While attending USC, Dan O'Bannon met John Carpenter and the pair collaborated on the short, "Dark Star" (1970), about astronauts overwhelmed by technology. With the minuscule budget of $60,000, Carpenter expanded the project into a feature--now considered a minor genre classic--in 1974. O'Bannon was along, serving in a number of capacities, including scripting, editing and even playing one of the leading roles. This witty but bleak alternative to high quality films (i.e., Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey") was described by its creators as "'Waiting for Godot' in outer space." Mishandled in its initial distribution, "Dark Star" garnered cult status as a popular fixture on the college circuit in the late 70s.