October Sky

octsky.jpg It is not everyday that Hollywood makes a movie about a young American inspired by Russian achievements. October Sky (1999) is a movie based on the true-life story of four young boys who, inspired by the Russian launch of Sputnik, decide to develop their own rocket. The problem is that the four young boys are neither children of NASA employees nor private school students with unlimited resources, but are small-town residents with very few resources and even fewer supporters. Homer (the main character in the story) and his three friends live in a small mining town where the destiny for people is to work for the coal mines. However, Homer does not want to follow his father to the coal mines and dreams of building a rocket. Homer ultimately achieves his dream and launches a rocket, but not before his loving father becomes the biggest obstacle in his path.

I think what makes October Sky a movie worth watching is that it is based on a true-story. If the movie was fictitious, it would just be another typical Hollywood movie with a feel-good message. But this is a movie based on a real-life story about innovation and determination. It is not about entrepreneurship, but is about innovation, which some consider is the hallmark of entrepreneurs.    

Advertisements

22 responses to “October Sky

  1. Matt Chrisman

    When I watched the movie October Sky, I was reminded of the principal Total Quality Management from my Total Quality Management and Process Improvement course. The principal of Total Quality Management is that a product or service can be continually improved upon and refined. This allows a company to gain and maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. If a company stops working toward improvement, they will be overtaken by another entity.
    The principal of Total Quality Management demonstrated in the movie when the boys kept trying to build a better rocket. Granted, at first the rockets they were building were effectively worthless, but as time went on they had developed a working model. Even though they had a workable model, their goal was to make a rocket that could fly higher and further than the one they had just built. In order to achieve that goal, they worked to improve the design of the exterior of the rocket, the physics of their nozzle, and the stability of the fuel.
    In the movie, I was inspired by their drive to continually improve upon their work. I believe this quality is inherent in successful entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs do not start off with a finished product; they begin with an idea and build a prototype. Most prototypes need much work before they can be used in some practical or useful way. This movie demonstrated the resourcefulness and spirit of what it takes to achieve a goal.

  2. omg.. good work, bro

  3. When I watched the movie October Sky, I was reminded of the concept of creativity from entrepreneurial foundations course. Creativity is a process producing an idea or opportunity that is novel and useful, frequently derived from making connections among distinct ideas or opportunities. This concept is used by entrepreneurs to come up with new and innovative ideas for new products or services.
    The concept of creativity was demonstrated in the movie when Homer had the idea to make a rocket and did research to figure out how to make it work. The four boys also had to be creative when finding the items to put the rocket together. They also had to be creative with building it, like when Homer had to have one of his dads’ employees weld parts onto it.

  4. billwickes0420

    October sky was a great movie about how a boy made it out of his mining town when everyone told him that he and his friends could never do it.

    The thing that most stuck out at me was the determination it takes to accomplish a dream. It took them forever to figure out exactly what the dimensions of the combustion chamber should be for the rocket to work. Once they go it figured out, they all went on to defy the odds of the town and all the boys were successful in life.

  5. When I watched the movie October Sky, I was reminded of the concept of innovation. As defined by the textbook, innovation is: the creation of something new or trying something for the first time. This concept was talked about in this class, Entrepreneurial Foundations.

    The concept of innovation was demonstrated in October Sky throughout the entire movie. Homer had an idea and acted on that idea. He came up with a new product, Miss Reilly (the rocket) in response to being inspired by Sputnik in the sky of his hometown. Although Miss Reilly was the end product, there were many obstacles along the way. Homer was innovative and went for it even though he wasn’t sure how it would turn out. He started out by failing the first time and kept on trying until he and his team (friends) were able to get it right. He also illustrated innovation by taking advantage of an innovative idea and going with it.

    I thought this movie was great story and was closely related with entrepreneurship as well.

    -NW

  6. One of my favorite parts of the movie is after Homer started working in the mines then went to talk with Miss Riley. He is then laying in bed thinking what he should be doing and gets up and starts looking at his rocket engineering book. He goes to the mines and over his break is continuing to work on the equation to find out where his rocket landed. Homer had decided what he wanted to do and it wasn’t going to be working in the mines. This is great to see because it couldn’t have been an easy decision. Homer and his dad were getting along great and then Homer decided he would go back to rockets. In the end Homer’s dad goes to the rocket launch and is proud of Homer.

  7. I thought that the movie was great. Not only did it have strong ties to entrepreneurship, which made it good for the class, but it was overall an awesome flick. I could appreciate how Homer had a strong strive for success and would not give up when faced with obstacles. I found innovation to be an important and relevant concept of the movie because Homer created something that nobody thought was possible. Even when nobody beleived in him, including his own father, Homer would not give up. In the end everyone in the town was behind him and I thought that was really cool. Overall I really enjoyed watching it and am very surprised that I had never seen the it before.

  8. I thought the movie was an interesting movie because it was based off a true story. It related to entrepreneurship by having to overcome what family members and others think about your idea. In the movie Homer’s dad wanted him to work in the coal mine and Homer didn’t want anything to do with the coal mine, so he had to overcome that.

  9. Edward T Habermeyer

    Awesome flick. Like everyone else i related to innovation as the key feature to the movie. But what was really cool was how the boys face adversity of not having support. From my local and student entreprenuial papers I saw how important this is and how much easier it makes things. In the end it was shere desire to stay out of the mines that seemed to be the initial driving force. It was very cool how they eventually won over the support of the town.

  10. Mike Stoltenberg

    The movie October Sky is a great motivational movie. It provides the viewer with a entertaining story on a group of kids with a mission statement to build the ultimate rocket. Their goal was to lauch a rocket high into the sky. They made many attempts and continually improved their design and stretegy until they were successful. Besides a few obstacles, the boys never ventured far from their path. I obtained this movie a few years back and still enjoy watching it.

  11. I enjoyed the movie October Sky. It really showed how to be a successful entrepreneur, you must overcome failure. Homer and the other boys were very persistent when making their rocket. They would learn from their mistakes, and were not afraid to ask other people, with more knowledge on the subject, for help. Homer also studied about the subject, to help make him more of an expert in the field. Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of time and dedication, and this movie showed that.
    I actually got very emotionally involved with this movie. I needed a few Kleenexes by the time it was over. The movie was very interesting to me, because it was based on a true story.

  12. When I watched the movie October Sky, I was reminded of the concept of truly having a passion for doing what you do. Granted, this may not be a text book concept, but is something that we have talked about in class an extensive amount. In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to sincerely believe in the business venture you want to start. Your family may not approve, you may not have the capital, and everyone can say it can’t be done, but if you believe in something enough, it can happen.
    This concept of having a passion for what you do is demonstrated throughout the entire movie by Homer Hickman and his group of “rocket boys.” The boys were inspired by the launch of the Sputnik rocket. Coalwood, West Virginia was a mining community where everyone was connected to the mine. Boys went to high school, and unless they were an athlete and got a scholarship, never went to college. Their lives were doomed by the mines.
    No one gave these boys a chance to win the science fair, let alone get a rocket to successfully fly. However, due to a lot of support, perseverance, and the hard work and dedication, they got a rocket to fly. It definitely helped that they were inspired by their teacher, who gave them the chance and knowledge to build a rocket and prove to the town it could be done.
    At first it was almost impossible for the boys to get a rocket off the ground. They went through a bunch of prototypes and a lot of going back to the drawling board before the persevered. The passion and dedication Homer Hickman had, was the eventual link to getting that first rocket to fly, and many more after that.
    October Sky is a great movie, not quite sure of the entrepreneurship application though. In my opinion this movie was more inspiration in a worldly sense. Sure the hard work and perseverance message applies to starting ones own business. You have to deal with family issues, such as in the movie with Homer’s dad, and people telling you that it can never be accomplished. However, they never started a business. So in that direct and literal sense, this movie was more about bettering yourself as a person, and doing what you love most, not about being an entrepreneur.

  13. When I watched the movie October Sky, I was reminded of the concept of process analysis, the systematic approach to be specific, from my Operations Management class. This applies to entrepreneurship in that creating a business is about accepting changes to be successful. The Systematic Approach to process analysis is a six step map for improving a process. One would first recognize that there is a specific problem that is creating a bottleneck in the process. Then looking at the steps in the process determine which needs improvement and make those changes. Only then can the process be improved.
    The concept of the systematic approach to process analysis was demonstrated in the first portion of the movie, when the boys are just beginning to attempt building the rockets. For the propellant, it progressed from simple powder from fireworks to using a highly combustible chemical compound. For the nozzle, they went from using a washer to a developing a cone that sends the propellant to extremely high speeds and directs it in the proper direction. These changes were made by using a systematic process to solving the problems that were arising with the rockets. The boys would continuously go back and do anything to figure out an answer. Applying the new techniques learned throughout, the rockets finally flew and earned them a path out of the coal-mining town they called home.
    This movie shows that success does not come easy or without opposition. There will be challenges, but there are ways to work through them. A person must stick to the goal and dedicate themselves to the process. Constantly evaluate the model and make the changes needed to improve that process. This movie could act as a motivator to aspiring entrepreneurs in many ways. It shows that perseverance and believing in what one does can greatly improve chances of success. These four boys never gave up, even when they were arrested. They found a way out of trouble and focused on what they wanted to accomplish. It also shows that sacrifice is vital to making dreams come true. Homer gave up nearly everything for this project, even his family. He was determined to not be a statistic of the town and make something of himself, in his eyes.

  14. Trevor Luchsinger

    I thought that this was a very good movie and i have seen it many times. i thought it really showed how people can work together and get things done really well. those kids were determined to do whatever it took to get that rocket to fly. it ment everything to them. They were arrested, parents didnt like it, but they always found a way to do what they loved.

  15. Bobbie Adams

    October Sky was a cute movie with a happy ending. I think it is funny to think of how Americans used to be so paranoid with satellites and the Russians. I can’t believe those boys still kept trying even when the whole town was against them. But of course everyone came around and was very impressed. Their rockets and how they started the rocket kept getting fancier and more high tech. It was crazy how the school sort of supported Homer for dropping out of school saying it wasn’t a bad thing and they didn’t want to give students false hopes. But it was a good movie and Homer’s dad finally came to see the rocket.

  16. When I watched the movie, “October Sky”, I was reminded of the concept of Quality improvement from my production management class. Quality improvement (QI) is one of three components of the principle of Quality management. QI includes the analysis of organizational processes, workforce performance, product quality, and the company as whole. The purpose of QI is to improve all organizational processes in order achieve product quality in a cost-efficient way. It is crucial for organizations to use QI as an ongoing process to become effective in designing, developing, and implementing their services and products. An organization can use several different models to analyze its operations such as Total Quality Management.
    The concept of Quality improvement was demonstrated in the movie by showing the development of Homer and his friends’ rocket. Homer and his friends became interested in rockets after they discussed the story of the Russian satellite “Sputnik” and finally, after they saw the satellite “Sputnik” in the sky. The first rockets they built did not fly in the way they wanted it to fly. Therefore, they started to read books about rocket building and Homer wrote letters to a university professor in order to get attention and information for their work. Based on mathematical and physical calculations they modified the rocket’s materials, exterior design, fuel and they constructed a special nozzle. After each modification, they tested their rockets to see the effect of the change. Through the ongoing improvement process they were able to build rockets that could fly higher as the one they had just built.
    October Sky points out how important it is to have passion to be successful. The young students have it and they never give up trying to improve their rockets. Management students can see parallels between Homer and his friends and business leaders such as Henry Ford. Many of the most powerful managers in our history came up with an idea, but their ideas was not fully developed or well thought out. Finally, October Sky is an awesome movie and I would highly recommend it.

  17. When I watched the movie, “October Sky”, I was reminded of the concept of Quality improvement from my production management class. Quality improvement (QI) is one of three components of the principle of Quality management. QI includes the analysis of organizational processes, workforce performance, product quality, and the company as whole. The purpose of QI is to improve all organizational processes in order achieve product quality in a cost-efficient way. It is crucial for organizations to use QI as an ongoing process to become effective in designing, developing, and implementing their services and products. An organization can use several different models to analyze its operations such as Total Quality Management.
    The concept of Quality improvement was demonstrated in the movie by showing the development of Homer and his friends’ rocket. Homer and his friends became interested in rockets after they discussed the story of the Russian satellite “Sputnik” and finally, after they saw the satellite “Sputnik” in the sky. The first rockets they built did not fly in the way they wanted it to fly. Therefore, they started to read books about rocket building and Homer wrote letters to a university professor in order to get attention and information for their work. Based on mathematical and physical calculations they modified the rocket’s materials, exterior design, fuel and they constructed a special nozzle. After each modification, they tested their rockets to see the effect of the change. Through the ongoing improvement process they were able to build rockets that could fly higher as the one they had just built.
    October Sky points out how important it is to have passion to be successful. The young students have it and they never give up trying to improve their rockets. Management students can see parallels between Homer and his friends and business leaders such as Henry Ford. Many of the most powerful managers in our history came up with an idea, but their ideas was not fully developed or well thought out. Finally, October Sky is an awesome movie and I would highly recommend it.

  18. Adrienne Losee

    I have always liked this movie. It is such an inspirational story and it becomes more inspiring since it’s a true story. it’s kind of a rag to riches story with Homer coming from a small mining town where he was basically destined to be in the coal mines for the rest of his life, and then ended up becoming very successful working with NASA. Also a great example of being determined and passionate about something, which are qualites that any entrepreneur needs to have.

  19. When I watched the movie “October Sky,” I was reminded of the concept of viability from my Entrepreneurial Foundations course. The concept of viability can be described as the preliminary assessment of the potential for a business to be created, or once created, survive. When assessing viability, one must take a look at their idea and decide how viable the idea is, who are the people behind the idea, what resources are needed to take the idea and sell it to the customer, and what do you need to know about the industry and market for the idea? By answering these four questions, one can then determine whether to move forward with the idea.

    The concept of viability was demonstrated in the movie when Homer first took an interest in rockets. When he heard the news about Sputnik, his interest in rockets came out. Obviously because of Sputnik, Homer knew the concept of rockets was a viable idea, but he needed to assess the viability of him getting into it himself. When Homer’s teacher wanted him to apply for the scholarship, I think he saw his window of opportunity and realized this was the beginning of the path he needed to take to get started. Of course he needed to find the resources were required to begin. This, along with many other external forces, challenged him in succeeding. His father wanted Homer to work in the mine with him because it was more “realistic” and not just chasing dreams. Since rockets were a new innovation, there were not many resources Homer could use to work from so he was forced to discover new ways of revising them himself. In the end, although Homer’s decision to engineer rockets would probably not pass the viability test, it shows that if you have a vision or idea that you yourself can imagine working, and are willing to go way out on a limb to accomplish that dream, viability may not be as relevant. Of course this is not the case with most business ventures.

    I think this movie was very motivating and certainly pertinent to our Entrepreneurial Foundations class. Though some students take the course to learn more about what it takes to begin a business, there are some who truly have a dream that they are willing to risk everything to pursue and this movie help keep those students on track in reaching those goals. It was a movie that was truly inspiring to young entrepreneurs who have a dream.

  20. abusinessprofessor

    Some students noted how this is such an inspiring movie because it is the story of a guy who does not want to spend the rest of his life in coal mines like everybody else in his town, but wants to get out in the world and change his destiny. The NYT (April 11, 2008) had asimilar story about Carla Christoffsen who grew up in a small town in North Dakota. According to NYT:

    “Christofferson, 40, grew up 15 miles outside Tolna (population 202), a town where dreams were rooted in the soil. The youngest of five children, she was an all-state basketball player and a cheerleader at a high school with a graduating class of 13.
    When she was 13, her parents divorced, and she left the family farm to live with her mother, Edna Ellison, in an apartment in Tolna. Needing scholarship money for college, Christofferson said, she reluctantly entered beauty pageants. At the time, she saw few other options. It was 1985, and a basketball scholarship still seemed precious enough to be beyond her grasp.
    She was named Miss Teen North Dakota that year and was the first runner-up in the Miss Teen U.S.A. pageant. Four years later, she was crowned Miss North Dakota and represented her state in the Miss America pageant. Christofferson’s talent was playing the flute. But her gift, those close to her say, has always been her verve.
    Anderson recalled a freshman English course that she and Christofferson took at North Dakota-Williston, a two-year college they attended before transferring to the University of North Dakota. They were assigned to write a how-to piece. Anderson explained how to shoot a basket. Another student wrote about tying shoelaces.
    And Christofferson? “She wrote about how to give a perfect French kiss,” Anderson said, laughing. “She had the professor blushing.”
    Christofferson played basketball her first year of junior college, then quit because she was not enjoying it. Anderson suspected even then that the sport would remain a vital part of her friend’s life.
    After graduating from North Dakota with honors, she enrolled in law school at Yale. Leaving the prairie for the gentry was a huge step, and she was petrified.
    “I didn’t want to fail and be sent back to North Dakota,” she said.
    She distinguished herself at Yale, then at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers. In 2001, at 31, she made partner while finding time to play basketball in a couple of recreational leagues. In 1999, she became a Sparks season-ticket holder”

    Today, Carla is a co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks, becoming only the second women in W.N.B.A to own a team. The most fascinating thing about her story is that she is a “self-made mogul” who neither inherited her fortune nor got it from marriage. The complete story can be read at NYT website (New Breed of Tycoon Brings Order to The Court)

  21. Meghan Behrens

    I thought that October Sky was a very inspirational movie for anyone who plans to be an entrepreneur. He is a young boy along with his friends who tries to do something that everyone thinks he can not do. That is amazing that he succeeded in something so Awesome. He and his friends ended up blowing everyone away and proving them wrong about what they planned on doing.

  22. October Sky was inspiring as Meghan said. Many kids his age would have given up his idea or dream with all the obstacles they faced. Him and his never gave up on the idea and that’s why they succeeded. They were also successful because they became very knowledgeable about the science and physics relating to rockets, so they were able to understand the big picture of how to get it to work. From there, it may have taken them many tries, but by making adjustments and using different combinations of things, they were able to make a rocket that functioned perfectly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s