Production Art

Film Status Update

By | Filmmaking, Movies, Production Art, Uncategorized | One Comment

As the audience for the They Rode the Flying Saucers grows on social media, I’m getting asked this question more and more frequently: “when will the movie be available?”  This is a logical question, and it’s one I find myself asking repeatedly.  The answer is a bit more tricky.

The Integratron

I have been in production on this film for close to nine years.  Originally,  I intended it to be a short doc using animation set to archival audio of the Contactees; but then it took on a life of its own.

At the beginning of production, I lived in Los Angeles, and in close proximity to me were a number of the historical Contactee sites: Giant Rock and the Integratron were a two hour drive away in Landers, Desert Center three hours away.  Mt. Palomar, where Adamski lived, was two hours away near Vista, California.  Just down the road from me was the Empire Center mall, which was once the Lockheed factory that employed George Van Tassel and Orfeo Angelucci.  The empty field where Angelucci had one of his contact experiences is now an apartment building where I briefly lived.   The Aetherius Society’s US headquarters were five blocks from my office.  I couldn’t ignore the opportunity, so I started shooting footage of these areas to use in the film, which was the gateway drug to shooting interviews.  And soon I had way too much content for a short documentary.  This was now a feature.

L to R: Myself, Glenn Steckling of the Adamski Foundation, and Alan Tolman, a friend of George Adamski’s, before our interview at the Oak Knoll Campground on Mt. Palomar, formerly Palomar Gardens.

In the intervening years, after I’d gone to conventions, met more people connected to this story and conducted more interviews, the project has bloomed into something that could potentially sustain a limited series.  I have dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of content.  Not all of it is golden, and some of it is quite academic and would only interest the dyed-in-the-wool fans of the subject.  In the last year, I have committed myself to paring this down into a manageable format with all the best stuff.  I have completed a rough cut and am on the way to a finished second cut of the film.  While it is still too long for the average person to sit and watch, it’s getting there.

But there are a number of steps yet to accomplish: animation and graphics, music, sound mix, rights and clearances, acquisition of stock footage, etc.  Without going too much in depth as to how the sausage is made, suffice it to say that my original goal that I established at the beginning of this year of having it completed by November 20 (the 65th anniversary of Adamski’s meeting with Orthon at Desert Center) is looking more and more unlikely.  This is also the reason for the lack of recent updates to this blog: time spent writing blog posts could be spent finishing the film.  For that, I apologize, but hopefully this will explain why.

The good news is, I suspect most of the production will be accomplished by then.  It is just a matter at that point of the various hurdles of securing distribution, fundraising, etc., to get this all finished and off to the races.

Desert Center, a few miles from Adamski’s infamous 1952 meeting with Orthon.

Which is really my way of saying, stay tuned: I’m going to be begging for money at some point, and I’d love for the fans of this blog and the various outlets on social media to be part of this process.  I want this movie to be the best it can be, and it will take a significant investment to finish this film and get it out to you.  But it will happen.  I’ve stuck with this film for the better part of a decade, so don’t worry that it will never see the light of day.  I’ve put too much time and energy into it to do that to you.  Or me.

New Poster

By | Filmmaking, Production Art | No Comments

There’s nothing like a deadline to give you a kick in the pants to get things done.  I will be attending this year’s Contact in the Desert in Joshua Tree, California, as I’ve done most years.  It’s a great time, a lot of fun, and gives me a way to meet the people in the UFO “biz” as it were.

This year, since I’m aiming for a release of this film this fall, I wanted to do some promotion, and so I created a new poster for the film.  Here ’tis.


Special thanks to Gerard Aartsen for letting me swipe the title of one of his books as the tagline for my film.

I will be handing out postcard versions of this guy at the conference, so if you attend, find me and get one!

Who was Orthon?

By | Contactees, Production Art | No Comments

This Thursday, November 20th, will be the 62nd anniversary of what some have claimed is one of the most significant dates in history.  November 20th, 1952 is the day that George Adamski got the impression that he should head out to the desert, because there was something waiting for him there.

So he, with a group of friends, soon found themselves on the highway toward Parker, Arizona, outside of a town on the edge of Joshua Tree called Desert Center.  Suddenly, George’s impression that he should go out to the desert became an impression that he had arrived.  They pulled over, and the six friends remained by the car as George walked alone into the desert with his camera and telescope, with which he took pictures of a cigar-shaped mothership hovering over the area.  The pictures he he took that day have not survived, and Adamski claimed the photographic plates were damaged by what transpired next.

As a side note, there is an entry in the Project Bluebook archives indicating that on November 20th, 1952, a B-29 encountered a large cigar-shaped UFO in the vicinity of Desert Center, California.  In other words, at the same time that George and his friends claimed to have seen one.  This report was not published until years later.

Seeing a man in the distance waving at him, Adamski walked that way, thinking the man possibly needed help.  After all, who would be out in the middle of nowhere in November?  Aside from, of course, Adamski and his friends.

As he approached, he noticed that the man was not from around here:

After some sign language and trial and error, Adamski established that the man was from the planet Venus.  In later contacts, this man revealed his name to be Orthon.  This contact formed the basis for George’s fame, and the explosion in popularity of the Contactees.  Though even George himself would not claim this was “first contact” with an alien race, it was one of particular significance in that flying saucers suddenly took on a life beyond the pages of pulp magazines and scattered newspaper reports and into the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the years to follow.

George then walked with Orthon back to the saucer craft that was hovering silently in a small cove in the mountains.  There was an energy emanating from the craft, and this energy, George said, fogged all the photographs on the plates he exposed that day.  Then George himself got a little too close to the craft, and his arm was caught in the powerful magnetic field that threw him down to the ground, pulled him up, and back again.  Orthon pulled him out of the field, and George said that from then on, every so often, his left arm would go numb and useless.

Whatever the cause of Adamski’s impairment, it is worth noting that thirteen years later, in 1965, a pain and numbness in his arm indicated the heart attack that would take his life.

Did Adamski really meet a man from Venus in the California desert 62 years ago?  There were six eyewitnesses who signed affadavits attesting to the fact.  One of them, Alice K. Wells, even drew a picture of the man they saw George speaking to in the distance:

 Were these six eyewitnesses part of a conspiracy of a non-sinister nature to spread news of alien contact, or did they really see George talking to a man in the desert?  And if so, who was that man?  What if Orthon really was from Venus?

In that case, November 20th really is a significant date in human history.  But even if it was the imagination of a group of over-excited people listening rapt to one man’s wild story, November 20th still marks the beginning of an under-appreciated movement in American history.  I, for one, plan on heading out to Desert Center this weekend to commemorate the occasion and to get some shots for the film.

Production Art. Now With More Character!

By | Filmmaking, Production Art | 2 Comments
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the issues I’m facing with this documentary is that most of the major players are unfortunately deceased.  This is an issue that documentarians have faced forever, and the gap is generally filled with rather dull pans across black and white photos or illustrations.
However, I am an animator by trade, and so it seems to me that I should step it up.  I don’t want to do just the regular ol’ pan across photos.  (Don’t worry, there will be plenty of that as well…I have a lot of gaps to fill.)  So I am relying heavily on animated segments to bring this film to life.  
To that end, I present a sneak peek at one of the biggest players in the film.  The work isn’t quite finished yet, but he’s getting there.  Can you guess who he is?
Hint: His name rhymes with Yamski.