I want to make my first feature film: a grand tour of this incredible, wonderful, vast Universe we live in and show you all about the beauty and wonder of Everything. I tell the story of Women in Space and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, our other Space Telescope (other than the Hubble).
The Universe is big. Mind-boggingly big, as Douglas Adams wrote in his book, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!" The movie "Galaxy Clusters: Giants of the Universe" stars myself along with Dr. Neil deGrasse-Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium and Professor Doug Clowe of Ohio University, along with Astronaut Eileen Collins and Dr. Vera Rubin. Join me and my fellow astronomers as we explore the depths of the Universe and bring you along for the ride!
My film initially started out as my "general public" version of the presentation I gave to defend my Ph.D. dissertation. I wanted to do something like this because so often people hear of their tax dollars going to fund science projects and they never hear about the results from the scientists that get the money. It's my goal with this film to make a successful effort at explaining what I do to the general public in terms lay people can understand.
The movie has already been through 5 Production Rough Cuts with complete audio and video mastering as well as professionally-shot film already having been included. I have set a budget for this project. $10,000 is all that will be required to bring this project to completion because I have managed to in-source a lot of the essential elements of a feature film such as this, such as editing, sound, filming, and computer graphic imagery.
The thing is, there are five Space Shuttle astronauts to interview for this film and they all want me to go to them! So $10,000 is needed to pay for, basically,
a) Round trip airfare for:
2) my director,
3) my cinematographer,
4) equipment shipping
5) travel for production assistants
b) Original music composition costs and also voiceover/narration expenses; the film currently has six narrators including a former voiceover guy I was using and I am re-dubbing the narration to just be by one voice.
to travel out to where the astronauts from the Space Shuttle "Columbia" live in order to interview them on film and then the rest will go for sound mastering, media rights, editing, and distribution costs as well as the premiere.
For a full-length feature film, this really is a small amount to ask. I have pulled alot of favors and had people give me some services and media for free just because I'm an astrophysicist! But
Being an astrophysicist gives me access to a network of universities and centers across the country and the world who work with me to get me imagery and science information for the film. But some things in life aren't free, and that is where I need your help.
Kickstarter is ALL OR NOTHING, and I wanted to set a manageable goal that could easily be raised in a month. If I don't reach my goal, I won't receive any funding and will not be able to do this project. So help me produce this movie in order to share taxpayer-funded scientific research with the tax-paying public, in an easy-to-understand and visually appealing manner!
When the film has been finished and premiered, I plan on shopping the film to television such as the History Channel or Disney Channel and get this playing in science museums, such as the Discovery Science Center, or Griffith Observatory, or the California Science Center, or R.H. Fleet Science Center etc.
Risks and challenges
The main challenges with completing this project at this stage is securing this needed funding in order to conduct astronaut interviews and bring the five of them to Los Angeles to meet the public on opening night as well as to shoot the film, edit it, and have original score composed and voice over done. I already have the people picked out to help me; now all I need is funding to complete everything.
The other challenge in this film is bringing such sophisitcated high level science down to the general public level. To solve this problem I have two Technical Communications Specialists helping me with the film and a co-host who specializes in public science education. One of the technical communications specialist is a Marine who says, "If we can get it so I can understand it, then ANYBODY can understand it!" So I took him up on his offer.
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