It’s hard to believe where the time goes. While it sometimes seems like we filmed First Signal this past summer, it was actually two summers ago with the film being released this past March. With marketing continuing to support our VOD and other efforts, the obvious question is…what’s the next producing project.
Earlier this week SOS United States won Best Screenplay at the Washington Film Festival. This marked our 13th official selection. With nine of these festivals honoring the script with awards, I couldn’t be more pleased with the reception the story is receiving on the festival circuit. It certainly helps to be able to mention these accolades when I’m pitching the project to producers.
Yesterday I hit the halfway mark on my latest screenplay in the First World Universe. With my goal of completing the story by November with the idea of producing it myself, this just may be my next production. This particular story is most certainly a political thriller that just happens to sit in the sci-fi genre. With the creation of a new character titled Kate Cloverton, who is a reporter for a Washington DC newspaper, this story will see the return of several characters from First Signal.
There is, however, one thing I’ll be patiently waiting for over the next couple of months—the first sales reports of First Signal’s VOD release. While the release and marketing strategy worked as planned, there is one factor that is largely out of my control—copyright infringement.
No sooner was First Signal released and it appeared all over YouTube and certain offshore websites. Thankfully, as long as you can prove ownership, it’s very easy to issue a takedown notice and have a film removed from YouTube. However, offshore websites, are literally another world that consists of a labyrinth of site ownership, foreign law, etc. etc. In the end, I just have to hope that piracy didn’t overrun profits for a negative return.
Last weekend we finished filming that WWII short I mentioned in my last blog. It’s nice to meet new actors and crew on these projects as I’m always thinking ahead to when I produce my next film. I can say, without reservation, that if I ever need to film a WWII scene, I’ll use reenactors for authenticity. When we arrived at our final location last Saturday, waiting for us were three WWII vehicles and a motorcycle. The level of detail was spot on. It will be interesting to see what the final product looks like.
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.
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.
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.