To be clear from the get go, all credit goes to my friend Justin Mills, the creative force behind Final 5 in the early days.
“I’ve got it! Final 5.”
I always preface the answer to “where did you get the name Final 5?” with some version of “ok, this is really nerdy.” But the basis for the origin story has caught on in the mainstream over the past 3 or 4 years, going from a subculture phenomenon to a story that people often finish for me.
Justin was really one of the first close friends I had that I would consider *really* creative. He would sketch for fun, he used really foreign applications like 3d Studio Max or Illustrator, and he had a glorious faux hawk.
After a couple years of working together, Justin picked up a Sony Handycam and together we created the piece that would start it all, Six Minutes. Cheers to Eric Brown for funding it to the tune of $500. It now looks and feels incredibly dated, but at the time… well I guess it still wasn’t that good. But the story (and the stolen music) really seemed to capture something, as it created a big buzz for us that would propel Final 5 into being. Our big claim to fame was that it came in 2nd place at the Mitten Movie Project, the uber selective local shorts festival (that happens every month and ok fine isn’t that selective).
Six Minutes launched the company… but we couldn’t settle on a name and anyone who has ever started a company understands how challenging picking a name can be.
Around the same time, Justin introduced me to a tv show, Battlestar Galactica, which had an early death as a campy 1980s tv show and was reimagined in 2004 by the Syfy Network.
What really impressed me about this show was that in a world of the network ratings chase, combined with increasingly complex demands from viewers, Battlestar was able to create a full series story line, singular season stories, and episodic stories, each incredibly well crafted and delivered to support a story larger than its individual self.
I know, I know… that’s modern television. But in those days there weren’t many tv shows that did that well. And Battlestar did it REALLY WELL.
That’s sort of how I fashioned Final 5 to be at the time, small stories that lift up the whole of an organization’s larger story. It fit perfectly.
Without going too far down the rabbit hole, in the BSG universe, the robots launch a surprise attack and with inside help, they destroy the 12 Colonies that humans live on, almost wiping out the entire race. The only survivors find themselves on a once proud fighting ship, with a once proud captain, that lacks any and all modern technology. It’s nothing more than a museum at this point. It’s this lack of networking technology that allows them a fighting chance against the Cylons (robots).
It gets super interesting in that the Cylons have figured out a way to reproduce the human body and we learn there are 12 versions of the Humanoid Cylon walking amongst us. Leading up to season 4, we know who 7 of them are, leaving only 5 remaining. Those they refer to, over and over, as the Final 5.
“I got it!” He said.
Justin’s not with Final 5 anymore, but there’s no doubt it wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for his role as a friend and creative driver. Props Millzy!