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.
It should come as no surprise that I monitor First Signal (and Justice Is Mind) on a regular basis. This involves checking their respective IMDb and social pages along with various searches. In today’s world, it’s too easy for a page to get hacked, manipulated or commented on that requires a correction. But then there are the moments that yield good news.
This past week First Signal went live on Vudu. To quote from Wikipedia, “Vudu is an American digital video store and streaming service owned by Fandango Media.” Fandango, and their subsidiary Rotten Tomatoes, are leading services of film listings, ticket sales, review aggregators, streaming services and related information. With Vudu’s listing, this brings First Signal’s platforms to six representing global reach.
As I reflect on the reach that First Signal now has, I was reminded about a day on set when one of the actors asked me if First Signal would get released. Sadly, in the independent film world, it happens more often than not, that films are not released. I promised this actor that as my name was at the top of this film, it would get a release.
When we learned last week about the cancellation of Batgirl with its $90 million budget, the general response was, “They already spent $90 million just release it to digital.” First, there are countless reasons why this film may never see the light of day. I believe The Critical Drinker hit the nail on the head on why Batgirl was shelved. If the film was going to get a theatrical release, they would have to spend tens of millions more to market it. For a digital release, the general reasoning was quality of the film from test audiences. In their view, the studio would rather take a tax-deductible loss over bad reviews, audience displeasure and a very probable public box office bomb. But whatever the true reason is, film cancellations do happen.
For me, I truly believe this process starts with a sound script that when reviewed is looked at for the entertainment value, not the delivering of a message or particular point of view. The latter should be relegated to documentaries, when you know from the get-go what you’re getting into. Audiences are particular. Their currency in cash and promotion is invaluable. As a screenwriter and filmmaker, my goal is to entertain across a targeted genre and demographic. As Samuel Goldwyn famously said, “If I want to send a message I’ll use Western Union.”
A few days ago I released my Director Reel. You can imagine the challenge in reviewing hours of footage and seeking to select scenes that represent my work. At the end of the day, this is an industry of opinion, review and judgment. We aim to entertain with the ideas we create in our minds. The work in bringing these ideas to life is a challenge like none other. But when everything comes together from the completion of the film to embracement of audiences, it is a challenge worth accepting.