We made it! In two long and grueling days (I woke up at 4:44 the first morning and 5:55 the second, literally!) we have finished ALL the shooting for our short film that will be used to attract larger investors to the CONVERGENCE project. Considering the magnitude and enormity of the negative greetings that have happened — including the last-minute loss of a quarter of our entire budget, replaced by nothing less than a sheer miracle at the last possible second — it is just amazing that we pulled it off. But we still did! Our director, Daniele Suissa, created a unique opportunity for her film students at USC — by allowing them to directly experience having a feature film shot in their own class, on their own campus! This also saved us a LOT of money, because we were able to use lights, locations, student actors, some crew from her former UCLA students, and even the gigantic USC green-screen room, with all of ITS built-in lighting, which normally rents for 10,000 dollars a day. Even so, our shoot probably cost about 20,000 dollars a day considering the relatively large crew that we had — at least 12 people at any given moment, and often more. And since we are using top-quality professional cameras, lighting and crew, and mixing in comedy with the serious information, some of which I didn't even think up until I was live on camera, the results have been spectacular.
While Billy Blake, our producer, was in the hospital for a month after Christmas, he very clearly realized that we needed this film to go beyond the status of a mere documentary, in the tradition of "What the Bleep". Instead, it really needed to be a full-blown FILM, with a plot, character development, et cetera. The short that we have just filmed is a 10-minute glimpse at what this film is going to look like.
The rough outline of the film's plot is that we have a high school Social Studies teacher, Christina Williams, who is introduced to me (I play myself in the film but we are underplaying the channeling / Cayce material almost completely, at least in this first film) and begins teaching consciousness science concepts to her classroom — including bringing in the actual scientists who performed the work.
Christina's quest is initially fueled by a growing estrangement from her husband, who heads a startup HMO that is not doing very well financially on account of the increasing social, political and economic unrest in the world. She wants to encourage him that everything will be all right, and he in turn says that without the proof to back up what she is suggesting, he has no interest in listening to her New Age babbling. A friend leads her to contact me as a direct result of this feeling of disconnect from her husband, and desire to supply him with the proof he is asking for.
One of Christina's students becomes disgusted with the whole situation, and tattles to his mother about what is going on. This sets off a chain of events where the school tries to stop her from teaching this material. More and more students become interested in what she has to say, and begin asking their teachers to talk about it as well. She ends up with the teachers after her as well as many of the parents, but the widespread support of the students. It then breaks into the local news, and that in turn goes national. The power of the information that she is giving ultimately leads to her becoming a Rosa Parks / Cindy Sheehan type figure.
[Another amazing layer of synchronicity to this whole story is that a very similar event broke into the mainstream media, in reality, on the same day that we finished shooting. A student came forward with MP3 files of his high school Social Studies teacher making comparisons between Bush and Hitler, and it soon became a huge nationwide media event. In fact, the timing and content is so synchronistic that I'm going to use some of the nuances of this story to help inform the plot of CONVERGENCE.]
There is still room in the concept phase of the plot to think about how her husband factors in, but basically we see him get drawn into the media storm as well — and he cannot directly support the material that his wife is teaching. Controversy then further breaks out as the public learns that he personally signed off on a move to raise the minimum income level for health coverage from his HMO, displacing 6700 people.
Ultimately he is attacked and beaten in the street, by someone who lost his mother as a result of her not being able to afford health insurance any longer, and he is left with no choice but to try to use the principles that he had learned about through Christina's efforts. Specifically, he realizes that if the Maharishi Effect demonstrated that groups of people in meditation could reduce worldwide war and hostility, then he should be able to affect the mind of two or three people attacking him and save his own life in the process.
We are still strongly considering the idea that the male lead has a dream at the beginning of the film that predicts all of this happening to him but does not show whether he lives or dies. He is skeptical about the dream but then it all comes true in the context of this event in the street. We also have a real person to interview who can validate the idea of having a dream of your own possible death — a dream that also offers a solution.
Up until this point, the material that the film covers, through Christina's efforts, branches off into two categories: consciousness science and interplanetary climate change. My character in the film does not yet understand how these two categories interrelate. We initially talk about the "energy" of consciousness as something created by living beings. It is only after Joe's heroic character transformation that we get the idea that the energy of consciousness could be an intrinsic quality of the Universe and not just unique to life on Earth.
This allows us to bring in the Russian Pyramid research, as given in chapter 9 of Divine Cosmos, showing all the same effects that we have already mentioned as occurring from one living being to another as now occurring directly from the Earth itself, when its energy is harnessed. Hence, our own consciousness has a direct effect on the Earth Changes, and the Maharishi effect not only works on warfare, but should work on decreasing Earth Changes as well – as the pyramid studies already demonstrate.
We will also likely bring in Lynn Margulis on the Gaia hypothesis, that the Earth is a living being in its own right – and now we have the consciousness component to add in as well. The film ends with the idea that our consciousness could be directly tied into the Galaxy, with the work of Dr. James Spottiswoode showing that we become 400% more psychic when we are in a favorable alignment with the Galactic Center.
The pressure is still on for me to finish the story, and this is just the latest version of how that thought process is evolving… I'll probably do more work on it after finishing this post. The key is that in one film we will be able to deliver an amazing amount of information that really could increase people's individual confidence about how much of an effect they can personally have on the way things work in the world, and eliminate much of the fear around the times that we are in.
I certainly have some transient personal notes to share about what it's like to be a lead actor in a full-blown Hollywood film shoot, how grueling it can be to get up at 4:45 am and not finish until 7:30 pm, and do that two days in a row — never mind 30-40 days as some have done — but we'll save that for another time. I'm really eager to see the "dailies" of what we actually shot, come Monday, and begin the editing process. The green-screen we have for two shots should let us do some really cool stuff. In the meantime I'll probably spend the rest of this weekend thinking more about the plot structure so we can move ahead to actually generating a finished film screenplay.
Peace be with you –