© Man Conquers Space 2010
09 Jan 2013
Announced on the Facebook page late last year, MCS is gearing up for a new batch of shooting in late January through February of this year. As usual, cards are being kept close to chest, as the aim is to not give much away, but one of the key rules of MCS has had to bend a little to accommodate shooting outside Australia. This is chiefly because of the scale of what is being shot. A location unit has been organised and fingers crossed we see some serious awesomeness come home in late February. Meanwhile, more props and sets are being built in readiness for February's shoot here in Sydney.
If you haven't already done so, please join us on Facebook:
21 Jan 2012
Not dead. Not even sleeping. Making great progress, but had some issues with a hard drive that decided to pack it in at just the wrong moment, and take with it passwords, backups, and all the things you don't want to see vanish.
Suffice to say, after a lot of work combing through backup drives, emails, and countless other places, everything's back on deck and the MCS website is accessible for maintenance again.
There is news: starting at the beginning of 2011, the MCS "Alpha Cut" has been put together. This is a cut of the entire film using all the material generated thus far, and then adding pre-visualisation, storyboards, stock footage and other temporary placeholders, accompanied by temp music and temp voice reads performed by a small group of actors who voiced the roles so there is an audio track to accompany the vision. This process has enabled refinement of the screenplay, and redevelopment of key scenes that may have worked well on paper but had difficulties visually. It also permitted new territory to be explored and augmented, helping parts of the story gain better clarity and rhythm, as well as locating repeats and allowing trimming down. When first assembled the Alpha Cut ran for slightly longer than "The Right Stuff" (3hrs). The end result provides a clear vision for executives and potential backers to assess the film - albeit as little more than a sketch - by having it as more as an actual movie than a pitch document and densely packed screenplay alone.
To date, more than 60% of the alpha cut is completed. The remainder is either just audio or just vision or some holes yet to be filled. Professional commitments have increased (the price one pays for success), leaving less and less time to work on MCS. The goal of having the alpha cut completed by the end of 2011 was not met, but it remains the focus of attention whenever opportunities arise, not least because later this year a number of opportunities are looking likely to arise that may turn this project from an available-time tinker into a full-time rocket.
In addition to the alpha cut (and sorry, no sneak peeks just yet), as a temporary measure (due to website issues) a Facebook page for MCS was set up. It's now permanent and considered an adjunct to this website:
Feel free to drop in, like the page and join in.
28 Nov 2010
The new Teaser IV has just been released. Go to Gallery -> Movie Clips page and download to your computer in a resolution that you prefer.
This teaser was completed late in 2009, but the licensing of the music held up a public world-wide release. After sorting that out, it is now available for you to see and enjoy.
It is also available to view on YouTube.
15 Jun 2010
To pave the way for the impending public release of "Man Conquers Space Teaser IV", the website has undergone a little bit of a renovation.
There will soon be more changes as MCS gradually evolves in scale, but hopefully this should suffice for the moment.
The release date for the new teaser hasn't been set in stone - it's down to sorting out music rights - but the current plan is for before the end of June.
In slightly bigger news, Cannes was visited again this year in May, and this time meetings were held with European film executives discussing the possibilities of co-productions and the like. My need to get extra work under my belt has led me down a particular path, now looking at directing a low-budget action-adventure feature. With this plus one more short, I should be in a good position to negotiate for the benefit of MCS.
The Europeans are interested in the low-budget action-adventure feature, and if a co-production deal can be struck, then the budget for that should be forthcoming without too much blood.
How much time this will all take is anyone's guess at this point, however it will remain a priority for me to have it all wrapped up as expediently as possible.
On top of that, the MCS screenplay has undergone a slight rewrite and it is now as tight as a drum. I am feeling quite optimistic about the whole, gathering momentum the way it is. True, it has taken an AGE to move this far, but once it gets going, it will be nigh-on impossible to stop.
An overdue update
02 Mar 2010
Hi folks, and sorry for the long interlude. There has been a great deal going on. Indeed, I have been so time poor, that updating this blog-type-thing has been something I've been trying to do for some time, and only a night of insomnia has afforded me the time to sit and type a few words.
In a nutshell, the situation is as follows...
I want/need to direct this film. To do so means retaining control of it. To do that, the budget needs to be of a level where there is not enough for any one investor to dictate something so fundamental as who directs.
To achieve recognition that I can actually direct, I have had to make another film. At this time, that is a short film called Ghosts of War.
You can find out more about it here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1593278/
Ghosts of War is to debut at a public event in the USA very soon. Mission accomplished, tick that one off the list. It is, however, one film. Many aspiring directors find they need to make half a dozen short films before they are taken seriously and can involve themselves in projects of a less modest scale. MCS may not have that luxury because a) the time needed; and b) no matter how hard I try, modest little projects just don't happen with me. They go big all by themselves. Short films scripts abound here - I am a prolific writer - and yet none of them are the sort where it's two guys and a handicam.
I have no aspirations to be the sort of director whose work ends up solely on YouTube.
Consequently, the general consensus amongst those I have consulted and whose opinions I value and trust, MCS will be created using the finest skills of Indie film making - inexpensive to produce but looks a million dollars. Or in MCS' case, looks a hundred million dollars. The actual budget will be a small percentage of that. The trade-off is it will take longer to create. The difficulty ahead is finding even that small percentage.
To that end, the rest of 2010 will be dedicated to saving money, consolidating assets and planning precisely how 2011 can be made the year of full-time working on MCS. There will be meetings, and consultations, and various individuals and institutions will be approached and invited to take part in the project. There are elements of the film that cost a lot of money that can't be avoided, but there are other elements that cost lots of money that *can* be avoided. The experience of Ghosts of War has enabled recognition of both sides of that coin, and its end result illustrates amply the ability, skills and talents of the folks employed and available for MCS.
There are other projects in the works that are the direct concern of colleagues, and the same skills and abilities employed on MCS will be brought to bear on those projects as well. 2010 will certainly be a productive year. It will be a busy year. It may even be the year that ushers in the new MCS website. One thing is for certain however - it will also be the year that provides the groundwork for enabling MCS to take its place in the grand scheme of things and finally fulfil its destiny.
20 Oct 2009
Republibot have conducted an online interview, and you can view it here:
MCS Teaser IV World Premiere
18 Sep 2009
As part of the process of getting MCS rolling, the new Teaser IV will celebrate its world premiere on the Big Screen.
On the night of the 22nd of September 2009, a consortium of independent film makers are hosting a screening of short films at the Chauvel Cinema, in Sydney. Alongside another short made by another film maker, Ghosts of War will premiere there, and before that, a group of teasers and trailers will be exhibited, including Teaser IV.
This will be the first time vision from MCS will be seen in a cinema.
Invited to the screening are industry representatives, financiers, investors, cast and crew. It is a private event, but the press have also been invited, as it is a night of celebration of achievement, paving the way for bigger and brighter things in the future.
MCS takes another step forward
12 Apr 2009
Once upon a time there was an expectation this film was going to take 18 months to practically make. From commencement of pre-production through to delivery for distribution, about a year and a half. Nine years later, this expectation hasn't wavered. Of course, the start point for that 18 months has yet to arrive, but the way through to that point has never looked clearer.
Nine years ago, MCS was a short film, a seven minute exposé of 'archival' footage from a vanished time that never really existed. Not long after that, and with some nudging and support from unexpected sources, it became what it has remained since - a feature-length documentary from a parallel universe. To realise that vision takes a great deal of resources and financial undertaking, and it is this step - the biggest of any film - that is being undertaken at this time.
The website is about to be revamped in a pretty serious way. The galleries, background information and so on will be completely overhauled, and the whole site given a new look. How long that takes is not something that can be given a time at this point, but it will happen in due course.
Much appreciation goes to those who maintain their support, enthusiasm and words of encouragement ... and patience. While the 'day job' must take priority, it does - in a way - also ensure continued ability to work on MCS.
MCS Moves FORWARD
21 Dec 2008
In short, MCS has been greenlighted as a practical project!
The Cannes trip paved the way to meeting all sorts of people and developing a better understanding of the mechanisms of the international film making community, but it was a chance meeting and fresh professional association that really made the difference and paved a new road.
As for a schedule, the current expectation is MCS will officially enter pre-production in middle to late 2009, after the completion of "Ghosts of War" (a project created as a testing ground for the production and crew infrastructure of MCS). Given the amount of material already created to date, the process of production should take a bit less time than if starting from scratch, so *conceivably* MCS could have a completion date somewhere around the middle of 2010.
There will me more information as it comes to hand, and it looks like the whole MCS website will be overhauled, too.
18 Jul 2008
MCS went to Cannes. Well ... the MCS pitch went to Cannes. the Marché du Film ("Film Market") proved to be more an exercise in frustration than anything else. Clearly what is needed is a stand at the Marché, to attract the interest of distributors, rather than going up to them cold turkey and trying to speak with them. Quite simply, nobody wanted to discuss 'unsolicited' projects, regardless of their value or merit.
Politics once again gets in the way of practicalities.
Cannes itself was not a wasted trip - many valuable lessons were learnt, new contacts were made and a new appreciation for the industry mechanics was forged - but the primary goal was not reached. Instead, halfway through the time spent there, a change of tactics was initiated, searching instead for a hot-shot producer. Many were met, few could barely rise to the challenge, none were found who could really see MCS through.
The true value of Cannes has proven to be what eventuated in its wake. With new dedication, resolution and confidence, including a clearer picture on the makeup of a good percentage of the motion picture industry, new career paths have been explored, and in the process a new network of contacts created. This new network has within it the seeds of greatness, and the right combination of people who could genuinely bring MCS to fruition.
Once again the screenplay has had some minor revision, accommodating concerns and reservations expressed by those at Cannes who actually took the time to read it. The package now is a stronger, fitter, more streamlined model, and the new network certainly feels stronger, more vibrant and is a source of greater confidence in the welfare and success of MCS than any time in the past.
What has become abundantly clear however is that in order for MCS to be realised properly, some precedents need to be established first. To this end, the production of a low-budget feature has been recommended to come before MCS, to prove the directing, writing and production credibility and credentials of all involved (the budget for MCS is not a trivial sum and won't be handed to a bunch of seeming novices). In order to reach that goal, a short film is needed to be made first. This small first step has been started on, a trailer cut and the principal photography to commence in a few short weeks away. In essence this means the wheels are set in motion production-wise, despite the seeming irrelevancies of these interim, preliminary projects.
Onward and upward, as they say.
The short film webpage can be seen here:
08 May 2008
After what seems an epic tale in its own right, circumstances have finally fallen into place permitting MCS to go to Cannes.
Despite seeming colossal costs and insurmountable obstacles, creative director/co-writer Boyd Britton and myself will be at Cannes for a good 10 or so days, meeting people, displaying MCS in as many ways possible, and generally pushing as hard as we can to get recognised.
Wish us well, wish us God speed, wish us 'bonne chance!'.
22 Feb 2008
SOMEONE, and I don't know who (well, they didn't ask me), has added all the clips from this website to YouTube.
Whether this, or something else, is responsible for the spike in site hits remains to be seen.
To that SOMEONE, a "thanks" is in order
22 Feb 2008
Preparations are under way for Cannes in May of this year. At Cannes it is planned to meet with a diversity of representatives with the idea of securing distribution deals. With those deals, it will then be possible to raise the production budget, and proceed with completing the project. At this time, it is estimated production and post production will take somewhere around 12-14 months, quicker if more funds are made available.
It has been observed that one of the charms of MCS is its audacity - building a rocket's cockpit in one's backyard, under cover of tarpaulins when it rains, appears NOT how to make a film, but when a project such as this is self funded and there are no other resources to hand, there are few alternatives. The audacity lies in that it was achieved anyway.
Having taken MCS as far as it can go with what resources have been available, it didn't reach anywhere near where it needed to go, which is why bigger funding is required. Add to that paying those people who are involved (instead of simply asking for volunteers), purchasing materials to make rocketships and spacesuits and a plethora of other materials, and it all adds up. The idea however is to remain somewhat audacious, to continue to hand craft the film so it ends up with a certain charm, a certain feel, and lots of love. All that is sadly still going to need money, and for what is in the script that equates to quite a bit of money, hence the trip to Cannes.
April will therefore be the month of final preparations, the time to streamline the documentation, possible produce a few more choice sequences - if finances permit - and package it all up for presentation. And to learn a little French, too...
31 Aug 2007
Eric Deeby was a talented musician who came into the world of MCS by assisting in developing some of the musical landscape. Eric was a warm, passionate human being with overflowing generosity and boundless talent.
His abilities led him to work on projects such as Brett Leonard's "Man Thing" (2005), and he even wrote and performed with the short-lived band Ten-1 an unreleased song called "Fly", which was dedicated to and inspired by MCS.
On Wednesday, 29th August 2007, at age 37, a congenital heart defect claimed him, and snatched from the world a true rising talent.
His passing has left an irreparable hole in MCS, but while his abilities and work will be missed, this is but a tiny fraction as much as missing the gentle, dear, sweet man himself.
13 Aug 2007
After too long a time, a new site update in the MOVIE GALLERY.
MCS in its embryonic form appears destined to be taken to Cannes in May of 2008. This is to promote it to the various individuals, corporations, studios and investment bodies who trawl Cannes looking for new projects to back. Doing this will mean that the full target budget will be made more attainable permitting full time and full scale production to commence.
This is not 100% in the can - there are many hurdles to face before May, but the sacrifices made recently of time and expertise on other projects has provided the means to get to Cannes and therefore improve the chances of MCS reaching its full potential.
Meanwhile, please enjoy Teaser III
Making Haste Slowly...
09 Apr 2007
For some time now there has been steady progress, but little that can be shown on a website. The progress that CAN be shown can't currently be seen because it's being held up by legal negotiations. Suffice to say efforts are still very much under way to alleviate that concern at the earliest available opportunity, but the wait is on.
Meanwhile, a new range of material is being prepared to pep up the website a bit, AND to reassure everyone that simply because little happens in this diary or elsewhere on the website, it doesn't mean nothing is happening elsewhere.
Being a handcrafted film means it takes longer. And it should wind up being better all round, too ... ;-)
10 Jul 2006
After much writing, rewriting, tweaking, adjusting and rethinking, the "MCS Screenplay" is done. Here's the thing: the MCS screenplay has in one form or another been around for quite some time now. The background structure, characters, circumstances and story arcs were all formulated over the space of eighteen months starting in 2001. The problem has been all that work is unrecognisable to most film executives and financial support individuals and institutions. With the MCS production budget estimated to be where it is now, the film's executive producers have insisted on having a screenplay in conventional form to use to approach the various financiers they wish to approach, hence the need to go back and write down everything in conventional form.
The butterfly has finally been hammered to the wall. It won't fly any more but it can now be closely inspected by others...
It has been a while, I know...
31 Dec 2005
An unrelated medium-term contract emerged in August 2005, which has kept MCS development effectively in stasis - hey ... gotta live - but this contract wound up in November, permitting a resumption of development over December and early January 2006. Another unrelated medium-term contract will commence in mid January, and carry through for quite a few weeks. Weekends and weeknights remain the domain for MCS development, and current events space-wise continue to serve as inspiration for events that transpire in MCS.
During contract work time however, contact has proven difficult, as the work becomes almost all consuming and quite exhausting.
It is planned that finance raised from the coming contract will serve to position the MCS development phase on a more solid footing for the medium and long term. The current phase of MCS development is scheduled to conclude by May 2006; potentially sooner depending on contractual circumstances.
Major MCS Landmark Reached
06 Jul 2005
After a lengthy process of searching and lobbying for development funding, a single investor has come forward and supplied an amount which covers the full amount required. This now means MCS can finally - after nine months of fits and starts - get under way with its second last phase of development. This is a major leap forward and so for the next six weeks it will be *very* busy here...
Updates, updates, updates...
12 May 2005
Orson Welles once said that his career was 2% film making, 98% hustling. I know how he felt. The latest news is that a screenplay development application has been made with an Australian government film funding body. This comparatively small sum of money will go to myself, a co-writer and a screenplay editor to cover our time to thrash out a draft screenplay (up to now the film has a structure fully mapped out, with characters, scenes and even finished sequences). This will represent the first time in the 5 years of MCS production that I would actually get any pay out of MCS! With a draft screenplay, it will be then possible to hustle (sigh) in order to get the target production budget for the film. We'll know whether we get this grant some time towards the end of June 2005.
MCS Website Changes
18 Jan 2005
Thanks to the amazing efforts of Chuck Stewart, the MCS website has been shifted to a new, faster server, and its organisation has improved immensely permitting better maintenance.
In other news, the MCS pitching process continues, with one party dropping away and another party coming on board. The hardest part about the pitching process is explaining how and what the film is aiming to achieve - the story and format are far from ordinary, making it difficult for some people to comprehend while they're looking at bits of paper and the movie files you can find in this website's gallery.
Nevertheless, the process continues.
||December 03, 2004
||Negotiations continue to drag on, so no progress on that front - alas. It has been over four years since starting producing footage. Given most of the time spent has been ouside normal work hours, it's amazing there's as much produced as there is.
One of the problems with working on the project while negotiations continue is constant delays, which become increasingly frustrating, sometimes leading to depression and lack of work (and thus progress on any level).
I receive quite a lot of emails from people who stumble across this site, or who learn of it from other sites or sources. I try to respond, but sometimes there are so many that it becomes impossible to respond to them all.
The support and encouragement is amazing and often counters getting down about the constant frustrations. Thanks to you all.
||July 20, 2004
||Finally got the MPGs up on the Movie Clips page for those who prefer MPG-1 ("normal" MPG) format.
Three clips have also been added just in Windows Media Player format, and quite small (but file size is economical). Have a bit
of fun exploring!
||July 16, 2004
||BRACE YOURSELF. HUGE update has arrived. Go to
the Gallery and go to Movie Clips. There you will see the MCS Cinema
Sequence in both Quicktime and Windows Media Player format (MPGs
coming soon). Yes, this is the legendary 4-and-a-bit minute sample
sequence sneak peeked at TORCON last year. It's not going to actually
be in the final version of MCS, rather being a demonstration of the way
MCS is envisaged to look and feel (first created for TORCON and more
recently used to show prospective investors). The music is original, composed
and performed especially for this short by Valley Forge, and the clip stars
Ben Maclaine as an anonymous astronaut, guiding us through the
events leading up and during the launch of a Saturn-I ferry rocket.
The movie files are of a decent size, as it is over 4 minutes long, but varying
file sizes are on offer for the sake of those on different bandwidths. Any technical
difficulties with the files, please email me.
Just to clarify - this is the clip mentioned in June 24 entry below. The new Trailer still awaits its
original soundtrack. As soon as that is done, it will be added to this website.
||June 24, 2004
||Okay - so updates
are here. Nothing as grand as was originally planned, but certainly
better than nothing. A new teaser/trailer is in the works, too
- it has been cut, and just needs its soundtrack. In addition,
a sample clip is in the works, more on that when the details
||May 19, 2004
What the-? December and then MAY??? How SLACK! Well, not really.
It has been a long time, but there have been a great deal of
things going on. Sadly none of them are the 'here is product'
kind, being mostly behind-the-scenes meetings, talking, begging,
inspiring, despairing etc - the normal process of raising interest
with the right people so that MCS can live and breathe the way
This does NOT mean there has not been material generated -
quite the contrary. So ... what's going to happen? A gallery
revision is in the works, with all new images. In addition, there
will hopefully be news at some point in the near future being
a result of the past months of effort.
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has expressed
their appreciation, enthusiasm and support. Here's hoping all
the effort finally pays off.
||December 7, 2003
||Well, it has been a little while
since the loss of the drive, and I have to thank EVERYONE who
sent their offer of support. It has been quite overwhelming and
quite humbling - the offers of money, replacement hardware, etc
At this time, the drive is well and truly deceased - beyond even
the most capable rescue. So ... what to do. The next few weeks
will be devoted to reconstructing exactly what was lost and finding
anything related in whatever backups and duplicates are around.
The rest will be redone - simple. The silver lining is that in
the process of re-doing, the results may very well be better
than the original.
On the immediately negative side, the big bid document that I
had been working on - the very document needed to take MCS to
the studios - is gone. Portions of it have survived as email
attachments after being sent out to consultants to be proof-read,
which is one saving grace. It's no great drama in rewriting the
rest of it, but having to do so has thrown the already tentative
schedule into disarray.
One problem being faced at this time is that very little is being
updated on the website itself, since most work being done is
background writing - the very writing that has suffered this
setback. An increasing number of enquiries about progress shows
continuing interest, but there have also been complaints about
the visible lack of progress. For that I'm sorry, but without
the writing, the film can't progress the way it needs to.
||November 22, 2003
DEVASTATING NEWS: When I first purchased my first Mac, I thought
it had enough hard drive space with its native 40Gb hard drive.
How foolishly naive I was! So I bought a second drive. This was
touted as one of the best drives on the market at that time:
an IBM Deskstar 61.5Gb. The native drive became work space for
applications, fonts, scratch-disk space etc, and the new drive
became the home of MCS. With the purchase of the new Mac, I swapped
the Deskstar drive over to it, as the new machine was ostensibly
for MCS only. The native drive on the new machine was used for
essentially the same as the older machine, and the Deskstar remained
being the MCS hard drive. Files got moved about, stuff got archived
onto DVD-ROM, some MCS files even found their way to the native
drives on each machine, but the guts of MCS remained on that
Deskstar. The same Deskstar that this morning failed to boot,
instead punctuating the air with a dull click-scrape-click-scrape
noise. A noise - which a quick web search has shown - is the
sign of years worth of work and irreplaceable files now irretrievably
lost. The same web search also showed just how disastrous the
Deskstar drives have been. IBM doesn't do drives now, leaving
that side of things to Hitachi. This won't stop the class action
against them, methinks. The giant MCS bid, which as you can read
below has been going for quite a while, is all gone. All
the MCS accounts ... are gone. All the MCS research ...
is gone. It's Saturday, and I've spoken briefly with a
tech guru mate of mine, and the prognosis isn't good. There remains
a faint glimmer of hope, that either a) a replacement controller
board can be secured and used to retrieve the data, or b) I pay
the vast sums required to get the drive's data extracted using
the clean-room-swap that I've read about. On a slightly lighter
note, the website archive, along with many of the project files
and renders are actually on other drives, to say nothing of other
documentation which exists in email form having been shared with
producers and advisors. And I have the CD and DVD-ROM archived
files to fall back to, though I haven't done a serious backup
in over a year.
Either way, I'm still shaking. It has been like a death in
the family, and its cost to MCS is something I really don't want
to start calculating yet,
Rest assured, it might be a blow, but it's far from fatal.
||November 2, 2003
||Writing, writing, writing. Basically,
the past few months have been dedicated to the delicate balancing
act of day-job and writing the voluminous documentation required
for MCS' transportation from back yard production to cinematic
epic. During the last few months there has also been a lot of
research and development, with all sorts of systems designed
and dreamed of during the Golden Age of Space being brought out
of their cold storage, dusted off, and perused. Some very exciting
stuff out there. If anything, MCS will be thoroughly full of
marvellous machines. A short sample sequence was screened at
TORCON3 - the World Science Fiction Convention held this year
in Toronto. It was reportedly well received, and in due course
a link will be posted to a downloadable version of the 4 minute
sequence on the Movie Clips
page in the Gallery. The website remains
comparatively untouched simply because I haven't the time with
everything going on. Rest assured, lots of things are happening.
||July 05, 2003
||Well, after a long time away from
this website, I've finally got myself organised well enough to
return and do some serious updating. There are changes throughout
this website, so have a browse, and discover all the new goodies
here - which may perhaps go some way to explaining my lengthy
absence from here...
||February 24, 2003
||MCS has concluded its process of
accepting Contributor payments. This is due to changes in the
administrative structure and consequent legal requirements. In
other news, changes are being made to the cockpit of the Saturn
Shuttle prop, to make it far more 'authentic', plus a whole new
range of model building is taking place. There's a lot else,
but to divulge too much will spoil the surprises...
||February 01, 2003
||New link for a rather lengthy interview conducted recently. Also, three
photos added to the stills gallery.
||January 03, 2003
||New splash on the MCS
Homepage, reflecting a certain place visited...
||January 02, 2003
||Mike Whybark conducted a discrete
little interview with me a short time ago and then WHAM! "Cinescape"
magazine features just a tiny portion of that interview on page
19 of issue #68, complete with an image from this website. Responses
to emails have been taking a little while since I've been inundated
with messages from all over the world. It's very encouraging,
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