As most of you know, I usually post in bursts; I’ll be quiet for a while (in this case, since the 4th of July weekend) and then I’ll post a flurry of updates. (Of course, I’m usually posting on Twitter, and you can follow the #SpaceElevator on Tagboard for an ongoing overview.) It’s that time again. My update agenda looks like this:
A note about the two documentaries…
In case you were unaware, there are two Space Elevator documentaries filming now.
Unbeknownst to either team, or to me, they launched a Kickstarter campaign the same week, on Friday and Tuesday. So, I got the following message – from a good friend of mine - at 12:39am this morning:
Michael, Really? Really? You launch a Kickstarter campaign for a documentary about your Lunar Elevator just one week after Going Up! Films launched their KickStarter campaign for their Space Elevator documentary? Geez…
I’m making my response public. I figure that if my friends misunderstood the situation, then it was certain that many strangers would also misunderstand.
Both documentary teams have had complete, unrestricted, access to me, my team, our office, my home and our workshop. Even though the Shoot the Moon team has only been working on this since January, they have been focused on my and my team, and have collected ~5TB of audio and video. These folks are specifically capturing the ‘LiftPort/Lunar Elevator’ story; it is much more focused on our efforts. Conversely the folks at Skyline have been diligently pursing the story of Earth’s Space Elevator for several years. LiftPort has a smaller role in this one, and appropriately, this corresponds to fewer interviews. (5 for Skyline versus 10 for Shoot the Moon). Both Ben and Alexis from Shoot the Moon backed LiftPort's original Kickstarter - that's how they found out about our project.
LiftPort, myself, and none of my team are in any way connected with either of these two companies. We like them a lot as people, and respect what they are doing, but we’re not involved with them. That said, we’ve given them as much access and time as possible – because we think what they are doing is vitally important to the overall mission of seeing a string climbing into the sky! We are not getting paid by them, we signed release forms for the interviews we gave, we have no editorial rights whatsoever, and are not privy to any of the inner workings of their companies. (I’m a movie nerd, so I’m hoping to get an official IMDB credit as technical consultant or something.)
These two teams are coincidentally located in New York – apparently that’s where you live if you want to film documentaries… The teams met, briefly, while each was attending the International Space Elevator Consortium conference in August. I urged them to meet up for coffee… They didn’t.
I learned about their Kickstarter efforts on Saturday and Monday. I really wish they’d talked to me about this, much much earlier. Yesterday, I spoke with both teams. I backed both team (for roughly equal amounts of money $100 & $150 based on rewards I actually wanted). Shoot the Moon asked me to give – and they set up – three interviews. I offered the same thing to Skyline.
So why did I agree to this level of access? Because I have always believed that this project had to be constructed under the watchful eye of public scrutiny. That the global Elevator community needed public engagements as much (or more!) than we needed technical documentation.
I look forward to these films. I hope you’ll join me in backing them.
Take care, Mjl Michael Laine, President, LiftPort Group