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!!!

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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!

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MY "EPIC" INDIE FILM - WAS IT WORTH IT?

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William Shatner’s autograph on the 95ers movie poster…  That about says it all.

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Comic Con was awesome.  It’s where legends, upstarts, and fans cross paths.  Ali kissed Bill (on the forehead) in an epic moment of boldness that will echo amid warp trails for ages to come, and he graciously signed.  I think it says: “To Tom, Bill Shat.”

The movie screening itself went great.  We had a decent crowd and people seemed to enjoy the film (which incidentally won BEST VISUAL EFFECTS at the Con (which incidentally had over 70,000 attendees)).

After the screening, one very sweet attendee (forgive me I can’t remember her name) said: “I won tickets to the Con and I’ve enjoyed all three days.  But this was the highlight.”

There was sort of a strange nostalgia combined with a gravitational shift in the universe while the movie played for the thousandth time in front of my eyes.  A weight lifted.  With the domestic distribution deal signed, and this last massive output of energy for the Con… the “95ers:ECHOES” chapter of my life is ending.  I’m not talking about about the 95ers sci-fi universe in general (which you’ll be seeing more in this blog in the coming months), I refer specifically to the strange, painful, and joyful experience of making this particular movie in this way.  On my way home after one last panel where we had fun comparing potential apocalypses (robot vs. zombie vs. alien), I asked myself: Was it worth it?

Well, was it worth it?

I’m not qualified to summarize Ali’s challenges during this adventure, but for me… I am several years, millions of dollars, and a dozen director’s chairs behind where I had hoped to be in my professional life.  Many tears have been shed.  Many checks have been bounced.  There has been enormous waste learning things I had to learn the hard way.

Pride is a cruel taskmaster.

Countless more months were spent wearing hats I had no real desire to wear.  For years, Reaper-like fingers have hung over Ali and I as we balanced our nerves and bills against the need to shoot the perpetual “next” sequence of the movie.  The crews got smaller and smaller as the years dragged on until the final months which became a lonely procession of interminable nights.  Then followed a certain “innocence lost” as I learned, again the hard way, how the movie industry works.  And even after deals have been signed, the debt monster laughs, and must be fed.  Gradually over the last six years, the supernova of enthusiasm that started the whole thing had condensed into a black hole that was my near constant companion, a Sysiphustic stone to be—

Okay OKAY!  This is getting a bit melodramatic.  In a nutshell, it was really really hard.

But the dream!  Mustn’t it be chased?  Even in ignorance?  And the story!  Mustn’t it be told?  And though this movie only scratches its surface, haven’t the depths of it grown far richer?  And weren’t there triumphs enough to keep us going?  A good scene here, an effects shot that worked there?  Maybe maybe maybe…

But what really scintillated throughout were the people—supporters and fans, cast and crew, and especially Ali.  I have sampled the love, support, and awesomeness of a shocking assortment of cool people around the world.

I will selfishly add that in the end, I am a slightly better person than I was.  And I like to think that the world is a very slightly better place because this movie exists.  Finally, though there were many seeming cataclysms that brushed by us, Ali and I were careful to NOT sacrifice our marriage nor our kids.

…So, the answer has to be, obviously, YES it was worth it.

Thank you again for your support.  We’re already planning our next one…  Get in on the ground level! 

Here are some fun pics from the Con...

 

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DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION DEAL FOR 95ERS

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A long-awaited moment has finally come…  95ers is officially going into U.S. and Canadian distribution…  And should be available to most of the rest of the world by the end of the year.

The “domestic distribution deal” was signed on August 15, 2013, 1700hrs, some 14  years after James and I first began pondering chronotons.

I need to applaud Japan one more time for the being the first to acquire 95ers.  (I’m sure their future will be free from timespace paradoxes level 5 or above.)  But for a domestically produced indie, the deal Alesandra and I just authorized is the “big one.”

We have a reputable and energized distributor with connections to all the big outlets.  I don’t know exactly what formats (TV, Cable, PPV, DVD, Blu-ray, etc. etc), nor what stores, channels, sites it will be coming out in, nor when, but I do know that it will be VERY AVAILABLE.  It will definitely be out on DVD sometime soon.  I will keep you apprised of the release date.

THANK YOU to the cast, crew, and supporters of 95ers.

The question I always get is: “How do you get it out there?”  Meaning, how do people put a movie together in their basement and get it out to the mass market?  The answer is: It’s a very long story…  which I will be detailing soon.

For my next project, which is freaking cool and is currently in the works, the story will be different.  The journey will be faster, smarter, and crackling with more energy between the most important people in the whole process—the audience.

In fact, we are right now gathering investors, patrons, and collaborators.    If you fit into any of these categories, contact me.

OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS:

I’ll be on SEVEN PANELS at SLC Comic Con!  They’ve sold 20,000 tickets so far!!!  Detailed schedule coming soon…

Lynda.com was recently at my house doing a behind-the-scenes documentary on the movie and the process.  It’s a huge privilege and honor and testament to the all the dedicated creatives that worked on the movie.  Should come out in November…

I’m experimenting with a more direct way to connect with fans with a Facebook fan page.  Please like it and we’ll see if it goes anywhere…

The burgeoning United Film Institute did a fun audio piece on 95ers meant for aspiring filmmakers.

Actually getting PAID for an indie film!

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So, Ali and I got a very unusual piece of mail the other day… a CHECK. People on the other side of planet Earth PAID us for our movie.

First of all, I must apologize for being AWOL for the past many weeks. Since finishing the movie, I’ve had to do something vitally important: PAY MY BILLS.  My day job required lots of attention, and they’ve been more than patient with me.  At the end of this post, you’ll see the big project I produced/directed for them.  And I’ve also been waiting for some cool movie news to share…

And this is indeed cool.  After a ridiculous amount of ado, we actually got a check for the movie!  The mad tangle of hoops which defines movie distribution was boldly and defiantly navigated by a little bitty check with numbers and “$” sign on it.  Though it weighs a fraction of an ounce, its arrival in our mailbox is actually quite magnitudinous. (Yes, “magnitudinous” is a word, appropriately rare and justly invoked for this occasion.)

It means that someone on the other side of the world saw our movie, wanted it, received its components, arranged for its distribution, paid for it, and some of that money actually found its way back to us. The archaic system actually WORKED! On November 2nd, people in Japan will be able to buy the DVD!  Other Asian territories are soon to follow.

There is a certain “legit”-ness that comes with actually being paid for a movie. A certain “full circle”-ness about it all. A sadomasochistic satisfaction of having our movie on a shelf somewhere: “Ha ha you naysayers and oh how the pain was worth it!” Well, that last bit maybe not so much.  But Ali and I are very happy and very grateful for everyone who has been part of this adventure. And we have new respect for the sci-fi instincts of the people of Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam!

SO, you may be wondering, “What kind of money are we talking about?” Very little, unfortunately. I don’t make a dime off this check! But you may find “how it works” interesting…

Ali and I funded about 80-90% of the movie budget ourselves. The rest came as investment from friends and family, and from generous donations, like from our Kickstarter peeps.  Additionally, the movie is very much in debt, having borrowed significant sums to fund its completion. So before the movie can profit, first it must pay its creditors, then it must pay its “deferred” contractors (people who worked for low rates in exchange for potential back-end payments), then it must repay the investors. THEN it will actually profit and people can start making money. And of course, out of each “sale” price (meaning the amount a “buyer” pays for rights to distribute the movie in a given territory), a horde of fees are taken—distributor fees, market fees, SAG fees, etc. And then there are the wonderful accounting, marketing, festival, etc etc etc. fees.  And taxes.

But regardless… it’s a check.  AND, there’s even more light at the end of the tunnel.  Right now 95ers is at one of the biggest film markets in the world: MIPCOM in Cannes. At the end of the month, it’s off to LA for AFM, the American Film Market. Please send us your prayers and vibes. We’re hoping hoping hoping to snag a European and domestic deal!

I know many of you have NOT yet seen the movie! My distributor and I and working very hard to remedy that! Thanks for your patience. I didn’t design this archaic system. But… my next project may circumvent it a bit. Stay tuned for that…

Anyway, here’s the big project I recently cranked out at my wonderful day job, with the help of lots of talented people.  3D projection mapping and augmented reality live performance… it’s all the rage.  Some of you may recognize the voice of the high-tech narrator…

 

If the video box doesn’t show up in your email, click on this link to see it.

Race to the RED CARPET

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It’s a flat out sprint to the August 18th premiere.  Final special effects and compositing, color correction, and ominous freeway signs rusting away in enigmatic sci-fi bliss…

I say “sprint.”  More like a painful slog to the peak of mountain, with all kinds of mudslides to dodge and scramble over.  Somewhat like the 95ers character J. T. Kennings, who figuratively duels with history’s great minds, I find myself in mortal combat with the formidable foes enemies known to special effects people as “Roto” and “Render.”  No matter how feverishly I thrust and parry, I can only stare as the invincible render bars make their interminable 32-bit maneuvers.  Sometimes I try and catch a wink of sleep.  But the render bar is my neighbors’ best friend, since during one rare daytime render, I ran out and mowed my neglected eyesore of lawn.

This will probably be one of my last posts before the premiere.  Everything is looking and sounding great.  A mountain work is still to be done.  Fortunately, we have a timespace-crunching particle acclerator at our disposal.  Thanks to so many people, this microbudget sci-fi indie is turning out to be quite an awesome little flick!!

There are a few quantum paradoxes that have not quite fit into our accelerator, such as the creation of the musical score as it was originally intended.  My brother James and I laid the foundation of the amazing 95ers universe together.  By design, this particular movie is the tip of the tip of the iceberg of what 95ers has to offer.  We’ve both invested a lot to get this far, and many times James has prevented me from throwing the footage off a cliff when I was facing some new seemingly insurmountable challenge.  And now he’s lending his prodigious audio skills to the project, mixing and sound designing the movie.  To many, James and I may seem like aliens from another planet.  But we actually do have only one head each… And there is a ludicrous number of hats to be worn on a project like this, and only so much time.  James and I have decided that it would best if we found a different composer to do the musical score.

I know this comes as a disappointment to many of you, and the kickstarter folks will be receiving an alternate reward TBA instead of James’ album.  We’ll have great music for the movie at the premiere, but it will most likely be temporary, until a new composer can be settled on.  Thanks everyone for rolling with us on the crazy trip through this adventure.

Also in the news, stay tuned for the mega awesome new trailer to be released shortly after the premiere…

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