X-Message-Number: 24917
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 23:46:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Randall S <>
Subject: Re: Imminst Film Project

I've put together a 10 minute video preview of the
Exploring Life Extension, ImmInst Film Project
including interview participants:

-David Kekich
-Aubrey de Grey
-Michael MichaelChik
-Justin Corwin
-James Dale
-Peter Voss

Video Download:
http://www.imminst.org/film/exploring.wmv = 22 Megs

ImmInst Film Project:

Bruce Klein posted on cryonet the url containing a
preview of a cryonics/life extension/immortalist video
documentary. Here it is:

The preview video file is about 21 Megs. I downloaded
it and took a look at it.

I think this is a very important and useful project,
and I commend Bruce for his efforts in this area.

Jonathan has already made some comments about the
documentary prototype which he posted on cryonet. I
agree with Jon about his comments, especially the
audio. Bruce is going to have to remix the audio,
which I am sure he knows he has to do. However, it
looks like the master audio from the first segment is
pretty bad and may not be usable. Also, the video part
of that first segment would not seem to be something
useful at all. I do not see any use for that first
segment with Kekich at all. Most of the other
interviews look OK, in that they are of the right
composition for this sort of thing, etc. The lighting
was fine in almost all of them, although the audio
seemed poor in at least 2 interviews.

Perhaps the best part of the preview was the voiceover
parts where the video was panned over a still image.
Those segments allowed us to consider the central
questions of the preview. Very professional panning.
THe video of the stained glass window was interesting,
and that sort of thing could be very useful for
introducing some of the fundamental questions.

However, I guess my main criticism has to do with
the content of the interviews themselves. I did not
see anything in any of them that I found compelling,
attractive, intriguing etc. Part of it may be the
subjects, and part of it may be the material, the
particular quotes used. YOu might find it hard to get
a believeable interview if they are scripted, but I
still think that some sort of scripting might be
needed to make the interviews more compelling. Perhaps
more directed in terms of questioning the
interviewees, pushing them by asking pointed
questions, a dialogue. Perhaps you already have that,
and it was just not in the preview...

Also, how can I say this? For one, the interviewees
were in general overly intellectual; they came across
as somewhat stuffy, or maybe you could even say that
they resorted to dogma, quoting phrases straight from
the "Bible of Life Extensionism." Maybe it was just
me. But having a documentary consisting of 130+ IQ
life extension enthusiasts quoting the dogma, using
the kind of complex sentence structure that we
cryo/transhumanust types are wont to use, that may not
be that most desirable content. That kind of sentence
structure is great for written stuff, but it may be
problematic in interviews.

In your future interviews you want to get some sort of
footage of your interviewees interacting in the normal
everyday lives. Maybe you could get some footage of
them in their jobs, or in their homes, interacting
with family, pets, cooking, riding a bike, walking in
the park, etc. Humanize them, etc.

Also, you might want to somehow work in some images or
interviews of other types of people, like kids. They
can be very powerful on video, and their concepts and
ideas of death, life etc are not set in concrete like

I liked it when you panned over the still images. And
as a possible way to introduce some of the fundamental
questions and concepts, I think that
voiceover-while-panning-over-still-images, that has a
lot of potential.

The thing is, you need some sort of good footage of
ordinary people interacting in a way that is conducive
to bringing up the fundamental questions. Those
"fundamental questions" were more or less addressed in
a way in the preview, but not particularly well.

What would be great would be some footage (or even
panning over still images) of some sort of funeral
rites or something like that. Now, there are stills
and even video in the Wayback Machine/Internet
Archives (archive.org) that is free to download and
perhaps not copyrighted, but whether it could be used
for this documentary, I do not know. But I would not
be surprised if they had something related to
funerals, or other cultural rites that may be related
to death. A brief historical look at the intersection
of human society and death may be a productive
approach. Perhaps panning over
historical/anthropological photos of funeral rites,
religious ceremonies, etc, could be workable.

Also, once you have introduced the concepts/questions
related to death, you may want to get some footage or
stills related to our attempts to stave off death,
i.e., medicine/healthcare etc. Again, archive.org may
be a source.

The problem with getting new footage is the whole
legal thing--you have to have subject approval, I
think. But then there is the whole public question.
Can you use footage taken in public places? I think
so, but you need to research that....And then there
are even copyright questions when it comes to using
footage of public structures, buildings etc.

So what would be a workable structure or progression
of ideas for the documentary? How do you progress into
the ideas? How do you create the script?

Here are some fundamental blocks that might be
considered as a sequence for the documentary:

A. Death and our relationship to it
--historical, cultural, rationalization, taboos,
religion, etc. New ideas. Science Fiction. Pop culture
examples (use of pop culture, Hollywood examples would
entail dealing with copyright issues).

B. Medicine
--historical, scientific advances, cultural acceptance
of new breakthroughs (organ transplant acceptance).
What steps have we taken in the past to beat death?
Why have we tried to beat death at all?

C. Transhumans
--what are their motivations. What are they like? How
are they different, alike from the rest of society?

D. How do they justify their exotic ideas?
--interviews, etc.

E. The Near Future, what does it hold for
immortalism/transhumanism, Cryonics? This could be
where you have Alcor/CI footage, etc. What are the
principal entities/actors in this new movement?

Interview clips of transhumanists/cryonicists
addressing any of the issues in A-E above could be
used as well.

Anyway, these are just some of the ideas that I have
come up with tonight.
No offense to anyone at all, BTW. Just trying to help.

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