Space Command, the movie, is a bit of a phenomenon and it hasn't even really been cast yet. Marc Zicree, award-winning Star Trek writer and director, among other things, seems to be the nexus of the command project. But he's really a TV guy. And so is his pal Doug Drexler, who will honcho the extravagant VFX. In fact, most of the crew and cast are from TV. Having a bunch of TV people trying to produce a movie seemed to me like trying to launch the Queen Mary with sails. You'd need a hell of a wind to get her started. And would she sail at all?
So I dug in. I'm told that the Space Command Project is all about taking great sci-fi story ideas and style from the golden age of the genre in the 1950s and '60s, and updating them with cool VFX, a contemporary writing style and great acting to make movies for real sci-fi fans. A core group of three: Marc Zicree, Neil Johnson, and Doug Drexler — all veterans of the great iconic TV shows Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and others — got together, thoroughly disgusted with what they consider dumb content and story decisions by studio suits who aren't even sci-fi fans. Worse, the execs have little talent or background outside bean counting, and shouldn't be making those kinds of creative decisions. If you've read me before you know I have sympathy for their position. So these three sci-fi nuts, who have among them decades of experience and an enormous array of production and writing talent, decided to say “Screw the studios, let's make a movie.” Insane, yes, Possible…perhaps.
Luckily, they're all story fanatics and have VFX savvy (thank god.) They don't want to just make a good movie; they want to make a series of great movies, where the effects and technology serve the story intimately. They’ve proven they know how to do great story. Zicree won a Nebula Award with Michael Reaves in 2008. It just takes money and talent and time… and the list goes on. Insane, yes. I have to admire their testicular integrity, though.
I asked Doug Drexler, who is VFX Sup on the project, why people are getting involved in the first place. In fact, why are they working for free? “It's about freeing the genre, plain and simple," he told me. "Sci-fi related by and for people who are genetically obsessed by it.” It turns out that many of the people who worked on those classic sci-fi TV shows, both behind the camera and in front, are hard core science fiction addicts. They also know each other and most want to be involved in this project. In fact, many of the people already producing shots have full-time jobs elsewhere. Doug said, “If you want something done right, ask somebody who's really busy.” So far, it seems to be working.
Can they pull this off? I don't know, but I also didn't think they'd ever get it financed, and they did it over a long weekend on Kickstarter. WTF? Yes, it turns out there are a huge number of people out there who want to help “free up the genre.” In fact, it looks like they may triple or quadruple their budget by the time they're done. That extra money will make things easier.
You can still get in on the action. Go to www.spacecommandmovie.com. I think you can join the team for like eight bucks. I hope you go, because I'm starting to feel militant about taking back the genre! Sci-fi on TV kind of sucks these days. IMHO, it's not about freeing up the genre at all. It's about taking control of the genre, away from the clueless studio decision-makers and putting into the hands of talented people who know what they're doing. More soon on this remarkable project.
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