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Posts tagged “Star Trek

The Launch

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SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy lifts off from pad 39A at the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

I programmed SpaceX’s launch date into my calendar. The upcoming launch of the Falcon Heavy was an event I wasn’t going to miss! But as can often happen with a launch, the time (and even date) can change at a moment’s notice. When the launch time did change, I went to the gym. As the time ticked down, most of the news oriented stations started to report on what was either going to be an historic success or a catastrophic failure.

I soon found myself paying attention to who was watching and who wasn’t. Yes, there were a good number of people watching (particularly in my age group). But then there were those that just didn’t seem to care. Judge Judy and Dr. Phil are fine enough shows, but you only get one chance at seeing history in the making and remembering where you were at the time. While I remember seeing the later Apollo missions on TV, at four years old I was a bit too young to remember Apollo 11.  To this day I still remember those grainy black and white images. But today’s broadcast was being carried in vivid HD.

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Moonbase Alpha in Space: 1999

Watching the Falcon Heavy liftoff from the same pad as Apollo 11 was epic. It reminded me of what’s possible when we join together to create greatness. It’s this type of science, cooperation, ingenuity and forward thinking that makes this country great not myopic politicians. Although the political winds of the Cold War set the space program on the course it achieved in the 1950s and 60s, it’s private enterprise that will take us on the next step of this final frontier.

There’s no question that my following of the space program led to my interest in science fiction. While the 60s had Star Trek (again, a bit before my time), my introduction to science fiction was in the 70s with such programs as UFO and Space: 1999. Each of those programs had a base on the Moon along with a fleet of ships.

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The thought identification process in Justice Is Mind.

Launching oneself into the world of screenwriting also carries its own set of risks (but not nearly as much as an actual rocket launch!), the primary one being the risk of getting a story wrong. Writing an original story is not an easy process. It takes time and research. When I set out to write a story, I usually do some baseline research so when I start to write I don’t need to stop until I reach that next point of needed additional research.  When I wrote Justice Is Mind the first phase of research was around thought identification with the second phase being the legal process around a court proceeding. For First Signal, the majority of the research revolved around satellite communications and the Deep Space Network.

As the submission process continues for First Signal, I’ll also be having a meeting this week with a filmmaker. I recently saw some of his work and he had that number one thing that’s so important when working with a crew – inspiration.  From my own projects to others, I’ve been on a variety of sets over the last year. And while inspiration is expected from actors, it’s just as important with members of a crew. You can easily see who’s on point and who needs a sharpening.

Next meeting.

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The Earth as seen from Lunaria in First World.


Actors and Agencies

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Tomorrow I’ll be attending The Westfield International Airshow. Part of SOS United States takes place at an air force base in Massachusetts. In the film the Concorde is seen as the “Air Force One” of the Prime Minister of the U.K.

This past week served to be an interesting one not only working with a variety of actors on the set of a movie filming in Boston, but in the selection process for the third outing at the Naval Justice School in September.

When the inquiry came in from the casting company about background work, I was interested because they also wanted to use my car in the film. My first Pontiac Solstice appeared in Justice Is Mind. My second, if it makes the cut, will appear in I Feel Pretty. I particularly liked how they “dressed” my car with New York State tags.

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My first Pontiac Solstice in Justice Is Mind.

But like the first time I did background work, it’s an opportunity for me to meet new actors and crew. I also wanted to see how they staged and used cars in a large scale production. With the camera setup, it didn’t take long to figure out why the cars were parked across the street.

As a director of course I take this all in on numerous levels. For me it’s like a vacation. I don’t have to worry about anything except showing up and doing what I’m told. Sure I felt a bit like Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations, but this wasn’t my ship I was just part of the crew. I will say this, the catering was excellent. Yes, I will judge your production, film or whatever by the type of food you serve. And if it ends with a great cup of coffee, that’s another star in my book.

But booking is where things turned for the next class at the Naval Justice School.  As Site Supervisor, sort of like director, I don’t make the final casting decision but I do recommend. As I mentioned to an actor earlier this week, “Those decisions are made in Washington.” It wasn’t gravitas on my end, the agencies that book the actors are based in the D.C. area.

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My second Pontiac Solstice with “New York State” tags.

I am always happy to recommend talent for other productions. If I’ve worked with you and the relationship was a positive one, those recommendations come easy. But if someone I know recommends an actor I haven’t worked with, I’ll forward the information if I like what I see with the caveat that I’ve never worked with this person before. This entire industry is a network. You never know who knows who and it is a terribly small world. It is that small world of industry contacts that had me sign with a new talent agency in New York this week.

While I have representation in the Boston market, I’ve been looking for a national reach for a few months. Let’s just say that some of the conversations and meetings have been beyond interesting and make for great cocktail conversation. But in the case of this new agency, we knew the same talent from a show I worked on over ten years ago, FOX’s Skating with Celebrities.

My point is this. It’s important to be nice whenever you can. Yes, there are sometimes difficult if not impossible people in this industry, but no gig lasts forever. This is an industry of moments and you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Recommendation.

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When I was on Skating with Celebrities in 2006.


Special Agent

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On Thursday one of the most interesting projects I’ve been part of came to a conclusion. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I have been playing an NCIS special agent in the mock trial program at the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island. In all honesty, I can’t remember when I had so much fun on a project.  Given a personal event I went through a couple of weeks ago, it was great having this project to stay focused on something else.

The very nature that this was a role play character in “Agent Ashburn” meant that I did a variety of research, from what NCIS actually does, to inspections on Navy ships to certain military procedures and associated lingo. And as the mock trial was about a sexual assault case, I needed to know what was involved in a SAFE kit, trauma, etc. Let me just say this, watching Law & Order: SVU helped!

There were numerous times when the students, whether trial or defense counsel, asked my character questions that generally weren’t in our background information. At some point in time these students will be practicing law in the real military and civilian world. With these mock trial programs counting for a significant part of their grade, I thought believability was important so having an additional knowledge base helped. As an actor it also challenges you to learn something new and to expand your horizons.

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With fellow actors at the Naval Justice School.

Another highlight was working with the other actors. This was most certainly a diverse group of talented people from all walks of life. Imagine fourteen actors who never met put in a room with no WiFi.  While I know people that can’t fathom being disconnected, there was, ready, conversation and cards. From the mutual support of our respective characters to numerous card games, the days passed pretty quickly. At any moment a student would come in to take us out for questioning or testimony or the captain overseeing the program would check in and give us some additional background. I haven’t played cards in years, but one of my new favorite games is bullshit.

As for the personal event? A couple of weeks ago when I was driving to Newport my car hit black ice, went into a guardrail and then did a 180 degree turn back into the guardrail. Yes, in an instant I saw my life pass in front of me. While I thankfully walked away unscathed, my car was totaled. The support I received on my Facebook post was unbelievable. Black ice is terrifying, it doesn’t discriminate between a tank or car.

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My Pontiac Solstice in Justice Is Mind.

The ten year history with my Pontiac Solstice began when I bought the “Starship Voyager” in Los Angeles in 2006. At the time I was working on a national TV show. Suffice to say more than one well known personality has been in the passenger seat. I drove her across the country and she saw me through a variety of life events. But one thing is a guarantee, she is immortalized in Justice Is Mind.

On a closing note with the Naval Justice School, it’s always great to leave on a positive note expanding your network and making new friends. Something tells me I’ll be working with them again sooner rather than later.

As for Star Trek one of the actors discovered that I was in a Star Trek fan film some years ago and found the link on YouTube. For those that follow Star Trek there is that one word that sums up the status of a character.

Dismissed.

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The Star Trek fan film scene when I say “Dismissed!”

 

 


The Intrepid

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The USS Intrepid in World War II. Now a museum ship in New York City.

When I was living in New York City in the 1980s there was ship docked a couple of avenues away that I would sometimes notice. In those days it was a dawn walk down 10th avenue in the morning on my way to Sky Rink before I went to work at Time magazine. That ship was the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid.

Last week I traveled to the city to spend the day at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. I’m not sure if there is another museum in the world that offers an aircraft carrier from World War II, the Concorde, the Space Shuttle Enterprise and the Galileo shuttle from the famed TV series Star Trek.  Needless to say among the array of exhibits there’s plenty to do!

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The Galileo shuttle from Star Trek.

When I was researching and writing both First World and SOS United States there was so much at the museum that touched on these stories. Not only do both involve aircraft carriers, the basis for First World is the 1960s space program and the return of the Concorde in SOS United States as Commonwealth One for the Prime Minister of the UK. It’s one thing researching a subject, it’s entirely another to experience them in real life.

Of course, being a Star Trek fan, I know the museum is getting a Star Trek exhibit in July. What I didn’t know is when I walked into the Space Shuttle pavilion I would see the Galileo shuttle from the TV show! I had just watched a documentary on the group of fans that saved this storied piece of TV history from a piece of discarded junk to a restored prop of broadcast quality. Yes, it was a total geek out moment seeing this iconic prop.

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The Space Shuttle Enterprise.

As for history, I remember seeing the Space Shuttle Enterprise on TV when it did its atmospheric tests in the 70s. Although I saw the Space Shuttle Discovery some years ago at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the way the museum has the Enterprise displayed along with its related history and exhibits made the pavilion one of the highlights of my visit.

When I was at the museum I took two guided tours, Pacific War: USS Intrepid in WWII and Concorde a Supersonic Story. For the respective price of $15 and $20, they were wonderfully informative and were essentially private tours. For WWII it was another guest and myself. The tour was all the more interesting as the other guest was a veteran of the Korean War. If it wasn’t for those brave men and women that serve in our military, we would be living in an unrecognizable world today.

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The Concorde cabin.

Having always been a fan of the Concorde, I saved what turned out to be a private tour until the end of the day. If you grew up in the 70s the Concorde was all over the news. Simply put she was so far ahead of her time that just to see the plane was a cool experience. I first saw Concorde in 1985 on my first trip to London as she was taxing at Heathrow. As I understand it from the terrific guide I had, this is one of the few Concordes in the world that you can actually go into. When I was sitting in the passenger seats I was just thinking to myself about the amazing conversations and deals that went down in the cabin during her time in service.

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In the cockpit of the Concorde.

As for time, I met up with my former business partner Lois Elfman for a wonderful dinner at Bistro Citron (highly recommended!). I first met Lois during my days in New York City at the offices of the Ice Theatre of New York (for insiders Moira’s loft). As many know we went on to launch a newsmagazine for the sport of figure skating that we proudly built into the world’s largest with an “intrepid” team.

Speaking of building, I just completed the second act of the political thriller I’m writing around the sport of figure skating “If she skates the way she did at sectionals she’s going to worlds.  And the Federation can’t stop it.”

Warp drive.

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With Lois Elfman.


America’s Flagship

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Artist concept of the United States by Crystal Cruises.

What I love about screenwriting is the research that goes with it. When I wrote First World I learned about the Apollo space program, the Kennedy and Nixon administrations, the Roswell incident and how parts of the United Nations operate. For Justice Is Mind it was the science of mind-reading (“thought identification”), reincarnation, and complex legal issues from the introduction of evidence based on new science to the construction of a criminal trial. Whenever I write science fiction, I think it’s important to have it rooted in plausibility or at least have it explained with a sense of realism (Star Trek is great for that).

The basis for my political thriller SOS United States has always been around this premise – the possibility that an ocean liner may have a nuclear device on board. Where did the idea come from? I’ve always been interested in the Cold War and count Fail Safe and Seven Days in May as two of my favorite movies of the time.  Add that interest to my passion for ocean liners and SOS United States was born. It was my mother that first got me interested in ocean liners in the 1970s with our membership in the Titanic Historical Society (Yes, Titanic is one of my favorite films).

SS United States Conservancy

With premise in mind I started my research. The ocean liner in my story needed to be fast, luxurious and military-like. It didn’t take long to discover the SS United States. Built in 1952 the luxury liner “was designed as part of a top-secret Pentagon program during the Cold War, which stipulated it could be quickly converted from a luxury liner into a naval troopship in the event of a war.” Needless to say I found my ship.  And found her I did. Since the SS United States was retired in 1969 she has been laid up all over the world and is currently docked in Philadelphia. More than once the ship was almost scrapped.

In my original notes the idea was that some company purchased the SS United States and refurbished her. But I quickly discounted that as unrealistic. Instead, I researched the United States Lines and discovered their early flagship the SS Leviathan. With that name, and the original blueprints of the SS United States, a company built a “state of the art” luxury liner, equipped with offensive capability to defend against pirating with a maximum speed of over 50 MPH.  I guess my original notes proved to be something more than an idea.

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As in Seven Days in May, a military insider reveals the shadow government to the President in SOS United States.

Last week in New York City, Crystal Cruises, a luxury cruise line, “announced it will save “America’s flagship,” the SS United States, and embark on the enormous undertaking of bringing the ship into compliance with the latest standards, and returning her to oceangoing service.” While I figured some sort of redevelopment plan would be put forward, as was done with the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, the fact that the SS United States will actually sail again as a luxury liner just proved once again that if you stay true to your mission with persistence and patience the impossible can become a reality. My congratulations to the dedication of SS United States Conservancy to save and preserve the ship and to the visionary leadership of Crystal Cruises to see the SS United States return to the high seas.

Suddenly the world premiere of SOS United States on the SS United States just became a little more possible. I remember sailing on the Queen Mary 2 in 2007 and saying to my mother how grand it would be to have one of my films screen on an ocean liner. After years of planning and determination, Justice Is Mind had its international premiere on Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth on October 29, 2014.

All Aboard

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SOS United States first mentioned on TV this past week on The John J. Fahey Show.


Five Year Mission

Gail Sullivan as Helen Granger with Robin Ann Rapoport as Margaret Miller in Justice Is Mind.

Gail Sullivan as Helen Granger with Robin Ann Rapoport as Margaret Miller in Justice Is Mind.

No this post isn’t about the five year mission about the Starship Enterprise (I love Star Trek), it’s about the concept, development, launch and marketing of an independent feature film called Justice Is Mind.

With our second anniversary screening coming up on August 18 at Cinemagic, it’s hard to believe that five years has gone by since I first started to write the screenplay.  From the screenplay, to the short film Evidence to the feature Justice Is Mind, it is a journey I would do again in a heartbeat.

Charles Laughton and Walter Pidgeon in Advise & Consent (1962).

In the Senate. Charles Laughton and Walter Pidgeon in Advise & Consent (1962).

This past week Gail Sullivan who plays Helen Granger in Justice Is Mind commented on Facebook, “How many movies are showing after two years? Just the classics, which means this one is definitely a classic!” Those words meant a lot.  But it also meant something else that’s very important to remember, just because a film is released once and isn’t part of the “studio system” doesn’t mean that it can’t be released again and again.

Visiting the replica of the Senate at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate last weekend.

Visiting the replica of the Senate at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate last weekend.

Will Justice Is Mind become a true classic? Only time will tell. But the glorious thing about filmmaking now is that video on demand makes longevity possible.  Gone are the days when a film is made and forgotten (unless it develops a cult like following). For me, it’s all about discovery.  While I love contemporary independent films like The King’s Speech and The Imitation Game, it’s classics like Laura and Advise & Consent that are true finds for me.  Then there is my passionate interest in 1950s science fiction (add The 27th Day to my list). But in the here and now there is Justice Is Mind to market.

This past week I finished up my interviews with the regional press. What will they report on? That’s up to them. But like I said last week, I try to always provide some sort of newsworthy hook. From the concept of the film, our screenings to date, the anniversary and the development of the sequel In Mind We Trust, all the reporters had their own take.

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One asked if I would have done anything differently. Yes, there is one thing. I wouldn’t have wasted good money listening to “experts” about film festival submissions, I would have just planned a theatrical release from day one. Thankfully, I got wind of the festival world before our world premiere so I started working feverishly on our theatrical release in the summer of 2013. If you want to read an excellent article about the film festival world, check out this article.  Bottom line, unless it’s a film market (Toronto, etc.), I’d much rather have my film screen in theaters dedicated to my film (with audiences paying for tickets) rather than having to play in a chorus with others. Sorry, I’m an “independent” filmmaker.

So as I continue to work on the final leg of the marketing and public relations push for Justice Is Mind’s second anniversary screening on August 18 at Cinemagic, I’m reaching the apex of the screenplay I’m adapting from the book Winds of Fall. Actually, that’s timing pretty good for a first draft to be finished by the fall.

The mission continues.

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The Inspiration

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).

As filmmakers we draw inspiration from other films, life events or experiences to create. It’s been well reported that Gene Roddenberry was inspired by Forbidden Planet to create Star Trek and that George Lucas was inspired by Flash Gordon (and other films) to develop Star Wars.

For me, the inspiration to create First World came from film and television. Two of my favorite science fictions films are The Day the Earth Stood Still and Capricorn One. Then there is the iconic TV show Space: 1999.  Sadly, Capricorn One has been largely forgotten but for anyone who wants to see a good space conspiracy thriller with some great actors and cinematography, it’s a must watch.

Capricorn One (1978).

Capricorn One (1978).

As for SOS United States, I’ve always loved a good political thriller especially those from the Cold War. Discovering Seven Days in May and Fail Safe along with my love for ocean liners, I created a political thriller that is starting to gain some traction. With political thrillers on the rise, coupled with current world events, the timing is good.

Of course, for those that have seen Justice Is Mind you know what my primary inspirations were – Law & Order, The Andromeda Strain, Fringe and, yes, Dynasty.  In so many ways, the genre mix in Justice Is Mind is reflective of what we are seeing today – especially on TV. As for my inspiration for In Mind We Trust? That would simply be Justice Is Mind and a conflux of current events.

Fail Safe (1964).

Fail Safe (1964).

It’s one thing making your film but it’s another getting to market. When the aforementioned films were made they were simply distributed by a studio. Pretty standard in those days. Ask any independent filmmaker and you not only have to be the creative behind the script, but a distributor and marketer at the same time.

Reading about the various challenges filmmakers faced at Tribeca to bring their films to market along with a myriad of interesting comments by Julianne Moore about independent films at CinemaCon, while there is tremendous opportunity to get your film in front of an audience, the navigation of this industry on the distribution front continues to intensify and diversify.

Seven Days in May (1964).

Seven Days in May (1964).

There was a pretty good article titled The Distribution Equation on Cultural Weekly that is worth a review. The big question I would love answered is why would independent films with limited theatricals runs sign with a distributor (for theatrical) if that was going to create a loss against the title of your film? It simply makes zero sense from a business point of view. Justice Is Mind has had 12 theatrical screenings and has grossed $13,357. Our total out of pocket costs were just over $500 (mostly from printing posters). On my end it costs nothing but time to present Justice Is Mind to theatres, write a press release and pitch the media.  For me, from a business point of view, it’s much more important to show profitability than perception of “we signed with so and so”.  “So and so” might look good on paper but red ink is still red ink.

This past week I pitched Justice Is Mind to another eight theatres. Yes, we have had a great run to date theatrically for our independent film, but why not make the pitch. You never know who’s going to say yes.

Business plan.

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The Federation

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This week the planet Earth lost one of its most beloved citizens – Leonard Nimoy who passed away at 83. Known around the world as “Mr. Spock” from Star Trek, it was Nimoy’s portrayal of the character that led so many of us to the world of science fiction and science.

I was too young to see the first run of the classic TV series, but was soon introduced to it in syndication in the 1970s along with the animated series.  Like so many it was the character of Mr. Spock and the ideals of what “The Federation” stood for that drew me to the world of Star Trek.

Although arguably Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is by far the best Star Trek film ever made, personally, I lean much more toward Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In that film Nimoy’s idea of the “Cold War” ending in space between the Federation and Klingon Empire, was much more appealing. It wasn’t just warp drive towards a space battle, it was a multi-layered story of differences between “worlds” and “species” interwoven with Shakespearian overtones and personal beliefs. When Captain Spock says, “There is an old Vulcan proverb: only Nixon could go to China” that said it all.

As Cmdr. Conner in Star Trek: Odyssey

As Cmdr. Conner in Star Trek: Odyssey

There’s no question that Star Trek has influenced my life.  While I was growing up in a small town, my best friend and I formed a club. Not just one club, but then associated member clubs that grew to 11 in three states – a Federation of sorts. While running my old publishing company we use to refer to it as “The Federation” owing to the reach the magazines had in every country along with its editors.  Perhaps the most fun I had with my admiration for Star Trek was being cast in a fan made series several years ago. I got to the wear the uniform and sit on the bridge of a Starship!

The city of Lunaria in First World

The city of Lunaria in First World

But it’s now in my writing that I create non-linear stories. Like in Star Trek VI, they are involved and branch out from a single starting point. With First World it starts from the Apollo 11 missions, in SOS United States a message in the desert, in Justice Is Mind it’s a mind reading procedure.  Like the Star Trek I grew up with and the later films (not JJ Abram’s), I write stories that make you think. That make you ask, what if? Indeed, In Mind We Trust, the sequel to Justice Is Mind, asks that very question.

So as I reflected this past week on the admiration I had for Leonard Nimoy and the influence Star Trek and the character of Mr. Spock had on me, we all can take comfort knowing that his creative works, indeed all our creative works, will…

Live long and prosper.

Justice Is Mind - The FVMRI process begins

The world of mind reading in Justice Is Mind


International Departure

This timeline photo reached 2,711 on just a $5 investment.

This timeline photo reached 2,711 on just a $5 investment.

As an avid fan of Star Trek, I can equate the following for Justice Is Mind – we have returned to space dock at sector 001. Since our last screening in May at The Elm Draught House Cinema, Justice Is Mind is preparing for its international release. In addition to video on demand, we will shortly be announcing the international premiere of Justice Is Mind.

Yes, these are exciting times for the film. An independent film that has had the good fortune of a domestic theatrical release and screenings at some of the United States most prestigious universities and most popular science fiction conventions. Indeed, from our “shakedown cruise” in Albany last August, to Carnegie Mellon in April, to the Elm in Millbury, to positive reviews, I think it’s fair to say that Justice Is Mind has cruised well in the market. Soon you will learn why I’m speaking in nautical terms.

To prepare for our international release, Justice Is Mind is now closed captioned for various VOD platforms that require it. A draft press release has been written and media lists are ready to be presented the latest developments. Just yesterday, I tested a new timeline photo on our Facebook page and invested $5 in targeted marketing. The result? The post reached 2,711. This is just part of the process to bring Justice Is Mind to a worldwide audience.

I was also pleased to see that Justice Is Mind passed the Bechtel test. You may ask, what is this test? From Wikipedia, “The Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added. Many contemporary works fail this test of gender bias. On average, films that pass the test have been found to have a lower budget than others, but of comparable or better financial performance.” With over 50% of the cast of Justice Is Mind being women, the film received a 3 out of 3 rating.

As I am now back in the market seeking financing for SOS United States, I often reflect on my original journey with First World and then my efforts with Justice Is Mind. When I think how much this industry has changed since I wrote First World and even when I penned the business plan for Justice Is Mind, simply put flexibility is the key. Not only when it comes to production, but most importantly distribution. Platforms are only as popular today as a new one that arrives on the scene tomorrow.

But the end game of all of this is product. No matter the theatre, venue, video on demand platform or exhibition space, without product it simply doesn’t matter how innovative or unique these places are. It seems like every week some new technology is being announced. This week I saw a camera that shoots at over 200 frames per second. While innovative and “cool” it comes down to what’s being filmed. Technology gives us the tools, but it’s the story that brings in the audience.

Standby for departure.

The National Security Agency plays a major part in SOS United States.

The National Security Agency plays a major part in SOS United States.


Justice Is Complete

Justice Is Mind director Mark Lund watching a test at Video Express in Boston.

Justice Is Mind director Mark Lund watching a test at Video Express in Boston.

In the entire history of this production, this past week had to be the most anxious and exciting at the same time. I am a person who is organized by lists in various stages of priority. At the top of the list was one line marked on either side by asterisk **FILE & DVD**. Translation—Justice Is Mind was being exported this week to produce our exhibition DVDs. Not only for our world premiere on August 18 but for key presentations to studios and distributors.

Throughout the final weeks of post-production, I have learned things like “phasing” “time code” and “frame rate”. I promise you, I will be working some of this new found technical knowledge into my next screenplay. There were more than a few moments when I simply wanted to say, “Mr. Scott, we need warp drive as soon as possible.”  But like that scene from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the last thing we wanted at this stage was to leave at the speed of light only to encounter a wormhole.

Vernon Aldershoff as Henri Miller in the opening scene.

Vernon Aldershoff as Henri Miller in the opening scene.

And so it was early Thursday morning that the final export of Justice Is Mind came through for me to review.  Seriously, anxious doesn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling. This was my final review before exporting the film to DVD.  I started to watch Justice at about 5 AM and after seeing the brilliant color correction that was now in place (and this was a lo-res version) the film simply took on a feeling of completion. I sent a text to our editor “everything looked great!”

Anticipating that everything was fine, our editor arrived in Boston at the production company that was going to produce the exhibition DVDs.  His texts started to come through “waiting for the whole file to transfer” and then “we’re good on the transfer”. By noon I received the email from the production company, “The test DVD is all set.” And this was it, the moment we have all been waiting for. I was going into Boston to review the first 10 min of Justice on DVD.

The exhibition DVDs of Justice Is Mind.

The exhibition DVDs of Justice Is Mind.

As I drove into Boston, naturally, I couldn’t help but reflect on the last few years.  All the work, the worry, the meetings, the presentations—but this is what we have all been striving for. I parked the car at Copley (forget trying to find on street parking in Boston!) and before I knew it I was sitting in a small conference room at Video Express on Newbury Street. When our production contact hit play on the DVD and I saw the resolution of the film come to life “on screen” I was simply stunned. Yes, like a kid in a candy store taking as many samples as possible, I began to snap pictures of the wall monitor. And so approving the file I drove home only to return the next day in a torrential downpour (and a couple of hydroplane moments) to pick up the completed film.  A little New England weather wasn’t going to stop me!

And so today, I cross off various lines on my priority list. Until the next iteration of file transfer to our distributors, Justice Is Mind is complete.

While I plan to say some opening remarks next Sunday at our world premiere, I will also thank our post production team here. First and foremost our editor Jared Skolnick for a masterful job of bringing Justice to life in the “editing room” and the countless tasks and responsibilities that went with that. Jeremy Blaiklock our director of photography and for his brilliant color correction.  Adam Starr our special effects supervisor for his unique VFX creations. Daniel Elek-Diamanta for an original score that’s on par with the great film composers.  Last, but most certainly not least, Timothy McHugh and his team at Visionary Sound for a sound mix that adds that final bit of quality so necessary in film.

T-minus 7 days.

The world premiere of Justice Is Mind - Sunday, August 18, 2013 at The Palace Theatre in Albany, NY.

The world premiere of Justice Is Mind – Sunday, August 18, 2013 at The Palace Theatre in Albany, NY.


The World in Review

I was delighted to discover Jonathan Cullen’s review of First World: Covenant over at The Future Fire. When I read phrases such as “Its basis is audacious and inventive” and “The protagonist…Kathleen Gould, is absolutely memorable and interesting,” it’s very satisfying as a writer to know that you’ve created something of interest for a reviewer – the all important ingredient for marketing a book.

I agree with Mr. Cullen’s analysis that sometimes the mix of points of view in the same scene can be frustrating. As I write Synedrion, these are important notes I take into consideration as clarification of story is key. First World, in particular, is laden with a variety of characters that are critical to moving the story forward.

It’s curious, Kathleen Gould, the protagonist in Covenant, was just a minor player in the original First World story (she only had about a dozen lines in the script). As some of you know, I wrote Covenant a couple of years ago as a web series and established Gould as a new major player along with the monolithic Bank of Shinar International at One World Trade Center. In Synedrion, Gould takes drastic steps to separate herself from the ever monitoring Central (their computer system). The sequel to Covenant is still on target for a late fall 2011 release.

Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago how I created First World. It all originated out of an idea I had for a scene in which these great “Concorde” style ships just appeared over the beach in Ogunquit, Maine (in the short film the location was Cape Cod) and my further thought that there is no better observation of Earth than from the Moon.

When I read on Space.com this morning that the International Space Station might be getting a name and at one point it was called Alpha, I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite science fiction TV shows Space: 1999.  Starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, the show is set in year 1999 when the Moon, and the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha (built in the crater Plato), are blasted out of Earth orbit when the nuclear waste dumps explode sending them on a journey through the universe.

NASA named the first space shuttle Enterprise after the starship U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek. I vote the consortium of countries name the International Space Station after Moonbase Alpha. It even looks good in print –  ISS Alpha.

To quote Professor Victor Bergman from Space: 1999We are Mankind. We came from planet Earth, and we built this base, called Alpha, to learn more about space.”