Andrew Callaghan is catching quite a bit of attention after This Place Rules, his documentary about the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, went live on HBO.
Callaghan is from our neck of the woods: He got into content creating in 2019 with the launch of his first YouTube channel, All Gas No Brakes, where he traveled around the U.S. interviewing random people at conventions and music festivals. He and fellow All Gas No Brakes founders Nic Mosher and Evan Gilbert-Katz left the channel in 2021 after contract disputes with the channel’s producer, Doing Things Media.
Shortly after, the trio launched Channel 5, a Patreon-funded project they promised would be a “completely independent, digital journalism experience.” Content for Channel 5 is posted both on Patreon and on its YouTube channel, where it has 2.26 million subscribers.
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It was in the process of making content for Channel 5 that Callaghan started acquiring footage for what would become This Place Rules, which is his first feature-length documentary.
He was still drawn to making what he calls “party content,” but during 2020, when the COVID pandemic’s beginnings, the George Floyd protests, and anxiety about the upcoming presidential election coalesced and reached a fever pitch, he started attending protest rallies and speaking with people across the political spectrum.
Callaghan and his team spent two and a half months filming interviews with over 500 people, he told Variety. As filming went on, he wasn’t sure exactly how This Place Rules would turn out, but he knew there were two distinct possibilities.
“If Trump were to have won the 2020 election, there would have been massive uprising and protesting and riots in mostly every major city in the U.S. It just would’ve happened, given the political climate of the time,” he explained. “Also, I knew beforehand that if Trump were to lose, his ego wouldn’t be able to accept that, and he would mobilize his followers to overturn the election results. I knew that before I started making the movie. So the movie would’ve gone two different ways, depending on who won.”
HBO acquired This Place Rules in September 2022, with A24, Strong Baby Productions, and Abso Lutely Productions signing on to produce. The documentary debuted on HBO Dec. 30.
You can watch the trailer for This Place Rules below.