A Percent for Greatness
With Justice Is Mind: Evidence having its first screening at a science fiction convention on Sunday, April 8 at Olympus 2012 in London, UK and with both Justice Is Mind and First World being pitched to investors this week, I wonder if it’s just coincidence or happenstance that I’ve been reading more about funding issues surrounding NASA and the space program in general.
It has always been my view, that aside from having the greatest military in the world, the United States space program is by far humanity’s pinnacle achievement. “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon. We came in peace for all mankind.” The wording on the plaque left on the Moon by Apollo 11 was to usher in a new beginning. But even when men from the planet Earth were walking on the Moon bringing peace to another world, our military was fighting in Vietnam to prevent the spread of another war on Earth, albeit a cold one that heated to a regional conflict that lasted just shy of twenty years.
There’s no question that the United States, and other world governments, are having financial issues and are in a constant state of distraction with the war on terror. When our country was viciously attacked over ten years ago a chain of events commenced that by necessity distracted America. As our country did in 1941 and during other conflicts up to 2001, our mantra has always been to stop and defend America first – no matter what the cost. Make no mistake America will always defend its ideals of freedom and democracy and to hell with any country or movement that dares to test us. We can be your greatest friend or your worst enemy – you pick.
But with the United States winding down its conflicts to focus on the homeland, it’s time to focus on greatness again. And that greatness has been rooted in our space program. The historically proven discoveries and knowledge it brings along with the jobs it creates both domestically and internationally are reasons enough to properly fund America’s space program. When we consider that only .5% of the U.S. federal budget is allocated for NASA, something is seriously wrong with this math. Imagine what 1% could bring?
Just as of this writing, planetary science missions are being cut by 20% including a major Mars program. And for the first time in NASA’s history we no longer can launch an astronaut into space. This is not the America that I know. But we need a President that understands America’s leadership in space reflects its leadership on Earth. Obama can be that president. It most certainly won’t be any of the GOP nominees as they are more concerned with abolishing the separation of church and state rather than understanding a multi-stage separation to Earth orbit and beyond.
As President Ronald Reagan said during a state of the union address in 1984, “America has always been greatest when we dared to be great. We can reach for greatness again. We can follow our dreams to distant stars, living and working in space for peaceful, economic, and scientific gain. Tonight, I am directing NASA to develop a permanently manned space station and to do it within a decade.”
In 1993, Russia, Europe and the United States merged their space station programs to create the International Space Station.
Last night I had the great pleasure of seeing John Carter. Although I haven’t read the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series it was based on, as a sci-fi enthusiast, I just had to see it. I’m glad I did. This was a masterful piece of storytelling. From the cinematography, to the acting to the story itself, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In “development hell” for almost 80 years, it’s pretty clear when you see this film where George Lucas got some of his inspiration for Star Wars.
Reportedly produced for $250M but only taking in just over $100M this weekend, it looks like this first entry into the John Carter series may be its last. The biggest complaint by far has been the overall marketing of the film. I admit, I only went to see it because I love sci-fi. In my view, the trailers didn’t represent the film I saw in the theatre. Let there be no mistake, a trailer has all the heavy lifting in the film marketing process—it has to drive sales. 2012 had a brilliant trailer, but the movie itself was an embarrassment.
Marketing by far is the most critical aspect of a film (or any product or servicefor that matter). Sure, you have to cast and shoot the film properly before it’s handed over to an editor to bring the story to life (a good story helps as well!). But you also need to know who your target audience is.
With Justice Is Mind, while I pretty much thought it was going to be the 40+ plus crowd, the audiences at Olde Mistick a few weeks ago cemented that. It wasn’t just the age of the audiences it was their enthusiastic and thorough questions. As networks produce pilots for test audiences, “shorts” can accomplish the same process for feature films.
With my other project, First World, I made the mistake of trying to broaden this sci-fi epic into festivals that were largely drama based. Oh was that an “epic” fail. I found the audiences for First World in the sci-fi convention and festival circuit with even more enthusiasm for the project oversees. That’s why at one point we nearly had a lock on financing from China and Germany. Too bad the economy collapsed in 2008.
So with short films in hand and distribution in place, the pitch process continues to raise funding for their respective features.
Justice Is Mind – With the latest in MRI technology able to scan memory, how do you defend yourself against your own mind when it reveals a murder you committed – one you cannot remember but only a trial from history will solve.
First World – China’s first manned mission to the Moon reveals the Apollo 11 cover-up that mankind has never been alone.
This past week I received some good reports on the funding front for Justice Is Mind only to find another great possibility for First World. Will they lead to a closing? Of course I hope so. But until I hear President Anderson in First World say “I had to learn from the British that our entire space program has been a lie,” and Henri Miller in Justice Is Mind say “How do you win against your own mind?” the journey to feature continues.