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The Federation

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This week the planet Earth lost one of its most beloved citizens – Leonard Nimoy who passed away at 83. Known around the world as “Mr. Spock” from Star Trek, it was Nimoy’s portrayal of the character that led so many of us to the world of science fiction and science.

I was too young to see the first run of the classic TV series, but was soon introduced to it in syndication in the 1970s along with the animated series.  Like so many it was the character of Mr. Spock and the ideals of what “The Federation” stood for that drew me to the world of Star Trek.

Although arguably Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is by far the best Star Trek film ever made, personally, I lean much more toward Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In that film Nimoy’s idea of the “Cold War” ending in space between the Federation and Klingon Empire, was much more appealing. It wasn’t just warp drive towards a space battle, it was a multi-layered story of differences between “worlds” and “species” interwoven with Shakespearian overtones and personal beliefs. When Captain Spock says, “There is an old Vulcan proverb: only Nixon could go to China” that said it all.

As Cmdr. Conner in Star Trek: Odyssey

As Cmdr. Conner in Star Trek: Odyssey

There’s no question that Star Trek has influenced my life.  While I was growing up in a small town, my best friend and I formed a club. Not just one club, but then associated member clubs that grew to 11 in three states – a Federation of sorts. While running my old publishing company we use to refer to it as “The Federation” owing to the reach the magazines had in every country along with its editors.  Perhaps the most fun I had with my admiration for Star Trek was being cast in a fan made series several years ago. I got to the wear the uniform and sit on the bridge of a Starship!

The city of Lunaria in First World

The city of Lunaria in First World

But it’s now in my writing that I create non-linear stories. Like in Star Trek VI, they are involved and branch out from a single starting point. With First World it starts from the Apollo 11 missions, in SOS United States a message in the desert, in Justice Is Mind it’s a mind reading procedure.  Like the Star Trek I grew up with and the later films (not JJ Abram’s), I write stories that make you think. That make you ask, what if? Indeed, In Mind We Trust, the sequel to Justice Is Mind, asks that very question.

So as I reflected this past week on the admiration I had for Leonard Nimoy and the influence Star Trek and the character of Mr. Spock had on me, we all can take comfort knowing that his creative works, indeed all our creative works, will…

Live long and prosper.

Justice Is Mind - The FVMRI process begins

The world of mind reading in Justice Is Mind

The Journey

In the sequel to Justice Is Mind we learn why Wilhelm Miller shot them.

In the sequel to Justice Is Mind we learn why the two runners were shot.

Tonight, the entertainment industry comes together en masse for The 87th Academy Awards “The Oscars”.  Personally, I’m rooting for either The Imitation Game or The Grand Budapest Hotel to take Best Picture.  The one thing I always wonder when I see the nominee list for the Academy Awards, is the journey these “projects” took to reach the pinnacle of the entertainment industry.

The Imitation Game took years to develop. Purchased as a spec script by Warner Bros. for Leonardo DiCaprio in 2011 and then going through some “development hell” it finally came out the way it did. Can we honestly see anyone besides Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing?

Developing a film project can take years…many years. The casual observer of this industry only knows what they see in the theatres and the related award shows. But there was someone, perhaps a small group, that had to champion these projects forward. Had to convince a studio, sales agents and related distributors that their project was worthwhile. Had to convince investors to take the long shot that this project would net positive cash flow down the road. There is no gamble bigger than making a feature film, but on the other side there’s nothing more rewarding when it’s completed and seeing it in a movie theatre.

In Justice Is Mind we learn that Reincar Scientific was involved with United States intelligence agencies. In the sequel, we learn the extend of their involvement.

In Justice Is Mind we learn that Reincar Scientific was involved with United States intelligence agencies. In the sequel, we learn the extend of their involvement.

When I wrote First World in 2006 and condensed into a short film in 2007 to promote the feature film concept, I had no plans to write Justice Is Mind at that time. But when the idea came to me in 2010 to write Justice I took what I learned from First World and produced a short, Evidence, to gather interest in the concept. But from day one in writing Justice Is Mind, I wrote with the idea that I would produce and direct this film on a manageable budget.

This week I read a great story on No Film School “Keys to Film Financing: Keep Creativity in Your Heart, but Dollar Signs in Your Eyes” written by the brilliant folks at Buffalo 8 Productions. Their statement, “By getting your first project made and seen you’ll have more leverage your next time around to tell a bigger story and avoid the pitfalls that early stage writers often find in the development hell that permeates economically challenging films,” could not be more true.  The sequel to Justice Is Mind is a bigger story and will command a higher budget.

It is impossible to time a film for the market. Simply, even in the best of circumstances, from script to screen can take about two years.  But that being said, it all comes to promotion and marketing. And, as my business partner in Justice Is Mind mentioned to me, it’s about having product – i.e. scripts. Because at the end of the day that’s where it all starts.

“In the sequel to Justice Is Mind, acclaimed journalist Margaret Miller now finds herself in the crosshairs of the United States government. Desperate to save her husband Henri…”  Announcing the title and synopsis to the sequel…

…next week.

At the world premiere of Justice Is Mind in 2013. The journey from script to screen took four years.

At the world premiere of Justice Is Mind in 2013. The journey from script to screen took four years.

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