Patton Oswalt in conversation with Scout Tafoya

We gathered some of the biggest names in film, podcasting, art, activism, music, and media for Patreon Assembly, an afternoon of storytelling and performances. Through personal stories from their own creative journey, our guests shared how they leveraged entrepreneurial spirit, artistic control and their relationship with their audience to build successful, durable creative careers.

Comedian, actor, and writer Patton Oswalt teamed up with Scout Tafoya, film critic, filmmaker, video essayist, and podcaster to discuss Scout’s passion for historical film, pop culture, and his efforts to make lesser-noted (or even critically mocked) contributions to film and art more visible and valued.

On the uncritically acclaimed:At the 2:53 mark Patton, a patron of Scout, rattles off Scout’s editorial film series. His projects include “The Unloved”, Scout’s series of video essays about films that had no critical acclaim whatsoever, in which he defends them in what Pattion happily refers to as “brilliant ways”. Scout does the same thing in a series about individual actors, gathering their creative work into a film defending why they should get way more credit than they actually get.

On pop culture history:At about 9:30 the guys jump into the idea that there are whole parts of pop culture history—music, movies, etc.—that have been taken and reformed into modern work. Sadly, some studios are also making it very difficult to access historical pop culture. Patton points out “There’s always a lower version of what the new art is.” His example of that process is the evolution of films from black and white to color, pointing out that there wouldn’t be colored films at all without their black and white predecessors. History is what inspires us to the next version of the art, which is why it’s important for us to be able to access and appreciate history.

On shorter storytelling:Around 11:20 Patton and Scout transition to discussing the fact that people are now choosing their media experiences based upon the amount of time they have to devote to those experiences. Patton points out a claim from Martin Scorsese where he argued that a seven-minute Warner Brothers cartoon had all the character development and storytelling you could ever need; therefore it shouldn’t take us 2 hours to convey that kind of information. Scout agrees at 13:11, saying “I think that we’re now going to change the context in which it [storytelling] is delivered.”

Moving forward in pop culture:Patton and Scout finish their discussion with Patton asking Scout how he envisions his own role in film and pop culture moving forward. At 18:20 Scout admits: “What is going to drive me crazy going forward is trying to have people remember bits of film history that allowed us to live in this moment now.” Scout wants us to preserve the ability to be an “omnivorous movie goer”, able to enjoy a variety of film types and tenors without limiting creativity or denouncing something creative as worthless.

Advice for potential film creators:Finally, Patton asks Scout what his advice would be to anyone interested in creating films. The final minute of the interview is Scout’s inspirational message to creatives everywhere, “Just do it! It’s the easiest it’s ever been. I’ve made 29 feature films. You know, nobody watches them, but they exist! You can’t take that away from me!”