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.
When I set out to write First Signal in 2017 my goal was to simply write a prequel to First World. What I couldn’t have foreseen was the timeliness of the film when it was released in 2021. It was in 2017 when The New York Times suddenly released videos that purported to be UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena). Provided by Luis Elizondo, who was once the head of the Advanced Aerospace (or Aviation) Threat Identification Program, the videos sparked a media frenzy the world hasn’t seen in decades on this subject.
In early June the head of the U.S. intelligence community along with the secretary of state will be delivering to the U.S. Senate a report on the topic of UAPs also know as UFOs. What will be revealed in that report and what will be disclosed to the public, I’m fairly confident will be two different things. But one thing is certain, the questions on who or what is behind these videos simply will not stop. In fact, any concealment by the government will only further exacerbate the claim that the government is hiding something from the public.
I was about halfway through writing First Signal when these videos were released. While I wanted to include them in the story, I also wanted to broaden the “government coverup” aspect to not only include the central storyline of First Signal, but what the government may or may not do during such a crisis.
In one scene, General Reager states quite clearly that public doesn’t have the right to know the truth, “I call it protecting the people from themselves.” President Colton echoes his position when she states, “There are some matters of state that can’t be disclosed.” Do I believe that this may be the case with the upcoming June report? Who knows. But given present world events, I don’t think those of us that would frankly welcome an alien presence on Earth are going to be told much…if anything.
But putting aside my personal feelings on the matter of UFOs, the media around this subject is most certainly a boon for films like First Signal. As an independent filmmaker we do what we can with the resources we have to attract attention to our projects. Yet we always hope for some sort of outside influence to further propel our films forward. This happened with Justice Is Mind when suddenly “thought identification” technology was in the news during the time the film was released.
One does have to wonder if this report to Congress could create something on the order of an Operation Troy like we see in First Signal. Honestly, if the military knows about an alien presence on Earth or in our solar system, wouldn’t they use every conceivable method at their disposal to fully understand it? Of course they would along with, more than likely, linking with the militaries and intelligence agencies of other countries. They say knowledge is power, but sometimes one must also ask the question, “Do you really want the answers to the questions you seek?”
On a personal level, I do hope in my lifetime we definitively learn that we are not alone in the universe. I truly believe that this knowledge will benefit our planet not hinder it. As Cedric Yonah says in First Signal, “This is a time to study and investigate. Can you imagine what you could learn from them?”