The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood

Sonny Bunch's weekly podcast on the future of Hollywood and entertainment.

About the show

Sonny Bunch hosts The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, a new podcast featuring interviews with folks who have their finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry during this dynamic—and difficult—time.

The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood on social media

Episodes

  • Peter Labuza on Antitrust, Hollywood, and Big Tech

    January 21st, 2021  |  44 mins 41 secs

    This week Sonny is joined by Peter Labuza to talk about the past, present, and future of antitrust as it relates to Hollywood. In an age of consolidation and technological advance, how will the end of the Paramount Decrees influence what happens in filmmaking? Peter is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California, where he also earned his PhD in Cinema and Media Studies. His research explores the legal, financial, and political history of creative industries.

  • Chris McKenna on 'Community' and Writing for TV and Movies

    January 14th, 2021  |  55 mins 8 secs

    This week on The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, Sonny is joined by Chris McKenna. Chris was the co-showrunner on NBC’s (and later Yahoo’s) Community, earning an Emmy nomination for his classic episode “Remedial Chaos Theory.” He’s also the co-writer of the most recent series of Spider-Man films, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Lego Batman. On this week’s podcast, he discusses the differences between writing for TV and movies, his winding path to screenwriting success, and what it’s like to work with the great Chevy Chase.

  • David C. Lowery on Making Money by Making Music

    December 31st, 2020  |  52 mins 17 secs

    On this episode of the Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, David C. Lowery — the singer and guitarist for the bands Camper van Beethoven and Cracker — talks to Sonny Bunch about the economics of the music business, the difficulties of making a living as a middle class musician, and why what’s happening in the world of movies may resemble what happened to the music business in the early 2000s. How does TikTok resemble Spotify, and what dangers does it present to the world? Most importantly: How much would it cost Sonny to license the opening riff of “Teen Angst,” the hit song on Cracker’s debut album, “Cracker”? (Spoiler: way too much for Sonny to be able to afford.)

  • James Emanuel Shapiro on the Epic WB/HBO Max Brouhaha

    December 17th, 2020  |  41 mins 14 secs

    On this week’s episode, James Emanuel Shapiro, the COO of Drafthouse Films who started the analytics department at the Alamo Drafthouse and also works as a distribution consultant, talks with Sonny about the epic, amazing, spectacular, disastrous mess that is the decision made by Warner Bros. to release their whole 2021 slate on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously. Will theaters play ball? Does a shrinking window mean Netflix originals might show up on big screens owned by AMC, Regal, and Cinemark? Will anyone want to work with Warners ever again? All this and more will be discussed on this week’s episode!

  • The Nelms Brothers on 'Fatman,' Casting Mel Gibson, and Sequel Plans?

    December 10th, 2020  |  40 mins 4 secs

    Sonny talks this week to Ian and Eshom Nelms, the fraternal directorial team behind Fatman, about the circuitous path to making that film, the vagaries of indie economics and budgeting, the clash between critics and audiences on the film, and the possibility of a sequel on the horizon after its surprisingly strong VOD performance. There’s some spoiler-y conversation in the last 10 minutes or so of the show, so you should rent the movie before listening if that sort of thing bothers you!

  • Tony Davis Returns! Why Does Your TV Look Better Than Most Theaters?

    December 3rd, 2020  |  39 mins 56 secs

    You may remember Tony Davis as the guy who explained to us why popcorn grease is destroying movie theater projectors. (He also had lots of interesting thoughts on 3D and the economics of the theater business, but mostly, judging by responses I received: popcorn grease.) He’s back this week to explain why the home theater set you can build in your home looks about as good as a standard (read: non-IMAX or Dolby) theater. (Whether or not it sounds as good is a separate issue.) And he has a few suggestions for theater owners as to how they could step up their game.

  • Alison Macor on screenwriting 'Top Gun' and 'Batman'

    November 19th, 2020  |  37 mins 17 secs

    Sonny talks to the Austin-based Alison Macor this week about the life and times of Warren Skaaren this week. Skaaren’s battles with the studios and the Writer’s Guild to get proper credit for his work on Top Gun, Batman, Beverly Hills Cop 2, and Beetlejuice are the subject of her excellent book, Rewrite Man. Consider picking it up after listening to this podcast; it’s a quick read and a great view into a professional script doctor’s process.

  • Derek Dye on Family Video and saving our video stores

    November 12th, 2020  |  25 mins 53 secs

    This week Sonny talks to Derek Dye, the Senior Brand Manager for Highland Ventures, which is the parent company of the iconic Family Video brand. The chain is spearheading the #SaveTheVideoStore campaign, which hopes to raise awareness for those remaining stores. Derek and Sonny discuss the difficulties of operating a video store in general, the extra hardships created by a lack of new content coming from Hollywood, and a good way to save a few bucks while you build up your home video library. Plus: Stranger Things, which will feature the store in their forthcoming season!

  • Alyssa Rosenberg and Peter Suderman on post-Trump cultural coverage

    November 5th, 2020  |  47 mins 58 secs

    This week, Sonny talks to Alyssa Rosenberg (The Washington Post) and Peter Suderman (Reason Magazine), his old friends from Across the Movie Aisle, about the world of movies and movie writing post-Trump. Is Christopher Nolan right that Hollywood studios should be looking to foreign box office dollars? Does Netflix have buyer's remorse about their mega-deals with super-producers? And now that The Trump Show is coming to a close, will the world of cultural writing be able to focus a bit more on, you know, the culture?

  • Shannon Moore on Movie PR in the Age of COVID

    October 29th, 2020  |  38 mins 38 secs

    This week on the show, Sonny talks to Shannon Moore, the Director of Field Marketing at Allied Global Marketing’s Washington, DC office. Sonny’s been a working film critic for 15 years or so, and the first question he always gets—after “What’s your favorite movie?” which he refuses to answer on general principle—is “How do you see the movies? Do you, like, get a private screening?” So he decided to have Shannon on to talk about this and other facets of marketing movies.

  • Natalie Metzger on producing indie films in the age of COVID

    October 22nd, 2020  |  37 mins 7 secs

    Sonny is joined today by Natalie Metzger, VP of development and production at Vanishing Angle. She is a Spirit Award nominated producer whose credits include GREENER GRASS, THUNDER ROAD, THE ROBBERY, and THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW.

  • Mark Graham on How to Decide What to Watch

    October 15th, 2020  |  31 mins 42 secs

    This week, Sonny is joined by Mark Graham, the Editor-in-Chief of Decider, a website dedicated to helping solve one of society's most pressing and important issues: What movies and shows should I watch? In this episode we talk about how Mark and his team decide what to cover for Decider and why, looking at how non-traditional audience metrics help determine what’s worth writing about. Plus! Mark offers up some tips for would-be freelancers on getting your work published.

  • Phil Contrino on movie theaters and cinema safety

    October 8th, 2020  |  31 mins 46 secs

    Sonny is joined this week by Phil Contrino, the Director of Media and Research for the National Association of Theatre Owners. Topics of discussion include the state of the movie theater business (spoiler: it’s kind of dire at the moment, given news that Regal’s U.S. screens are shuttering again), the relative safety of moviegoing as opposed to dining out or attending church (spoiler: it’s much safer!), and what role the government might play in helping ensure theaters don’t go out of business.

  • Zack Stentz on Camp Cretaceous, Rim of the World, and Netflix

    October 1st, 2020  |  34 mins 2 secs

    This week, Sonny talks to Zack Stentz (“X-Men: First Class,” “Thor,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) about his work with Netflix on the film “Rim of the World” and the hit new show, “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous.” What’s it like pitching the service that has everything? How is the world of TV evolving as different streaming services aim for different markets? And how can filmmakers working with kids protect them from being exploited?

  • The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood With Chris Yogerst

    September 24th, 2020  |  35 mins 33 secs

    This week, on the Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, Sonny talks to Chris Yogerst about his new book, “Hollywood Hates Hitler: Jew-Baiting, Anti-Nazism, and the Senate Investigation into Warmongering in Motion Pictures.” Chris is an assistant professor of communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the department of Arts & Humanities. He has written for the Washington Post, Hollywood Reporter, and most frequently at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

  • The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood with Chris Fenton

    September 17th, 2020  |  48 mins 13 secs

    This week, Sonny talks to “Feeding the Dragon” author Chris Fenton. For seventeen years, Fenton served as president of DMG Entertainment Motion Picture Group and GM of DMG North America, internationally orchestrating the creative and business activities of DMG—a multi-billion dollar global media company headquartered in Beijing. He is currently CEO of Media Capital Technologies and a Trustee of the US-Asia Institute.