-piece shared a handful of times on twitter, written by a student-debt slave. This 
was the purging outrage culture heating-up in 2016, where anybody named would get professionally pecked to death. To any 
serious artist, free speech will always be a high priority. There’s already plenty of built-in censorship and self-censorship. But social 
media has accelerated this and it's taken a major toll on art and consequently creatives have started to cuck, producing a kind of
cuck cinema.

It's a constant state of ever changing sovereign risk that film production is in, very sensitive to outside institutional shocks. You 
can be deplatformed in a variety of ways, not just through social media but the ability to advertise. To remedy this post-Adult 
Swim, Sam Hyde has come back creating new content called HYDEWARS behind a paywall.  It's like a hole-in-a-wall restaurant 
business model, low overheads, no middleman and straight to the consumer. It's allowed the material to have longer, experimental 
forms with great video mediums/graphics. technological indulgences like early Japanese video cameras and character generators. 
This retro texture is balanced by Hyper-modern selfie-stick gopro on the move sequences. If critic Robert Hughes were alive 
today, he would relish Sam Hyde.


I don’t have enough time or space here, but lately I have been thinking about something I’ve come to call "aesthetic zones", both 
in terms of atmosphere and time. The aping of TV formats for the internet comes with resting on the form AND the ability to break 
rules of convention. There’s an established classic TV-language of onscreen text, logos, transitions that were once thought dead 
but are now revived by young-people youtubing. There’s even an established texture to the TV image, things are more pointillist and
diffused by tapes, broadcast dishes and aerials. 

To achieve the retro 3D graphics, Hydewars has hired several full-time artists using vintage software and hardware for certain
authentic results that cannot be emulated with new technology. What’s on the surface crude and brash is actually incredibly 
fine-tuned on a granular level. Hyde doesn't just want you to revel in his crude humour, but also get lost in the sound design and
warpy effects. The editing is a progression of his influential style he pioneered on youtube BEFORE being picked up by ADULT SWIM. 
Now the laborious work on grading, analogue process and variety of cameras used is creating a thick atmosphere for the audience. 
AN AESTHETIC ZONE. So the paywall is working, it's a constant investment in new work from a serious artist choo-chooing along. 
They even publish books and merchandise. When you are a filmmaker, you should have the best commercials for merch like they did 
for this one:

There is one truly out-there transition in this promo for MDE merch


And although you may not have heard of Sam Hyde before, he’s already influenced a generation of new creators who are just 
popping up like 14yo girl SOPH. She is doing surreal news reportage, social commentary, jump cut with green screens and 
foul-mouthed edge-lordery that has already seen youtube take down some of her work. All this does is make people migrate to 
bitchute, where they know anything can be accessed. This notoriety galvanises her career, establishes her personal brand/following 
before she can even drive a car. Boldness sometimes rewards youtubers like bitcoin billionaires. But the fall is just as quick if not 
well managed. One mainstream article linking you in "some kind of scary web" threatens to deplatform and dry up your revenue streams.

But the other threat is other youtubers. People like PORSALIN will critique you with an entire viral documentary focusing on you. In
Sam Hyde's case, he got off with an overwhelmingly positive grade, where Owen Benjamin was judged a cult leader and hack.
So the nimble minded have to roll with these punches. Youtube has this self-corrective environment where lameness is punished.
If you douche-out, you may go through the Revenge Of The Cis washing-machine water-boarding. But the rewards can be big,
this is access to the entire planet/globe/flat-plane, not just ABC iview. Those that roll with provocation, shake-off the thought-police
(like Chris Lilley successfully has despite Junkee's SJW pandering) and keep moving are building an industry like Roger Corman did.
They don’t need Aunty. 


14 year old Soph putting many older "qualified" filmmakers to shame 


2070 Paradigm Shift 

Rackaracka have mastered genre style and made yotube work that excitingly compares with major studio blockbusters in Northern
Adelaide. Eugene Kolesnikov is the former bodyguard for Kazakhstan Prime Minister in the 1990s, when he would travel to the White
House. Now he is studying film production at Adelaide TAFE. He’s hungry for independent activity outside of school and has started 
youtubing his life in the martial arts living in Australia. He intends to take you "into his world". A clash of cultures meets clash of
genres as he goes from TAFE short films, puff pieces to violent experimental work. 

So the answer to the sovereign risk in the market is working leanly with innovation, learn what can be achieved through editing and 
this is most taking place in youtube AND BEYOND YOUTUBE, BEHIND A GROWING SERIES OF ARTIST-RUN PAYWALLS. The high reward
of career choices like orchestrating a fake TED talk called Paradigm Shit 2070 has created a subscriber-base to allow Sam Hyde to 
produce whatever he wants.. It's forever framed his work as antiestablishment and therefore only natural that he would progress 
to going it alone, no studio, TV, no mainstream platform or grant backing - all his own boss. The amazing thing about this is 
that he does 
a video podcast that subscribers receive about how he does all this, what his business and philosophical decisions are,
running a production house that sells a series of programs straight to consumer. And it's edited weird with music and colour...

Which is also a reminder, Bill Mousoulis' PURE SHIT is a journal that anyone can submit articles to. Be the next voice on something you 
have given thought on and your work will be presented in a pre-web 2.0 aesthetic, no flashing adverting or videos that start 
auto-playing for BMW.. Freezing your computer.. VIRUSES .. Rather he encourages freeform literary stuff, I cannot confirm/deny Bill's
claim of early CIA investment in PURE SHIT (like Australia's Quadrant Magazine was created by the CIA in the '60s), let's not go there,
but fashion something, I have fashioned something with this spiel interwoven with youtube videos for instance. Like these beyond
youtubers, PURE SHIT has the freedom to chase the feeling/aesthetic it wants. SUBMIT ARTICLE HERE. In short, the bewildering
age of disruption, both technological and social, can paralyze but also inspire you to do a fake TED-talk because TED is fucking
middlebrow horse-shit. 




Make a fake biography and speak at TED


Mike Retter is a film director, of the indie feature Youth On The March, creator of the zine "Cinema Now", and the Podcast "Meat Bone Express", and part of the Port Film Co-op.

Published July 23, 2019. © Mike Retter 2019