Sunday, 9 June 2013
approved for release
It looks as if I'll have a couple of weeks gap in my schedule ahead. This will be useful to help me round out a few partially completed projects.
I've also been on a couple of courses recently and it should give me a chance to put some of it into action. One was linked to side project screenplay activities, which I don't think have received much blogging coverage.
I met some excellent and experienced folk who gave great pointers about commercial storytelling.
We also picked through interesting modern material and it's given further avenues to explore. For example, changes based around modern audience sophistication and the storytelling shorthand used. Like text messages. I happen to think SMS based story progressions are overused. Check out any soap. Although, I suppose ideas travel fast and today's connectedness only accelerates that process.
As an example, yesterday there was that egg-throwing incident on a tacky television show. I idly looked at the perpetrator's twitter feed a few minutes after it occurred. She had about 350 followers. By the end of the show it was 10 times that number and by this morning it was around 10,000. She hadn't posted since Christmas Eve, so we may need to hold our breath for anything interesting.
Similar with the great spy interception PRISM expose. Guess what? Email is being monitored by government agencies. The charts (Victoria Nece redesign here) showed monitoring actions from around 2007 through to nowadays.
We've all watched some of the movies Enemy of the State, Bourne, Body of Lies, or episodes of Spooks or 24. That's where the screenplays exhibit a slickness around these technologies that I'm less convinced work so well in practice. All that on-demand repositioning of satellites in realtime and remote accessing of security pin numbers in a warehouse depot. Maybe it wouldn't work so well in practice. The wrong plug? the wrong software driver? System re-boot?
I'm not saying there isn't stuff out there. They've been launching surveillance satellites since the Gambit project in the 1960s. Back then the satellites had a short mission life, sometimes fuzzy corduroy striping cameras and a little better than 50% success rate.
The technology improved by the simple expedient of 'I think we'd better get a bigger dish' and then 'I think we'd better get a bigger rocket'.
A quick hint when trying to spot big stuff being fired into surveillance orbit is to look for the biggest rockets. Some of the next size down ones didn't quite make it.
The biggest currently seems to be the Delta IV-Heavy which is one rocket, with two more strapped onto it. There is a brilliant new design in discussion which is fundamentally the same, but with four extra rockets strapped on.
The biggest surveillance satellite on the biggest rocket so far is NROL-32 on the Delta IV-Heavy. It's still classified, so we can only guess that it's an astromesh construction, like a 100 metre wide TV satellite dish pointing back to earth. It was only obliquely referenced when it was launched back in November 2010.
I wonder how it is getting on? What it's looking at? And what else is planned?
Maybe after tidying up my current projects, there's an opportunity to practice some screenplay here? Spies and rockets instead of genre versions of folk tales? Hansel and Gretel's already been done. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, anyone?