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Heinlein movie? 
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Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:57 pm
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Post Heinlein movie?
Original thread here:

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1547

On short, the thought occurred to me that if Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged could be crowdfunded into production, then why not a Heinlein book?

A few questions to invite comment:

Which book? Some listed have been Friday, Job, and Time Enough for Love.

If project reaches that point, would the Heinlein Society be willing to consider giving a green light?

Can enough interest be generated in order to fund it?

I'm sure there are other questions, but these are the main ones that occur to me at the moment.


Fri May 02, 2014 12:08 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein movie?
You've got to have the producing and directing talent not only lined up, but driving the crowdsourcing effort to begin with. You also need to have the screenwriter on board with an idea ready to jump out of the gate. The choice of book will be almost totally dictated by whoever the screenwriter and producer are and what their favorite is


Sat May 03, 2014 1:10 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein movie?
PeterScott, what I'm getting from your comment is basically, "Unless someone else does it, it won't happen."

Since I am asking the questions in order to gauge interest I should count you as not interested?


Sat May 03, 2014 4:02 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein movie?
I'd love to see a good film made of either "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" (my personal favorite among Heinlein books), "Time Enough for Love" (probably Heinlein's best book), or any of several others. You'd need a top-flight screen writer who also knows and loves Heinlein's work to do a decent job, though, especially with the first two books. You'd need somebody who knows how to direct, knows how to do CGI enhancement (you'll need some special effects for most Heinlein books) and knows how to produce and market a movie.

I think that Peter is right that you've got to have resources lined up that can do all of the critical parts of production before people will sign up and donate. The problem isn't that I wouldn't be interested, or most of the fellow Heinlein nuts wouldn't be interested. It's that I know what I don't know when it comes to filming a movie, and i don't know how to do any part of it. I also don't know anybody on this board who does, although one of them might surprise me. :-) So if I'm going to contribute financially to such an effort, I need to see somebody who does know heading it up and with a team that can cover the critical parts of the task.

If you've got or can pull together the cinema know-how to handle this, I'm all ears. :-)

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Sat May 03, 2014 4:54 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein movie?
sakeneko wrote:
I think that Peter is right that you've got to have resources lined up that can do all of the critical parts of production before people will sign up and donate.

Yes, as I saw it, Peter was thoughtfully describing what it takes to pull off a crowdsourced movie project, but StagXing perceived his response more negatively, for some reason.
sakeneko wrote:
It's that I know what I don't know when it comes to filming a movie, and i don't know how to do any part of it. I also don't know anybody on this board who does, although one of them might surprise me. :-)

Michael Cassutt, an accomplished professional who has been known to post here, might surprise you.

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Sat May 03, 2014 7:03 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein movie?
Yes, there is an actual screenplay for MIAHM out there, and I believe Mike wrote it? It was quite decent, IIRC.

Get an experienced producer on board and they may line up everyone else. That is of course somewhat like saying, "Get yourself to LEO and reaching the Moon is easy."


Sat May 03, 2014 7:35 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein movie?
I didn't take it negatively, I just pointed out the same thing that Peter did about his comment.

Projects like this happen one of two ways: from the top down (studio, producer, A-list whomever wants it made) or the bottom up. Peter's answer was that if someone on top wants it made, the rest will follow. I agree, but it wasn't my question. My question was is there enough bottom pressure (fans, here, etc.) to create the project and get the thing made, which is why I specifically cited the Atlas Shrugged project.

The answers that I have so far are pretty much a no. There is interest in it being made, and if the ball is rolling people are interested, but there isn't enough interest to GET it rolling. In other words, not enough pressure to break the inertia.

I cite this conversation as an example. The conversation isn't about the project, it is about the conversation about the project. Net inertia toward getting things done: none.

Not at all unusual. This is where most ideas go. That isn't good or bad, it's just what happens more often than not.


Sat May 03, 2014 8:27 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein movie?
Atlas Shrugged was not crowd funded from the bottom up. See http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/a ... ter-633504 . The fundraising was sourced by the producers. You are talking about fans donating money in the hope that some currently unidentified producers will show up to use it. I know of no case where that has happened.


Sat May 03, 2014 9:58 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein movie?
Peter, true and you have a good point about Atlas Shrugged's fundraising. I was incorrectly under the impression that the kickstarter campaign was significantly larger.

I have close friends that are Producers, two of whom are IMDB listed and in demand in the PacNW, one of whom is huge science fiction fan. I know several scriptwriters, etc. and the list goes on. People on the production end can be story and project pitched, or could lead me to people who would be better suited.

If I were to pitch a Heinlein idea to them the first question I would be asked is, "How would the fans react to it and do they want it to happen?" I think this is reasonable since I am a fan myself and I would not want material I love to be bastardized, such as happened with Starship Troopers.

I thought it was a reasonable thing to ask here, which is a specific Heinlein mega-fan place. If the people such as yourself who went so far as to organize the Centennial would be interested in seeing such a project happen, then that would be an indication that the larger body of fans would be. A skewed statistical sample perhaps, but still a good indicator.

Part of my original thought was that it would be cool to have Heinlein lovers and fans involved from the get-go to provide the upward pressure from the bottom that I referred to.

All of which is far more thought than I put into my original post which was basically a 'here is an idea, let's run it up the flag-pole' kind of thing.

I am disheartened by the immediate response being about money, although I probably asked for that response by mentioning crowdsourcing. I don't operate on the theory that the money has to come first. I have always thought that the idea comes first, the people to make it happen come second and the money comes third in order of project creation. This method has served me well, and successfully.

Perhaps I am incorrect (I certainly have been before), but if my memory of Peter's account of the Centennial was much the same. The idea occurred, he decided to make it happen, talked to people, it got greenlighted, money was put into it, etc. Perhaps Peter can correct me on this.

Of course like the Centennial, a project like a movie would take a LOT of time, effort, heartbreak, sweat, blood, and tears to get it moving.

I suppose that a motivation for posting in the first place may be that I am currently in between pet projects and I tend to tackle big ones that I am passionate about. Next year I have my big walk, but until then I don't have much to do but the intellectual drudgery of prepping to go back to school to get my teaching certification. The thought has been in the back of my mind since my original post about whether I want to push against this particular wall and see if it can be moved, as well as how I would go about doing it.

I haven't answered my own original questions yet, which I will do in a later post since this one is getting a little long. :)


Sun May 04, 2014 12:21 am
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Post Re: Heinlein movie?
If you know a producer or famous director who could pull this off and who wants to make a Heinlein film, then by all means let's hear from them. If the original posting in this thread had been, "Hi, I'm the producer of [three movies with budgets over $25 million], I really want to make a movie of TEFL and I have a director with a great take on the idea, but no studio will take us on, do you think we could crowdfund it?" the response would have been different. Way different.

The centennial was not the same situation: I and the other people I immediately talked to were the producers. Bill had already produced a con. Plus, we didn't need donations, only registrations. Nevertheless, the convention would still not have happened had we not had the critical mass of KaCSFFS - again, experienced con producers who wanted to make it happen. And who didn't have up-front expenses to foot.

Movies get created by talented, experienced professionals with a passion for an idea that they just have to see on the screen. When at least the key producer or director in that set of people is on stage, then they can explore whatever means of fundraising it takes to get the job done. Doing it the other way around is trying to erect a building by putting the roof on first: you're simply going to get flattened by reality. People who have never made a movie before don't create feature films.

It's terrific that you know people in the industry, but unless they catch the dream and decide this is their next project you are tilting at a windmill of juggernaut proportions. I saw how Verhoeven shopped Troopers around: at a con I saw a demo reel he made of a bug CGI scene and then he made the case to the camera of how he wanted to make this movie. He went to the studios giving them copies of the reel until one said yes. That's how it's done. If your contacts won't consider producing a Heinlein movie until they see the cash to make it, they're not motivated enough. And when they are motivated, it'll be by a particular book that they've already been captivated by.

I'm happy to sit here discussing movie fantasies all day, but not to helm an effort guaranteed to fail and cause stress and heartache because it's cart-before-horse. Now, if you want to start a thread on, "What unique twist can you put on a Heinlein story that would make it a great movie pitch?" why, that would be a fantastic thing to discuss.


Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 am
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