Tag Archives: genetic engineering

Building “Blackline” (2 of 2)

The other element to the foundation of “Blackline” was Research. A mind melting quantity of it. All the tech was mind boggling for a guy who never finished high school, even though I was reading Stephen King in 2nd grade. School was just wasn’t my thing….but that’s for another time.

I owe many thanks to many many individuals and institutions…universities as far away as Oxford and as close as George Mason, private research divisions for which I had to sign papers to even get a potential return phone call let alone a meeting which may or may not have led to participation…

But I wanted to drop a few proverbial crumbs…
— BIOLOGICAL IMMORTALITY—
[] 1881 August Weismann proposes that worn out tissues (basically, aging) occur because cell division is finite and that is the primary cause of the decline in organ performance
[] 1921 Alexis Carrel – a Nobel Prize winning surgeon – argued that Weismann was wrong
[] 1965 Leonard Hayflick explains the ‘memory’ of frozen cells; one extrapolation from this argument became (in my opinion) the basis for what we now know as Cryonics…which plays a crucial role in “Blackline”
[] 1974 Macfarlane Burnett coins the term, “Hayflick Limit”….that each mitosis – division of cells – reduces the telomeres on the DNA of cells

So, that leads into the argument that the cells Carrel used were ‘young enough’ to contain pluripotent stem cells which, if supplied with a supporting Telomerase-activation nutrient, would have been capable of staving off replicative senescence – aging – or possibly, reversing it.

Those were a few of the key ingredients to the theory I used in “Blackline” so my characters – the privileged elite anyway – could achieve Biological Immortality. Bullets, disease and knives and getting blown up would still kill you but a Nanotech based formula could – COULD – slow the aging process. I called it “PDL7” … Ponce De Leon was the French dude looking for the fountain of youth. One of them anyway.

“Blackline” is absolutely an action-heavy series – and I wanted, above all, to put my characters through some rather horrific experiences which would – ideally – get the audience to ask themselves about the ethics of biotechnology we are starting to see emerge today. Forget drones and satellites. This is a LOT smaller and more insidious…and in my story, it forces my characters to evolve both emotionally and physically into entities that…well, it’ll be up to the audience to decide if they’re more or less human. Humanity as we know it today is obviously the ‘soapbox’ these questions are being hurled from but it isn’t who listens that matters…it’s what they do with it.

GAME OF THRONES; LORD VARYS: “the contents of a man’s letters are of far more value than the contents of his wallet.”

Is respect borne of fear ‘set’ to become resentment? Must such a conflict result in revolution?

Has our expanded awareness of ourselves as a species amounted to anything if we do nothing with it?

Last note: the ‘elevator pitch’ for “Blackline” is something like, “The Godfather II” meets “Ronin” in the world of “Blade Runner”…but there’s several love stories that are absolutely crucial to events moving forward and coalescing into the story’s progress.

Building “Blackline” (1 of 2)

“Blackline” began as a series of mental images I saw in my head throughout several years of hard partying nights clubbing in an area of Washington DC that was not NW. I first saw the word Nanotechnology in a book by William Gibson, “Idoru”

Then September 11th, 2001 happened.

Then the only girl I believed I could spend the rest of my life with died.

And then I got an agent, meetings were set but that fell through quite hard and I got involved with a strikingly pretty girl who closed me off to the world and opened me up to just how fast a downward spiral can occur and how engaging it can be to just give up and give in to dismissal of reality.

So everything shattered and then it was summer 2002 and I began looking at the pieces scattered all around and I saw something else; all of the above and a hell of a lot more began to rearrange and stack up and that’s how “Blackline” started.

It is now a multi-platform scifi-drama set in a world controlled by corporate city-states who wage a different kind of warfare to control the newest biotechnology and shadowy agents fence stolen data. Seven full length screenplays, a cable network series and three video games.

What’s been shot is an extended trailer and a prequel which is made up entirely of material deleted from the 1st screenplay (to get the story moving faster)…that piece is called “Blackline: Michelle” and yeah, even that got severely truncated to save time however, the ‘polite quickie’ cut is on my writer/director/producer/editor/dp demo reel, “polarized entropy”
Attached here are some stills from the production of the extended trailer; we used two aircraft hangars, hotels, office buildings, high-rise conference rooms and a hell of a lot more. And believe you me, it took metric fuckton of talking and paperwork to get it done…

And now there’s enough of it to make a pitch but we’re not there just yet.

NYC photography book (intro essay)

 

My 1st photography collection book is complete – I have two designed but may integrate them into one…but, for your consideration, here’s the introduction essay…

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On October 16th, 2012 at approximately 5pm, I arrived at the Jay Street Metrotech station in Brooklyn. The purpose of my trip was to conduct several key interviews for a documentary film project (then titled, ‘The Posthuman Condition’ and focused on Nanotechnology). The documentary’s subtext-point was to pose ethical questions about genetic engineering as presented in “Blackline” a series of feature films set in a dystopian near-future controlled by corporations.

 

Don Henley had forewarned me about everything changing in a New York minute (a lyric specifically referenced in ‘Blackline’) and I love improvisation but its easy to forget that improvising is what happens when something goes wrong. On the 24th, before catching my train back to Union Station in Washington DC, a five minute meet-and-greet at the documentary film department at HBO turned into a pre-production meeting which lasted for well over an hour. 

 

When I left the HBO headquarters, the rain, which had already been falling for a day or so, was coming down noticeably harder. Also, I missed my train back to DC and had to buy another ticket for the return trip (a problem I was destined to encounter again). When I arrived in DC, it was raining, the Metro was closed and there weren’t any affordable hotel rooms.

 

Thanks to a friend, I was able to spend the night on the ceilinged rooftop terrace of a luxurious hotel overlooking NW Washington DC, watching Dexter on my iPad until the Metro opened at 5am. I slept for a day and when I woke up on October 25th, the world had changed.

 

When I returned to New York for re-shoots in August of 2013, there would still be damage from Sandy. I suppose there always will be – but I also recall a conversation from the 23rd at the bar of the “W” hotel, nursing a third Jack and Coke. Don’t precisely recall how I ended up talking with a business consultant but I do recall that he told me the talk of the incoming hurricane was irrelevant because “this is New York.”

 

I didn’t know exactly what he meant but I believed him. We tapped glasses and he ordered another round and a New York minute had occurred. That was the first time I heard about Hurricane Sandy.

 

Like the city that existed before September 11th, the version of New York I experienced that week is a territory no road – or rail – can reach. Post-Sandy New York can be called stronger or taller but my interpretation is simpler. It isn’t that it’s a city capable of being renewed: it is New. 

 

That’s what New York is to me. 

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Hope you like – here’s a link to preview (and if you wish, to purchase) the book…

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/4220039/6c94804b58ddf00665861c6ef8d0fc655461a174

Thanks!

Sincerely,

The Bass Meant Dude