As I approached The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center Friday night for First Signal’s outdoor screening (postponed from July 9 due to weather), I couldn’t help but feel a wave of nostalgia as I got closer. For it was at this location that First Signal began production two years earlier.
After I parked the car, I wandered over to where they were setting up and then soon found myself inside the museum. Naturally, I walked into the room where the majority of filming took place. With the exception of it being set up for some sort of classroom instruction, the room was the same. Oddly, I found myself looking around for the table that we sat the projector on. Why it mattered after we wrapped after two years, who knows! The point being is that it was a nice memory.
Joining me for this screening was Daniel Groom, Director of Photography; Paul Noonan, General John Reager and Yefim Somin, President Sergei Tupolov. I hadn’t seen Yefim since we wrapped at the Discovery Center two years ago. It was good to catch up with everyone and reminisce a bit. When you’re making a film, it’s almost impossible to predict where it will end up after it’s completed. Having First Signal screen where we filmed it made for a great evening. My thanks to the Discovery Center for making it possible, to those that attended and to Senator Shaheen for her words of support.
After the screening I was talking about a new story in The First World Universe that came to me about a week ago. I have the name, logline and even the ending. Without giving away too much at this stage, think All the President’s Men meets Defense of the Realm. The story centers around the following line that Elisabeth Seward, the National Security Advisor, says in First Signal, “But there will be a record of this meeting. Simply put there is a hole in the President’s schedule because she is here. How long do you think it will take before some intrepid reporter asks questions that I’m just going to guess you don’t want answered?” If all goes well, I’ll have a draft completed by the end of the year.
Yesterday I posted the last installment of First Signal’s actor interviews. Having rewatched each installment for social media and posting purposes, I have to say we covered a lot of ground. Sure, we talked about the process of creating First Signal, but it was the discussions that centered around the entertainment industry, the craft of acting and directing along with the contemporary issues of the times we are in, that I really believe gives the series legs.
As First Signal enters the next phase of marketing and distribution, it’s time to look forward to bring new projects to life.
The Massachusetts premiere of First Signal at The Strand Theatre could not have gone better. As this theatre has screened the majority of my films to their enthusiastic audiences, it’s like returning home. Aside from the superior picture and sound quality at The Strand, their customers are true film aficionados.
One, prior to the start of the film, mentioned to me how much she loved independent film and was particularly excited to see something that was produced locally. Another woman and her grandson, who both love science fiction, asked me if they could have the poster that was on display in the lobby as a souvenir. When she asked if we would sign it, Chris Goodwin (who plays James Griffin in First Signal) and I were more than happy to oblige. Honestly, it’s these types of moments that you remember with fondness—people that simply appreciate the work that goes into making a motion picture.
The next leg on the “First Signal Tour” has us returning to the place where it all started – The McAuliffe-Shepard Discover Center. This coming Friday at 9 PM outside under the stars, First Signal will have a free screening to the public. It seems fitting that a film about an alien civilization from another world is exhibited among a sea of them. Who knows, perhaps like the story in First Signal, one of them will be looking.
I still remember the day when I first visited the Discovery Center, from seeing the 1:1 replica of the Mercury rocket soaring to the heavens outside to the innovative exhibits inside that were all things space and terrestrial science. When one conversation led to another and we found ourselves filming in May 2019, the entire atmosphere of the Discovery Center fit perfectly into the First Signal story. As a filmmaker, I could not have asked for more and will be forever grateful to those at the Discovery Center for providing the backdrop in the world of First Signal. To learn more about this Friday’s screening, please visit the Union Leader’s story “Sci-Fi film ‘First Signal’ takes over McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.”
And while First Signal will be streaming to the stars, across this world the film is being represented by our distributor Indie Rights at the Marché du Film (Cannes). This is my first film represented by a distributor at this market. Will First Signal see some additional sales in foreign markets? Perhaps some new distribution opportunities? Only time will tell of course. But the important thing is that First Signal is there.
As a filmmaker, we always want more for our films, but I can honestly say that I’m more than thrilled to see the accolades, media, distribution and theatrical opportunities that have already been bestowed on First Signal. My thanks to all that have made it possible.