Forty years ago, in his game changing book Future Shock, Alvin Toffler said that we were entering a super-industrial society where people didn't just have a single career but they had "serial careers." I certainly have.
I started out as a journalist and morphed into a dramatic screenwriter. This means that sometimes I've been paid to get the facts and sometimes I've been paid to make things up. When you throw UFOs into the mix, it can get a little complicated, particularly if you cross between the worlds.
This site, as you know, is dedicated to the non-fiction book I've co-written with Richard M. Dolan -- A.D. After Disclosure. In its 321 pages, we try very hard to adhere to historical research and journalistic standards. There is nothing I would ever want to do that would undermine its truth and credibility.
At the same time the book has hit the market, however, by a sheer coincidence of the calendar, there is viral campaign being waged on behalf of the DVD release of the fictional NBC sci-fi TV series I co-created with Brent V. Friedman -- Dark Skies -- that raises its own issues about the line between fact and fiction.
I'm a trained journalist with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Oregon. I came to Los Angeles as a CNN correspondent, worked as an investigative reporter for PBS, and a magazine producer for ABC. I'm also a dramatist who has worked on a dozen hour-long TV series and created five of them, and had some films produced. A thread from my journalistic days to my entertainment days has been space science and UFOs -- from interviewing Carl Sagan live for KCET during the Voyager fly-by of Saturn to working with Steven Spielberg during the development of his abduction minseries Taken.
Often these two distinct backgrounds of journalism and drama support and deepen the other, one hand washing the other. For example, journalism experience increases your ability to research, channel authentic dialogue, hit deadlines and write succinctly. Dramatic writing improves journalistic efforts by its emphasis on understanding emotion and character.
Dark Skies: Mirrors Within Mirrors
In the 90s, I was the co-creator/executive producer for 20 hours of Dark Skies episodes and, considering the series arc dealt with JFK being assassinated because he was going to disclose the truth about UFOs, it was pretty edgy drama. The series incorporated other real characters from Howard Hughes to John Lennon, and UFO storylines from Roswell to Socorro to Betty and Barney Hill. The idea was to co-mingle real people and historical events into a fictional arc that was based to some degree on non-fiction UFO reality.
For the network pitches, Brent Friedman and I produced a mock "briefing book" as well as a letter from a man named John Loengard, who claimed to be a Majestic agent in the 1960s and who asked us to present the truth as a fictional TV series in order to protect the lives of the innocent. It was a good pitch. We got two networks to offer to buy the series on the first day.
Flash forward to 2010. Shout Factory is promoting the January 18, 2011 release of their outstanding DVD set that I've helped them prepare as a consultant. In our discussions, we obviously talked about the source material. Truth being presented as fiction. Fiction entertwined with truth. Real people mixed with the fictional (supposedly) characters of the series. The Loengard Letter. The actual nature of the world of disinformation. The background on Majestic-12, an organization we treat as real in the series, but which UFOlogists are bitterly divided about. That kind of briefing.
It is hardly surprising that this creative mix would yield a promotional effort that went beyond your basic buy a few ads and send out a press release tradition. It did.
First, there was this intercepted memo. It was discussed on the website TV Shows on DVD. Based on what the redacted memo says, it was no accident that it took 13 years to bring the series out on DVD, and the powers-that-be (as opposed to the fans) were none too happy that it was finally happening.
Then, last month, this apparently wiretapped phone conversation appeared on YouTube. I won't attempt to describe it. You should listen for yourself.
My fellow series creator, Brent Friedman, and I think that the above audio accurately reflects the same issues that we built the series on -- paranoia, invasion of privacy, secret organizations, behind-the-scenes manipulation of events, disinformation, claims of inside access, etc. We've never claimed that it's all true. It's just a TV series that mixes fact-and-fiction. That's the Dark Skies way of characterizing the long-standing UFO cover-up: levels within levels, mirrors within mirrors, fictitious facts and factual fictions.
But what we do think it provides for people like yourself who are reading this is a series that respects the overall truth that something real and extraordinary is happening in the world of contact, that it has been suppressed and that, as the series has always said, history is a lie.
Which brings me to...
A.D. After Disclosure: Our Version of Future Shock
The extenuating circumstance here is my new favorite passion, A.D. After Disclosure which my co-author Richard Dolan and I intended to be a book that came from the same DNA as Future Shock. Namely, we wanted it to take a hard look at where we were, where we've been, and then project -- carefully -- to where we are probably going.
We obviously think it is a clear piece of non-fiction about the stone-cold reality surrounding UFO/ET activity. We mean it to be taken very seriously. There are no games being played here. If you want to know what we really think, this book trailer, issued in support of the project, is direct and to-the-point.
My bottom line is that I hope lots of people, whether or not they saw the viral documents and video for Dark Skies, will still buy or rent the DVD set and enjoy the episodes in their pristine glory as well as the bonus features. I hope some of those same fans, because they see my work there, will also sample A.D. After Disclosure, and vice-versa. They are simply two very different projects that have allowed me to express my views on this complicated and difficult topic.
Still, at the end of the day, Dark Skies was a TV series, designed to entertain and hold an audience. A.D. After Disclosure is a serious book, an effort to bring truth and clarity to the upcoming debate about Disclosure. That's about as clear as I can state the facts.
Why is making this distinction so important?
I've just closed a development deal to write the screenplay for Majic Men, a project about the research that led to the truth about what happened at Roswell. It is based on two books, Witness to Roswell and Top Secret/Majic, as well as the life stories of Donald Schmitt and Stanton Friedman.
If my producing partner Don Most and I are successful at getting it made, Majic Men is going to be a film that is based on a true story. It may take some dramatic license here and there, compress some characters, and condense some time frames, but it is true, not made-up. I want everyone who reads the screenplay I'm writing and who will hopefully see it later when it is filmed to understand that I know the difference.
If you want to know a bit more about the book itself, here is the link to read the Introduction to A.D. After Disclosure. It is easily available through Amazon.com. Or you can order it through your local bookstore.
As always, we thank you for considering a purchase of the book through the button below at Keyhole Publishing. It will be shipped directly from the publisher signed by co-author Richard Dolan, and you will receive a free MP3 of "Need-to-Know: The UFO Disclosure Song," currently available on iTunes.