The Josh Boone Show

#9: Mikel Dever – Cult Fandoms, Filmmaking & How to Destroy a Franchise

October 07, 2021 Josh Boone Episode 9
The Josh Boone Show
#9: Mikel Dever – Cult Fandoms, Filmmaking & How to Destroy a Franchise
Show Notes

In 1999 the Star Wars film "The Phantom Menace" released and garnered widespread acclaim amongst fans. But ever since, people gradually started seeing the movie in a very different light; the enthusiasm waned, and the critical perception diminished significantly.

This is a common phenomenon that is like a collectively unconscious lens that distorts through nostalgia. That collective experience is known now as “The Phantom Menace Effect.”

And ugh. Well, history repeats itself... and my guest and I today observed a similar phenomenon this year with the Japanese Evangelion franchise's final film release.  

Evangelion fans largely seem to love this new adaption at first in spite of the movie embodying the very things that the series originally intended to deconstruct and destroy. And just like in 1999 with Star Wars fans, this seems like another instance of The Phantom Menace Effect. It makes you question, if they legitimately enjoy this adaption — what did they even like about the original to begin with?

And in this is episode we're going to use this experience as a case study to discuss some larger topics:

  • The journey of an artist.
  • Creative decline.
  • The lifecycle and segments of cult fandoms.
  • Deconstructing what's causing The Phantom Menace Effect.

My guest today is Mikel Dever. Mikel is a writer and film director with a Master's degree in Film & Television Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is also well known online as GoatJesus, where his YouTube channel garners millions of views for his meta-analysis on Japanese animation, most extensively on the Evangelion franchise.

Outside of that, we also dive into:

  • The structure and process of filmmaking.
  • Embracing pain & failure.
  • The struggle of dealing with criticism and online harassment as a creator.
  • Childhood trauma.
  • Self-hatred, imposter syndrome, and staying true to yourself as an artist.
  • George Lucas, and the derailment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
  • The poison of success, and the death of creativity.
  • And much more.

This is a condensed form of the conversation that Mikel and I had focused more on the larger general themes and less on the specifics of the plot of the final movie and this series. If you want the "Evangelion fan" extended version, check it out on YouTube here.

Connect with Mikel on YouTube: @GoatJesus

Music by Kirby Johnston – check out his band Aldaraia on Spotify