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Meet the firm that's plotting best camera angles to take away your rights

by Jeremy Hooper

The San Francisco based Criswell Associates firm has worked on ads like these:

They also spearheaded a more notorious one:

So why do we drag these old pieces back into light? Well, because thanks to the detective work of gay rights digger Chino Blanco (who's granted us permission to run with his work), we've now learned that this Criswell firm (working with Coyote Films) is also in charge of the Maine anti-equality forces' forthcoming TV spot. Casting director James Stiles (to whom we introduced you last week) revealed to Chino that not only is Criswell producing the "Yes on 1" spot for Stand For Marriage Maine -- but apparently they are not even creating the commercial in Maine, with the firm instead flying the actors out to CA!

Which all leads to the question: Why do they have to try so damn hard?! If their campaign is so righteous and Mainers are so fully in their corner, why can't they do as our side has already done and simply round up a few locals who're willing to tell their heartfelt stories to a lone camera? Why do they need so much time, research, and strategic casting to get their job done? If they hold the keys to "truth," then why are they working so frickin' hard (and traveling so many miles) to piece together something sellable?

The answer: Because theirs is a movement that depends on masking the truth. Like all illusionists, our "protect marriage" opposition requires smoke and mirrors to sell their false reality. They know that saying that they want to ban gay marriage is out of the question, so they can't simply put a camera in front of those who want to do just that. Instead they have to resort to a carefully workshopped script, ominous music, perfectly cast actors (we've already heard about a few interesting auditioners who they've rejected), and an overall steaming plate of bullcrapola to dupe folks with fear.

Our side is more than ready for it this time. And we're convinced that Mainers will see right through this California production, even though the waters are being so carefully, deliberately muddied!

**Check this out: Back in July of 2008, Criswell Associates head Bill Criswell was scouring the Internet looking for gay pride parade footage. Something tells us it wasn't so that he could admire the drag queens.

*Also: Learn more about Coyote Films. They seem to be handling the directorial elements of the commercial.

**More, also via Chino's detective work: Here is an actual audition for the teacher role:

**UPDATE, 9/14: As you can see, all of Criswell's YouTubes have been removed. It's part of their odd and sudden attempt to remove themselves from the web.

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Your thoughts

I'm assuming the 'Measure 10' business is a smokescreen.

And I hope to God they run with the 'out of state people' angle, especially if they're flying in actors from California.

Posted by: Matt Algren | Sep 8, 2009 11:34:42 AM

Matt: Yea, "Measure 10" seems to be the audition script that all are using.

As for the out-of-state-iness: It looks like they are still seeking real Mainers, but are planning to shoot in CA. Which seems unbelievably absurd, considering (a) how gorgeous of a state it is, and (b) how proud locals are of it.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Sep 8, 2009 11:39:25 AM

GAY wrote: " Like all illusionists, our "protect marriage" opposition requires smoke and mirrors to sell their false reality."

Due to virtually all of our opposition being religion-based, they are experts in smoke and mirrors. Since there is no credible evidence for the existence of any gods, smoke and mirrors are the tools used to create Magic Truth.

Posted by: Richard Rush | Sep 8, 2009 2:56:36 PM

Economically, it does make some sense to shoot in California. When you're talking about shuttling around a couple of actors (I presume that they are only going with a teacher and a waitress), compared with a couple of tons of equipment, makeup artists (I'm assuming they will need to pretty them up), wardrobe supervisors (I'm assuming they will need alterations, corsets, maybe some lipo), camera men, lighting directors, set designers / fabricators, writers, directors, acting coaches ... well, you get my drift..

Posted by: Dick Mills | Sep 8, 2009 4:02:08 PM

By the way, how's No on 1 doing? Any news on what's up their sleeve to counter that B.S.?

Posted by: ---- | Sep 8, 2009 4:58:09 PM

How ironic. Here is how the folks at Coyote Films describe themselves on their Web site:

"In this world, Coyote Films is a creative production company - the manifestation of muse in its many aspects: We make television commercials and films that let the eyes and the ears celebrate the differences around us."

Obviously, not all differences are celebrated.

Posted by: Irony much? | Sep 8, 2009 6:52:07 PM

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