I was inspired to write Justice Is Mind back in 2011 when I first saw a 2009 segment on 60 Minutes titled Reading Your Mind. The story focused on advances in fMRI technology and rudimentary “mind-reading” that was being researched and studied at Carnegie Mellon University. We had the honor to screen Justice at Carnegie in 2014 in front of the scientists and students that were spearheading this new technology.
As I postulated in Justice Is Mind, imagine the day your memories can be read by a machine. But also imagine the day when your memories can be used as evidence in a court of law. From what I have recently learned that day is apparently here in technology if not soon to be in court. This article in PetaPixel titled, ‘Mind-Reading’ Technology Translates Brainwaves into Photos,” is just one of several recent articles discussing this technology. This article states in part, “The researchers then fed this information into a computer’s artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm which could build an accurate image based on the information from the fMRI scan.” Let us reflect for a moment on what this truly means.
We can certainly look towards many films and TV series on what the future may bring. Star Trek is often referenced as accurately predicting future technology. Frankly, it’s still pretty amazing to me what our “smartphones” can actually do. As has often been discussed, today’s smartphones have thousands of times more computing power than the Apollo era computers. Technology, however, is one thing, but what about the UFO phenomenon?
When I wrote First Signal in 2017, the premise was relatively straight forward. The story was a prequel to the events in First World. Those events were the revelation of an alien presence on Earth. While UFO sightings have been claimed since biblical times, governments have been relatively loath to acknowledge even the slightest possibility of their existence. Oh, there are the countless investigations, public and otherwise, along with more documentaries than I can count, but never before has the government began to embrace the possibility that UFOs, or as they prefer the reference UAPs, exist.
However, over the last year, and just recently, there have been countless articles on the very subject. This article in Space.com titled, “NASA ‘going full force’ to gear up for UFO study,” certainly seems to ask the larger question, “Are they preparing us for some sort of revelation?” Some of the comments on First Signal’s listing on YouTube state, “I really hope this movie is a prophecy” and “It all could be possible and with that if it was or did happen our gov. officials could keep the truth from us all.”
As for whether government officials know more or not on the subject of UAPs, one definitive thing I can say, is that they know about First Signal. One of my marketing priorities was to make sure all the relative agencies knew about the film. From NASA to the Air Force, to members of Congress and The White House, all were on the distribution list.
I truly feel with the James Webb Telescope we will soon learn more about our place in the cosmos than ever before. In First Signal the famed telescope is mentioned in relation to its “future” parking position at Lagrange point 2 (L2). The same place in space that an alien satellite was spotted. Just last week the telescope discovered carbon dioxide on a distant world.
“This is a time to study and investigate.” – Cedric Yonah in First Signal.
From actors I’ve cast in past projects to learning about new talent in the region, since the notice went live I’ve been very encouraged by the quality of the submissions. However, for this project I’ll be reaching out to additional sources for certain roles. The goal of the table read isn’t just to hear the script, it’s also about casting possibilities for the feature film itself.
The character of Cedric Yonah is particularly important to the overall story. Not only does the actor need to be great at his craft, but he also must have a certain look. I can almost say that I’ve received enough quality submissions for all other characters, but I’m still looking for this one. This isn’t exactly “The search for Scarlett” but let’s just say the search is ongoing.
This reminds me of the classic sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still. As I understand from the development process, director Robert Wise didn’t want to have a recognizable actor walk out of the spaceship as it wouldn’t have been believable. But it had to be an actor with gravitas and a certain look. The casting of Michael Rennie as Klaatu/Mr. Carpenter was brilliant.
Casting is not an easy process. I remember the three hundred plus submissions for Justice Is Mind. While I was fortunate to find some of the leading roles from the short film version Evidence, there were numerous parts that I needed to cast. In as much as you want to see a quality audition, it’s also about how you get along with the actor during that brief time. I do believe it comes down to the sixty second impression.
However, what I still don’t understand is how simple submission instructions aren’t followed. When I submit for a project I make sure I follow the instructions to the letter (why wouldn’t I?). If you refuse to follow submission instructions, how are you going to be during filming? I kid you not I received a submission that literally said here is my IMDb link and Google me. Sorry, if you can’t submit a required headshot, resume and link to your reel you just get relegated to archive.
But this is just part of the development process. Every project takes on a life of its own. I always find it interesting where a project gets its start. First Signal started at the Naval Justice School. But Justice Is Mind actually got its start when I wrote the sequel to First World and was researching mind reading technology. Thus my discovery of the 60 Minutes story from 2009 on thought identification being developed at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Four years after that story Justice Is Mind screened at CMU.