Yesterday marked Star Trek’s 50th birthday! September 8th 1966 saw the first episode of Trek as we know it now with Kirk, Spock…and Bones…though he took that day off.
Star Trek has been an enormous inspiration in my life. Trek was what first brought my heart and mind to the stars. Some of my earliest memories are of watching the Original Series movies. The first movie I remember seeing in a theatre was Star Trek IV. I flew a die cast Klingon Bird of Prey around a paper cut out sun suspended from our apartment ceiling to make it go back in time and save the whales. The show was not only my gateway to the wider universe I perceived out there, but the stories of camaraderie and IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations) became virtues that are foundational to my life. I was raised by Trek. Even when I didn’t go into sciences, my undergrad in international studies was founded upon Trek inspiration. In my mind, the crew of the Enterprise was travelling through the Universe and doing good, so too then would I in the world if I couldn’t in the stars.
To celebrate Trek’s 50th, we’ve put together a tribute video made from interviews with Trek cast, crew, and fans over the years. We’re so humbled by their willingness to be a part of our story especially since I have felt like a part of theirs.
Live Long and Prosper!
In a stellar surprise today, my friend Jenn called into my office saying “Did you know Chasing Atlantis is on the StarTrek.com website today!?”
It took me a moment to realize what I was seeing. And there we are an article about Chasing and the awesome Trek family members that have been a part of our film including Rod Roddenberry, Wil Wheaton, and Michael Okuda! We have also spoken to Robert Picardo about his work at the Planetary Society.
The article splash image features our visit to interview Bill Nye at the Planetary Society.
What’s super awesome about the timing is that today marks my Grandfather’s 90th birthday and it was he who got me into space to begin with. He’s also mentioned by name in the article on Trek.com. Happy 90th, Dziadziu!
Typically we’ll post production updates here, but every so often a piece of space news occurs that is so awesome I want to ensure we share it.
Facebook reminded us that it was 3 years ago today we were surprised by a phone call from Bill Nye The Science Guy which led to this amazing photo and an awesome interview for Chasing Atlantis.
I had finished a call with Bill’s agent thinking that there was no way this was going to actually happen. With the size of our team, budget, and Bill’s schedule I didn’t think we would be a serious consideration. I walked back inside, got lunch, sat down to eat, and the phone rang again. It was Bill’s agent’s number, but when I answered I heard ‘Matt. This is Bill.’ Here I am juggling salad at the Simon Fraser University dining hall getting a call from Bill Nye. He asked me about the film and, in that moment, I knew I had to give a legitimate “elevator pitch.” I recall saying something to the effect of ‘imagine that the science kids that you raised have now grown up and want to interview their science dad about the wonder of space and the retirement of the space shuttle.’ Silence for a moment. Then…’Sounds great. Let’s do it. Come down to California.’ Bill and I got to talking for a bit. We spoke about the Science Guy Show. I recalled parts of an episode about the circulatory system and he knew the exact episode number. I finished the call saying ‘Bill, talking to you is like a metaphysical experience’ to which he replied ‘No it’s not…it’s a physical experience.'” Of course he was right.
Our interview with Bill at The Planetary Society was amazing. After giving him a Chasing Atlantis themed bow tie (which he’s wearing in this photo) that we had custom printed he asked if we were hungry and if we wanted “Mars Cookies.” Bill explained that they were cookies that “replicated the surface colour and texture of Mars…but not the taste.” They were indeed the best planet cookies we ever had.
2015 was one of the most incredible years for our project. (I have been remiss in updating all of you. I will speak more about my absence at the end.) Each year that we have worked on the film, I look back and think “well…it can’t get any more amazing!” This past year, the film’s themes became clearer, we shot more incredible interviews in awesome settings (like the Enterprise), and I felt the most emotionally connected to the project than I ever have. We found our focus in 2015. When we first began Chasing Atlantis, the film was a story about going to see a space shuttle launch and understanding the shuttle’s technological legacy. Now, four years and change later, I see that the film is really a story about WHY I wanted to see a space shuttle launch. Outside the facility where Atlantis now resides is a quote by Carl Sagan “The Sky Calls to Us.” But how? Why do those shimmering lights in the night captivate us? This is what Chasing Atlantis has become for me; a journey to understand that call and to connect with those that hear it as well.
Today (Sunday Oct 25th) Is ThunderCon! ThunderCon is a first ever comic convention being hosted in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada…our home town!
We will have a booth open all day on the convention floor at the Valhalla Inn where the convention is being hosted. And I’ll be giving a talk in the “Cantina” at from 4pm to 5:30pm
Thunder Bay is where my geek began. During the 80’s and 90’s, geek culture was not nearly as prolific. To see a convention in my home town is amazing and my congratulations to all the event coordinators. To have Chasing Atlantis invited to present is such an honour. I spent the evening yesterday walking past houses of friends who have since moved away remembering long D&D and video game sessions. I write this blog post from my old room where I spent evenings watching NEW Star Trek episodes, Sojourner’s landing on Mars, and Discovery Channel documentaries about the Space Shuttle. Now we’re back with an opportunity to meet a rallied geek community in my home town showing off interviews we’ve done with those who created Trek and built the probes that went to Mars, and flew the Shuttle. I am at once humbled and proud.
If you’re at ThunderCon this weekend, please be sure to visit our booth and check out our talk at 4pm!
This past November, we shot an awesome interview with Rod Roddenberry. During the interview he asked if we’d had ever been to the Las Vegas Star Trek convention. Truth is we never have.
Rod suggested we come down to experience the con (Khan) and we thought it would also be an incredible opportunity to meet with some of you to talk about the way that space / science fiction has influenced your life and given you a sense of belonging…on camera!
So if you’re going to be in Vegas for the convention, be sure to come find us. We’ll be the guys with a camera wandering around wearing a Chasing Atlantis tee shirts (or Trek shirts with a big camera) Furthermore you can tweet us at @chasingatlantis to let us know that you’re looking for us and we’ll hang out!
See you at the KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!
At the time of writing this we are less than 11 hours from the Pluto Flyby!
I missed out on the first images of the distant solar system. When I was old enough to fully realize my interest in space, we had already flown past of all the planets (all 8). Voyager 2 was the first to visit the outer gas (ice) giants Uranus and Neptune in the mid to late 1980’s. I was too young to appreciate what we had just accomplished. We brought planets into focus we’ve known about for decades and centuries but for the first time with detail, colour, textures, and data. These distant points of light pondered by astronomers for centuries were made very real as they clutched our own technology in their gravity.
While Pluto is no longer classified as a planet, knowing that this famous celestial body is about to be imaged at this distance for the first time has me so stoked. New Horizons has given me the opportunity to go back in time during the days of Voyager 2 to see what I missed and have my mind blown. Not only did Voyager 2 provide us with the clearest images of the most remote planets in our solar system, it reminded us that yes…this is where we are! We are in a system of planets and bodies orbiting this incredible ball of plasma called the Sun flying through space on an existential crisis asking what we’re all about and if there is anybody else out there also asking these questions and launching probes. Furthermore, we can blow everybody’s mind in real-time (ish as it takes about 4 hours for messages to get from Pluto plus lag time in bandwidth and processing) as everything that is transpiring over the next few hours will be online. It’s a good time to be taking photos of planets.
An incredible privilege we’ve had in producing this film is interviewing a diverse array of individuals from space station commanders to science fiction writers. Each of them is a larger-than-life personality and has contributed something amazing to our film that has helped us tell our story. Outside of their participation in Chasing Atlantis, our interviewees are contributors in their own fields and it is important for us to keep tabs on them and promote their endeavours just as they have supported ours.
To that end, we wanted to share a new work by one of our most influential interviewees, Ann Lemay, a writer at BioWare studios in Montréal. Ann worked on my favorite video game series of all time, Mass Effect, and is currently writing for the newly announced Mass Effect: Andromeda. Ann’s discussion of narrative design for video game writing and science fiction really shaped the way that we are developing the narrative for our film. In her new work, a book she has co-authored entitled the “The Game Narrative Toolbox”, Ann explores the role a narrative designer plays on a development team to write video game player-centered stories, dialogue trees, and interactive vs cinematic segments of narrative. The book also includes exercises to hone your writing skills, as well as tips for applying for jobs within the industry or creating independent projects. If you ever thought of getting into the game industry as a story writer, this would be the place to start.
Below is a segment from our interview with Ann where she discusses the role of science-fiction in exploring our own sense of belonging in the universe; a theme which has become central in Chasing Atlantis.
Congratulations on the book release and on the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda, Ann!