Here is the x4k movie:
Please watch the movie before reading the following Commentary
by Writer and Director Doug Yurchey
X4K or ‘Experiment #4000’ attempted to launch in 1990, when I was a background artist on the Simpsons. ‘Public Access’ gave anyone the chance to produce and air their own television shows in half-hour segments (hence ‘intervals’) on the Public Access (cable) Channel. Amateur productions included everything from sock-puppets to religion to musical performances to boring talk, etc.
I wanted to do something…interesting. I wanted to use PA as another vehicle for my passion, which is expressing my beliefs and evidence that our ancestors were technologically superior. I have lectured; been asked to write for magazines; been interviewed on radio numerous times and now WRITE on the Internet. In 1990, I thought…what the heck. I’d do a story to convey theories concerning Atlantis and Nikola Tesla.
There are actually three different endings to ‘Experiment #4000’ (ha, alternative endings). 1) The ending that was going to be filmed for the 3-episode, cable series in 1990. 2) The ending in the short story, which was written after 2002. 3) The ending recently shot for the ‘mini-movie.’
In the original, the scene at the tennis courts was to be the third and final half-hour installment. I was not going to ‘beam in.’ I would walk to the courts in a catatonic state like a zombie. My long hair was going to be shaved off to total baldness and a nasty scar would be visible across my head. The aliens removed my BRAIN, you see. I was only going to be my body and just about nothing else.
A friend of mine from the Simpsons was a body-builder and had a Mohawk. He was going to be an ‘unseen Lemurian’ leading me around at the courts. My tennis buddies were to act like they only saw me and not my conspicuous, invisible ‘handler.’
I planned to sit on the bench next to one of the guys. He was going to deliver the last line which was, ‘Doug, what the HELL happened to your hair?’
Everything was set back then. PA taught you production skills; you would edit your own show and then have it air a few weeks later. Two guys in my tennis gang at the time were known, Hollywood character-actors: Charles Howerton and Mike Forest, best known for playing ‘Apollo’ in the original Star Trek. They even had written permission from SAG to appear in my little TV series. Why didn’t it happen? One could say Fate, but the truth is…I did not want to shave my head bald!
In the short story ending, I write exactly what I intended at the tennis courts for PA…only the story was…I created a RIOT on the aliens’ home planet. A psychic-war broke out with objects being thrown about telekinetically! Some of the Greys wanted me dead; some wanted to study the freak and some wanted to honor the agreement and return me to Earth. They sort of all got their way. A disembodied BRAIN stood on a Zeta Reticulan pedestal as students from all over the galaxy… listened to my endless lectures (like the heads under glass in ‘Futurama’).
So, X4K remained on the shelf for more than twenty years; unseen. An hour was shot for the first two episodes and there were plenty of mistakes, flubs and slow/irrelevant parts. There were no sound-effects; no alien subtitles or nice dissolve-edits from one scene to another. It wasn’t that good.
Nothing was scripted. I had a basic idea for the story and simply winged-it off the top of my head. You only got 1-SHOT and unlike real movies; you can’t do it over. Editing should save the day…but, that never happened because I quit…
…After 22 years, only one rough-cut disk remained of X4K. It had been transferred from videotape (remember them?) and that was transferred from very wide tape used by studios in those days (before digital). Then, I got a brainstorm:
Like Ed Wood who realized he could make ‘Plan 9…’ from a few minutes of (dead) Bela Lugosi on film…I realized, ‘hey, dis ain’t too bad; all it needs is editing and special-effects. Today, it could be a YouTube!’ THEN, THE NEW ENDING HIT ME…using AGE or the passing of 22 years!
In every film with characters that age, the ‘old’ make-up looks fake and phony; we can tell. I don’t think it has ever been done that a filmmaker actually waited a few decades to get the desired effect of REAL AGING…then, finished the film.
I don’t believe that is the only FIRST for X4K. How often do we ever see the rectangular SCREEN (that we view the show) used as SOMETHING in the show? The static screen was a low-positioned camera that never moved on purpose. The idea was…the SMALL aliens were standing on the other side of the rectangular glass or window viewing the test subject. The mini-movie’s viewers or Internet viewers are almost standing in the aliens’ space boots watching the 4000th abductee. They are even referred to as ‘the watchers.’ The audience virtually becomes an intimate part of the theater.
Thank the gods of the universe that the production wasn’t done and aired 22 years ago. The thought to use it and put it on the Web may have never occurred to me. I placed an ad in Craig’s List and a young dude called me within an hour. He got the editing job and we were going to film an ending! I like the new version better. (For reference, stream an old episode of ‘Tales from the Darkside’ called ‘Distant Signals’).
How often do we see TELEPATHIC alien subtitles? The timing had to be perfect in the mini-movie. As I quickly received the aliens’ thoughts, you ‘watchers’ are reading those thoughts. Such a thing has not really been attempted on film or there are few examples.
The alien subtitles were the most fun to do! Imagine just winging a conversation with an alien off the top of your head and then 22 years later, writing down word-for-word what the alien side of the telepathic talk would be! That was a great day.
I think the added electronic sounds, plus unseen aliens that only communicate in psychic subtitles create a strange effect. With a compelling life-and-death drama, I believe viewers might want to watch the whole play. Four types of sounds were added: 1) Overall whines that roll in and out are a constant backdrop. 2) Occasional chimes ring when I say something interesting. 3) Four times LARGE chimes blare when I REALLY hit the nail on the head! 4) Also, low/electronic sounds can be heard throughout the film.
I have been asked about the Blue Drink, which was only a blueberry soda. Here is a clue about the Greys and the aliens’ real intentions…in my parallel world (none of which I say is true), the grey aliens are GOOD and not lying or deceiving anybody! Humans experiment on animals every day to cure illnesses and extend life. The Zetas are doing the same. What was the purpose of the Blue Drink?
Obviously, #4000 would be suspicious of a materialized drink that his captors want him to take voluntarily. He slowly discovers it is a ‘panacea’ cure-all and is offended that HE gets to be cured while Earthlings suffer. In truth, the drink stabilizes or decompresses someone like #4000 to physically cope with the movements of the spaceship. It provides all nourishment while also eliminating pain, diseases, viruses and waste material. Notice that MORE Blue Drink was given in the second round since the subject did not drink and was behind schedule; getting sick.
Greys soon realize the uniqueness of X4K with their type of lie-detector and admit not being able to totally read #4000. If they could plainly read their ‘special’ subjects, then the answer to the Big Question would be psychically known and there be no need to SPEAK the answer.
The green scarab represented a game-win while for the last 3999 subjects the end-image was a red spider (game-loss).
A fascinating, new addition to the plot was the element of TIME. Now, that a different ending of an OLD ME was conceived…I wanted to include as many TIME references or weird time-related things as I could. I was pleased to find a few time statements in the old footage such as SUSPENDED ANIMATION that I could use.
It was so easy to freeze-frame for a few seconds and apply it to, ‘that was the suspended animation?’ Playing with time is a result of the spaceship’s movements which we can assume has been going in and out of hyper-drive. An unusual twist is…we have heard of an astronaut’s twin aging on Earth while the light-speed astronaut does not age. This is a fact called ‘Time Dilation’ that Star Trek with a ‘warp field’ goes around.
In my film, upon returning to Earth, we find that the ‘ruling did not include suspended animation.’ In the final scene with the caption ‘INTERVAL 3’ coincidently filmed with court ‘3’ sign in upper left corner…TIME HAD PASSED. In a Twilight Zone, actor-astronaut Robert Lansing removes himself from a suspension chamber onboard so he will age like girlfriend Mariette Hartley back on Earth. Kind of the same thing here; with no S.A., time passed…physically…but, not to the (sleeping) conscious mind of subject #4000.
Viewers see that the subject WAS operated on in the lab, but not killed. He was returned as per their agreement. Why sliced up if the aliens had good intentions? I explained that maybe; they still wanted to look under the hood. Notice the mistake of red Sharpie highlighting my right side when the heart is on the left. (Damn drawing was from the mirror!)
After doing the last scene, you want to do it again; feeling you could do it better the second time. I missed the line where I say my pants are on backwards, but I’m now glad since you can SEE they are on backwards. No second-takes, which means the whole 45-minute film was shot in one-take.
POPPING in at the courts was done with the editor standing off to the side on a bench. He was told to toss a bucket of water high over my head. I would jump up into it and he’d cut me in at the highest point. Funny, that Marvin the Martian with a ‘fascist’ Roman helmet was on my shirt the whole time with no mention of it. I knew I had to laugh about that in the final scene. The editor then went behind the camera for the zoom-in.
Also, the symbolic KEYS tie in the beginning and the end. You will see a plastic wineglass (original was glass) that was in the water bucket fall perfectly to the lower right. A feather was tossed in from the right side and hits me in the face. This did not work. But, it was not really noticeable. I thought the water worked well. All in all, I was pleased with the last scene. HEY, I’M 61 YEARS OLD! I thought the contrast was very funny. And, after some heaviness in the drama…there’s a humorous ending. I like it; thumbs up! (Anyone see the rose?)
The most interesting and revealing alien, telepathic subtitle was the one that stated WE ARE YOU IN THE FUTURE – YOU WILL DO THE SAME…and #4000 just says ‘really?’ I do not recall if the idea was mine or I read it somewhere. In my scenario, the Zetas have gone back in time and are trying to change things in a universe where you cannot go back and change things.
If the Greys who now nest around the yellow, binary suns of Zeta 1 and 2 Reticuli ARE us in the future and really originated from our future…then, we are all connected in a grand Circle of Life. When #4000 claims ‘the Atlanteans were better than you’ (Greys)…he errors. According to the plot, the Atlanteans are us in the distant past; we are the Atlanteans in the present; the Greys, who cannot reproduce, are the Atlanteans (us) in the distant future. [There’s your Evolution].
Even after passing the aliens’ Intelligent Test and for all the knowledge of the test subject…he still fails to understand the full extent; that we are them and they are us and it is only time that makes the difference.
The story could symbolize LIFE. We POP into existence in a strange world we cannot comprehend; we grow, analyze, learn; get old…we cry out for answers and think we have divine experiences talking to a GOD we do not see. Then, at the end, our energy arrives SOMEWHERE in a type of ‘afterlife.’ Were we ever in control? Are we always victims of events we cannot understand? Will we ever know for sure?
A lot of questions and mysteries are wrestled with in my mini-movie that cost less than $250. to make! (not a type-O) PA equipment was free and so was the FORCEFIELD. There actually was one special-effect in the original PA footage. Dale Hendrickson, who designed most of the Simpsons characters, created the FORCEFIELD background-loop on one of the early computers. I was playing to a blue-screen.
With no script or real planning and only one chance to capture the story in a spontaneous rant…many important points that I wanted to say…were not said.
The point should have been made that the Atlanteans LANDED here and did not originate from Earth. Viewers will get the impression these ancestors came from Earth and that was not my intention at all. Possibly, I assumed that if we had a SUPER TECHNOLOGY, spaceflight would be child’s play and the ‘landing’ part went unstated. I meant to say we landed at Tiahuanaco Base; surveyed the planet and built the World Grid that became the beginnings of the human race.
This Tesla/wireless energy should have been described as MAGNETIC and that’s why it interferes with our systems today; like how we keep magnets away from our computers. The electro-magnetic properties through the ground; forces that move a compass needle should have been made clearer.
CLONING as another ancient technology should have been mentioned. I explained the largeness of Cro-Magnons’ skull cavity, but failed to say THEY WERE THE CLONERS who created other human forms that have been misinterpreted as ‘primates.’ Actually…the lesser so-called ‘primates’ were (bio-manufactured) human workers, slaves and soldiers.
I was glad that ALIENS were not stated as a part of our genesis. And, in my scenario, the knowledgeable Greys AGREED. #4000 tried to emphasize the incredible, ancient world of titanic stonework was built by US, HUMANS (‘supermen and superwomen’)…and, not alien-influenced. ANTI-GRAVITY and powerful LASERS should also have been stated to have produced the stone wonders of prehistory.
Thank you everyone who watched my short film. Hope there was enough drama/conflict or interesting dialogue to have kept your attention. A lot of storylines came from various researches over decades: the John Lear / Bill Cooper information (etc.) along with original concepts. If you like my movie, send it to a friend…and don’t reveal the end.
One more thing, no…I was never really abducted…
…I don’t think so, anyway.
(Maybe I should have used sock-puppets?)