This morning I was reading the Hollywood Reporter’s excellent profile on filmmaker Christopher Nolan. I loved his quote, “If you want to make a calling card, you go to Kinkos. You don’t spend three years of your life putting a film together”. That could not be truer when making a feature film.
For the Justice Is Mind “project” it started in 2010 with the script, 2011 with the short, 2012 with the feature and 2013 to the present for the release and general marketing. Simply put, filmmaking is a long tail business. Yes, it’s all very exciting and “cool” to be shooting a film, but these are projects that we are married to for years. By example, my first short film First World was produced in 2006 and released in 2007. It’s 2015 and revenue is still coming in on monthly basis. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the value in a film library. I just have three films in my library, but imagine a company with hundreds of titles all earning some sort of revenue on a monthly basis.
With First World under consideration and SOS United States completed at the script stage, I just passed the 95 page mark on the sequel (yes, I have a title) to Justice Is Mind. The story, is much bigger in terms of scope. Instead of a trial in Massachusetts, we are at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. Am I ready to release the title and logline? Not yet. While I’m happy where the story is going, I always remain “open minded” on direction.
For me writing and developing a story is like playing chess. The pieces of your story might move in a typical fashion at the start, and just when you think I’m going to give you what you want, I’m going to turn it. As Unsung Films said about Justice Is Mind, “And this is when the film changes gear for one last time, turning into a science fiction tale – unexpectedly and viciously.” Yes, there will be a couple of unexpected turns in the sequel. But like Justice Is Mind, the clues start early.
One of the reasons why I admire Christopher Nolan as a filmmaker is because he creates original stories that resonate (I loved Inception). Personally, I’m really over the homogenized films that are created to appeal to the widest possible audience, but don’t tell a story. Seventy years later Laura is still a great film. Likewise with the 1968 production of 2001: A Space Odyssey. That’s what we call long tail!
According to the Hollywood Reporter 2014 box office was down 5% from last year marking the biggest drop off in nine years. Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me. I just know from the audiences that saw Justice Is Mind, they want original stories. I understand the economics of why a studio spends $150 million on one motion picture, but imagine dividing that budget by 10? We know there are all kinds of original stories just waiting to be told. In the end it comes down to what audiences want to see and how they want to watch.
Yes, I have gone to Kinkos. To print scripts.
Since First World: Covenant went live on Amazon, I’ve been rolling out the press release and tracking the results. I was very pleased to see a nice listing on Locus Online this morning. Locus is a fantastic science-fiction/fantasy magazine (both their print and online versions).
A few years ago when the short film version of First World had its premier in India at the First Ever National Discussion on Science Fiction, Locus mentioned the project back then. When developing something new (especially science fiction), every news item and mention helps to get the word out. On that note, I’m developing a page for The Ashton Times that links to some of the press the project has had since its inception. (Inception, now there was a great original science fiction movie!)
As for the space exploration front, I have to say I’m feeling a bit sad when I see these pictures of the space shuttle Endeavour at the International Space Station. We know there is only one more space shuttle mission left and then that program will be retired. But what a program it has been…over 30 years!
The advancements in science, space exploration and knowledge of our universe have increased on so many levels over the lifetime of the space shuttle program. I wish the Congress of the United States would stop complaining about the cost of the space program. It’s about the net result to human knowledge which always translates to more jobs in space and right here on Earth.
Thankfully, we now have a vibrant commercial space program in active operation with companies like Space X, Virgin Galactic and Bigelow Aerospace. Someday these new companies and government space agencies will unite together to form…dare I say it…a federation? But for now they each need to prove their respective place in space. Honestly, what I’m the most excited about is the Skylon spaceplane. Once you’ve seen the shuttle land…well…you get the point.
For those of you that have the Nook (or the Nook applications), First World: Covenant has been “processing” for the last 48 hours. I’ll tweet when it’s live.