Meet J. T. Kennings - inventor of time travel

Portrait by  Kip Rasmussen .

Portrait by Kip Rasmussen.

J. T. Kennings was most likely born in the early 26th century, shortly after the First Glimpse.

As an adolescent, he proved the existence of kenons (also called chronotons), authoring the The Laws of Time and other classics.  Shortly thereafter, Kennings developed the operating principles behind the Kennings Time Displacement Engine, thus leading to the First Ender Proposition and the Last War.  He is recognized as the greatest chess master who ever lived, famously defeating Vladimir Karmakov in a controversial match in which Kennings refrained from looking at the board.  Kennings is also a noted culinary expert, greatly influencing the popularization of Napoleon pastries.

It has been reported that during the Paradox of the Fifth Kind at locus 14.543.986.3.12.2465, he told a humorous story to an associate before disappearing in the explosive energy anomaly associated with the paradox.

My Movie Gets the BEST REVIEWS EVER!!!

95ers movie reviews.jpg

Okay, okay, this blog post has kind of a brazen title.

BUT, struggling writers and filmmakers are locked in mortal combat with movie distribution and publishing industries that have a bigger appetite for dollars than for good stories.  We need to remember that if we have something uplifting and interesting to say–the audience is indeed out there.  And it is hungry!

These are NOT reviews from sales agents (one of whom basically said my movie was derivative garbage).  These are NOT reviews from distributors (many of whom passed on my movie).  These are NOT reviews from professional critics (who were actually pretty fair and positive).

These are reviews from the most important people–audience members.  They are complete strangers from all over the world who chanced to watch my flick.  They’ve touched my heart and inspired me.

(These reviews are pulled from Amazon unless otherwise noted.)

FROM BEVERLY (via fanmail):

I will be 74 in a few days, and have loved sci-fi since I was 12, and borrowed my first Ray Bradbury paperback from some Americans who had moved to our small Jamaican town to set up a pottery. And I am still here.
Just saw Interstellar, and liked it a lot, but have just finished watching 95ers: Time Runners and it is BETTER! Warm, clever, helluva story, fine acting, smart direction, camera , sound etc- the whole clock ticks!
Congratulations. Cant wait till your new one comes out.

FROM AMAZON CUSTOMER:

One of the best science fiction I have ever seen…

FROM ROY:

Fun from the beginning. Put your seat belts on, and keep both hands inside your car at all times. This is going to be a crazy, and exciting ride. Don’t overthink it, just enjoy yourself. I will watch it again soon, I am certain.

FROM PAT:

This is a movie that makes you think….it is almost better the second time after you have unraveled the mysteries in the movie & you get to pick up on some of the missed nuances.

FROM LANCE (via fanmail):

Just finished watching Time Runners. Found it as a “midweek extra” at our local Family Video store. The theme on the box intrigued me — wow, what a fabulous movie! I liked it at so many levels.
I did something I’ve never done before: watched the whole movie a second time, listening to the directors’ commentary….
What an incredible story of perseverance (the MAKING of the movie), what a great backstory, what wonderful film-making (thanks, Tom, for keeping in all of the “extra” touches — I even liked Sally’s rewound “learn Martian first” comment being left in!!!), and it was so special you guys letting your kids “interrupt” during the commentary.
Thanks, too, for including the “thank Heaven” and “thank you, Lord” comments at the end of the commentary. May He indeed give you venues for at least a soon novelization of some of the rest of the parts of the story-arc (writing and publishing are quicker than movie-making! You totally captured my interest and imagination!

FROM geotti (via IMDB):

A must see for (scientifically inclined) fans of time-travelling movies that have a longer attention span than the average teenager and like to think.
I’d love to see both a prequel and a sequel expanding on the world the team has created…

FROM ZORAN:

…I would like to say to all sci-fi lovers who decide not to see this movie that they are missing something. Movie is captivating attention from start to the end and makes you think about it for days.
For that I give all 5 stars.
If creators of this movie read reviews here please go ahead make 2nd part I can’t wait to see it.

FROM RANDY:

I admit I needed to restart it several times to be able to get a sense of the storyline, but I don’t think that’s because the story is lacking anything.
Upon reflection, I would say there is quite a bit more thematic material to this story and more drama potential than the rest of the movies you would want to compare it to.
I like movies that give me something to think about in terms of intellectual topics, you know, cutting edge science, psychology, sociology, movie making, so I am well pleased with 95ers: And further the lead actor Alesandra Durham did a fantastic job and so I liked watching this movie very much because of her, and the storyline and special effects for the story are great.

FROM JASON:

Why do I like this movie? Simple enough question.
It was obvious a low budget film but this movie proves that the budget isn’t as important as the quality of the acting, story telling and educating that a movie does in a particular field.
It was one of those movies where the intelligence of the audience isn’t insulted with crass subject matter and cheap language. It is a smart scifi movie that even someone who isn’t “into” scifi can enjoy. I wish I had seen sooner. The true essentials of a quality movie is there. Acting, Story, Subject matter and the complicated explained with an intelligent simplicity.

FROM P. WOLF:

A better understanding of time travel is rarely found.
I’ve studied the science since my teens. This movie follows the principles over loop causality. If you want science fiction that has a founding in real science then here it is.

FROM TONY:

Even a low budget could not stop this movie from being an intricate and thought provoking ride.

FROM V (via Facebook):

Thank you. I haven’t enjoyed a movie this much in ages.
I am watching it on Easter afternoon, seems like good timing. I have a 3 day old granddaughter, new life and beginning, reconnected with old friend, gentle spring rain, fresh blooming scent of a lilac bouquet, soft breeze blowing in open windows, sound of children playing, songs of birds and your movie. Near perfect day. Thank you for the gift, please continue. You are all so talented, its is a sheer joy to have all my senses so wonderfully stimulated, but to have my imagination, intellect and intuition firing simultaneously-just amazing. You were part of an incredible day in my life today and responsible for a large portion of what made it so right.

 

Thank you all!

95ers-CHRISTMAS-carol-1.jpg

Coming full circle

95ers-time-warping-425x239.jpg

Well, in timespace we don’t deal so much with “circles” per se.  We get more of these these weird shell-type constructs.  But the connection is the same.  Thanks to some big news that will hopefully come next week… I feel I can safely say that this project is reaching closure.  Years ago when I began chronicling the 95ers indie film adventures in this blog, I wrote about some of the core mysteries and struggles—and grand misconceptions—we were facing.  A reprint seems very appropriate now.  Enjoy!

(To give you a little chronological perspective… It is now 2012.  The following (except for the last line) was written in 2009.  95ers was first conceived in 1998.)

 

“DEATH OF AN INDIE”

When people ask me about my movie, what they usually ask is something like: “So how do you get it out there?”  Or in other words, how does a nobody get their movie in theaters or on TV or at least on DVD?  In fundraising, the most typical question seems to have been: “Do you have distribution?”  And in fact, when I first embarked on this journey, that was the biggest obstacle in my own mind—getting it seen.  Little did I know that was the least of my worries.

For most of the people I’ve met, filmmaker or no, the great and mystical gate in filmmaking where success is on one side and failure is on the other is the gate of “getting it seen.”  Also known as “distribution” or “getting picked up.”  This is the point at which a giant creative blob that seems to be only an eccentric hobby, suddenly becomes something useful and worthwhile.  It is creativity legitimized.

I was fully steeped in this fallacy.

The truth is, as any artist whose creative aspirations have been in the emergency room for most of their existential existences will tell you, the distributor’s gateway is absolutely not the plague an artist needs to worry about.  Most indie movies die horrible deaths long before the question “So how do we get it out there?” is ever seriously addressed.  In fact, I would hazard to say that a careful autopsy of 99.99% of indie ventures would reveal that distribution problems had nothing to do with their demise.  Perhaps the fear of non-distribution plays a role, but rarely non-distribution itself.

And here’s why: INDIE MOVIES HARDLY EVER GET FINISHED.

Here are some of the true terminal illnesses which plague indie movies:

1) Too many great ideas.
The filmmaker has so many great stories in his head, he or she just can’t settle on one long enough to write a script.  These movies die young.
2) The script never gets finished.
The filmmaker realizes the entire script needs to be re-written, and the task is so daunting he throws down his scalpel and leaves the patient dying on the table.
3) The money runs out.
The rich uncle’s blood type is actually not O-negative (universal), meaning he just doesn’t invest in ‘anything,’ and the filmmaker himself only gets $60 a pint when he donates.
4) “Dammit Jim, I’m a pizza delivery guy, not a physician!!!”
The filmmaker looks down at his instruments and his patient and is struck by a sudden fear—what am I doing here??  He is convinced (by himself and/or others) that his lack of training or talent will only lead the project to disaster!
5) Seeing ghosts.
Phantoms, relatives of #4, emerge all over the hospital where the filmmaker is trying to save his movie.  He thinks he’s been given some kind of second sight that allows him to see them.  But really it’s the shadow of his own fear that “opens his eyes” to the ghastly remains of all the creative projects that didn’t make it off the operating table.  Like banshees they croon their singsong tales of woe: “No money!  No time!  Your idea is lame!  Turn back now!”
6) The man behind the doctor’s mask.
The filmmaker is actually a charlatan who has no idea what he’s doing (which in and of itself is not a true reason for failure), and is too dumb or lacks the integrity to fess up.  The fair promises and blustering used to get people on board or string them along eventually reveal themselves and soon everyone is driven crazy, and eventually everyone is driven away, leaving the filmmaker to his own faulty devices and pitiful excuses.
7) The creative team dissolves.
It’s right during the catastrophic organ failure at some stage of the production process that one of the doctors on the elite team realizes he or she hemorrhaging themselves.
8 ) Will to live.
The filmmaker has called the ambulance so many times, and has been in the ICU overlooking the comatose movie venture for so long, he’s forgotten what makes the thing worth saving in the first place.  He begins to search for enough reasons and tries to find enough consolation, to pull the plug.

Indie movies don’t fail because they don’t get picked up for distribution.  For the most part, if they fail, it’s because they don’t get finished.

Thanks to everyone who helped me learn that for real.  95ers will be completely finished next week.  More news to come…

Defending timespace in 3D

95ers-attack-ship-425x255.jpg

Introducing our new secret weapon: 3D matte painter and VFX artist Adam Kuczek…

(The above image is from the upcoming NEW and AMAZING 95ers movie poster.  Stay tuned for that.)

 

Over the last few years, I have had the great displeasure of spending thousands of hours creating many of the visual effects for the movie…    There is a ludicrous amount of compositing, greenscreening, and fancy particle effects, etc. throughout the movie, payment for which was required in SILVER. Silver hairs.

tom-works-425x239.jpg

Our awesome miniatures and cool sci-fi sets were of course created by Hollywood veteran and time machine engineer/puppeteer Clark Schaffer.  Clark and I are huge fans of traditional in-camera VFX with miniatures, sets, and cinematic trickery of all sorts, a la the original Star Wars movies.

clark-95ers-time-machine-copy-425x283.jpg

But lurking in the back of my mind throughout all this time were a couple of final shots…  Shots that had haunted me ever since I did that darn rewrite on the script.  Shots that would be way too expensive to do as miniatures and with motion control.  But shots that I HAD TO HAVE nonetheless!  Shots that would add production value, tell critical parts of the story, boost sci-fi “epicness”, and help sell the movie.  I needed a 3D matte painting, something outside of my realm.  I searched and searched, deep into the portfoliac recesses of the web, and finally found a teacher-turned-VFX-guy from Poland living in Shanghai!!!

95ers-time-tunnel-425x239.jpg

It was this cool shot that first grabbed my attention…

Please welcome Adam Kuczek to the 95ers VFX team!  Frankly, Adam has been a delight to work with.  Not only is he a fantastic talent, he also has a strong sense of visual cinematic storytelling.  I can’t show you the shots he’s done for us yet… but in the upcoming “95ers official trailer 2,” due in about two weeks, you’ll see a glimpse them.  Until then, explore his site and enjoy his reel.

Spaceships in a time travel movie?

ships-concepts-KUCZEK-425x300.jpg

“But I thought 95ers was a time travel movie?  A quantum-delving, soul-impacting, spine-tingling, popcorn-munching paranormal time travel movie?”

It is indeed all those things, folks, and much more.  Time travelers do go to 31st century from time to time.  (Well, technically, in 95ers:ECHOES we only go to the 27th century, but who’s counting.)

 

Very few people, even in the Chronos Protectorate, know much about the “spaceship” component in 95ers.  And at long last, even as I go into meetings with distributors (in fact I have one tomorrow), the final visual effects shots are being completed.  And one of them includes SPACESHIPS!

The grand story arc of 95ers includes pitched battles in space as well as aerial dogfights much more akin to Star Wars than Top Gun.

Over the years various awesome artists have been creating ship concepts for the 95ers Universe.  And in a matter of days, you’ll see one of them come to life in the updated movie trailer.

Here are some early concepts.  Most of this work was developed for what is planned to be the third movie in the 95ers franchise.

Clark Schaffer for 95ers - click to enlarge

Clark Schaffer for 95ers - click to enlarge

Kip Rasmussen for 95ers - click to enlarge

Kip Rasmussen for 95ers - click to enlarge

Justin Kunz for 95ers - click to enlarge

Justin Kunz for 95ers - click to enlarge

Clark Schaffer for 95ers - click to enlarge

Clark Schaffer for 95ers - click to enlarge

Clark Schaffer for 95ers - click to enlarge

Clark Schaffer for 95ers - click to enlarge

Justin Kunz for 95ers - click to enlarge

Justin Kunz for 95ers - click to enlarge

Justin Kunz for 95ers

Justin Kunz for 95ers

Adam Kuczek for 95ers - click to enlarge

Adam Kuczek for 95ers - click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

Here’s a cool full color piece of concept art by the amazing Clark Schaffer.

And here’s one of my favorite early concept pieces, by Justin Kunz.  You can see teeny tiny ships in the distance.

This mega-cool poster concept for a future 95ers project also shows a glimpse of ships (including an old Spanish galleon…).

Finally, here are some LOW REZ UNTEXTURED AND UNLIT looks at the ships you’ll soon be seeing in 95ers:ECHOES—our current project, soon to be snapped up by a distributor.  This 3d model—and I stress that is it only a previz—is compliments of Adam Kuczek.  (Adam is new to the team and I’ll be giving him a full introduction in my NEXT blog post…)