Financing the Project
Section 3.3.
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Movie Revenues

Many times in the course of the project people have raised the issue of movie revenues and their role in financing the missions. When you compare what we're doing with the Apollo program, it doesn't seem to add up. But Artemis is not Apollo. (Hey, he's a boy; She might be His twin sister, but She's a girl!)

In fact, except for using technology and science from the Apollo program and having the same general destination, there is really no comparison between the two programs. We're not going for the same reasons, we're not planning on doing the same things once we get there, we're using a completely different approach to managing and carrying out the program.

A few important points:

  1. We're not talking about just one movie production, but rather a series of dozens.

  2. We're under no obligation to make an accurate documentary film like FOR ALL MANKIND. Our only obligation is to make money.

  3. We'll probably make a nice, accurate documentary, but that's not even figured into the balance sheet yet.

  4. All films about the Apollo program to date have to compete with a huge amount of free (or almost free) information about Apollo. In contrast, all our footage, including news coverage, is copyrighted and distribution is controlled.

  5. For All Mankind came out 25 years after the flight, when everyone interested in the Apollo program already had been exposed to it in a saturated market.

  6. Test pilots, as shown by the government, at least, are two-dimensional cardboard characters with near-zero stage presence. Not even other test pilots can identify with the stick figures you see in films about Apollo; they aren't real. In contrast, we're out to have a fun experience with Artemis and to share that fun with everyone.

  7. There's a built-in punishment to being an Apollo fan; you know that no matter how neat you think it is, you can't go yourself. The Artemis Project is the opposite of Apollo. We're not showing you how great it was for a few test pilots; we're showing you how great it's going to be for you. The market appeal of that promise, which we seriously intend to fulfill, is tremendous.

  8. Space fans were barred from direct participation in Apollo. NASA straight-armed everyone not directly employed by the program, telling them to get off to the bleachers where fans belong. (I'm not NASA- bashing. They had to do this; it was the nature of the program.)

  9. In dramatic contrast, the Artemis Project actively seeks particpation by everyone who wants to share our playpen. It's not something someone else did; it's something we all accomplished.

  10. Apollo was done for the dead-end goal of making the country look impressive to the international community. Artemis is being done for the open-ended goal of space development for everybody. Apollo was the government's program; Artemis is the people's program.

  11. Revenues from Artemis don't compare with Apollo any more than the approach to spacecraft development and operations.

  12. The greatest roadblock to the Artemis Project is mental. "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." People have wanted to do this so much for so long, and have been so disappointed that the government hasn't done it for them, that just they can't believe it's happening. People have come to believe that space flight will happen only by magic gifts from some unseen genie named The Future. They've been taught all their lives that there is nothing they can do to make it happen but beg the government to do it, and to date that has produced near zero results.

    To make this project work, we first have to overcome that fear. It's not easy, because it has been programmed into us since the day JFK set the deadline for landing a man on the moon in ten years.

  13. A little damage to our credibility, for a technical standpoint at least, is a good thing. In contrast to the government's guise of unflagging confidence in their technical ability, it makes it more exciting if we appear to be a bunch of crazy rocket scientists who just might, somehow, pull this thing off.

    Similarly, concerns about the political viability of the project can increase the excitement of the project, as long as people don't give up because of fear of the government.

And, of course, movie revenues are now a much less significant part of the anticipated revenues for the Artemis Project. The potential revenues from motion pictures were enough to get our attention and get the project going, but now that we're a serious program we're being less cavalier with our business plans; we have our personal fortunes at stake in this one.

Financing the Project

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