Shortly after I completed First Report, I knew it was time for a holiday. After six months of intense research and writing, it was time for a reset! No sooner did a finish my last blog post than I found myself on Expedia booking a trip to Tampa, Florida. While I love the ocean, I’ve never been someone that can plant themselves on a beach all day looking longingly at the horizon for the answers to life. No, I need a holiday that inspires me (I also have family in the region that I was looking forward to visiting).
Suffice to say I found plenty of inspiration with my visit to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. This is a museum that I’ve been wanting to see for some time. When I visited the region last year, I simply couldn’t get tickets as they were sold out weeks in advance. But the wait was well worth it.
The surrealism around Dali’s work is nearly impossible to explain as each work yields numerous messages, meanings and emotions. They way he looked at life and transposed those thoughts to art is really something to see. While I’ve toured many museums, this is the first time that I made three trips around the galleries to take in the collection. One thing not to miss are the student artists that study surrealism at the museum. Their work is a must see and wonderfully on par with the world of Dali.
Whenever I travel to a new destination, I always look to see what museums might exist around World War II. The American Victory Ship and Museum answered that search. This was my second visit to this storied vessel that saw service in the Pacific Theater at the end of World War II along with the Korean and Vietnam war. What’s unique about the American Victory is that she is a fully operational seaworthy vessel that still sails a couple of times a year.
We’ve all heard about the famed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. But while the “Greatest Show on Earth” looks like it’s being retooled for a 2023 comeback, a visit to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art “The Ringling” is a must see if you are in the region. From the history of the circus world, to the galleries of European paintings, the Ca’ d’Zan (the winter residence of John Ringling), the grounds themselves and so much more – plan for a full and exciting day.
My final destination on this trip was something I was looking forward to since my first visit last year – Kennedy Space Center. The moment you walk onto the campus inspiration is everywhere. On arrival you’re greeted with a waterfall monument with words from President Kennedy – “For the eyes of the world look into space, to the moon and the planets beyond….” It’s fitting that such words are framed with the Space Shuttle external tank and solid rocket boosters in the distance.
Seeing the Space Shuttle Atlantis displayed as if she’s in orbit conducting a mission and then a complete Apollo/Saturn V rocket just reminds me of the wonders that NASA has brought to humanity over the decades. These are people that imagined the impossible and then made it possible. We can only imagine what wonders lie ahead.
But the highlight of my entire holiday was the add-on enhancement I purchased with my ticket – Chat with an Astronaut. This casual get-together consisted of approximately ten enthusiasts like me having a group conversation with an astronaut. It was truly an honor to meet Brian Duffy. A veteran of four space flights, he piloted STS-45 Atlantis and STS-57 Endeavour along with commanding STS-72 Endeavour and STS-92 Discovery. This opportunity to meet an astronaut that offered his insight, experience and enthusiasm for the space program, and all its benefits to Earth, is truly an experience I will never forget.
Shortly after SOS United States won Best Screenplay at the Washington Film Festival, I was notified that the script was nominated for another Best Screenplay award at the LA Live Film Festival. Since I entered SOS United States into the film festival circuit, I have been very pleased with the results to date—14 official sections with 4 nominations and 6 wins. My weekly pitching also yielded a production company interested in reading the script. With a standard release form signed, SOS United States is now being reviewed.
While I remain optimistic for production to begin soon, the reality is that it just takes time to get a project off the ground—especially when you’re looking for investment. When you consider that some very notable films have been in “development hell” for years, you wonder how any film gets produced! I had no idea that the Dallas Buyers Club was written in 1992 and finally released in 2013. Patience is certainly key!
When I think about it, Justice Is Mind sailed along pretty quickly. From short film version to feature was two years. However, from script to screen, First Signal took four years. With First Signal, although we had limited locations in the story, they had to be right. Thus, an extended search. In addition, there were casting and schedule adjustments that also caused some delays. But in the end, the project was completed and released.
Part of First Signal’s release is the continued marketing I employ for the film. In addition to regular social media and pitching for new opportunities, I’m always looking for some interesting angle to capitalize on. Last week I posted a video to First Signal’s IMDb listing titled The UAP Revelation. Created in June for our YouTube channel to coincide with the announcement of the UFO report from the Director of National Intelligence to Congress, the idea was to cross promote the UAP video moment in First Signal with the same moment that was being discussed in the mainstream media.
This weekend I completed up to page 61 of my latest story in the “First World Universe.” With my final pages outlined, I’m hoping for a first draft by the end of October. In all my years of screenwriting I don’t think I’ve ever written a political thriller as complicated and involved as this one. We shall see how it’s received when I start sending it out for reviews and commentary.
As for commentary, a special shout out to Dan and Missy Eaton for producing another successful Military History Expo! From the Civil War through WWII, over 200 living historians (reenactors), three battle reenactments and special guests, brought history to life over this two-day event. It was great to see that nearly 1,000 people attended the festivities. Their expo is a wonderful event to not only learn about military history, but to see it come to life.
In regard to some First Signal trivia, the field you see in the film was the location of the Military History Expo when they produced it in Orange, MA. If you look at the still below, you can see the WWI & WWII trenches that were created for the expo. It was a fitting location for First Signal as part of the story goes back to WWII.