1981 was a mixed bag for me. It was good, because the space shuttle flew, and I had worked really hard on it. But it was bad, because Toyota rejected my design for a new and improved Celica.
“It flies,” I explained. “Just like the space shuttle.”
The executives sat there looking confused, so I tried to help them understand. In addition to its airworthiness, my design looked “angrier” than past model years. Plus, the car could talk to you and be your friend.
“After all, Celica is the Japanese word for human-car brotherhood,” I lied, forgetting that Japanese was my audience’s first language.
I was kindly thanked for my hard work. Shortly thereafter I received in the mail the last check Toyota would ever send me.
The design never saw production. “We have decided to go in a different direction,” said the voice on my answering machine. But the money was enough to finance an extremely lateral career transition. The events of 1981 inspired my first two films.
Neither Gung-Ho, starring Michael Keaton, nor Space Camp, starring someone else, is regarded as a classic. But they performed reasonably well at the box office. It keep me on my feet. Nothing of value was gained, and nothing of value was lost.