The heading may be misleading… Yesterday I was interviewed on camera for PULP FICTION – THE GOLDEN AGE OF STORYTELLING, a documentary about the great pulp magazines published from the 1920s through 1950s.
Ray Bradbury and other legendary figures have been interviewed for the documentary. Then various folks suggested to the filmmakers that they interview me, because I came up with the “Far Beyond the Stars” episode of DEEP SPACE NINE, in which Commander Benjamin Sisko finds himself a science fiction writer in the Fifties — the first time that world had ever been presented to a mass audience.
The interview lasted an hour and a half, and I got to reminisce on my friendships with such science fiction icons as Bradbury and Theodore Sturgeon, plus tell the tale of how I came up with “Far Beyond the Stars” (the inspiration was meeting Sturgeon and being mentored by him when I was a teen, and then hearing a tape recording Harlan Ellison made about writing for the science fiction magazines of the Fifties). I also got to opine about Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, Edgar Rice Burroughs, even Zane Grey!
It’s really fun being interviewed for documentaries; you get to say whatever comes to mind, and then you’re viewed as an expert on the subject.
Over the last few years, I’ve appeared in documentaries on such diverse subjects as PLANET OF THE APES, TWILIGHT ZONE writers Rod Serling and Charles Beaumont, THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS and THE SMURFS and the original STAR TREK.
Finishing up the interview, I headed off with Elaine to a production meeting for a short she’s just written that’s a send-up of Robert Rodriguez’s films. It’s called BODY COUNT and will be directed in the next few weeks by our good friend Eric Tozzi, director of the web series sensation DIRTY BOMB DIARIES, which has gotten millions of hits and is heading into its second season.
I made a few useful suggestions, the most telling being that it should be shot in 3D (I’m thinking of that for RAY BRADBURY’S LOST MARS, too). I also suggested a few actors who’ve subsequently been cast in the piece, including Don Balderamos and Denesa Chan, talented members of our Round Table, with whom I’ve worked before (Don played a Romulan in “World Enough and Time” and Denesa’s in the MAGIC TIME trailer we just shot).
Today, Elaine came up with a great name for the lead character in the piece, an actress who ends up murdering everyone at her audition – Cinnamon Treat. This got me thinking as to how you might write a satirical feature around this murderously ambitious character, who might rise first to stardom, then an Oprah-like media empire and finally President, all the while killing off anyone who gets in her way.
The ideas started pouring out, and I’ve written the first few pages of what I’m tentatively calling CINNAMON TREAT IN BODY COUNT 3D – THE MOVIE.
Here’s a few lines of Cinnamon’s I’ve jotted down: “People don’t expect it when you’ll do anything… especially if you do it fast.” “We all want the same thing: for good things to happen to us… and bad things to happen to other people.” “If America loves you, you can get away with murder.” “Being President isn’t hard… heck, Ronald Reagan did it with Alzheimers.” “Sociopaths are like everybody else – the incompetents give the rest of us a bad name… Not that I’m saying that I’m a sociopath, I’m just saying I’ve always known what I wanted.”
We’ll see where it leads…
All good thoughts your way,