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My Life as a Space Cadet

For me, June is a month to celebrate. Most importantly, there are people I honor for Pride Month, Juneteenth and Father's Day; on a personal level, June has always brought special things for this scribbler. It is a month of special birthdays to remember, of milestones to track, and artistic awakenings to celebrate. For me, June brings about the most important day of my life as a creative spirit: June 25th marks the anniversary of my magnum opus, the Space Cadets universe.

Below, I've included a retrospective post about the journey so far, and to celebrate the project's legal voting age, Space Cadets Studios is launching a brand new line of swag. Come join our growing crew of fans, and sport your favorite original designs.

Not sure what this is all about? You're missing out! Check out the first novel or the first two seasons of the radio drama to dig into this original sci-fi universe.

SPACE CADETS: A Place to Play

On June 25, 2005, a group of theater-kids set out to make a ten-minute short sci-fi spoof video. Enter Jablon, Cliptok and Captain Stubing (now Stanik). Upon seeing the results, Cliptok, the most playful of us, said, “we should try to make a series of these over the summer. Like, ten episodes?” I just wanted to be behind the camera as much as possible. I had invested in a MiniDV handicam, making this first cinematic experiment a reality.

So, the Space Cadets were born that fateful Saturday 18 years ago. Over the course of that summer and fall, we introduced Argylesox and Alaborap, Glygorg and the Goliathon, and accomplished our ten-episode goal (plus bonus features). I spent the fall saving money to build a computer for editing down the three-plus hours of footage we'd burned. That goal was realized on December 16th, 2005.

That day also marked the first filming session of Season 2, the story that would evolve into the one laid out in The Legend of the Goliathon. While parts of it are my own, other parts can be attributed to the collective subconscious present in a group of teenagers living in the hills of nowhere at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

Season 1 of the series premiered at the sci-fi themed Sadie Hawkins Dance on Saturday, March 11, 2006 in the very theater we called home. It caused enough of a stir to keep the project going for three seasons over four years, including a premiere of each season, a LIVE show with a limited run, and thirty tapes worth of ‘Space Cadets’ footage.

Times have changed, the people who made it have changed, and my hometown feels like a whole different place. The story, too, has grown in many ways, evolved with the help of countless brilliant artists. From a home-cooked DVD spoof series, to a live performance with music, and on to two fully-realized seasons of a podcast radio drama, a debut science fiction novel, and more in the works, there's not likely to be a shortage of Space Cadets content any time soon.

To any writer sitting around and waiting for the muse to bite, I say, "Get up and play!" The great comedian and intellect John Cleese has a wonderful little book out called Creativity: A Brief and Cheerful Guide. There are many valuable morsels of wisdom to be found within it, but perhaps the most striking piece of advice he gives is that true creativity requires a maintained state of play in a safe setting. It is that state of play that sets our minds free.

Space Cadets was my first place to truly play - with acting, directing, writing, editing, and collaborating. That's why I've still got a shovel in this sandbox eighteen years later: it keeps me playful. I owe a great deal to the people who have helped Space Cadets grow - there are too many of you to name, but you know who you are! Thank you all for helping me maintain that state of play through all these years.


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