Entries in Influences (10)
The Mercury Men are BACK, with visual commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes info, visual FX, and more, giving you a look at how the sci-fi series was made! Just click on the image above to start watching.
I just recently finished reading J.W. Rinzler's AMAZING behind-the-scenes chronicle of the first Star Wars film. While I've picked up nearly every piece of the Star Wars back story and mythology over the past three decades, there were many stories, conflicts, and developments even I was unaware of. (I mean Rinzler's got updates and interviews on EVERY single day of the project.) What was most surprising though was how much similarity I noticed between the creation of Star Wars and my experience on The Mercury Men.
I often listen to music while writing and storyboarding. While I'm doing research for a film, I find music which fits the story mood and atmosphere and typically have that playing in the background while I work throughout pre-production. Here are some tracks which were an inspiration both for the tone of The Mercury Men and it's eventual soundtrack.
Vertigo and The Day the Earth Stood Still
You can't make a 50's styled black and white sci-fi series without drawing a little inspiration from Bernard Herrmann. While our score doesn't feature any theramin (we chose a more organic sounding and equally eerie violin in its place), there are small touches which draw from Bernard's style.
Neptune the Mystic (from Holst's Planets Suite)
Of all the music, the Planets Suite by Gustav Holst has had the greatest influence on The Mercury Men. So much so that several pieces of it are actually used in the score. For a series about space and beings from another planet, Holst's celestial suite is a perfect fit. Neptune in particular has a great sense of mystery, wonder, and uncertainty about it.
The Map Room (from Raiders of the Lost Ark)
I've made no secret about my love of Raiders, or it's great influence on our series. And while the entire John Williams soundtrack was looped endlessly during writing sessions, this track in particular captured the tone I was aiming for in several scenes.
The New World Symphony No. 9 in E Minor
Antonin Dvorak's American inspired symphony captures the adventurous spirit of both our great frontiers, the West of the late 1800's and space of the 1960's. In fact, Neil Armstrong even took a recording of this symphony to the moon with him. Like the Planets suite, selections from this are used in The Mercury Men score (both of which are public domain). This track has a slow start, but when it gets going you'd swear you were listening to a great serial soundtrack.
Do you listen to music while you write? What songs do you listen to?
At a Christmas Eve midnight candlelight church service in 2007, while singing O Holy Night (one of my favorite Christmas carols and the very first song to EVER be played over radio), a single lyric jumped out at me. At the time I was in the middle of writing the screenplay for The Mercury Men and was trying to figure out what the story was REALLY about. Sure, it's about glowing men shooting lightning, space heroes, and all that fun stuff, but what is the story REALLY about? The lyric that laid it all out for me?
"Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth."
That single line was a key driving force in the screenplay. Edward is worthless. He is irresponsible and unreliable. And while Jesus will not be showing up in our series to change Edward's ways, the appearance of Jack (along with another character I must leave as a surprise), will most definitely challenge Edward to discover his worth.
So what is YOUR favorite Christmas carol? And please don't say it's that Christmas Shoes song :)
For today's Mercury Monday post we've got our first production journal highlighting production design. If you've got a question or area you'd like to see in an upcoming production journal, post it in the comments here or on Facebook.
If you owned a computer in the mid-90's, you more than likely played Myst. It was the best selling PC game for well over a decade (upstaged by The Sims in 2007), ushered in the CD-ROM era, spawned a number of Myst-clones, and has been ported almost as many times as Tetris. All from a grassroots game made by 7 people! And while the makers of Myst (Cyan Worlds) have recently fallen on hard times, it doesn't take away from the great style of storytelling they introduced, a style video game designers should consider revisiting. So how has this screen clicking graphical adventure influenced The Mercury Men?
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA and AOL have put together an AMAZING site that recreates the amazing event in real time. (I've been listening to the live transmissions all day!) I can't think of a human endeavor greater than what they accomplished back on July 20th, 1969, and for it to be this well documented is equally amazing.
Being that the story of The Mercury Men is heavily based on the Apollo 11 mission, it may be a great primer to the series to watch/listen for a while.