By Ray Pride

Morgan Spurlock and Paul G. Allen’s WE THE ECONOMY Launches On Digital Platforms October 21

Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions and Morgan Spurlock’s Cinelan Announce Full Cast of Actors, Artists and Economic Experts to Appear in WE THE ECONOMY 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss

Amy Poehler, Adrian Grenier, Werner Herzog, Jeffrey Sachs, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and others to participate in series launching across all digital platforms October 21

 SEATTLE / NEW YORK (September 30, 2014) — Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions and Morgan Spurlock’s Cinelan today announced the full cast of over 80 actors, artists and thought leaders who have joined world-renowned directors and leading economic advisors in the groundbreaking new series WE THE ECONOMY 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss. Featuring 20 short films that span multiple genres, WE THE ECONOMY integrates innovative storytelling and technology in order to spark a more informed public understanding of the U.S. economy, while empowering individuals to take control of their own economic futures.  The series will launch across all digital platforms October 21, 2014.

The participating actors are: Bob Balaban (Gosford Park), Annalise Basso (Occulus), Kerry Bische(Argo), Brooke Bloom (50/50), Marylouise Burke (Sideways), Mo Collins (MADtv), Laura Ceron (E.R.), Maddie Corman (Begin Again), Susie Essman (Bolt), Judah Friedlander (30 Rock), Nancy Giles (Working Girl), Michael Gladis (Mad Men), Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan), Adrian Grenier (Entourage), Werner Herzog (Encounters at the End of the World), Peter Jacobson (House M.D.), Will Janowitz (Taking Woodstock), Cynthia Kaplan (Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same), Philip Labes (The Mindy Project), Ivan Mallon (The Ultimate Life), Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), David James Palmer (Deadly Sins), Jimmy Palumbo (The Family), Ben Rameaka (Wolf of Wall Street), Besanya Santiago (The Blacklist), Christopher Spurrier (Four One Nine), Lili Taylor(The Conjuring) and Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy).

“It was a privilege to make a film that brings economic concepts to the public in a concise and meaningful way,” says Adrian Grenier, co-founder of SHFT.COM and WE THE ECONOMY director. “Our goal was to unveil the complexities of categorizing and assigning a financial value to natural capital while bringing this topic to the forefront of environmental and economic conversations. Good environmental policy is also good economic policy.”

Carole Tomko, General Manager and Creative Director of Vulcan Productions, adds, “At its core, the vision of this project is to fuse artistry and storytelling with economic expertise to engage the public in a truly informed dialogue about the U.S. economy.” She continues, “This esteemed group of artists and thinkers galvanizes our mission of bringing innovation to the public discourse about the economy, and empowering people to make better economic choices in their own lives.”

The voice-over artists are: Maria Bamford (The Maria Bamford Show), Billy Eichner (What Happens In Vegas), Shad “Da Beast” Gaspard (professional wrestler), Tony Hale (Veep)Erin Jackson(ExhaleLast Comic Standing), Phil LaMarr (Futurama, MADtv), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), Jayson Anthony Paul a/k/a JTG (professional wrestler), Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation),Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids), Andy Richter (Elf), Rob Riggle (The Hangover) and Sarah Silverman(The Muppets).

“The real challenge was confining the film to less than seven minutes,” said WE THE ECONOMY actor-director Bob Balaban. “Experts don’t speak in sound bites. And funny improvisers don’t necessarily get to the point quickly. But finally we applied a mix of utter silliness to what can be a very technical and serious subject and came up with something we hope will both inform and entertain.”

WE THE ECONOMY also features original music by composers Jeff Beal (House Of Cards) and Moby, and dance performances by Pilobolus, Harrell, Hokuto “Hok” Konishi (member of hip-hop dance crew Quest Crew) and dancers from the Step Up franchise.

The thought of making a short film explaining the tax system made my temples throb. Cover the origins and complexities of our National Headache in less than five minutes? Oy,” said WE THE ECONOMY director Jessica Yu. “We used the model of ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ to create an animated musical with characters navigating the ever-changing ‘tax highway.’ Hopefully the refrain is as stick-in-your-head as any Schoolhouse tune.”

The experts and thought leaders appearing in the films are: Daron Acemoglu (MIT economist), Anat Admati (George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics, Stanford University), Bruce Aust(NASDAQ), David Autor (Economics Professor, MIT), Christine Bader (Author, The Evolution of Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil), Dean Baker (co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research), Jodi N. Beggs (educator and economics professor, Northeastern University), Howard Behar (retired president, Starbucks Coffee International), Jagdish Bhagwati (professor of economics and law at Columbia University), Amar Bhide (Professor of Economics, Columbia University), Gary Burtless (Economist, Brookings Institution), Graciela Chichilinsky (Economics Professor, Columbia University), Peter Coy (Economics Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek), Jim Cramer (CNBC “Mad Money”), Adam Davidson (Founder NPR’s “Planet Money”), Arin Dube (Associate Professor Economics, University of Massachusetts), Marc Doussard (Assistant Professor, Urban & Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Chicago, author Degraded Word), Tom Farley (President NYSE Group), Barbara Garson (Author, Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% Live in the Great Recession),John Steele Gordon (Author, An Empire of Wealth), Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (radio host, activist),Markus Koch (German television financial journalist and nonfiction author), Annalyn Kurtz (business and economics reporter), (Alan Krueger (Professor of Economics, Princeton University), Nicholas Lardy (Peterson Institute for International Economics), John Ling (South Carolina Department of Commerce), Bill Levy (Football official, National Football League), Lawrence Mishel (President, Economic Policy Institute), Ed Murray (Mayor of Seattle), Suresh Naidu (Assistant Professor Economics and International and Public Affairs, Columbia University), David Neumark (Professor of Economics, University of California, Irvine), Mike Pesca (Host, Slate Magazine’s The Gist), Bob Pisani (NYSE news correspondent, CNBC), Trish Regan (Host, Bloomberg TV), Kshama Sawant(Seattle City Councilwoman), Jeffrey Sachs (Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University), John Schmitt (Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research), Cam Simpson (Journalist, Bloomberg), Joseph Stiglitz (Economist, Professor at Columbia University, recipient of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences), Robert Steel (Former Deputy Mayor for Economic Development in the administration of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance of the United States  Treasury, chief executive officer of Wachovia Corporation and vice chairman of Goldman Sachs), Michael RStrain (Resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute), Josh Tyrangiel (Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek), Ali Velshi (Host, Al Jazeera America), Howard Wang (CEO, Convoy Investments, former Bridgewater analyst), Germot Wagner (Lead Senior Economist, Environmental Defense Fund) and Richard D. Wolff (American Heterodox economist).

On October 21st, WE THE ECONOMY will launch simultaneously across multiple platforms including online, video on demand, broadcast, mobile and theatrical, reaching the broadest possible audience, at no charge to the end user.   Details on the full list of distribution partners will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more information about WE THE ECONOMY, please visit

You can also follow WE THE ECONOMY on,, and


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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon