Back from the Archives
It's been slow posting here... I was out in LA doing more archival research for the Project, and since my return have been catching up, attending to sundry details. I will say it was great to be back in the archives (USC, UCLA and Margaret Herrick special collections). There's something very humbling about coming face to face with the emprical. I don't mean that in any positivist sense of the empirical merely speaking for itself. Rather, one comes into these projects with a hypothesis about how things work, how industry decisions were made, or how extra-industrial decisions impacted filmmakers. Only - and I'm probably merely stating the obvious to those who've done historical or any detailed research - you almost never find the smoking gun that confirms your existing hypothesis. Indead, the truly interesting details tend to be tangents - in my case the advertising budgets and marketing strategy reports for the social problem - and at some point you a) alter your initial hypothesis to make sense of the facts as they actually exist 0r b) focus on the tangent as the main thing. In either case, you have surrender to a different pace of discovery than you come in expecting.