Rocket… Where’ve you been?
In the last month, there’s been a lag in production on The Rocket Family Chronicles set. Why?
The Rocket Family Chronicles was born out of a project entitled “maivens” which is a TV pilot script about four woman-centric families. In order to sell “maivens,” I produced some promo pieces based on the family that most resembled my own—Rocket’s family. By the time we were done shooting it, we all felt that the show really needed to be focused more on Rocket than Maive.
This posed a serious concern for us. Up to this point, we had only operated on a need-to-know basis regarding Sam’s (who plays Rocket) autism because he holds his own as an actor. He’s a consummate entertainer and a serious professional, so his dad and I were concerned about him coming out as an “actor with autism,” since there is still a pervasive lack of understanding about strengths associated with autism.
But by then Sam himself was “coming out” about his situation. And he had just finished writing his book—And Action! My TAKE on Autism (and Life)—which chronicles how acting and film making made the world relevant to him and helped to draw him out of autism. We followed his lead. We created the Intro’s and Outro’s to wrap the episodes to make them more Rocket-focused.
Since, we have always looked to the innate intelligence behind whatever stage of autism Sam was experiencing, we weighted the Intro and Outro wrappers to look towards the positive aspects of autism.
We had a limited number of episodes, so we decided to create the Rocket Extras to stretch out the material for The Autism Channel. We felt that the Rocket Extras were a great opportunity to provide insight into some of what we’ve learned as autism parents. We consulted with nutrition expert, Kelly Dorfman, who has helped over many years with Sam’s recovery. She suggested the character Professor Neurotica. We put a wig on Sam and the rest is history.
Recently, we added Sam Snoop Private Eye. Ed Rubin got the idea to make it like Film Noir. It was inspired by The Maltese Falcon. The original working title was The Gut Detective. As a family, we went crazy (but had fun) researching all the Film Noir spots in San Francisco where Humphrey Bogart, Hitchcock and others have shot their films. The upcoming Sam Snoop episode, The Case of the Foggy Brain, has taken almost a month to complete for two reasons: 1) We got a little hyperfocused on the Film Noir concept, and 2) in between, Sam made another film for which he needed to have a beard.
…it’s been a busy month on the Rocket set. Rocket will be back this Friday…
The independent film, directed by Max Sokoloff, was created as a short to be shown at a film club that Sam runs in Berkeley, California at Tom Franco’s Art Collective every other Saturday night. If you’re in the Bay Area, please check out the club.
So, despite the fact that no one’s seen Rocket lately, it’s been a busy month on the Rocket set. Rocket will be back this Friday on The Autism Channel as Sam Snoop Private Eye.
Sally Park Rubin is the producer of The Rocket Family Chronicles one of the most popular series on The Autism Channel.