core / life master / 2008 / july / july 24 (07-24-08)
story theory, science fiction
i am here before the holy screens to bring it out.
i had a dream that i was on the set of my science fiction series, or on the set of another of my producers projects doing pre-production on my own. Shatner was there, and I finally crept up on him to start our relationship. here’s how it went. as the lead in one of the most popular television and movie franchises, as the lead in the most influential science fiction series, i want your opinion on my concept for this new show. on our ship if we can even call it that, the bridge isn’t anything like it’s been shown to us prior. it’s a series of couches in a room and the primary agents kick back and interact with each other. the “interface” to the “computer” is not a board with buttons or a screen with icons, it’s in the air and as available, though perhaps not as essential. He had barely replied when the producer came up and said, Dan I want to hear Bills notes about the concept and I went though the whole schtick that i was just asking Bill in this sneaky way about the concept in an effort to get to know him, to know kirk. Did i just say that? William Shatner, this guy who made a big impression on me as a kid and determined my own development as a human being and an artist. Later on in life he did those poetry albums which showed me what a true kook he really was, that he had depths and complexity beyond the stereotype. Now I was getting to work with him. clearly a big moment to me. and had just put the scenario to him when you walked up. So let’s start again…
what was the primary theme of star trek? it was this utopian idea that humans could move past the bomb, past capitalism to something more humane, a mysterious way of being that didn’t require domination and oppression. Yet basically the entire crew of the enterprise wore uniforms, as if they had to be reminded that they were all a team, as if their very bodies weren’t enough, or the bipedal configuration of the humanoid form were not enough. how to tell the crew from non-crew. star trek was this utopian inspiration for kids to think that as fucked up as the world was with vietnam and nixon, there was a way out, this show was proof that we would make it, albiet narrowly. it put forth this idea that inspired me to find the way, to be with the crew of that starship. Truly Bill Shatner, you have been the captain of our collective effort, you are more than just an actor who played kirk. You may have saved our ass as a species. So now the Star Trek of the next millenium. I have been provided with the means to make it, a leap of faith beyond the horrors of our present to where we might go. you know for kids, to give them a chock for the rock face they cling to, a little protection as they make the next move, intuitively by sheer feel.
The grand themes of tinkering (scotty and spock) of intuition vs the rationale, (kirk vs spock) of sex and love, of robust quirky icons who bluff and grandstand from a base of compassion and optimism, who dance with a flourish and a wink, of babes and dudes working together in mutual respect, of ethnicities working together with mutual respect, of species working together with mutual respect. how these things are achieved is not offered, but the results are clear. kirk is the captain, an advertisement for this future. yeah he’s a guy. yeah, other captains are depicted as guys. yeah he’s always got an eye out for love and can’t help falling again and again. god, the more i write, the more i realize how i was influenced by the character of kirk. but his core values are the core values of his culture, the culture of humans in the federation. the nightmares of the past are resurrected – the nazi’s, the romans, the communists, the usa… toolmaking is exhalted in kirk vs the gorn but the winning stroke is compassion and the refusal to be a pawn in someone else’s game. the very exploration of the best human qualities. bright colors and bold iconic sets from a more innocent age. convincing star ships. was there sound in space in the original series? sometimes not… (music doesn’t count).
anyway, so it occurs to me that i may still have time to get shatner and nimoy on set for a project. to make the link. they play ordinary folks in a wider context. perhaps this the story of the apocalyptic years, when the core values are all we have to put the planet back together.
this is my opportunity and gift to give.
the rememberry that the crew takes to slip back into the past, to revisit the crucible of becoming.
and so finishing this little flick becomes even more, as we catch a glimpse of what might be next, the scope of it!