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  • Brandon Beckner

PARALLEL WORLDS: A Filmmaker's Journey. Or: How I Made a million dollar movie for $40K.

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

A blog series chronicling the 12-year journey that led a filmmaker from losing everything to the making of his passion project: An independent film version of his critically acclaimed multimedia rock show PARALLEL WORLDS.

"Parallel Worlds is unlike anything we have ever seen...It could very well change your life. - Indie Voice

Excerpt from Parallel Worlds journal...

January 4, 2010

Today marks the first day of pushing forward with my long dreamed of passion project - a multimedia show that combines all of my artistic loves - rock music, film and theater - into one mind-bending experience. First things first though. I need some equipment! But it's gonna cost me...

I told Christine (my wife) this morning that in order to really start making progress on Parallel Worlds I was going to need a real recording system - including a Mac Pro computer and other various recording equipment. It would probably cost around $3K I said. Of course her eyes lit up since our finances were a bit pinched during those early days of our marriage. She said "Well, let's pray on it..."

Flash forward a few hours. I'm at work and I get a text from an old high-school friend saying that my name was just mentioned on 100.3 The Sound and that I should call in right away. "They're giving away money" she said. Huh? Why me? As it turns out, due to a Chris Cornell mini-concert Christine and I had attended at 100.3 The Sound's studio months earlier we were on their call list. I called in as quickly as I could but unfortunately I missed the 15-minute deadline. "Oh man, so sorry Brandon." the DJ said. "You missed the deadline by 5 minutes. So I guess.......I'll just have to give it to you anyway!" Yes!!! Guess how much the give-away was? That's right. $3000 big ones baby.

After setting myself up with a brand new Mac and Logic Pro system I spent the first couple months of the year working on music – with the intention of not trying to do anything specific – just letting ideas strike and following through with them. Worked out well. Probably the most productive musical period of my life so far. The ideas flowed out of me rapidly and with intensity. There was very little struggle – most likely because I was just giving myself over to the process, not trying to control it, letting the spirit direct me.

So far I’ve racked up about five hours of ideas. Got heavily into The Beatles for a while. Just blown away by them all over again – but this time from a purely song writing/ originality perspective. Not to mention their output. Also enjoying a Brian Wilson phase recently. Realizing more and more what a creative genius the guy was. Too bad SMiLE wasn’t released in 1967. Could have had a huge impact on music.

Also been slowly but surely mapping out the story and plot of the show. Made really good progress – usually in fits and starts – but it’s coming along. Going with this idea that there's this rock band...but they're not just any rock band. They're actually angels or spirits whose job it is to use music to influence humans and help direct their lives. Kinda like if Charlie Kaufman wrote a warped version of It's A Wonderful Life. So far I'm digging this direction..

November 15, 2010.

NEWS ALERT! I'm screwed!

Last night Christine and I saw True Grit. A trailer we saw before the movie quickly changed the path of Parallel Worlds forever! It’s called The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon, taken from a short story by Philip K Dick. Pretty much exactly the plotline I’m using and have been working on now for almost a year. A group of “Adjusters” are in charge of making sure the world operates according to “The Plan” – creating little coffee spills, missed buses etc. so that people will be in the right place at the right time to make sure the big Plan stays intact. And they have to “adjust” whenever someone strays from their preordained path. Sound familiar? It should. It’s exactly the same idea. Except instead of angels they’re dudes living in another dimension – reality as we know it isn’t what we think it is etc.

So there goes that. At first I was shocked, then came anger. Fortunately this morning’s meditational reading was EXACTLY what the doctor ordered – the very lesson, out of all 365, that would not only sooth my soul but put me on a path that I'm still on today! The message? Sometimes obstacles and road closures are blessings in disguise.

In other appears the universe has other "plans" for this project...

I can think of several good reasons why I'm being led away from my original idea. First – it just might be too much story – too complicated and sci-fi for a show that has all along wanted to be about the music – to be magical and mysterious. Two, maybe it’s because it’s just not the truth – it’s not the way things work. There is no preordained plan for everyone’s life and if we listen to the angels we’ll keep it on track. Perhaps it’s completely about free will. Our life can take an infinite amount of directions. Maybe it’s more about whether or not we’re usable for good in the world? If we listen to the "angels" then we can be used – if we don’t listen we can’t be used. Maybe it’s about the idea that there’s a shifting, precarious balance of good and evil that exists in the spiritual realm and our actions in the physical affect that balance. The angels are continually at battle with the dark forces to keep the balance of good in the positive. And each human act of good will helps.

Or maybe it's the idea that within each of us is a guiding force - or maybe a few. And maybe those forces are in competition. Competing alter-egos if you will. What if those alter-egos were two ex-lovers in a rock band like Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham? Hmm. Now that's not a bad idea.

To be continued...

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