In the world but not of the world

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JohnD

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I have spent the better part of 15 years writing a science fiction film for Star Trek. More accurately, I have spent that time writing and rewriting a Star Trek film script that J.J. Abrams would not buy. I worked briefly in the limousine business (2007-2009) during which time I drove Mr. Abrams one time from L.A. to San Diego where my client Dennis Hopper was treating him to a set of fitted golf clubs at Taylor Made Golf. Fact of the matter, I did not even know who he was at the time. He rode shot gun the whole way and was at times my navigator through L.A. traffic.

Fast forward to 2010. On the heels of J.J.'s success with Star Trek 2009, I proposed a script on the CBS Star Trek message board that got the attention of a chap who went by the nickname Two Takes Frakes. I also found it easier to contact many Hollywood producers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (over the course of the next 5 years). Unfortunately my script was not selling, so I turned a corner when the Supergirl TV series premiered in 2015. I figured if I could gain some street cred on that show, I might be better able to pitch my Star Trek script. Several producers of that TV show loved my ideas and even "borrowed" as many as 7 ideas that were originally mine. I deemed that okay because I knew stealing ideas is common in Hollywood. So I gave them some of my good ones but kept back the crazy-good ones until which time contracts and $$$ were on the table.

What does this have to do with a creative writing discussion on a Christian message board?

I am a Christian. And I believe there needs to be more Christians and Christian influences in Hollywood. There are some believers there (believe it or not), but they are few and their influence is limited. In my silly way of thinking... I see the possibility of getting things back to the way they were now that the most heinous trash Hollywood has been turning out for decades is becoming passe. People are actually tired of and bored with the "let's see how evil and gross we can make movies and TV." And it's time for a real change for the better.

Several moral and even Christian films and TV shows have been sprouting up here and there. So, I am not alone in this.

As far as my scripts (Star Trek Fractured Universe / Kara, the Legend of Supergirl / and Interstellar II "They") are concerned, I have shelved them permanently.

There are rumors about a 4th J.J. Trek film that starts then stops the starts then stops.

Same with a stand alone Supergirl film.

The sequel to Interstellar Chris Nolan put the kibosh on (and he's notorious for not making sequels, his work in the Batman films is the exception).

The thought to ask for prayer for the scripts to sell did occur to me. But I'm actually beyond doing anything with them now. I am satisfied with my life (selling any of the scripts would only have been icing on the cake).

If any are interested I might dig up some of the scripts.
 
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Daniel777

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John, years ago, I wrote several scripts and had many meetings with Hollywood execs or their assistants. After hearing PASS time and time again, I decided to produce my own miniseries and bought time at a local TV station. It consisted of interviews mostly with well-known Christian authors who had near-death experiences. Many of them saw heaven and hell. I also highlighted their experiences with dramatizations using actors and other footage. The series was a financial failure, but as an afterthought, I uploaded several episodes, along with a lot of unaired footage to Youtube. After years of comments, I realized that many people have come to the Lord or returned to the Lord, or encouraged others to do so. So, if you have a story you'd like to tell, especially if it has a Christian theme or even a hidden Christian theme, find a way to share your story. Buy a video camera and hire people. Even if it's a short-subject film or indie film. It can be done. Get your message out. Don't worry about making money...if it happens, fine, if not, you got your message out. God bless!
 
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Debp

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I am a Christian. And I believe there needs to be more Christians and Christian influences in Hollywood. There are some believers there (believe it or not), but they are few and their influence is limited. In my silly way of thinking... I see the possibility of getting things back to the way they were now that the most heinous trash Hollywood has been turning out for decades is becoming passe. People are actually tired of and bored with the "let's see how evil and gross we can make movies and TV." And it's time for a real change for the better.

Several moral and even Christian films and TV shows have been sprouting up here and there. So, I am not alone in this.
Yes, we certainly do need more Christians in Hollywood producing content.

I noticed some TV series introducing transgender and/or gay and lesbian characters. After that I stop watching those shows. I just want to relax and watch a good mystery or drama...I don't want the gay and transgender issues pushed onto me.
 
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Daniel777

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John,
Your dialog and narration are tight and well-done overall. I would encourage you to change the names of the characters, along with any references to current or past films/TV shows. Make it all original. Make sure your mini-film has some kind of a moral theme, whether obvious or somewhat like a parable. Then buy a greenscreen and hire a couple of local actors to film about 5 minutes of dialog, with 2-shots and close-ups of each actor. Edit and key in a nice background (see below--plenty of these on Shutterstock.com, and you can buy rights to these). Add in a spacey-sounding sound bed from sounddogs.com (also royalty free) and you can produce your own little mini-epic! By the way, NASA is a great source for both hi-res stills and animated footage which can be used for some of your exterior shots. If you find a good artist, you could even hire him/her to come up with an original space ship, then layer it over a NASA still background of stars or a planet, then add motion and SFX for the space ship. A lot can be done low budget. I've done a few projects using NASA or JPL footage/stills. Put it on Youtube, then share on social media. If God wants you to get it out, He will open a door. Maybe someone will see it and hire you either as a writer or editor. I used to work with a guy whose sons started out doing short films. They posted them on the internet, and entered film festivals. Later on, a major star in Hollywood saw their work and hired them for a full-length feature film. Whether this happens, or whether you keep getting your message out via shorts, or move up to something more major, God can surely use you! God bless your efforts!

1707938988177.png
 
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Daniel777

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Very interesting.

One of the things that got my attention with the Supergirl format was the fact that Dean Cain (a noteworthy Christian in Hollywood) was in the original cast. Then curiosity as to how and why the Supergirl story (which had done so poorly in the box office in the 1980s, and in the comic book world was so mish-mosh a character) could ever see the light of day on a major network in prime time. Then I saw the production and was amazed by it (first season only). After that the show lost its way.

Against the better judgement of several of the producers of the show (they could have gotten into contractual deep weeds) they read my ideas and even "borrowed" a few of them. By then my focus was on that show and I tried to get it back to the season 1 format (before the explicit sex scenes, transgender character, etc). But Les Moonves put the kibosh on the show and the showrunner lost interest so the decline went from there.

I originally wrote a 26 episode arc (which would have premiered in season 2 had it sold) which obviously didn't sell. I spent the next three years trying to convince the producers it was not too late to breath life back into the project but I quickly became a nuisance to them. So I repurposed the ideas into a 250 page film script. I edited several videos on my home computer to try to sell my ideas / script (usually trailer length shorts) but did a 7.5 minute mock film opening here:


Still no joy, so I scrapped it.
John,
Looks like a lot of NASA footage...a good start, but after a few exterior shots, need to transition to a shot of a spacecraft, then an interior of spacecraft (see my other comments). Narration here is getting drowned out by SFX--need better mix.
 
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Debp

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@JohnD Didn't have time to watch your videos just now. Will be back on late tonight and can see them then.

Enjoying the chats between both of you guys. @Daniel777
 
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JohnD

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John,
Your dialog and narration are tight and well-done overall. I would encourage you to change the names of the characters, along with any references to current or past films/TV shows. Make it all original. Make sure your mini-film has some kind of a moral theme, whether obvious or somewhat like a parable. Then buy a greenscreen and hire a couple of local actors to film about 5 minutes of dialog, with 2-shots and close-ups of each actor. Edit and key in a nice background (see below--plenty of these on Shutterstock.com, and you can buy rights to these). Add in a spacey-sounding sound bed from sounddogs.com (also royalty free) and you can produce your own little mini-epic! By the way, NASA is a great source for both hi-res stills and animated footage which can be used for some of your exterior shots. If you find a good artist, you could even hire him/her to come up with an original space ship, then layer it over a NASA still background of stars or a planet, then add motion and SFX for the space ship. A lot can be done low budget. I've done a few projects using NASA or JPL footage/stills. Put it on Youtube, then share on social media. If God wants you to get it out, He will open a door. Maybe someone will see it and hire you either as a writer or editor. I used to work with a guy whose sons started out doing short films. They posted them on the internet, and entered film festivals. Later on, a major star in Hollywood saw their work and hired them for a full-length feature film. Whether this happens, or whether you keep getting your message out via shorts, or move up to something more major, God can surely use you! God bless your efforts!

View attachment 41637
Thank you so much for the valuable feedback!!
 

JohnD

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To be honest, I've always fancied myself a writer. Since I was a child I'd scribble and doodle and whacked away on a manual typewriter every chance I got. But whenever I set out to do a deliberate project, I'd poop-out a few pages in. Then about 2015 I discovered script writing and my dilemma was solved. I poured out material like a factory after I set up my MS Word program for all the tabs etc. Self taught but a quick study.

Selling any idea / script was always only icing on the cake of a life and career well lived. If I ever sold something, great. If not, I'm perfectly happy and satisfied with my life already. For the past few years I've abandoned the attempt to pitch my ideas. Taking care of my family and doing Bible studies / online evangelism and caring for orphan critters when I find them pretty much occupies my time.

In fact I rarely discuss this subject (writing / pitching). Just felt like bringing up the subject here in reference to Christians in Hollywood and the need for many many more.
 
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JohnD

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I would encourage you to change the names of the characters, along with any references to current or past films/TV shows. Make it all original.
Precisely what Lynda Obyst told me on Twitter when she glanced at my Interstellar II ideas.
Back in those days celebs were more accessible on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook than in recent years.
 
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