Science Fiction in Hollywood - Best of Coast to Coast AM - 7/30/21
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I was seeing. We're very dark. In terms of saying basically the future is going to be bleak. There's nothing we can do about it. Just kinda screwed. And i remember the original star trek and star trek the next generation to but i grew up with original star trek. That inspired people that said we can create a future if we reach across with compassion. If we come from the heart if we have courage and honor and loyalty That we can create a future with living in and i was very determined to make a show that would Be that kind of show like star. Trek inspired me. When i was a kid. And i didn't want it to be developed as a pilot that no one would ever see or or cut off script and so you know because a number of my friends run network shows and they said let's take the let's you know we can get a pilot deal and i thought no no no. I wanted to reach out to my fans and see if i could finance the pilot and perhaps more episodes myself well to date my fa- between crowdfunding and selling investment shares on space command. My fans have given me over two and a half million dollars. That's allowed me to do is open my own studio Working with people all around the world and we've recorded seven hours of space command so far we started shooting the next hour. We're gonna shoot six hours beyond that for the first season. You can watch a lot of these episodes on my youtube channel. Mr sci-fi we're talking to amazon now and we've been talking to netflixing the number of other buyers but my main priority now is the The relationship between myself and my fans. And because of the fact that i came from you know major. Tv shows and worked for all the major studios networks You know i was able to reach out to my friends who were actors and already in space command. We've got as you mentioned bill. Mummy doug jones stars and star trek discovery in the shape of water. Nichelle nichols when when i was ten and star. Trek was on the air Christina moses who saw starts moving little things timmerman from deep space nine mira furlan who started in lost and and babylon five. We just lost her. Sadly to west nile virus. She was amazing. Robert picard in space command. Neil degrasse tyson is now in space. Command phenomenal and so now we're building upon that to to a slate of six series and called the show runners network. And i'm teaming with a lot of my my very famous actor friends and also my my friends who've created the top tv shows the last twenty years and so But i have a full studio up and running with equipment and we're we're We're building an alien spaceship. We're almost done with that. We're building to eight foot tall creatures. I own fourteen spacesuits. Jeez keeps going and it's a it's a dream come true. I couldn't. i couldn't be happier as computer. Animation helped a lot too. Yes it does but it it has its own challenges and so for instance in the first two hours basically on the two hour pilot we have eighteen hundred visual effects. Shots which is insane. It's like star. Wars wars doesn't have that many For the next two our hour so that we're in post production on now That will have a lot more of what are called practical effects. that's why we're building the alien spaceship. That's why we're building the to foot. Two eight foot tall creatures. So we aren't as reliant on visual effects so what you try to find the balance but mainly you have to tell a human story with characters that people care about and you know the the effects are wonderful and they have to be good of course but and the production has to be good but at hard it's about people you care about and that's that's always what what's going to make something last and and affect people move people and entertain them and and i'm going to tell you mark. I've met a lot of people in hollywood since i've been out here. You're one of the nicest guys i've ever met. You deserve this. You really do thank you. Well it's it's the love of a good woman. Leeann i writing and directing and producing together and we just celebrated our forty fourth anniversary. Yeah yeah you're only thirty. Two years old paradoxes and But the the funny thing is she met me. When i was in college and so i got knows what i'd be like if not for elaine. Congratulations to both of you. Thank you. She's the best part of every day and i. I couldn't be more lucky. Tell us about the evolution of the mr sci-fi channel on youtube. Yeah well that was really interesting george. You know it's. I was having lunch a couple years ago with my friend glenn lazaro who was the show runner on walking dead and we were just talking science fiction like you and i are talking now and he said you. Don't you know so much about science fiction. You should have your own youtube channel. So i thought well that's interesting idea so i went on youtube and found out. How one does that and I just started You know talking about science fiction and sharing what i was working on like space command or talk about you know twilight zone stories. Bradbury told me. Or that i heard from fraud. Sterling's you know for my research and and so it. And i really didn't do much of a motive but now i've gotten millions of hits. I've got on closing in on one hundred thousand subscribers and it's absolutely free content. i mean I you know. I talk about you know any any aspect of science fiction that i want to talk about and then also i put in my space command episodes up there and all sorts of stuff. So it's just a cornucopia. It's really really fun. I have a great time. Doing it calls next hour with mark about the twilight zone and other. Tv shows so get ready to jump on board. Your latest work is called green-lighting yourself. Tell me about that. well you know. Yes and You know. I think you know george. For many years. I've run this roundtable of writers and directors and actors and producers and during the pandemic. We've been on zoom but its thousands of members and it was just something that created run for free with there are no dues. It's basically just to give people A supportive place in hollywood assured of what even if they're not in the hollywood the town you know it's just create a an a show biz enter industry that has humanity at its core and kindness and and so many people get so defeated by the arrogance of hollywood or or they can't get an agent or they can't get a manager. They can't get anyone to read their script and what. I've been applying the last few years in building my own studio and creating space command. And all these things i've been doing. I thought nobody teaches that. There's no book you can get on how you can basically green light yourself but now thanks to the internet and thanks to computers and things the fact that we all have video cameras high quality video cameras in our pocket. You know the barriers. It's no longer up to the studios or the networks are the major publishing houses. What gets out to the world you can reach millions of people. If you just have something that people will find interesting and And so i wanted share step by step what i had done. And also number of my friends Fortunately j.j abrams. And neil gaiman and guillermo del toro and you know re bradberry of course they all have told me stories that were about how they build their careers and how they recovered from failure. And how they you know were supported and mentored by others. And fortunately and my friend ron moore who Who runs for all mankind. The tv show on apple now They were all kinds of when we said we. We you told me this. Great story about your career Privately but can. I share it with with my readers and they all said yes and And it was just great and And so this is sort of like everything. I've learned over over forty years of my career. I've been a professional writer since i was nineteen and And i just it's you know it's not a mystery but the problem is that so many people are told what you've got to have a great script or you you you need an agent in order to make it and none of that is true you just need to say what do i wanna share with the world. What comes from my heart and and you know it's conversation between you and the world as as you know because people can certainly understand. I mean the reason you're successful georgia's because you're authentic and people can listen to the show and they know what you're passionate about and they know who you are and and what people have to understand you. You don't have to hide who you are to succeed as an artist. You know you have to be authentic and honest and straightforward and people will get that and if you come from passion and enthusiasm and honesty and genuine quality. People will respond ray. Bradbury passed away nine years ago at the age of ninety one. Tell us a little bit about him. He was he was one of a kind. He was phenomenal. I longed for him to be my friend and mentor. For many many years decades and i'd given up on that and then one day he came across something i'd created any loved it and he called me and he said you must come to the house and i came and we just hit it off and so then for over ten years once a month i would go to his house and we just sit and talk about career and life and art and he'd invite me to these plays he was putting on plays of his work at that point and i always of course brought a book for him to sign one of his books and And he was so wonderful and the interesting thing is that i'd heard That he and rod sterling had had a falling out and that was why he only wrote one episode of twilight when he was originally going to be one of the major writers on the show. And neither he nor rod would talk about it publicly and in fact when i tried to interview from for the twilight zone companion. He declined and and finally when we became very close friends. I said okay right. Tell me what happened. Between you and rod any told me and and so i. I have a video on this decide where i say. Okay i'm gonna tell you. What the story the ray told me. And it's an amazing story. It takes thirty minutes for me to tell it. And it's on my mr scifi channel but he basically talked about how basically it was. Neither one of them was at fault. It was just kind of like where they came to a parting of the ways. But twilights would not have been what. It was without ray bradbury because his three proteges. Richard matheson charles. Beaumont and george clayton johnson forms. The core of the writing team on on twilight zone and that was thanks to ray and they were unable broad and ray to get together at the end they just had a falling out. It was i. I go into it in detail but it was mainly just that was just kind of cross purposes. You know Rod was incredibly busy and so certain things he'd said to ray Kind of fell through the cracks. It was it was like falling out. Falling out that anyone can have it was they. Were both wonderful people. And i'm very very glad that i got to To get to know ray. So well. And he trusted me with that story and And my god there so many piece of advice. He gave me that were invaluable. And and they're they're in the green lighting yourself book. You know i talk about that at length in in the book for you and people can get this book now. is it out. it's not out yet. I've sent the manuscript my publisher so many james it'll be a you know a few months and so if people just kind of You know go onto amazon or whatever you know they'll be able to find it ultimately and i think they'll really benefit from it. What's your favorite twilight zone episode. Well my favorite is walking distance. Because that's about a man that goes back into the past of his childhood to try to reclaim that that childhood and it was Raise it was re rod serling his personal favourite because during the war he was a paratrooper and even when the war was winding down his father died very suddenly of a heart attack at age fifty two and he wanted to go home to the funeral. he was overseas and the army wouldn't let him go. You know the army air corps and And so we never got to say goodbye to his dad and so that episode really is about him going back home and and finally being able to say goodbye to his father and so it was. It was very personal. Rod and Just amazing piece of writing. I mean there's so many great twilight zone episodes. I mean you know. You can't really go wrong if you say. The one with burgess meredith as the last man on earth or howling man. Or you know. Serve any of them you know. Stop it willoughby there's this it's just a ball which is to serve man that was a classic two. That's a great episode absolutely and that was written by one of my teachers damon knight Rook short story that that episode was based on and He was my teacher And when i was nineteen years old he bought my first short story. So and they all had that ending. That really special ending didn't they. Yes yes and rod would say that he if he knew the ending he knew he was okay but he said he had so many ideas where he could get the beginning and the middle and could not come up with the ending. Those never of course got on on the air but if you have the ending he could. He knew where he was going. And you could ride incredibly fast when he did It's the hitchhiker the episode with inger. Stevens haven't adaptation radio way. yeah He wrote that episode eight hours while so. That's incredibly fast. Listen to more coast to coast. Am every weeknight at one am eastern and go to coast to coast am dot com for more visas up to five thousand dollars risk. Free people told my team about. 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