Once Upon An Evening Starship
Once Upon An Evening Starship is the working title of a short sci-fi adventure movie currently in production.
When Spencer’s father approves him telling a bedtime story to his three younger brothers, it is under the condition that the story be of a less frightening nature, in fact a “fairy-tale, complete with a princess, a tower, a white knight,” etc.
Spencer agrees, and their father says goodnight. As Spencer begins telling the story, we watch these “fairy-tale” elements become creatively interwoven into an exciting futuristic mission where the boys fight their way through a space battle aboard a ship called the “White Knight” to rescue a sleeping princess (in cryo-stasis) being guarded by an army of armored android robots in the tallest tower of a nearby space station.
Heavy with visual effects, 3D and CGI elements, a precise release date is not yet fixed. However, we anticipate finishing the film in the first quarter of 2016.
I have always loved the sci-fi genre, and spent some time this last year developing an epic adventure story, partially based on a chronological epic story series I made up and continued night after night during evening story time several years ago with my kids. When an opportunity to test some state-of-the-art production technology came to a friend of mine recently (Bruce Holt from Big Red Meteor Productions), I couldn’t let it pass.
I had only a few days to quickly write a short film script and cast it. Familiar with working under extreme limitations, I realized I needed to create the story around what I had immediately available to me. In this case, four boys who call me Dad and share my excitement for sci-fi adventure and creativity.
The inspiration for the story is based on my experience raising four boys and no girls. One of the great things about having all boys is the amusing naivete that exists when it comes to girly things, and the female perspective in general. One of our sons came home from school one day with a small treasure—a mechanical device he discovered in the school parking lot. Though he had no idea what it was, he already had dreamed up several uses in his engineer brain. It turns out it was a little girl’s hair clip. Another son once made a sincere attempt to win the friendship of a young girl by going on for an hour about battles, explosions, robots, ninjas and bodily functions.
In recent years, I have begun specifically showing them movies like the new Cinderella to expose them to the dreams, fantasies and values that may lay at the heart of a young woman. It is thoroughly entertaining to afterwards ask them questions like, “in that one part, where the fairy godmother magically made that new dress on her, why did Cinderella keep spinning around and around?” Despite several response attempts, generally involving the opportunity to enjoy the laws of physics in action, it really just boiled down to the fact that they had no idea. Since many fairy-tales tend to primarily satisfy a traditionally female perspective, I thought it might be interesting to see what might happen if the same elements were were left to be interpreted and prioritized in the perspective of a bunch of young boys.
From the time we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to use the equipment to the day we began rolling camera was a little less than a week. In that time we developed the script, cast four boys and a princess, found and prepped 3D models we would use for props and sets, hunted down costumes, and put together a skeleton crew.
On the day of our shoot, the new technology sent us some curve balls, which delayed us from starting until half-way through the day. But the five children were excited and motivated, and stayed on set until 2:AM to make sure we had enough shots in the can to tell a story. My wife even volunteered to help prep supplies for the shoot and was on set the whole time wrangling young actors and filling in for a variety of crew positions. All in all, it was both a fun production opportunity, and an awesome family memory.
Now we are having a great time in post production building this futuristic world around the children’s performances. Though I have no definite plans about what to do with the idea beyond this film, Bruce and I are toying with the idea of doing an internet series called Fairy Tales for Boys; I have also been developing the idea of producing a series of simple narrated bedtime stories that may share some similarities.