Space Command: Drilling Down
Well, the Kickstarter crowd-sourcing venture to launch Space Command ended last night. The team asked for $75,000 and got $221,267.00 from 2,965 separate backers. I believe it's set several records.
I think I'm finally starting to understand how Space Command came together and why it's likely to succeed against all odds. It's Marc Zicree. Marc is a brilliant, passionate and determined human. He also has a special kind of charisma that attracts crowds of talented people of all sorts around him. They pick up on his passion and determination and they follow him, for pay or not. He's got Doug Drexler in his corner and Doug's a little bit like that himself, though their personal styles differ. With the two of them linked in this effort, there is a firestorm of passion and determination to “get it done.”
My one reservation is that Marc's recent directing of “World Enough and Time” for Star Trek: New Voyages was spotty and the production values were not good enough IMHO for a major motion picture. I know Marc has great talent as a writer but he needs to toughen up as a director, demanding the best from his talented actors. I believe he can do that. Doug Drexler assures me that everyone on the team will be working to achieve very high production values. I am optimistic.
Interviewing several people behind and in front of the camera increased my optimism. Two of my most compelling interviews were with British actress Katharine McEwan and superstar designer/storyteller Iain McCaig.
Up front, I was impressed by Katharine's intellectual and emotional depth. After we talked, I found her acting reel and was truly stunned by her range.
All of her talent will be needed to create her fascinating character Odakat-Lynn, second in command and the ship's doctor. Here's the interesting part: she is completed by an exoskeleton that provides her with life support and super mobility. Without it she would die within hours. It will be interesting to see how her powerful, determined and yet severely vulnerable character evolves through the built-in challenges. Look at McEwan's reel and you'll know she is fully equipped to bring the depth and nuance this character demands. I'm hoping the exoskeleton has a personality too <grin>.
I asked her frankly:”Why in hell would an actress of your stature be willing to work for free on an hit-or-miss movie that might or might not happen?”
“Frankly, it's not about the money," she said. "It's all about working with people that I really admire and love. I've been wanting to work with Marc Zicree for a long time and I love his scripts. I admire the people that are involved. And to be honest, as an actor, every project that you do, large or small, may never get seen. I think that kind of risk is something we all deal with as actors. It comes down to [the fact that] I really believe in this project. Going straight to the fans for all of the funding — I think that's very exciting.”
After the interview, I found myself feeling I had a new friend, and I was getting more excited about the project and her character. Katharine told me that her character is being designed by McCaig (Star Wars, Harry Potter, John Carter). I'm a fan of his work. So I quickly arranged an interview with him. (I like to drill down when I'm chasing a story.) Again I discovered a remarkable person. I'd not met Iain before, and I feel like we have to become friends. Like Katharine, Ian is a person of serious depth. He looks at the world on many levels and he definitely has a design philosophy that makes profound sense.
Still being a bit confused about why these amazing people are willing to work on Space Command for no pay, I ask Iain. Here's what he had to say: “Well, I've known Marc Zicree for a long time. I'm getting ready to go off and direct my own first film, so the timing for this is awful. But as always, Marc comes in and he tells me one of these stories [and] I say ugh…I have got to draw that! And then I just find a way to make some room. It's all about story. Everybody serves the story, and you get back gifts that you never thought of, and that moment is amazing to me.”
So Space Command is all about the art, the passion, the love, and most of all the story. Apparently about four scripts have been written, so Marc intends this to be an ongoing saga. You can get some feel for the Space Command universe in this video.
And I confess that in researching Space Command, I had to invest a few dollars just because I think it's a worthy project and I'll get to download the movie when it's done.
In my next blog, I'm going to get very controversial and if you disagree, please let me know. It's all about how broken the US moviemaking system is, and how we might fix it. With my good friend Scott Ross, I will take on the studio suits. You won't want to miss it.