"Every speech at Wednesday’s RNC, with the exception of Pence’s, was pretaped. And boy, it sure felt that way," says Zack Beauchamp. "There has been some pretty huge news Wednesday. A Trump-supporting, police-admiring 17-year-old is a suspect in the killing of two people during violent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. NBA players launched a wildcat strike for racial justice, refusing to play in playoff games in solidarity with the (peaceful) demonstrators in Wisconsin. And Hurricane Laura, currently rated at a Category 4, loomed — threatening to be 'the most powerful hurricane to ever strike Louisiana.' The result was a series of addresses that felt weirdly dated and off-point, like they were repeating talking points in the midst of new and gripping crises. But it wasn’t just the subject matter: It was the delivery, too. Speaker after speaker was flat and boring, delivering addresses full of cliches in a sleepy affect. Say what you will about some of the wilder addresses from earlier in the week, like Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Rita Repulsa imitation, but at least they were memorable. Wednesday, the speeches were almost entirely forgettable. Not all pretaped speeches are necessarily bad. Michelle Obama’s DNC address, for example, was a tour-de-force. But that’s the exception; the format is hard. Don’t take my word for it; listen instead to the president of the United States: 'Do you want to go to a snooze? You know, when you hear a speech is taped, it’s like there’s nothing very exciting about it, right?,' Trump said last week, talking about the DNC. Maybe his party should have listened."
The aesthetics of the Republican National Convention have been a bland and boring disaster: In contrast to the variety of backgrounds in the Democratic National Convention, the Republican convention seems intent on using the same backdrops. "Did everything tried at the DNC work? Nah. The convention had its share of boring and bland speeches," says Emily VanDerWerff. "But it did have variety. Variety is one of the single most important tools in a filmmaker’s toolkit. If your eye is looking at the same thing, over and over, your brain eventually decides that it knows what you’re looking at, and your mind starts to wander. That’s why the practice of meditation will sometimes involve fixing your eye on a point in the distance, then trying to hold that gaze as much as possible to observe your thought patterns and try to improve your focus. The technique is designed to use your brain’s craving for variety to force you to examine just when and where your mind wanders, then yank it back in line, increasing mindfulness. But in filmmaking, an overwhelming visual and tonal sameness is death to the audience’s attention span."