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MEET BILL HEDGES

Updated: March 15, 2017

My name is Bill Hedges, Back in 1965 I watched the premiere of Lost in Space and it instantly became my favorite TV series ever. As much as I liked the stories and characters and the idea of flying through space and exploring new worlds, I liked the hardware of the show even better, the Jupiter-2, chariot, rocketbelt, and alien spaceships. For years though, the only tangible objects that I had that were connected to the show were the Topps trading cards, viewmaster, and Aurora robot. Next year Star Trek came out and after reading the book,The Making of Star Trek, I wanted to make my own amateur films using a super 8 camera. That book was also responsible for me building my first prop, a phaser. I was already interested in astronomy, science, and the real space program before these two shows premiered, so I was already primed for them to become my favorites.

Later, the internet brought out the larger community of Lost in Space fans to connect with and I was even able to buy a couple of original prop panels from the show. Inspired by what others had built, I wanted to build my own partial interior set of the Jupiter-2 spaceship and eventually accomplished that in 2010. I even worked those original props into the set, although everything else was scratch built. I discovered how easy it is to create an illusion of a real spaceship set with mostly just plywood and paint. Having built my interior set, I thought it would be fun to combine that with my amateur filmmaking hobby and create my own little movie. The interior, which was no larger than one room, was a little too limiting for the stories that I wanted to film, so I started looking around for a larger shed or building that I could buy to build an exterior planet set. Here in Nebraska, there is no exterior locations that looks like an alien planet, so it would have to be built inside like the original series was. I was fortunate enough to find such a building for sale that just happened to be the old movie theater where I worked as a projectionist in high school. The theater had closed in the 1980s and converted to other uses, and its next remodeling came to be my Cosmic Films studio, not as a real commercial studio, but just as a little studio where I could have fun indulging my filmmaking hobby. I built a partial exterior set of the spaceship and crash site with a cyclorama that goes around three walls to make it look like an alien planet. At the back of the studio I also built an ancient ruins set, and a large green screen can be used for any other needs.

However, the set won't be used to film any new Lost in Space episodes since that's still copyrighted. I wouldn't be able to do justice to the original show anyway with its great actors and production values, and besides it was simply a show of that time. An attempt to copy the original only invites comparison and would just remind people of how much better the original show was. Instead I'll just be using the set to film a amateur series of shorts called Cosmic Cat, with a different premise and characters, although I want to pay homage to the original show in some ways such as reusing props from the original series. I do hope to capture the feeling of the original with it's look of studio based planets, and sense of adventure, or at least have some fun trying to. If nothing else, it's fun to wander around the set imagining the same thing I did as a kid, what it's like to be lost in space on an alien world.

Those who might be interested in following the goings on of the studio can find its facebook site here: Cosmic Films on Facbook and a video parody of the studio can be found here: Cosmic Films Studio Tour


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