What Is CFTP?
Cinematic For The People (CFTP for short) is the name both of a home made independent internet-based television show and the riffing group that makes the show. Inspired by legends such as MST3K, Disasterpiece Theater, ICWXP, Friday Night Fu, and countless others, we decided to launch our own take on the concept of riffing movies, putting forth a hopefully unique and enjoyable experience for the folks at home. We watch movies – all in the public domain – and make fun of them, and share the results with you at home.
History of Cinematic For The People
Genesis of CFTP
CFTP was founded (the first time) in late 1999 with the goal of producing a public access television show. Following in the footsteps of MST3K’s early KTMA period, and after reassuring the folks at Anderson Union Community Television that what we were doing was entirely legal, we set off. Armed with a couch, a limited knowledge of fair use and copyright law, a green screen, and a dream, a season worth of…. completely unwatchable episodes were forced into reality. Lacking time, effort, technical knowhow, and the tools, the project was placed on the back burner with the hope that someday we would return.
CFTP next appeared as a webcomic, running from 2003-2006, which featured several characters standing outside a movie theatre and arguing about the movies that were coming out that week. Due to a server crash in 2005, most of CFTP’s archives vanished, though some of the comic was saved and appears here.
While on the convention circuit in 2010 for his new webcomics, The Apple of Discord and Apple Valley, CFTP founder Jim (at that time going under the pseudonym “Adam Smithee”) approached several of his fellow webcomickers about resurrecting CFTP, this time as a “live” show that they could perform at conventions. This would let him bring CFTP back into existence, while at the same time increasing the number of offerings they had for potential conventions and making them all (hopefully) more valuable guests.
Cinematic For The People LIVE! began appearing in 2011, and has been a mainstay at several conventions since. See our Convention page for more information.
Evolution to the Current Form
After a successful run in 2011, Mike and Jim worked on a method to practice their riffing over the internet. They brought former CFTP member Jenny back as a consultant, and brought in Russ, Hal, and others to help with the writing. After Google started offering “recordable” Hangouts via the G+ system, they moved from Skype to G+ with the hopes of being able to broadcast their riffing sessions live like a podcast. While this ultimately turned out not to be possible, the recordings of these sessions, synchronized with the movies themselves, formed the first two “episodes” of the new and improved CFTP show.
Following the proof of concept episodes, we overhauled the series (starting with The War of The Robots) and began posting full episodes online and on this site. The first series ran a full 13 episodes, and series 2 is now under production.
Relation to MST3K, RiffTrax, Cinematic Titanic, and other riffing groups
CFTP is not formally or informally related to MST3K or any of the other “big names” out there. We freely admit that we have modeled ourselves after them in the most basic elements, however beyond the essential format (making fun of bad movies) and a couple homage elements (like Dr. Hal Sirveaux) we strive to be our own unique entity, and bring a new and different voice to the world of riffing. It’s one of the reasons that we have opted to make the show outside the structure of the ‘iRiff’ formatting provided through the RiffTrax website.
And in case you’re wondering, no, we’re not named after Cinematic Titanic. Cinematic For The People borrows the cue for it’s name from the 1992 R.E.M. album Automatic For The People. The name was selected because it reflected CFTP’s core goal of exploiting movies in the public domain (and therefore “for the people”), and was actually chosen specifically to separate ourselves from MST3K by a further degree than some of our peers (Mystery Fandom Theater 3000, Mystery Spatula Theater 11, etc).
Also, on a humorous note, in 2003, the remains of the original CFTP also started their own podcast, which they called the “Riffcast”. Copying the format of “Wizard People, Dear Reader“, the Riffcast aimed to release downloadable MP3s of the casters riffing on movies which could then be synced up to the movie itself. Most of the Riffcast library was ALSO destroyed when the Vikingspace server melted down in 2005, and with the formal launch of the RiffTrax website and downloadable MP3s the Riffcast project was abandoned.