20th Century Man tells the story of a brilliant young scientist who secretly invents a time machine in the 1930s.
ABOUT THE FILM
20th Century Man begins in the year 1938, where a brilliant young scientist has invented the world’s first time machine. Much to his wife’s dismay, he decides to test the machine on himself by traveling a week into the future, but the machine malfunctions and he ends up much farther in the future than he anticipated. The film is approximately 12 minutes long and is completely silent aside from the music score by Howard Hanson. Just picture a live-action segment of Fantasia and you’ll get the idea.
I originally came up with the concept for 20th Century Man back in 2007, when I heard a beautiful piece of music by Howard Hanson on 104.9 WCLV, Cleveland’s classic music station. It was his Symphony No. 2 Romantic, which was famously featured in the end credits of Ridley Scott’s Alien. As I listened to the symphony, I began to form a story in my head that mirrored the emotions of Hanson’s music. The story went through several revisions and adjustments over the years, but the core plot has remained the same.
WHAT THIS FILM MEANS TO ME
After a failed attempt to shoot 20th Century Man back in 2008, I became rather discouraged and figured that I would not get another opportunity to make this film. However, the planets aligned themselves just right in early 2011. Taking advantage of all the friends I had made over the years at Kent State's JMC program, I was able to pull together an AMAZING cast and crew for one week of production in late March. It has been very surreal to actually see finished footage from this film, seeing as how it has been in my head for the better part of four years! So, it means a great deal to me that I can finally share this story with a wider audience, and I hope you all enjoy it!
INSPIRATION FROM OTHER FILMS
Before and during the production of 20th Century Man, I looked to a number of different films for creative inspiration. They included The Rocketeer, Back to the Future, Metropolis, Contact, Somewhere in Time, Sky Captain, and The Prestige, among others. Some of these films offered visual inspiration, while others helped me to flesh out the main themes that I wanted to address. Ultimately, however, it was Howard Hanson’s symphony that gave me the heart and soul of the story. Without his music, there would be no 20th Century Man.
WHAT THE KICKSTARTER FUNDS WILL BE USED FOR
Since the film is already completed, there is no production budget that needs to be raised. However, we are using 12 minutes of copyrighted music in the film, and in order to keep everything nice and legal, there are licensing fees that need to be paid to the copyright holders. The rates that we’ve been offered for a one-year film festival license is around $1000. In addition to this figure, there is also the cost of submitting to the festivals themselves. This will be at least another $1500, since we would like to submit 20th Century Man to as many places as possible. Finally, any money that is left over will go to the cast & crew. They all donated countless hours of their time on this project and I would love to be able to compensate them for all of their hard work. Free pizza and chips on the set can only go so far!!
If you find yourself in a generous mood and pledge the $1,000 reward, you will be the lucky recipient of a replica of the time machine used in the movie. I created it using only wooden 2x4s, chrome-painted cardboard panels, and night lights. So don't expect a stainless steel technological marvel! Also, since the prop is so large and weighs so much, you'll have to find a way to pick it up. Shipping it would be impractical!