by Mark Thoma
A year-and-a-half ago my brother gave me a copy of Guy McPherson’s book Going Dark. The book touched on many issues that had troubled me for some time and that I care passionately about. As a former TV news anchor/reporter and radio talk show host I figured the topic of “Near Term Human Extinction” was absolutely toxic for most Americans. But I also felt it was a subject that needed to be at the center of AN IMMEDIATE, FRANK, AND HONEST NATIONAL DISCUSSION, and one that seemed tailor-made for a very specific style of indie film.
I called Guy, discussed my idea with him, and over the space of the next six months wrote, directed, and produced 22 After,
the story of a documentary filmmaker interviewing 22 survivors following the collapse of civilization brought on by climate change. You can watch a few minutes of clips from the movie here
Following the internet release in September of last year, 22 After was ultimately seen by some 26,000 people worldwide, but it had three (maybe four) main problems:
- No real plot. Just a series of monologues from 22 survivors talking to the camera. Narrated segues from one character’s “scene” to the next, but no interaction between the filmmaker and the survivors.
- Too many characters. No chance for emotional involvement with any one character before being thrown into the story of the next character.
- Actors that for the most part didn’t look the part. While they delivered their lines convincingly, some of the actors looked much too healthy and well fed. In that respect the movie lacked a certain authenticity.
- An absolutely toxic topic. Although I didn’t, and still don’t, consider this to be a deal-breaker, a couple of friends told me the film was just too disturbing to watch all the way through.
After discussing these issues with Guy and others I decided I’d like to remake the movie with substantial changes addressing the first three points.
The new movie, Normalcy Bias, would still be a docudrama of the “found video” style (a la Blair Witch Project). Shot entirely hand held, with available light, and without any music track or special effects it would tell the story of an amateur filmmaker who happens upon a small group of survivors (six or seven) and spends the next two or three weeks with them, interviewing them singly or in groups, foraging with them, capturing scenes of their day-to-day struggle to stay alive.
While I can write and direct a much more compelling movie, the one thing I can’t do is come up with the money to hire a professional make-up artist, rent a location, pay the industry minimum for a half dozen experienced (and skinny) actors, and do some basic post production work.
Here’s where you can help.
Somebody needs to make this movie! A small, well-crafted indie film might get people talking, it might get some serious viewership among the several million of us who are truly frightened about what lies ahead for our children (if not us!), it might start a national dialogue that moves beyond kicking the carbon can down the road a few more decades when most scientists say it will definitely be too late. I know I can make this movie.
– Share this blog with everyone you know: friends, relatives, and enemies. Then tell them to share this blog anywhere and everywhere with everyone they know!
Here’s the deal.
We can shake our heads when we hear another “denier” make fun of people who are legitimately scared to death of what’s coming… OR WE CAN DO SOMETHING!
We can hope (with no reason for hope) that politicians will begin to listen to the scientists who say the problem is much worse than first thought… OR WE CAN DO SOMETHING!
We can buy hybrid cars and install solar panels on our roofs thinking that will make enough of a difference… OR WE CAN DO SOMETHING!
A Gift from the Muses, and J. Z. Colby
The Muses, or whatever you would like to call those mysterious sources of inspiration, don’t always just inspire. Sometimes they issue orders.
NEBADOR Book Nine: A Cry for Help is the conclusion of the epic NEBADOR young-adult science fiction saga, and brings the story to the most critical decision point for a civilization: live in balance with their one-and-only planet, or watch it die. The Muses have declared that I must GIVE Book Nine to anyone who is led to discover it by the mysterious workings of the universe. Although it is the ninth book of the series, it is sufficiently stand-alone to allow me to comply with the Muses’ wishes without too much shame.
But alas, the ultimate fate of the planet in the story was not revealed to me, and I chose not to just “make something up.” Some of the things they tried may not be possible on Earth, if for no other reason than because the hour, for us, is much later. In any case, I hope it is enjoyable, perhaps even thought-provoking, for those who can see far enough ahead to be a little worried about the future.
This offering may be reposted freely.
Preview with sample chapter: http://www.nebador.com/Book9.html
All editions, including free PDF, Kindle, and EPUB: http://www.nebador.com/Where9.html