Millstone-Derry Escapes, LLC
PO Box 1701-D Harrisburg, PA 17111
June 14, 2020
Jay Smith, Principal
This document is confidential. (Not.)
Millstone-Derry Escapes, LLC
PO Box 1701-D Harrisburg, PA 17111
June 14, 2020
Jay Smith, Principal
This document is confidential. (Not.)
It baffles me that people seem to think the remote likelihood of dying from COVID is the only factor in assessing what is an acceptable risk. It is as if getting sick and being hospitalized with a curable disease are acceptable risks for themselves, their children, coworkers, and everyone else.
Given the fragile state of the economy, people out of work, facing eviction and other financial stresses, it is the height of selfishness to ask others to put themselves at risk of being hospitalized without insurance, paid sick leave, or any other safety net that is required to survive even a week in the hospital or 2 weeks in quarantine. If you believe this is about getting the economy flowing again, remember that the economy will only recover if people get through this in some sense of financial stability. People can’t buy cars, houses, or other make other purchases that are established signs of a strong economy if they can’t pay on what they currently own.
I know what it costs to go to the hospital for small things and I’ve also seen Volumes 1 and 2 of a long-term life-saving care program for something as “simple and common” as a road accident. People who can’t afford a basic doctor visit won’t report their symptoms and will continue to report to work.
I’m not a socialist and I don’t believe that people need to have their responsibilities handled by the government. I do know that the free market only lives when currency moves through its veins. Billionaires and small business owners are terrified more that we can’t swipe our plastic money as much if not more than the health of the person doing the swiping. And collectors have no interest in how you incurred your hefty hospital bulls, only that you open your wallet and pay what’s owed.
When someone tells you it’s okay to go out and spend money again, remember that it’s your money they want, not the protection of your freedoms or rights. If you don’t have money (or credit) you are dead to them anyway.
TRUMP: So there’s a whole thing here. We won two World Wars, two World Wars, beautiful World Wars that were vicious and horrible, and we won them out of Fort Bragg, we won out of all of these forts that now they want to throw those names away.
So. You buy a hotel, a hotel with a long, storied history for tens of thousands of people, and you’ll keep the hotel’s name?
You…you won’t redo the interior in glass and gold, throw out everything that made it a success and then slap your fucking name in ten-foot letters on the outside?
The problem with progressives, as I see it, is imagination.
You have a bunch of conservatives who see the world as it IS and SHOULD BE. Binary. Fixed. We’ve settled the matters of gender, race, politics and that’s worked for us so far, so… no need to debate how wide the door needs to be open to people, we’ve measured it and regulated it. When it changes, when laws and society become alien and uncomfortable, that is when they fight – to change it back to what feels best to them.
Progressives are all over the fucking place with their ideas of inclusion and improvements, fixing the problems of the world. We argue among themselves over who is MORE progressive and inclusive. We have great ideas and noble causes. We rage against the injustices made plain in light of America’s promise that all are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. We see the problems left to solve and try to solve them.
The only problem conservatives have a need to fix is the loud, disruptive progressive movement. To them, more than enough people have their rights and that’s fine.
I see the attraction in being someone who just wants to live a life, raise a family, and not have to worry about fighting everyone else’s battles. When those battles aren’t fought on your front lawn, it’s like going out of the way to pick a fight rather than just accepting the world for what it is and hoping it stays that way.
But that’s not how civilizations work. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s how the best of them died.
Over the past six months, I’ve watched other progressives begin to eat their own out of pride and a desperate need to signal their virtue and alliance with progressive causes that they are willing to vilify and destroy progressives that disagree even slightly. It’s not just me. My conservative friends have fairly pointed out that, in these arguments, progressives are intolerant of other progressive ideas.
The spectrum of progressive ideas between the extreme and moderate is wide. Most people, like the young, see the spectrum as a throttle. If change is going to happen, we must open up the engine and demand progress now for everything. Meanwhile, older and perhaps more strategic thinkers know that we are part of a movement that has existed in this country long before we won independence from Great Britain.
It can be argued that progressive action is too slow and too sloppy. America was slow to reject slavery, slow to assert protections for newly-freed slaves, slow to establish Constitutional rights for minorities, slow to enforce laws that secure those rights. Progressives will always be plagued with the guilt of not doing enough. Aggressive progressives of the 1960s were not universally supportive. The cause of equal rights for women, the support of the LGBTQ+ community was not center stage of the Civil Rights movement because progressives either did not believe in those concepts or knew that such radical change would be impossible and even hinder the movement to protect people of color in a disgusting, violent time in the south.
Remember: we live in a time where someone like Tom Hanks can come out and support wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID, but have his words weaponized against him because he used an archaic term, “pussy” in his delivery. Tom Hanks wasn’t progressive and pure enough in his speech to some. Perhaps that’s the price of living in an age where everyone – including me – has a fucking blog to write what they feel is a doctoral dissertation on cultural minutiae, as though they are discovering an outrage missed by everyone else buried just under the surface of a well-intentioned message.
Progressives. We like to fight for injustice the way a dancer in a mosh pit picks someone to hit – whatever face presents itself.
Just a quick comparison for those playing at home.
Here’s a quick exercise. It’s 2020, we’re going through this cultural conflict where most of us see that wearing a mask is not really a big deal and actually a reasonable preventative measure during a global pandemic.
However, there is a vocal minority talking about “MY RIGHTS” and rejecting the science they don’t understand to claim that everyone is making things up JUST to enforce the “tyrannical” idea of public safety during a crisis.
Let’s be optimistic and say we get through all this and memorialize the 150-200 THOUSAND people who died in 2020 as we do. Sad, but we move on.
Now, let’s fast-forward FIFTY years, as those of us who were there and actually remember that year start to die off. Progressives like me want to make sure future generations of Americans REMEMBER what opposition to wearing masks was really about. We create an organization that has allies in state government and towns all across the country and THESE STATUES begin to appear in parks, schools, and on the steps of government buildings:
THIS IS TO REMEMBER THOSE WHO INFLICTED PAIN AND DEATH ON THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO SELFISH TO HELP WIN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 IN 2020.
The baby is depicted standing on a pedestal representing a pile of corpses, representing the 200 thousand who died while they whined. At the rear of the statue, a futuristic monitor plays a constant stream of videos showing people outside Walmart and Starbucks complaining about their inconvenience. Below are their words etched into stone.
THAT is how I want history to remember people like that.
I’m not re-writing history. From my perspective, I’m representing a feeling and a dark moment to remind un-patriotic Americans of the consequences of their selfishness. And my monuments to you are EVERYWHERE.
Your grandchildren will have to see your name and your face in every public square, shamed for their stupidity and ignorance, mocked for their arrogance as history judges them.
Confederate statues in the south are about making sure the political agenda of the white south is on display to remind the “free” black population who is really in charge. A lot of people dedicated their lives to this cause.
Are you prepared to let my version of your history to stand unopposed?
“It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.”― Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminati Papers
I thought my own ideas had grown and changed over the years. I was trying to help only to be called a sexist, racist relic of an ignorant age – an ape in the age of angels, and woefully ignorant of true struggle.
By other white folks.
There’s a point where a thoughtful person would consider how much of what they say is true.
But I then realized that all I was doing was slinging words at a time when action is required. Most of my life has been sifting through the weeds for meaning in the arrangement of the blades when the lawn just needed mowing. We’re arguing stats while real athletes play ball.
I’ve been living life wrong this entire time at the expense of the things and people who should have been taking my time and energy.
J.K. Rowling has offered an opinion that has people turning on her.
Joss Whedon, who we all knew had some lapses in his image of progressive perfection, is now suddenly being denounced.
The musical Hamilton is criticized for failing to accurately depict the black experience of the period.
In this context I examine my own views and realize sharing them would mean I am no longer “of the body” in terms of progressive ideas. But then, I don’t need to be. It’s actually healthier if I don’t associate with a movement and just live a life.
At some point, progressives will cease to be progressive enough and the whole will be cast out for it. I weigh the terms ironic and hypocritical when I think of progressives as the “inclusive” ideology. When I thought of progressivism, I think of spectrum and degrees, not lock-step and absolutes.
But there I was, hung out over an offensive phrase here and labeled with bad names because that was easier than having a discussion. I guess I did get old and lose my faith because my belief in progressive ideas was best represented by a rainbow, not a gray cloud.
As I mentioned to one such enthusiastic gatekeeper for progressive right-think, my experiences have done worse than converting me to the “other side”. They made me stop caring about the discussion. There will always be something to weaponize against the one who isn’t as up to date or experienced or angry. As the face of the oppressor, I have a choice to be the villain in some angry kid’s story or shut up and let some angry kid prove their way is right…and then implement it.
Silence in this case is not acquiescence. It’s turning things around to be more practical by abandoning the post to which I was never assigned anyway and just living my life. The world will turn or burn without any input from me and I now see the spoils of my fifty years of labor, spending so much time trying hard to get somewhere and never arriving, looking back to see the people I should have had in front of me grown, distant, and uninterested.
I was a cynical young man because I was scared of embracing real life. I’ve become a bitter old man upon realizing I never changed.
Directed by Michael Caffey
Written by Cory Applebaum & Steve Greenberg
Season 1, Episodes 3 & 4
Original Air Date: September 27, 1979 (Originally aired as a 2-hour movie, syndicated as a 2-part episode.)
When last we saw our heroes, Wilma Deering was in the clutches of Kaleel’s sinister forces along with Ryna, a slave girl trying to put an end to an evil cult on Planet Vistula and to stop an invasion of Earth.
Meanwhile, Buck Rogers has found the source of the poison that has incapacitated Earth’s defense forces and he must get it back to Earth so a cure can be found.
Along the way, we’ve dealt with serious issues like slavery and Buck’s ass-hair but we are not on a “Planet of the Slave Girls” so much as the “Planet of the Extras from Paramus Community Theater’s Production of Jesus Christ Superstar“.
Buck returns to his quarters to find Ryma gone. Soon after, he finds Wilma is missing from her quarters. Major Duke shows up and Captain Buck starts giving him orders, showing him the toxic bubble wrap. The sample has to make it back to Earth ASAP so a cure can be found. This is why the script included Major Fields, right? She’s going to fly home while Buck and Duke track down Wilma, who is missing.
Wilma wakes up on the slave shuttle next to Ryma, who cheers her up by saying there’s no escape from Kaleel’s dungeons and she is going to die. Wilma, thankful no one bothered to strip her of anything that might be a communications device or weapon, activated the “Tele-MET-tree” device that will allow Buck to track her location.
AMAZING TWENTY-FIFTH CENTURY TECHNOLOGY!
The shuttle launches at dawn looking like Princess Ardala’s shuttle from the pilot episode, it departs the matte painting of New Chicago, then changes into the Battlestar Galactica shuttle flying over a desert in other shots and an Earth shuttle in still others. It’s a slow journey, which gives the plot time to catch up with other things of importance like…
Major Fields is ready for launch. She’s going to rocket back to Earth while Buck and Duke take a starfighter to track Wilma. Duke is impressed that a device on Buck’s wrist is able to track someone else’s location. It must be like football; the Great Holocaust erased all memory and technology associated with GPS or tracking satellites.
Both starfighters launch at the same time.
You see two starfighters launch from Vistula’s space port.
A) Use your “Power Leech” on the starfighter heading into space to avoid exposing your plot to the larger force on Earth and blow up the other ship as it approaches your hideout, or…
B) Use your “Power Leech” on the approaching starfighter and let the departing one escape?
If you are a military tactical genius, you would say “A”, right? Well, the one on Kaleel’s payroll is a professional clownshoe. He lets Major Fields escape and uses his Infinite Implausibility Drive to crash Buck and Duke in the middle of the desert, about 15 klicks from their base. That’s that, no recon to confirm the kill – just “BLOOP” they are off the scope and, therefore, D-E-D dead.
The starfighter crashes, but Duke manages to bring it in without major injuries. The ship is lost, but Buck and Duke can make their way on foot toward the big mountain in the distance. Now, these two former rivals are stuck in a survival situation and need each other to survive. The desert is sweltering. There are mutants out in the nooks and crannies. They have to wear body condoms to avoid heatstroke. It’s a rough time.
Meanwhile, Wilma and Ryma are being manhandled by two over-enthusiastic leather pony boys as they are marched to Kaleel’s office/running track. Wilma manages to judo-flip one of them and escape while Ryma is re-captured.
A guard runs about twenty feet, looks down one corridor and another but decides not to poke his head inside the little alcove directly in front of him. Guess where Wilma was hiding? She’s still wearing her handcuffs, but she is, otherwise, free.
Meanwhile, Buck-bo Baggins and Samwise Douche-y are crossing Mordor toward Mount Doom and it doesn’t go well at first. Duke doesn’t like grilled animal meat and Buck doesn’t like the idea of being poisoned by food wafers. Before they can finish bitching, they are attacked by Sandpeople with smoke bombs.
A fight ensues which leaves our heroes victorious over the fleeing mutants, plus one smoke bomb (I’m sure that’s just a coincidence), and – most importantly – Bro Bonding.
Ryma comes before Kaleel, who tries to gaslight her but Ryma’s having none of his shit. He even draws the glowing hands trick and Ryma tells him to apply them to his own ass. Struck with performance anxiety (no man likes being mocked while getting his mojo on, ladies), his hands go limp and he decides to give her a fate worse than Death Touch:
Take her to… The Shit Sauna!
Ryma is dragged by leather pony boys to a chamber with no practical purpose. It’s a sauna full of shit. They remove her cuffs and throw her inside where she begins to sweat out her toxins on a tiny ledge, alone and sad.
In a strange twist of fate, Wilma – still wearing her own cuffs and sneaking through the complex – has managed to trade her uniform for a more inconspicuous local ensemble consistent with the theme of “slave girl.” Exactly HOW she changed clothes while cuffed is probably only answered in creepy fan-fiction, so we’ll just ignore this and move on.
Wilma makes her way to Kaleel’s Office/Habitrail and uses the communications center to try and raise Earth. Of course, everyone was waiting in the cupboard to jump out and surprise her (I guess they had to slip Kaleel some Valium to prevent him from power walking in circles and flapping his cape). They take Wilma prisoner.
Fun Fact: The 25th century has abandoned the QWERTY keyboard for one in alphabetical order, left-right/top-down. While the letters are in English, whatever Wilma types on it is clearly not.
While we were led to believe that CARL was beyond repair, Dr. Theopolis and Twiki are able to reboot him with some Radio Shack parts. Dr. Mallory is thrilled that his old. bitchy pal is back and that there’s a chance the sample Major Fields provided may provide an antidote for the poison. Hurrah!
On Vistula, no one cares that we haven’t checked in on the Soroyans, even though there was an unremarkable scene between the elder and junior Soroyan that amounted to Regis imploring his father to stop being such a fucking selfish dumbass. As neither character has any bearing on the outcome of the show, it is really a wasted scene and I only mention it here to be complete in my recap.
Buck and Duke make it to the foot of Mount Stupid and discover a wing of space ships being prepared for launch. This, they surmise, is an invasion fleet. The new Bro-Buds hatch a plan where Buck will stay and find Wilma and do the general local heroics while Duke will steal a ship and race home to raise all the fighters they can to destroy the armada on the ground.
Inside the mountain, there’s more Talky-talk about the plot to invade Earth.
MEIN GOTT! General Pornstache detects someone absconding with one of their fighters! Oh noes! But not to worry, they have that cool – if totally impractical – POWER LEECH!
But NO! The writers have invented a way to elude the leech called “Trans-light speed” which Duke engages…activates…accelerates to…whatever, before the General can turn the dial up all the way. Duke is in space even before Kaleel can gasp dramatically.
Somehow they deduce that 1) There were two people who survived the starfighter crash, 2) one of them was Buck Rogers, 3) Buck didn’t just steal their spaceship to go get help.
Clearly, your honor, Buck Rogers must be coming to get Wilma. But how?
Stella Warden, clearly the brightest of a dim batch of baddies, realizes that no one searched the prisoners and there is a really nice device on Wilma’s wrist. She even surmises that the device is a Tele-MET-tree transmitter, MP3 player, step-counter, and calorie-counter with several social media apps that Wilma has been using to Yelp! her experience on Vistula to the folks back home.
**Great views, good eats, BOO for slavery. #sorrynotsorry
Stella decides to steal the device and wear it so Buck will come to her, thinking she’s Wilma. Waitaminute.
The devices worn by Buck and Wilma are supposedly identical, right? So, why can’t Stella use Wilma’s device to track Buck’s Tele-MET-tree, send out the leather pony boys, and dust him? Hmm.
Buck infiltrates the base only to discover that Warden has tricked him. He fights, flees, but runs into an invisible clothesline, taking a nasty-looking whiplash fall to the hard floor. Ouch.
Meanwhile, Duke is on approach to Earth, but he is already yelling at Dr. Huer to assemble ever last available pilot for an attack on Vistula. They have to take out the armada there or it is Game Over. Huer is reluctant, but he promises to discuss the issue with Dr. Theopolis. Theopolis is pretty clear that they have no choice but send every able-bodied pilot after Vistula. There’s no reason to alert Soroyan or try to get his local forces on their side because Kaleel owns everything, I guess.
Another reason to keep this assclown around when it’s over, right?
When Duke arrives, we discover there are only seven pilots able to fly. Fields, obviously, four extras in flight suits, and “Brigadier Gordon” – Duke’s old flight instructor. He’s also known as Buster Crabbe, a former Buck Rogers actor who was also known for playing Flash Gordon, Tarzan, Billy the Kid, Billy Carson, and who remains a legend of movie serials as far back as the 1930s. The final pilot is Theopolis, who has reprogrammed himself to follow Duke’s orders. While this seems stupid as hell, Twiki’s reflexes are allegedly equal to that of a trained pilot while Theopolis was one of the Fancy Dinner Plates that designed the starfighters. So, We’ve got our Magnificent Seven defending Earth!
It is here we learn why Twiki is a 20th century pop culture catchphrase machine. Since the pilot, one of Buck’s hobbies has been programming Twiki with movie and TV quotes, focusing on innuendo and double-entendre. While in the heat of battle it results in Twiki saying things like “GERONIMO!” and “EAT LEAD, SUCKER” it also explains why he called out Princess Ardala with “What a BODY!” and will catcall women throughout the rest of season one.
Fun Fact: The show knows how to direct background action. In this scene, not only do we see Gordon instructing his ground crew just behind Huer but we also see a female officer flirt with a worker on the ground as she walks through the shot, both oblivious of the serious nature of shit going down around them. Well done.
Buck is brought to Kaleel’s Office/Man Cave for further monologuing and threats. Wilma reports she is uninjured. Kaleel reports that Ryma was put to death. Buck barely holds back his urge to tear the cape off Kaleel’s neck.
Kaleel engages in some light interrogation about the escaped fighter. Buck says that the – quite sensible – plan was for Duke to get word to Earth and prepare for invasion with a powerful defense.
Maybe they’d figure out what’s wrong with their awesome global defense shield? You remember, the one that prevented the Draconians from just bitch-slamming Earth into submission in the pilot? Did I mention that already? I feel like I have.
Kaleel eats about a cubic foot of set when he barks back that Buck is LYING! He correctly, though inexplicably, deduced that Earth will send a small flight of pilots to destroy their ships on the ground. The logic behind this would have to assume that Duke believes Kaleel and Galen too stupid to launch immediately after seeing one of their fighters stolen. While brilliant in acknowledging their own limitations, it reveals that Galen should have launched the armada right away and not waited for the villain to monologue to the hero.
Buck points out that these leather pony boys are hardly cunning space pilots. Kaleel agrees, revealing that they only need one skilled pilot to lead the rest to victory. He points to the goofy-looking guy in the corner.
Wilma recognizes the not-so-brilliant military genius in the bright red military costume. “Galen,” she gasps, as if that’s supposed to mean something. Galen was a brilliant Earth commander who left Earth to work for “the highest bidder.”
For some reason, the answer to this was to just assume he was dead. I guess that’s a great emotional way to deal with treason, but as far as preventing this particular shit-show, maybe Earth should have hunted him down or something? It’s just me, I guess.
But it doesn’t matter. They’ve been sloppy this whole time and still come out brighter than everyone else, so Kaleel orders Buck and Wilma into the Shit Sauna before ordering the armada to launch immediately. Meanwhile, he’ll address his people in the hall again to try and build back his red-palm mojo.
Kaleel’s speech is as epic as it is batshit. Never before in the history of television of film has an actor climaxed to the word PREVAIL. Twice. That Palance wasn’t nominated for both and Emmy and Adult Film Awards for this performance is one of the greatest miscarriages of artistic recognition since the industry’s shunning of Don Knotts’ haunting ride of a carousel horse in the opening of Three’s Company.
It is interesting to note that, while Kaleel is inspiring his cast of random followers to “take flight” and invade the Earth, they aren’t the ones scrambling for the fighters. A legion of dumb, but able-bodied leather pony boys are the ones heading for space. And these are the guys already primed to lay out some violence for Kaleel. What this amounts to is Kaleel needing spiritual Viagra for his one cool power to work. He needs a bunch of stupid people to listen to his angry, crazy rants and love him so he can menage his red-hand surrogate for an erection.
Buck and Wilma find Ryma near death (sorta) in the shit sauna. Buck looks for a possible escape route. The place has pipes running through it and vent holes high up on the walls. If only they had, say, a means of propulsion and a discarded helmet, Buck might cobble together an insane way to leap onto the pipes and access one of the big access holes.
Fortunately for the plot, our bumbling villains AGAIN fail to check their prisoners for weapons or anything that might be helpful. Buck has his “25th century cherry bomb” swiped from the desert mutants. It even has a timer which allows him to put it under a discarded space helmet and – BANG! – Buck is splattered into a wet, red mess.
Actually, he’s gently lifted to the hearty pipe that allows him to escape through a hole in the wall. Ryma is pretty lucid for someone stuck in a sauna for the past half-day without water or a bathroom break. She comes to pretty quick when Buck makes it to his escape route.
Duke is commanding his motley squadron through a stargate to Vistula, which I guess has no air/space defense of its own to aid Earth, and everyone realizes immediately that there are one hundred ships already headed for Earth.
On Vistula, Buck returns to the shit sauna with a rope he found in a nearby storage room. He hoists Ryma and Wilma up into the hole and they escape. They rush into the desert where, fortunately for the plot, there are two ships remaining on the ground.
Ryma says she will stay to alert the rebels to Kaleel’s weakness and strike now that the leather pony boys are off-world.
Wilma and Buck head down to take out the pilots and steal the space ships in an attempt to turn the tide against the baddies.
Does anyone else wonder why these last two ships are grounded? They are so far behind the rest. We saw all the pilots marching together to their ships, so…
Were they busy elsewhere? Were they the two goons Buck knocked out before his capture? Were they just on break? Or maybe there were problems with the ships. Maybe Buck and Wilma were taking two ships grounded for a fuel leak or canopies that didn’t seal in a vacuum? Maybe their star drives were out of alignment and the crews were still working on it. My point is that if you have a squadron scrambled and two fighters are just hanging out on the ground, something’s probably very wrong.
Buck and Wilma not only catch up, but the tactical displays show they overtake Galen’s attack force and head for the Earth force. Their fighters are able to tune to the Earth’s radio (?) frequency to talk to Duke. Duke is unconvinced he’s talking to people who call themselves Buck and Wilma so he asks Buck a question that reveals the two of them had a long, detailed conversation in the desert about 20th century American football.
“Who’s ‘The Juice’?”
Oh, come on, Duke. I told you all about him back in the desert. He was a running back for USC, won the Heisman Trophy, played for Buffalo and San Francisco, slashed his wife’s throat one night and stabbed her boyfriend to death…you told me to stop sharing the details with you, okay? Let’s smoke this zombie squadron, okay?
Convinced, Duke orders Buck’s butt into formation. Wilma asks if he is referring to her butt as well. Her butt included, they join up as the forced prepare to engage. Again, Buck is calling the plays and the football lecture comes in handy because the only person who matters is Galen who is controlling the pilots. If they can isolate him, Buck will blow him up real good and the rest of the group (well, as many as survive) will give up and go home.
On Vistula, Kaleel sits back to watch his future unfold. He and Stella are confident that this will be a slaughter and Huer will bow before them as gods. Even when Buck and Wilma announce they’ve joined the fight, they remain cocky that the so-far incompetent Galen will win the day.
Buck tells the squadron that the only person with any skill in this fight is the asshole at the back. If Duke and his seven fighters can disrupt the armada and drill a hole back to that one ship, Buck will end the fight by “sacking the quarterback” – Galen.
Duke, now Buck’s loyal dudebro, backs this play and orders everyone to scatter the armada as Buck drives down the middle and engages Galen directly. This turns out to be a great play as Earth’s fighters go apeshit on the Vistulan fighters, wiping them out in impressive numbers as Galen slowly loses control until he is face to face with Buck Rogers.
Seeing this, Kaleel quietly orders Stella to prepare their escape shuttle. She does so reluctantly.
On Vistula, Ryma sneaks through the complex to find a convenient coven of rebels gathered to discuss the agenda for next month’s meeting. Ryna pleads her case to a portly man with a lot of naked chest on display. Somehow he agrees that NOW is the time to strike. So with patriarchal approval, the movement is launched!
In space, Galen’s battle with Buck ends badly for him and the singed strands of his pornstash float through the cosmos as the lonely monument to his failure.
With the leather pony boys in retreat, the Earth forces take the fight planetside to end this bullshit once and for all.
Ryma’s uprising leads to people beating fuck-all out of the few remaining leather pony boys and running amok inside Slave Mountain. Compounding this with the fact that Galen is space dust and the armada scattered to the far stars, things are not working out well for Kaleel and Stella.
While Ryma is the real heroine of this journey, we have to manufacture a confrontation between Jack and Gil to make this show work. Buck and Wilma arrive to make their way through the crowds. Kaleel and Stella are confronted on all sides by disappointed extras. Kaleel inflates his cape to show dominance but they aren’t afraid.
Buck challenges Kaleel and a Clash of Egos ensues. Kaleel still has some residual red hand juice to use and, at first, it spooks the natives. But Ryma says it’s all a sham and if you’re pissed at him, Kaleel’s magic is impotent.
“You are a dead man, Rogers,” Kaleel gasps as his hands sputter and fade.
Stella and Kaleel are led away by the mob, probably to a good ole-fashioned hanging.
Look, I get that it’s Roddy McDowall we’re talking about here. But at the end of the day, this guy wasn’t a clever man duped by cunning forces. He engaged in the buying and selling of human beings and allowed a lot of stupid people to undermine his operation and nearly led to the conquering of Earth by some pretty stupid people.
The script tries to treat Soroyan as the King of Vistula, but labels him a Governor appointed by Earth’s Directorate. He tries to resign. But everyone agrees that he should continue on as Governor.
With the help of Regis and Ryma, Earth’s leadership believes this dipshit can rule Vistula without further incident now that Kaleel is…dead? In custody? A martyr?
A man who thinks enslaving people is okay? He’s reformed, but does that mean he’s all about human rights or just onto a personal ideal of “separate but equal”?
But if Regis has a happy reunion with him and Ryma is okay with it, all is well, right?
Huer declares the whole episode resolved so Buck, Wilma, and Duke head out to an epic manage a troi we’ll never see.
Ahh, the 25th century.
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The brand marketing for Millstone-Derry promises a trip back in time over one hundred and fifty years to the slower pace of a simpler time and experience mid-19th-century life. While many tourist attractions and resorts offer historical re-enactments, M-D E offers guests a chance to interact with key figures in the location as a drama plays out around them. Vacation plans appeal to different vacation experiences:
Witnessing History. Advertising focuses on the individual at the crossroads of history, a fantasy of being at a turning point of history where key figures play out a scenario that may end in war, uprising, or even a more dire, supernatural catastrophe.
Escape. Advertising focuses on a secret escape from the everyday world to one where you can forget who you are and become an honored guest of some faraway land for a fraction of the cost of a foreign excursion. Experience the city from a luxury hotel balcony or join the nightly festival parade, the experience is whatever one makes of it.
Fun. At the center of it all, Millstone-Derry Escapes offers guests a chance to enjoy the rural surroundings of its trails, streams, and other natural features. There is always a circus vibe to our entertainment neighborhoods, a new culinary adventure in one of our many restaurants, and intrigue around every corner as the entire resort is a stage upon which its interactive drama plays. Guests can engage in a wide range of period-specific activities and immerse themselves in the experience.
Romance. Millstone-Derry offers a number of intimate retreats, romantic locations, and specialized services for guests who want a unique, exotic location to share. Guests can share a cabin or bungalow in the quiet forest section of the park, enjoy a carriage tour of the gaslit village in the evening, or even exchange vows in one of our meeting houses or houses of worship. Packages are available for getaways, weddings, and anniversaries.
Mystery and Intrigue. Guests may experience a weeklong story told by members of the cast and can even interact with detectives to solve a crime or untangle a mystery. These whodunit scenarios take Murder Mystery dining experiences and expands them across the entire park for the duration of the visit.
Gothic Supernatural Horror and Live-Action Role-Playing. The package that started the Derry resort, this is a supernatural-themed adventure involving mad science, sinister cultists, monsters in the shadows, and the investigation of the darker attractions of the park.
Privacy and Comfortable Lodging. At the end of the day, guests will need to relax and recharge. Some guests may wish to escape to a more private affair, creating their own experience inside the resort. Millstone-Derry welcomes gamers and role-players who want to play out their adventures within the resort’s setting. For those seeking economical accommodations that also provide a break from the in-character experience, a 40 thousand square-foot, full-service hotel will be situated at the center of the park. Tentatively called The Sir Venture Arms Hotel & Tavern, this modern hotel features 100 modern staterooms for couples and families with an average of 15’x20’.
Price points vary based on room size, amenities, view, and floor. Rooms and suites overlooking the park parade route and fireworks will be charged at 1.5x the standard rate. Six-night rentals are billed with a 15% discount.
The main floor of the hotel is considered a “neutral zone” within the resort, a place where guests can interact with other guests, performers, resort management, concierge, and enjoy exclusive musical and dramatic performances. A themed restaurant will provide buffet breakfast and dinner service offered either a la carte or as part of the guest’s meal option.
Other resorts, theme parks, cruises, and expeditions may make guests feel like they are fenced off from the actions. They can spend thousands of dollars sitting in traffic, navigating the crowded footpaths, waiting hours in a queue for a ninety-second ride, and eating overpriced junk food. Even Disney, which seeks to personalize the experience of its guests through character interactions and a more animated park experience, is too large and crowded to provide a sense that one is part of the attraction and a welcome guest. Millstone-Derry is a bit like the television show “Fantasy Island” in this way. The actors, directors, and crew are trained to meet and get to know guests in order to forge a connection which will guide them through their stay and provide whatever assistance is needed. They are honored guests of the village, not ticketholders to a park.
The proximity of Millstone-Derry to east coast travel hubs and major metropolitan areas make it a cost-effective alternative for small families and groups that cannot afford to travel to an exotic foreign destination or an exclusive luxury experience.
A review of the market against Porter’s Five Forces provides these insights into the market assumed by Millstone-Derry.
The Millstone-Derry model would not be successful before the year 2000 and potentially grew as a viable escape and recreational solution following the terror attacks of 9/11. Prior to 2000, popular culture did not represent a significant target for retail or hospitality management. While hotels and conventions centers saw comic book and science fiction conventions as one of many revenue streams, the number of potential customers has grown swiftly as Generation X arrived in adulthood with a taste for creative alternatives for their vacation dollar. With a large segment of professionals choosing to delay marriage and starting a family with children, popular culture events and destinations grew in popularity.
For example, Dragon Con is an annual convention of fans of popular culture across many genres, intellectual properties, and media. It began in Atlanta, Georgia in 1987 with an attendance of approximately 1,300 people. Over the years the convention has grown steadily. By 2001, the convention hosted around 20 thousand attendees and expanded to multiple hotels in downtown Atlanta. As various retail, entertainment, technology and art entities realized the potential of this convention to boost their sales, their participation helped increase attendance to over 80 thousand attendees from around the world in 2019. The hotels average $150-200 per night per room and charge high prices for food and drink, including between $7 and 12 for a 12-ounce bottled beer. Admission (or “membership” as it is billed) to the 5-day event was $125 per person in 2019. Consider, also, the cost of travel and subsistence during the week-long event and you have a very basic indicator of the money being spent on a specialized pop culture event. This example of growth and market potential can also be seen in similar events such as San Diego ComicCon, New York ComiCon, and GenCon. The convention market catering to Generation X-to-Millennial customers has seen a rise in independent events at a regional and local level over the past 15 years, showing that even a single-day event can provide enough capital to sustain a business over several years.
There is a growing hunger for escapist entertainment among intelligent, educated, professionals who possess sufficient disposable income to pay for these types of events and sustain a smaller, but highly profitable “collectibles” market of toys, games, and branded merchandise representing their preferred intellectual properties like Batman, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, The Simpsons, and dozens of other global properties. While local retailers provide a small percentage of these items, many unique and high price point items fetch thousands of dollars and can only be obtained directly from select licensed vendors.
Millstone-Derry provides a smaller-scale, relaxed experience that contains all the detail and appeal of an escape, without the logistical complexity and cost of booking flights, local transportation, food, and accommodations in these larger events. While comparable in cost to a larger event, the personalized, creative experience fills a creative need among fans who enjoy participating in the dramatic arts, escape rooms, live action role-playing, simulated combat games, and similar attractions.
As with any resort, Millstone-Derry risks revenue interruption due to inclement weather events. While the resort will build routine rain and storms into its model, there will always be a risk that tropical storms or hurricanes may reach far enough inland to have an impact on operations. While the location of the resort has experienced some damage due to forest fires, those examples represent a time before local fire prevention systems and will be offset by the resort’s required safety equipment and protocols. Similarly, the exteriors of the resort my be subject to wear and damage from snowfall in the off-season. The year 2020 has seen the first significant economic threat of a pandemic to any business where people congregate. Management will continue to monitor industry best practices to establish reasonable, cost-effective measures to continue operations in a legal and ethical manner.
Millstone-Derry is a resort that is, in videogame parlance, Open World, meaning guest have the ability to explore and make what they wish of their experience during their stay. The park will target guests looking for something new and different, tapping into the growing market of creative professionals interested in fantasy, horror, and mystery and also hungry for a touch of the exotic and …
As described above, there is a large market of customers looking for pop culture experiences. Millstone-Derry plans to build a customer experience by limiting capacity and maximizing appeal and reputation. The pop culture industry caters to a market with extremely high levels of brand loyalty. Literature, gaming, animation, film, and television provide entire worlds for people to explore within their imagination and many of these worlds like Middle Earth of The Lord of the Rings, the United Federation of Planets in Star Trek, and Westeros of Game of Thrones are each settings rich in history, location, and character. Fans of these intellectual properties invest time, creativity, and money in expanding these worlds by consuming all manner of products associated with them. The Harry Potter universe, for example, has been translated into a theme park representing the most minute details of that film and book series and appeals to both casual and fanatical visitors by presenting faithful recreations of that series’ mythology.
Millstone-Derry plans to succeed by providing guests with access to and association with a living drama featuring engaging conflicts and mysteries, complex characters and relationships among the citizens of the town and its surroundings, a system of magic and myth unique to its own universe, and an internal campaign that makes every visitor a citizen of Millstone-Derry and a character in its ongoing drama. This, we intend, will translate into a strong, positive word of mouth campaign to drive interest and bookings to the resort.
The resort will capitalize on shifting seasons to alter its programming and provide a limited “tease” admission to guests so they can pay for a day admission and take in some of the more common attractions of the village, sample its merchandise and food, and come away with souvenirs or maybe even a clue regarding one of the many mysteries surrounding the village. The narrative will promote a cryptic history and background of the village across various social media platform to reach the curious and inquisitive prospective guest. A daily newspaper will be offered online to propel the storyline and provide background information for consumption and debate among a fanbase.
Finally, a sense of “status” will be provided those fans who choose the more immersive, luxury packages that will put them in the story and face to face with the key characters of the narrative.
It is this level of immersion and detail that will appeal to various segments of our target market. While providing a unique experience and a satisfying escape, our guests will help propel the narrative and brand awareness as the resort cycles through its first few seasons of operation.
While brand loyalty is difficult to earn, it can be lost through what is called a betrayal of patronage. In media, a serialized story can build suspense and interest to a point where it is no longer sustainable or cannot be resolved with a satisfying resolution. Recent examples of this can be found in debate over the quality of new offerings in the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises as well as in the final season of the popular HBO series, Game of Thrones. When an intellectual property achieves the loyalty of a sufficiently broad market or expands across multiple generations of fans, differences in customer need will appear, leading to a growing dissatisfaction in the style, content, or even political message of a story.
Millstone-Derry will avoid this by adopting the practice used by comic book companies known as the “reboot.” Films and television also recycle properties to capitalize on a younger, newer audience, but comic book companies like Marvel and DC find that the complexity and style of their stories cannot be sustained more than five years before they lose potential new audiences due to the complexity of the stories and events spanning dozens of monthly titles over 60 issues each. A reboot is a clean slate to reintroduce established characters in new ways that restore the mystery and secrecy of the resort’s main attraction, drawing new guests into the narrative while also attracting guests of the previous incarnation to experience what is new and what has changed.
Assesses the current business environment and helps businesses understand the marketplace and how to gain a competitive advantage.
While 2020 will be The Year of Coronavirus, there will come a time when a weary public will reach out to enjoy social gatherings and vacations to take them away from home and reality. Most industries are struggling with the restrictions required to ensure the safety and health of the public, with hospitality and amusement venues crushed by cancellations of events and closure of entire cities.
Millstone-Derry Escapes hopes to capitalize on a need to escape not only the ordinary but reality as well. When the doors of America’s major theme parks open, people will look for comfort. Given the economic impact of the pandemic on family economies, they will look for local, affordable experiences. Again, Millstone-Derry offers a trip to a distant land at the crossroads of America’s most populated states.
Sales for the resort will provide options to meet weekly capacity goals, including providing flexible and creative solutions for potential guests’ vacation needs. During slower periods, Millstone-Derry may shift its focus to providing a unique business team-building experience or host a convention for one of many organizations, interests, or industries.
The resort can be commissioned to provide customized experiences while providing the standard dining and entertainment options and/or a general admission plan to provide a traditional “Renaissance Festival” experience to drive revenue at the gate and in the marketplace.
Millstone-Derry Escapes, LLC will function as a local government in terms of city planning, maintenance, and operation. Functions of zoning, construction, logistics, and other municipal matters will be handled within Operations with a salaried team of city planners, attorneys, safety and security SMEs, and engineers responsible for all utilities within the resort. The “stage” of Millstone-Derry is 150-acres, including a backstage of supply replenishment, maintenance, and story direction/communication facilities.
Each season will consist of 26 weeks of live storytelling with a “dark” period to write, cast, rehearse, design, construct, and execute a new storyline. Best practices will develop the company “story” guide which outlines how improvisation, adaptation, and intervention policies are implemented by the cast during a live production. Cast members will be employed season-to-season and engaged to provide feedback on their experiences and suggestions to improve the storyline, guest experience, and effective interaction techniques.
Security and Direction will share access to around the clock surveillance and communication technology. With the resort divided into neighborhoods (zones of control), directors and security will work together during emergencies to leverage actors and extras to protect themselves and guests as responders are activated to contain and resolve the threat.
Entry-level clerical, trade, and retail positions will be filled through traditional recruitment methods including advertising in local media and an on-site job fair. Each position will be provided training in resort operations as well as its culture of live theater and inclusion. We estimate around 75 part-time, 25 full-time, and 50 seasonal temporary positions will be required.
Professional worker will be scouted by human resources and recruited through aggressive compensation packages on a contract or salaries basis depending on the nature of the work required. We estimate approximately 50 trade, scientific, administrative, fiscal, and information technology positions will be required in addition to contracted services for initial development and maintenance of information technologies and infrastructure.
Performers will be cast and hired through open calls, though principal roles may be limited to agent submissions and by-invitation auditions only. 12 Lead roles will be cast on an annual cycle contract. 24 supporting characters will be cast with 12 serving as understudies for lead performers. 40 additional actors, from outside Actors Equity will be cast in small roles which will include responsibility for production assistance and guest management. These will be part-time positions with full time hour potential during peak season. Musicians, magicians, comics, and other acts will be contracted for specific dates and events based on a number of performance slots that vary based on weekdays, weekends, holidays, and resort events.
On what do you base a decision to buy products or services? Price? Quality? Convenience? Extra service? A combination?
By what venue will you find suppliers — local dealer, Internet, direct from the manufacturer, etc.?
Marketing will plan all advertising to drive potential customers to an eCommerce site which will provide both an in-world summary of the experiences available in Millstone-Derry, and an interactive menu of options allowing potential guests to customize their experiences and see their estimated costs of services. Live chat and phone consultations will be available to connect guests with sales and information professionals who will further explain any details and incentivize sales by pointing out special offers, discounts for filling specific performance dates, and soft-selling the completion of sales.
While the resort will only limit guests based on its capacity to serve them, marketing will brand its sales as an “Application” for the appropriate credentials to visit this world of the past, implying that a special kind of person is required to travel. This message is always paired with the assurance that every applicant is considered a strong one based on their responses and expressed interests found in their application.
Advertising will portray the resort as a real place that exists in the past, offering a portal from our world to theirs and a “true escape” from the modern world to an exclusive, special destination. The advertisement will tease the experience, driving the curious to the site and engaging them with an easy-to-use interactive menu that mixes the sales pitch with engaging story elements to extend the stay of each user.
The interactive menu will engage potential guests with a reflection of their vacation preferences. Similar to a role playing game concept called “character generation” the web site will encourage people to set up free accounts to capture their basic contact and demographic information before guiding them through a series of questions designed to create their identity in Millstone-Derry. This interaction will allow marketing to reach out later with promotions and story elements tailored to their answers that further entice them to explore registering for a vacation.
The interactive menu also helps keep the focus of the potential guest on their experience and creates a customized preview of how they would look in the world of Millstone-Derry. This creates a psychological connection to the world that exists entirely in their imagination, further connecting them to the brand.
Prior to the opening of the park, Millstone-Derry will embark on a national campaign to set up “Travel Centers” in various cities around the country at pop culture conventions and similar events where sales experts will engage the public in the advantages of a Millstone-Derry vacation. They will sell both the novelty of the destination and the cost-value analysis of a trip there versus their typical “go-to” vacation plan.
Millstone-Derry Escapes, LLC
PO Box 1701 Harrisburg, PA 17111
June 14, 2020
Jay Smith, Principal
This document is a work of fiction and protected by copyright.
Millstone-Derry Escapes strives to be a premiere destination for those searching for a fully immersive, fantasy experience in an exciting, yet safe luxury resort. Our highly-detailed, fully-rendered community will transport guests into the past where talented actors and craftspeople present an interactive story on a 150-acre stage in real time to maximize the experience of being in another time where sinister citizens and malevolent monsters lurk in the shadows of gaslight while providing top entertainment options to serve every taste. We strive to provide guests with a vacation that they will never forget by recruiting top talent to a collaborative environment where improvisation, energy, and creativity are essential to providing every guest with a singular gaming-hospitality experience.
Millstone-Derry Escapes will, through a combination of theatrical and hospitality conventions, create a living game for 50-100 guests each week within the walls of its all-inclusive and fully-immersive resorts. Following a brief orientation, guests will literally be transported by ground shuttle to the resort where each employee is an actor or producer with the single goal of creating a world of supernatural fantasy where they can experience the best in live entertainment, dining, live role-playing, and relaxation unique to the period and location we create around them.
In creating an exciting and memorable experience Millstone-Derry Escapes will become a destination of choice among individuals, families, and even corporations looking for a unique resort experience. Our target market overlaps with that of the pop culture “comic-con” industry, live action role-players, and fans of immersive fantasy destinations such as state Renaissance festivals and Disney theme parks.
By offering an isolated, rural location in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the location will be attractive to over 112.6 million people who live within driving distance from major east coast cities. Locating the resort in western Virginia provides an advantageous climate to maximize outdoor seasonal programming while placing it conveniently near international transportation hubs. While Millstone-Derry will offer luxury, interactive packages as well as economical “open-world” experiences to attract a broad range of consumers. Custom experiences will be available to provide a more personal experience to select guests.
Millstone-Derry will also provide employment and service opportunities for approximately 500 actors, producers, writers, craftspeople, laborers, as well as an administrative and clerical staff. It will contract services from food vendors, security, information technology & security, merchandisers, and marketing companies to perfect the illusion of period immersion while complying with modern safety and accessibility standards.
Following one six-month shakedown season and two full, 8-month cycles, Millstone-Derry is expected to grow into a premiere destination drawing attendance from nearby amusement and resort options to rank in the Top 10 of revenue-generating and recommended destinations in the eastern United States, drawing 80 percent domestic and 20 percent international guests each year.
At this time, Millstone-Derry has secured 150 acres in western Virginia, surveyed and mapped a concept village and administrative campus, and is actively engaging its legal team to secure all required permits, variances, and insurance. The partnership of Millstone-Derry Escapes, LLC is engaged in securing local and international contractors to begin realizing the concepts and infrastructures proposed by its creative team. Further, the partnership is actively recruiting the creative talent, food service, and merchandising firms to provide the basic hospitality services of the resort.
Millstone-Derry Escapes was founded in 2012 by college students Jay Smith, John Doe, and Julie Jones who established a small, profitable live-action role-playing campsite in north-eastern Pennsylvania. There in the former Christian summer camp near Lake Winola, the trio successful built an informal gathering of friends into a real-time story and simulated combat experience for 50-75 participants, all of whom paid to rent small cabins or campsites for the duration of the experience. Leveraging their degrees in business from Penn State University and Fiction Writing, the team formed a limited liability corporation to further develop this concept on a larger scale. Following awards for Alternative Hospitality Destinations and positive media coverage, the partnership began reviewing investment and even franchising proposals from established alternative hospitality management companies representing three of the largest “comic-cons” in the Unites States.
What began as a group activity grew in scale and complexity as the partners discovered a variety of options provided by the natural surroundings and structures left behind in the camp. Almost immediately, the team saw the potential and began developing content for team building, problem solving, outdoor recreation, and relaxation which were attracting people as much if not more than the gaming and role-play, making operations profitable on a small scale.
By 2015, the original site of “Millstone Crossing” reached a point where the cost of expansion and maintenance, mixed with increasing regulations to run an amusement and hospitality resort in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania inspired the partnership to seek an alternative location while considering the opportunity to expand the site and its offerings.
At this time, Millstone-Derry Escapes is taking its next logical steps to entertain and excite all new audiences near and far with an escape into supernatural combat, adventure, fantasy, and even a little romance.
A variety of daily, weekend, and week-long options will be available representing packages of increasing value, customizable for each guest or group. At their core, a package provides a guest with an “A” List of options for their stay.
Millstone-Derry is situated on a former livestock processing facility in Derry, Virginia and several surrounding parcels representing farmland and undeveloped rural forest. The site, which includes 150 acres, will be divided between a 120-acre “stage” representing the town and surroundings of the Millstone-Derry village, and 30-acre administrative canvas for all business operations.
At this time, local, state, and federal obstacles are minimal as the land had previously been approved for development into a theme park by previous owners. The failure of that company to complete their project, according to our investigation, was the acquisition of the company which terminated the project.
Approximately 50 actors will be contracted for the season, 10 representing “lead performer” status as prominent village residents and notables, 20 supporting characters who drive the action by interacting with guests through the various storylines, and the remaining being storytellers or expository resources for guests who need additional assistance or guidance.
An additional 100 part-time employees will be deployed in the park to “work” the local shops and attractions outside the scope of contracted vendors.
Another 100 support workers, called “non-player characters” will provide traditional park services in character and costume while on stage. This includes populating crowd scenes, trash removal, temporary set construction and break-down, and other supporting services.
The administrative offices will be staffed year-round by 50 employees split into various roles in each operational division (see Management & Organization).
It is our hope that a weekly guest count of 50-100, weekend guest influx of an additional 500-1000 guests at a 60-70 percent capacity for the opening and closing months and between 80-100 percent capacity during peak season.
Resorts and hospitality operations can attract initial guests through financial incentives and unique, high-profile value-adds. Concerts with popular acts, branding partnerships with established intellectual properties (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Universal Classic Monsters) can raise interest, but ultimately the long-term success of the operation depends on gratification and satisfaction of the guests that translate into word of mouth advertising. An initial investment to provide exceptional customer care in the hospitality segment of the business and an immersive gaming or interactive theater experience unrivaled by other resorts and events will result in an increase in bookings over the first two full seasons, bringing the operation into a consistent profit level within 36 months of go-live, well in advance of many multi-million dollar resort investments.
Initial marketing will focus on the concept of “Escape” with most visual marketing promoting the opportunity to leave the problems and uneasiness of modern life for a simpler time, isolated from the real world. An overworked professional, parents struggling to find something to please children of different ages, empty-nesters looking for the next big adventure, young adults locked in an unsatisfying work-life balance, etc.
Comic-con and pop culture marketing will include “Travel Agency” kiosks where performers will soft-sell the travel opportunity of a lifetime where fans of epic fantasy, role-playing, and other attractions can live out their dreams of gaslight mysteries, pub crawling, and monster hunts.
The cost of the initial plan and build for Millstone-Derry, including casting, construction, and marketing, is estimated between $20-30 million. Annual operating expenses are estimated at between $5-8 million between 2021-2024 with decreasing costs once adjustments to the production and operation revert to a steady state. Gross revenue is initially projected at $1-2 million, growing to outpace costs within 36 months of operation.
For the foreseeable future, M-D, LLC is a partnership of three principals developing a privately-owned corporation to be headed by a Chief Executive Officer, John Doe, who will also serve as interim Chief Operations Officer until such time as a permanent COO can be recruited. Vice-President of Creative Operations, consisting of Creative and Marketing Divisions, will be Jay Smith, and Vice President of Fiscal and Technical Operations will be Julie Jones.
The team will be advised by Business Development Consultants Wayne, Stark, and McDuck who represent a combined 275 years of hospitality and investment experience and have successfully transformed specialized events and resorts such as New York City Comic-Con, North by Northwest Media Festival, and Scandals Tropical Resorts.
The CEO will preside over an Administrative Division which will establish the methods by which employees will be recruited and hired, the scope and requirements of contracting efforts, training and development of Talent and other park staff, and liaison to local community, government, and state agencies for outreach, transparency and compliance.
Millstone-Derry, LLC is organized similar to a film or theater production company with clear division of responsibility with distinct operational objectives.
Food services will be contracted to a vendor or vendors that can provide period-applicable fast food and fine cuisine that reflects the time and place of the resort. Contracts for these services will be based on a review of offered services and proposed division of revenue. Further, a central Food Market will be maintained (in-season) for those who wish to purchase locally-farmed produce and meats (this small-scale operation provides a layer of authenticity and a grocery store for guest who choose the option of renting their own “residence” with kitchen.
Amusement and merchandise vendor space will be offered to businesses under contract for compliance with the resort’s immersion and period-specific policies. For example, all wares must credibly represent goods that would be available in late 19th century Europe while complying with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations. These contracts will be based on square footage of sales, office, and storage within one or more of the 100+ stalls and stores across the resort.
Performances, including musical acts, simulated combat acts, street performers, and theatrical offerings will be recruited through talent agencies and contracted based on fair market value and included to enhance the overall guest experiences. Some productions and performances will be offered at additional cost. These will be limited to weekend sporting, musical, and theatrical events which will attract separate, one-day admissions from non-guests of the resort but not included in the package purchased by guests. These services will be engaged on a case-by-case basis and evaluated on the cost of services against reliable revenue enhancement projections.
With each new season, Millstone-Derry will provide a mix of new and recurring storylines based on guest responses. Similar to most regional or state Renaissance-themed festivals, the resort will have local holidays an events to attract guests. These will include resort-wide festivals celebrating its incorporation, a murder-mystery weekend, supernatural-themed weekends featuring vampires, werewolves, and zombies, and each guest will be invited to take a role in the stories playing out among the village “leads” like the Mayor, the Police Chief, and sinister scientists rumored to be robbing graves and creating evil abominations. It is the diversity of attractions and varied interactivity options that will attract new and regular guests. This will require “upping the stakes” from the Creative team every season to throw more than a fresh coat of paint on the 120-acre stage each season.
Within each division, there will be room for employees to take on greater responsibility, maximizing career paths to capitalize on our investment in talent through internal development. Actors may earn more prominent and challenging roles. Artists may become art directors, and more traditional office structures will, despite a narrow span of control, prepare financial, administrative, and technical workers to advance to supervisory or other professional roles through attrition rather than negative turnover. While the small scale of the administrative operation combined with a positive workplace environment with excellent compensation packages makes quick advancement unlikely, we hope to capitalize on the growth of the business to provide new positions and a taller org structure in the future.
Millstone-Derry, LLC functions as a partnership as it works to incorporate and create a structure of financial stakeholders. Currently the partnership owns all assets and debt of the partnership.
The physical site of operations is subject to the laws, regulations, and other requirement of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Rockbridge County, and the municipality of Derry. The LLC has ownership of the property and has secured all permits and variances related to perpetual ownership as further permitting and assurances to government are pursued to commence construction and landscaping efforts. Environmental and social contracts are discussed in the next section.
The Charter of Millstone-Derry is an extension of its “Do No Harm” rules which applied to the original site in Pennsylvania. These rules express that all policies and procedures must not harm the local environment, put at risk any species of animal or plant, recycle or removal all waste for responsible disposal, and provide an aesthetically pleasing natural environment to compliment the architectural and community design of the resort.
The use of materials for construction, maintenance, and cleaning will comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Contractors will be responsible for operating in an environmentally positive manner.
Millstone-Derry will rely on local labor to fill most entry-level positions and partner with local schools and organizations to leverage the resort grounds for educational opportunities in history, sciences, and various trades. In addition, management will maintain membership in professional organizations promoting best practices in resort environmental and operational management to ensure that it functions as an industry leader in clean-green operations.
All employees will be provided ongoing training for and review of their compliance with these policies. All employees will be provided a safe environment to perform their work and interact with the public.
As with most resorts and parks, success depends on the strength of the economy and an availability of disposable income directed to the vacations. Millstone-Derry is a niche within the hospitality industry that caters – at least initially – to a select market of creative, adventurous people in financially secure professions.
However, given the relaxing, rural location of the resort, proximity to most major American cities on the east coast, highways, and airports, the resort can pivot to reduce costs in times of economic difficulty to be a close but relaxing retreat without the overhead cost of creative interaction. Concerts, festivals, parcel rentals will continue to drive revenue. Pivoting to local open-admission festivals featuring ticketed attractions would perpetuate revenue on a local and regional level.
However, Creative, being more robust in the interactivity and storytelling elements of the resort can assist in evolving the brand to create a more attractive destination as tastes shift in the public, creating new genres and storylines to suit a shift toward more macabre or medieval taste in the marketplace.
The initial partnership of Millstone-Derry, LLC has demonstrated, on a small scale, the ability to attract and entertain guests in a fresh and engaging way. While relatively new to the business, their combination of business, hospitality, and creative ability can succeed on a larger scale with proper financial and professional investment.