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MOL Update #6

July 19th, 2012 by Andrew Cochrane

Well, it seems that it is indeed a fantastic time to be interested in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory.  We are beginning to see more and more new documents and first hand stories of the people who made the MOL come out of the “Top Secret” shadow.  As has happened with several notable 1960′s government programs over the past few years, the MOL is finally old enough that people can start talking about it.  This week Dwayne Day released a new article revealing many tantalizing new details about the craft and its camera.  This appears to be the evidence required to finally settle the vertical vs. horizontal debate, unless they changed things later than these documents! It’s maddening sometimes…

As new documents are released, our picture of what the MOL astronauts were training to do becomes more clear, and honestly it was a very ambitious and somewhat dangerous mission.  If they had flown the MOL, I’m not sure it would have gone smoothly- there were so many unknowns about human spaceflight at the time and the station was jam-packed with new systems.  But that is the kind of things that good stories are made of :)



MOL Update #5

July 12th, 2012 by Andrew Cochrane

Urban Art
This update is a quickie to talk about something that has made the research for this project somewhat difficult: State Secrets. The Manned Orbiting Laboratory never flew and it was cancelled over forty years ago.  Its existence was public knowledge- President Johnson delivered speeches both announcing and cancelling the program.  The Astronauts who trained for this program are all known. There are diagrams, schematics, manuals, first hand accounts, even some images and video from the training and tests. Read the rest of this entry »


MOL Update #4

July 6th, 2012 by Andrew Cochrane

This week we have the first of hopefully many opportunities for you to participate in the making of this film.  We are feeling like we have a pretty good idea of what the Manned Orbiting Laboratory might have looked like, but we’d like your 2 cents.  Much of the final MOL configuration is still classified, so this is all going to be ‘best guesses’ based on the information at hand.

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“MOL” Update #3

July 2nd, 2012 by Andrew Cochrane

This week’s update is a little thinner because the progress we are making now is in the one area I am not going to be blogging about: the plot.  Yes, it’s story time, and while it is coming along fantastically, I cannot really share very much about it.  The basics of what we are going to film remain the same- 2 men stuck in space on a secret mission.  While the script work is in progress, the research is winding down somewhat and the focus is moving along to funding and preparations. Read the rest of this entry »


“MOL” Update #2

June 27th, 2012 by Andrew Cochrane

Progress on the MOL project is picking up nicely, a lot is going on and a lot more still needs to be done.  We are still deep in the research/story side of things, so most of the interesting things that we have done relate to that.  Here’s the highlights: Read the rest of this entry »


Project Update – “MOL”

June 21st, 2012 by Andrew Cochrane

This is the first of many updates on the newest project we are working on, henceforth referred to as “MOL”. It’s a working title, definitely not the real one, so don’t get attached to it ;)

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To Infinity…

June 19th, 2012 by Andrew Cochrane

Those who know me well have heard me mumble about a “Mars Project” over the past few years.  I was slowly and carefully outlining a massive production that would follow the first manned mission to Mars.  I had the project  well detailed, having done my research (I watched something like 80+ documentaries, films, and TV shows and read countless books and articles on the topic of space exploration) and talked it through with a lot of people much more experienced in Space matters than I.  I was carefully building a network of contacts, advisers, and allies to help actually put this idea into production, and it was really starting to get some movement.  Then this happened:

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Holdin’ Me

April 20th, 2012 by Andrew Cochrane

It is with extreme pleasure that I present to you “Holdin’ Me”, a new music video I directed for Darin Bennett and The Requiem‘s just released EP, Midnight Storybook.  There is a lot to say abut what went in to making this video, but first, watch it so you know what I’m talking about. I’d recommend going to Youtube and watching it in its full 1080p glory. Read the rest of this entry »


I Hate Social Media.

March 15th, 2012 by Stacey

I have just returned from my first trip to Austin and SXSW Interactive.  I work at a media production company on the digital content side.  I worked at a major television network for 8 years.  I love content.  I love art.  I love entertainment.  I hate social media.

I went to South by Southwest for fun… tagging along with people from one of the most forward thinking production companies in the entertainment industry.  I thought I was going for the parties, the alcohol and the meat (yes, there was a lot of meat!), but instead I have learned something so much more important.  In a world that has become so fragmented, disconnected and technological, are we all substituting social media for art and innovation?

I am working to produce the album and help manage the career of an amazing musician.  He is an artist.  He likes to hole up in his house and watch Jack Bauer and write songs until 6 o’clock in the morning.  Do you know what he has been doing lately?  He’s been learning how to use Twitter.  Is he working to write, create or make music that is the beauty in the world and what gives humanity to our race?  His songs hit my soul every time I listen to them – even after the hundredth time.  However, until he figures out how to captivate an audience in 140 characters or less, no one else will ever know or listen.  And, yes, of course SXSW is in fact, also a music festival, but with acts like Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z headlining this year, is it really going to be possible for the struggling lesser-known musicians to break through without first having an online social media presence? Can they even get booked or an audience at one of the less visible stages in one of the darks corners of the city unless they have already created any internet buzz? We’ll see, but I venture to guess, no.

Don’t get me wrong.  I use Twitter, I use Facebook (I will not use Foursquare because, well, that just creeps me out) and I post my pictures.  I use it to show everybody in my life what I am doing.  I do not underestimate the power of social media and the effects that it has had on our culture.  It has created celebrities, it has created relationships, it has created art, and it has become a forum for social activism in a society that has become very lackadaisical about any action to help a cause.  It is easy.  In order to feel empowered and help the Kony 2012 movement, you click a button.  There are not stakes, there is only information.  But where is the passion?  The interaction?  We have become so intent upon sharing our lives, are we forgetting to stop and live them? And what happens to those people, artists and causes that can’t seem to figure out a way to grasp and or figure out how to adapt? Are we really okay just keeping those voices quiet?

SXSW Interactive is a Mecca for nerds, geeks and the cultural influencers to find out what is happening in the digital world; where they should invest their time, money and energy.  I am one of those cultural influencers. Do you know what my favorite panels were about?  Space.  I’m not kidding.  In my career I have worked with countless actors, musicians, and directors, and while I still get giddy while drinking a beer next to Willem Dafoe in the Austin Airport, do you know who I was the most excited to see?  Astronaut Ron Garan.  Why? Because he reminded me of a time when we cared about innovation, science and moving our culture forward in ways that we could not have even imagined as possible.  Do you know what I learned?  The space program has been responsible for medical imaging, firefighting equipment, and the very satellites that are used to watch the television content we all love so much.  Do you know what I learned is the scariest part – because we as a culture no longer care, those programs are coming to a halt, and soon may be stopped.  Space – could be our future, it could save our species from extinction as our population growth continues to use all of our resources, but what are 10,000 people getting together to talk about at a conference? The new app that will tell everyone in your life what time you wake up and go to sleep.

Make no mistake, in the same way that I hate social media, I see its value. I am not advocating for shutting down Facebook (gasp).  I know I have connected with people that I love having in my life that I never would have without it.  Throughout the panel on space people were tweeting to get the word out about what they were learning.  I decided to watch  Downton Abbey – which I now love – because I had to know why everyone was talking about a show that was on PBS.  Social media does give the musician a way and a forum to reach his fans, and for them to interact with him.  That is special.  It makes people feel special, and the value of that should not be underestimated.  I just have to ask – can we please also focus on other things?  The new app Highlight is not going to create any new scientific breakthroughs.  I wish it would, but it won’t.  While it might create jobs, it is not going to create the many new industries that our economy desperately needs right now.  A SXSW panel that I sadly missed because I was at aforementioned favorite space conference: “Social Media is a Bubble and SXSW is a fad”.  Can we please make this bubble pop already?  Move on to also putting together a conference of 10,000 people that come together and talk about how we can make NASA interesting and how people can actually discover great new music again?  Please?

An End Thought: The irony is not lost upon me that if anybody were to read this, it will be through, and because of social media.  I know you have to use the tools that are available to you. I also don’t claim that I am going to stop using social media to get the word out about the next project I am working on, nor do I have a true solution, because I am not providing any useful alternatives. However, I also believe that until we as a culture have these conversations, nothing will ever change. Thank you for reading – I have to go check my Facebook and Twitter feeds now.


The AV Club’s Netflix Contest Entries

February 15th, 2011 by Chris

We have 4 entries in Poptent’s Netflix commercial competition. Check them out, and let us know what you think!