We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Doing it my way, all the way…

And that is exactly what Kamal Aboukhater, the producer of the movie Blowing Smoke, has just done. He has produced the film his way – deeply un-PC screenplay about cigars, men and women using cutting-edge digital technology – and now he is releasing the movie via the Blowing Smoke blog.


So having done all that, getting good people on my side working with me, I didn’t want to become a slave to anyone. I didn’t want to wait for my movie to travel up the long and tedious chain of command until someone finally made a decision to release it.

… There will be no waiting. I can, audience willing, get immediate response and won’t be at the mercy of a movie studio or distributor. One thing I have learned about audiences, thanks to blogs, is that they are not a unified mass of “consumers.” They are individuals, choosing something (like what to watch) for many and varied reasons. Some might want to watch Blowing Smoke because they like cigars, some might be drawn to the poker, and others may want their opinions about women and men confirmed. Whatever the reason, now they can do so easily. And, if they feel like it, they can let me know their reactions and opinions.

And he really does not like the studios, but he seems to like bloggers:

Major studios seem to be the last to adopt and adapt to innovation and trends. And, just like with video and DVDs, they are again missing the boat, unaware of the new possibilities for reaching their audiences. They might have caught glimpses of the future, such as Firefly, Global Frequency, and Garden State. This is thanks to a new band of warriors, better known as bloggers, who add strength to the voice of the fans, fighting for more choice for themselves and, in the end, all of us.

The point is that he can go all the way to his audience, by-passing the intermediaries. Sure, the path is not clear, the journey may be either uneventful or too bumpy, but Kamal is aware of the experimental nature of what he has done. He is enjoying the comments from those who understand and appreciate what he is trying to do. As he said after the ‘launch’:

It’s no longer just about the movie but about an opportunity to add another dimension to the infrastructure that’s already there – the blogosphere and the internet.

It has taken a while to get to this point both in terms of understanding and then realising the idea. I feel privileged to have been part of that process and enjoy working with Kamal whose open mind has been instrumental in this adventure. In return, he can be blamed for my blossoming addiction to cigars, the quality of which would make any cigar afficionado weep with joy. Whilst discussing the final details of the Blowing Smoke ‘release operation’, I savoured a particularly good Hoyo de Monterrey. Who says the days of plotting in smoke-filled rooms are over…

I shall leave you with an exhortation: Boxed BS available now! Get your own! Oh and, BS download is Coming Out Real Soon Now!

cross-posted from Media Influencer

26 comments to Doing it my way, all the way…

  • Keith

    Great stuff! Another nail in the coffin (yeah yeah) of Hollywood.

  • John

    Editor’s note: who the hell do you think you are? Be polite or get deleted.

  • Had I written John’s comment above, both Adriana (who is one of the pioneers of this kind of thing – Big Blog Company, for instance, plus much patient evangelising) and Kamal would have been justified in asking “Who you?”

  • When I first bought a DVD player, I bought an el-cheapo DVD from the K-mart to see if it worked. After going through 300+ discounted Hollywood rejects, I found a DVD that was “Lock, Stock” which seems to have been a spin-off from the movie “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”.

    It was a slimey, English gangsta series on English TV, apparently.

    And the thing is, I LOVED IT. Just something about it hit my funny bone. This sort of technology means that sad geeks like me that get into this sort of thing can get more of what we want. I went and bought 3 more DVD’s from this series. I could probably buy another 15 more.

    As for ‘Blowing Smoke” I look forward to seeing it; if it has Jim Treacher involved there must be something there…

  • asus phreak

    Robert Rodriguez distributed it himself too, eh? John you are a fucking moron.

  • “…if it has Jim Treacher involved there must be something there…”

    But I hope you like it anyway!

  • Findlay Dunachie

    If this is part of our culture that Muslims find repulsive, I think I see their point

  • Curious Reader

    I’m curious, Ms Cronin.

    Do you feel that you don’t need to mention in this post that Mr Aboukhater is one of your company’s (if indeed it still exists) largest investors?

  • Verity

    Findlay – Well, I don’t see the point in adolescent fantasies of mass murder, and neither do you, joking aside. I do, though, agree that this has a subterranean sleaziness about it, though, and instinctively recoil. It’s as though there’d be rooms off subway tunnels, and she’d be lying in there, smoking a cigar. I think it’s creepy.

  • Jim Bruskin

    I saw the movie at a screening a while back in NYC and it was funny as hell. Probably not for peps with delicate sensibilities like some of the commenters here I guess 😛

  • Verity

    To the robust, slyly-styled Jim Bruskin, what is a “pep”? Also, what do “delicate sensibilities” mean to you? Could you let us have some guidelines, so we don’t make prudish fools of ourselves, please?

  • Findlay Dunachie

    Oh – and I forgot: A great way to commemorate Hiroshima Day.

    Back to business, please, Samizdata.

  • Curious Reader: Well, he isn’t. And even if he were, what does that have to do with anything…?

  • Findlay Dunachie: I understand your reservations and I do not necessarily agree with what the film preaches (apart from the cigars as it happens). But it is funny and fast-paced, and really well made. I like that.

    Also, if you can’t appreciate the spirit (and humour), in which this film has been made and now is being distributed, then you do not appreciate the business of Samizdata.net. This is what we do and I am fully behind Kamal’s attempts to bypass the existing models, supply chains and generally disrupt the way ‘Things are Done’. And this is very much Samizdata.net business.

    Verity: The film is funny and there is no need to descend on Jim. Unlike you, he has seen it and perhaps he is being respectful to those who do not like that sort of thing. Fair enough, but please do not spoil the fun for the rest of us. I should mumble something here about ‘not judging the book by its cover’ but it may just be counter-productive.

  • Verity

    Adriana – You’re right, I haven’t seen the film. Although I love funny movies, the poster, which presumably reflects the tone of the movie, would put me off from seeing it.

    I doubt though, that any comment from me, based only on the poster, could “spoil the fun for the rest of [you]”! Somehow, I do not see Samizdata commenters as being that suggestible.

  • Julian Taylor


    The poster doesn’t really reflect the tone of the movie that much and I’d urge you to see it – it’s funny as hell and about as politically correct as Cherie Blair would be if she was smacked up on a cocktail of crack cocaine and Jack Daniels, smoking a 9″ Cuban and driving around London in a Hummer 2 with a loaded .45 beside her.

  • If you find common cause with Islamists over this film, then you may want to reconsider exactly what you have in common with Samizdata and its contributors. I think that this post is a fine way to celebrate Hiroshima Day, if freedom means anything to you at all.

  • Findlay Dunachie

    Decadence may be one of our freedoms, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have the freedom to despise it. To drink oneself stupid may be another, but to deplore it is also allowed. Another part of our culture regards it as OK (or “cool”) for boys to avoid learning anything at school – that’s for girls now.

    Muslims, like anyone, can recognize these symptoms. The “freedoms” they’re offered, to watch porn, get drunk and stay idle at school are theirs, with the benefit that, when the results come in, they can blame “Society” – which, of course, they will rightly despise.

    Libertarians must be careful to state their values. There is a good case to be made for decriminalising all drugs, for example. The dire results of drug use arise more from the methods of their distribution, inevitably by criminals, than from their ingestion. Does that mean that I approve or support drug-taking? Of course not.

    Any conceivable link between the post and Hiroshima is absurd and I’m sure the thought never entered our dear Adriana’s head. As one who realised years later what the Japanese could do in desperation and whose life was probably saved by the bomb, it deserves more thought (and justification) that it’s getting here on its 60th anniversary.

    Perhaps I’ll have to review a book on the subject.

  • Findlay, I don’t know who’s suggesting that you don’t – or should not – have the freedom to despise what you wish.

    As someone who’s actually seen the film, I can tell you that if you are assuming that it is an endorsement of ‘decadence,’ you are wrong. Guess that’s what happens when you jump to conclusions based on little knowledge. It’s regrettable that you see fit to lecture the editors – and your fellow contributors – of Samizdata based on your misjudged assumption.

    And as for Hiroshima Day, it is not my claim that this post was Adriana’s way of celebrating it (another mistaken claim on your part). But – again, having seen the film – I find the link anything but absurd.

  • Actually, can we put the Hiroshima meme to bed? I posted on 5th August. According to my knowledge, the anniversary falls on 6th August. So, I don’t really see how the connection was made by Findlay in the first place…

  • Findlay and Verity baffle me. They clearly have no idea what the movie is about and yet seem to have well developed views as to why it is ‘A Bad Thing’. As I have seen the movie and found it really is a very believable account of how guys talk about women when there are no women present and how they change when one appears, forgive me if I regard views about the decadence of western civilisation as so much tosh. I think some people need to get out more.

  • Findlay Dunachie

    OK, OK, with both Adriana and Perry against me, I give in! After all, I need them.

    But I think I’ll stay at home.

    Excuse: I was only looking at the poster (or whatever)

    Small voice: I still think there should be something on the blog about Hiroshima

  • Julian Taylor

    I fail to see why we celebrate Hiroshima Day anyway – they refused to believe that the Allies possessed such a weapon, preferring instead to believe that they had been hit by a massive B29 strike. It was only when the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, on 9th August, that they finally realised that we had the means to wipe out every city in Japan – no doubt coupled with Oppenheimer’s guarantee to Truman to be able to provide at least 2 bombs a month until November 1945.

    If anything we should be celebrating the Nagasaki Day on 9th August as the day that the Japanese finally came to their senses and surrendered.

  • Findlay Dunachie

    Julian Taylor

    “Commemorate” rather than “Celebrate”, I suggest.

  • Curious Ugly Bitch

    The tone of Curious Reader is verrry familiar…I suspect an Aussie like me…

  • fieldmarshallstack


    You stated:

    Libertarians must be careful to state their values.

    Did you mean:

    Libertines must be careful to state their values.

    Libertines would be that last to ever be careful about stating their values.

    They’re libertine, for goodness sake!