The bad news is that it's been a very, very frustrating year trying to get the DVD (or Blu-ray) release of those 20 hours of TV. As many of you know, SONY was set to release it last year, changed their minds at the last possible moment, told fellow creator Brent Friedman and myself that if we could find a DVD company to release it they would help facilitate it. Well, we found three. They liked the idea, the series concept and the fact that plenty of fans still want to see it released. Each time we got cautiously optimistic.
All of them, when it came time to budget the project, however, backed out when they realized the sheer amount of period music that we had incorporated into the series and factored in the cost of licensing against what they perceived as the upside of sales. To have so many people saying "We love this project but we're not going to take it on" was heartbreaking and frustrating.
Brent and I aren't ready to say that's the end of it, but it's the end of the beginning. We're probably more disappointed than any fan out there. We're very sorry to report this.
Dark Skies came to light when two of Hollywood's most experienced producers met for the first time and sat down, ruminating for their next project. The discussion turned to the UFO phenomenon and that's when the electrical charge they generated became a neon sign. "It just came to us — what if we fused the two greatest conspiracies of all time together?" says executive producer and co-creator Bryce Zabel. "We came up with the Unified Field Theory of conspiracy — who killed JFK and why, and whether Roswell was a real event or not. The essence of the series is that John Kennedy was assassinated because he was going to tell the truth about UFOs in his second term."
"I told Bryce about a very credible Washington insider I knew who had told me there was intelligent, extraterrestrial life here on Earth," says supervising producer and co-creator Brent Friedman. "That sparked some conversations about Roswell and the possibility it really occurred. And if it did, how could events like JFK's assassination, Watergate, Vietnam, etc. — how could those events have any meaning historically unless they were somehow tied to the alien truth."
With the basis of the series firing up their imaginations, Zabel and Friedman went to work. The first task at hand was to shape the "series pitch" proposal into an unconventional form to generate interest, and provoke the network executives receiving it, to immediately pick up the phone and say the words, "We're interested!"
"We started creating an ultra-classified briefing book that was meant for high-level top secret people that basically told them about the UFO cover-up and how it all happened and made the case that, in 1994 and 1995, the government was going to have to come clean and tell people what was going on," explains Zabel. "And the best way to get the public prepared for it was to do a television series about the truth, so that they could see it as fiction at the beginning and later come to understand the truth. So we were already mixing reality and non-reality in a way that I think was pretty fascinating. We did this whole briefing book before we showed it to anybody."
Frank and Mark have worked very hard to sweat the details in this book. Check it out.
Meantime, we'll keep thinking about how to get the DVD released.