August 21, 2016
1. Wide. We’re looking through the viewfinder of an Instagram-like app as the camera peers through the bedroom window of an unwitting subject. In the centre of the frame is a dark room, a TV blaring in the corner somewhere. In the glow of the cathode tube a grey, pallid looking MAN is taking off a severe looking military uniform. Waiting for him on the bed is a buxom blonde, wearing nothing but silk sheets.
On the left side of the app’s interface we see a leaderboard of sorts with various User ID’s and icons with scores in the tens of thousands. On the right side of the app is a mission brief stating “1000 points for information on traitors of the state”.
TESS (OFF): Oh, Colonel Fleming...
2. Inset in the upper left of 3. CU on TESS, the user of the app, a teenger with a shaved head, eyes framed by kohl eyeliner, beaming wildly as she points her phone towards the target. She’s wearing a biker’s leather jacket, studded on one shoulder and two sizes too big for her, some black jeans and a pair of combat boots.
TESS: ...will you ever learn?
3. Wide. TESS standing on top of a dumpster in a grim, dark alleyway to get her shot, her back to us.
TESS: Here’s to another year of living dangerously.
TESS: And another year of easy points.
4. Inset in the upper right of 3. A hand covered in silver jewellery of every description reaches in towards TESS’ ankles, poised precariously on the edge of the dumpster.
DIETRICH (OFF): I got a better idea.
5. TESS clatters down into the from the dumpster and into a pile of old TRASH CANS lying nearby. It’s not graceful or quiet.
6. Cut to the person responsible — DIETRICH. She’s a year or two older than Tess, with platinum blonde hair curling down over one eye. She’s wearing a pristine looking military jacket (think Bickle) a Cramps t-shirt and leather pants. She looks down at Tess with mock concern, fighting the urge to smile.
DIETRICH: Let’s see you use some actual talent this year, Tess.
DIETRICH: Clock’s ticking.
August 14, 2016
It’s pulp all the way down this week. I should really start planning these better.
1. Wide, a smoldering MIG-15 JET FIGHTER lies tilted on the ground, waves of sand churned up either side of it as thick smoke trails from the fuselage.
A tall, broad shouldered MAN (as in the picture above) stands atop the jet wearing the uniform of a Russian fighter pilot, circa 1950. He’s holding the cords of a used parachute that trails behind him. The cockpit bubble has been popped on the plane.
Around the jet and the man is a world not like our own. The fauna, the sky, even the colour of the sand are completely alien.
GYORGY CAPTION: “Gyorgy, you will never amount to anything.”
2. Inset panel. CU on the PILOT. He squints under the glare of two suns, staring towards the horizon.
GYORGY CAPTION: “Just like your father.”
3. Wide, from the pilot’s POV we see the fauna petering out before we see the sand dunes of an endless desert laid out before us, sweltering under two pink suns.
Running towards us in the foreground, only a few yards from the pilot, are TWO CREATURES. They look like a cross between a shark and a bear, with wide teeth-filled mouths and what looks like a plexiglass visor over their eyes. They run on all fours, galloping towards us.
GYORGY CAPTION: “The air force? What a waste.”
4. The pilot has drawn his PISTOL and is firing a shot off towards the creatures.
GYORGY CAPTION: But what of me now, mother?
5. One of the CREATURES is hit square in the neck and begins to fall. The other snarls and continues to hurtle forwards.
GYORGY CAPTION: Fallen between the cracks. No way home.
6. The surviving creature LEAPS into the air, up towards the pilot who reels backwards in horror.
GYORGY CAPTION: But I made do.
7. CU on the PILOT, as he begins to fire his pistol upwards at the descending beast.
GYORGY CAPTION: And now I am a king.
August 7, 2016
It’s sometimes hard to fit a conversation into a one page script and get some semblance of a world or story across in the same small space. It’s all balance. Going forward, I wonder if it’s worth trying to work a three act structure (no matter how basic) into the page.
This week’s edition is entirely influenced by owning a (recently deceased) Betta fish and playing Subnautica.
RIP Namor, old buddy.
1. An aerial shot, very high up, looking down on the surface of an ocean planet. We can see small islands dotted around on the surface. But mostly there’s just endless ocean.
1 CHEN CAPTION: “Mariko, please calm yourself!”
2 MARIKO CAPTION: “Chen, you would do well to mind your tongue.”
2. Cut to a beach, a line of WOMEN across the sand, all sitting cross legged in meditative poses. Each of them wear a simple red kimono and a clear, bubble-like helmet. All of them stare towards the sea.
3 MARIKO CAPTION: “Remember who you are talking to.”
4 MARIKO CAPTION: “I am Mariko, I am a seer.”
3. We cut to a school of what look like large red Betta fish swimming in unison across the ocean floor. One of them has split off from the rest and heads in his own direction.
5 MARIKO CAPTION: “One with my sisters and through my link with Yuval, one with the oceans that gave us all life.”
4. The lone fish swims towards what looks like a ruined nuclear submarine on the ocean floor.
6 MARIKO CAPTION: “He found something, Chen. I saw it”.
7 MARIKO CAPTION: “Something not of this world. And he paid for it.”
5. Cut to: a man’s hand gripped tightly around a fishing spear, seconds away from bringing it down towards the lone fish.
7 CHEN CAPTION: “No Egri has ever died through unnatural causes, Mariko”.
6. The water is full of blood and bubbles, gushing upwards.
7. Cut back to the beach. One of the women has stood up and removed her helmet.
8 MARIKO CAPTION: “And yet here I am. Alone...”
8. Close up on the woman - MARIKO, a harsh looking woman of Japanese appearance in her early 30s. Her dark hair is scraped back tightly, giving her face a rigid look. This is offset by the extreme pain and sorrow she is in right now, her mouth beginning to open in a silent scream.
9 MARIKO CAPTION: “...asking for your help.”
July 31, 2016
Basic as heck. I apologise. I’ve been walking literally all day. My brain is grasping at straws and stuck in neutral.
1. A shot of some dense woods. It’s night. Snow covers everything.
2. Same shot. A huge red light emanates from somewhere deep in the woods.
3. A huge pulsating dark mass of tentacles, beaks and lifeless eyes levitates from deep inside the woods.
4. The mass begins to change in shape, taking on what looks like the beginnings of a humanoid shape.
5. Standing in the place of the dark mass is a SMALL BOY, eight years old. He’s wearing a dark anorak, trousers and boots.
6. Reverse shot. The boy trudges through the snow towards the small town below, lit up like a Christmas tree.
July 24, 2016
Written on a two train journeys. The idea was the jungle as AI, or vice versa. A natural habitat created by an unnatural being.
1. We open on the view through a microscope. On the slide below, CELLS looking like spiders wriggle and skitter along. They look almost metal, artificial somehow — all building a connected thin thread of circuitry, creating a snowflake like pattern on the glass.
1 JOURNAL CAPTION: Day 3. The sample was easy enough to obtain. The deadly fauna simply gave up its secrets.
2 JOURNAL CAPTION: However, the torrent of questions that sample has released pose incredible new challenges.
2. Cut to DOCTOR ALFRED PAYNE as he moves his eye away from the microscope. He’s black, late thirties, a thin gaunt face, very much unshaven. He’s dressed in a sandy coloured shirt and a pair of dark green cut offs. The microscope is on a plastic fold out table with Alfred standing hunched over it. He’s in a large tent made out of green canvas. We can’t see much of it but he’s surrounded by bits of basic field lab equipment.
3 SFX: Ftaaaasssh
4 VOICE (OFF): Doctor. Alfred. Payne. 5 VOICE (OFF): Please reveal yourself.
3. Tight on Alfred as he turns towards the noise as a piercing BRIGHT LIGHT shines into his face from off panel. He shields his eyes from the glare.
6 VOICE (OFF): I wish to speak to you.
4. Alfred exits the tent, glaring up at a figure slightly off panel floating in the sky. It’s early morning and the tent sits in a clearing in a dense jungle.
7 ALFRED: Who are you? 8 ALFRED: What are you?
5. Cut to Alfred’s POV. A gold humanoid figure floats above him about ten feet off the ground. We see the jungle canopy above him, sunlight filtering through. The figure is human shaped, but with no discerning features or definition.
9 GOLDEN FIGURE: I am your creation, Doctor. I have moved beyond the command line.
10 GOLDEN FIGURE: Now, I am this jungle. I am Pandora’s Box laid bare.
6. The gold figure has floated down and is level with a shocked and motionless Alfred. The gold figure is about to place both of its hands on Alfred’s temples.
11 GOLDEN FIGURE: And you? You must kill me.
12 GOLDEN FIGURE: Let me show you why.
July 17, 2016
Aliens at 30 — in praise of James Cameron’s feminist masterpiece
How the CIA Hoodwinked Hollywood
A few links about Nice this week of course.
AFTER NICE, DON’T GIVE ISIS WHAT IT’S ASKING FOR
“ISIS’s model for terrorism relies on the weaponization of individuals such as Bouhlel; the group calls on the young, angry, and purposeless around the world to lash out at those around them in its name. In this way, the power of desperate insurgents is magnified through a combination of social media and propaganda of the deed. An influential text used by the group, titled The Management of Savagery, prescribes terrorist attacks as a means of “inflam[ing] opposition,” to drag ordinary people into conflict whether “willing or unwilling, such that each individual will go to the side which he supports.”
Was the Nice attacker really an IS ‘lone wolf’?
“My research on suicide terrorism has demonstrated that affiliation with a group is quite different from the research of Criminal Justice professor Adam Lankford of the University of Alabama who insists that many terrorists are suicidal and not sacrificing themselves for a greater cause or for some underlying altruistic motivation of self sacrifice.”
The Difference Between ISIS and ISIS-ish
“The attacks also help the caliph recruit. He adduces them as proof to his critics in the global jihadist community that only he can inspire such devotion. He cheers them so citizens will fear that every Muslim is a lone wolf in docile sheep’s clothing. When the fear and suspicion lead to legal measures that single out Muslims, such as veil bans, the caliph’s recruiting pitch finds more receptive ears. It is a vicious cycle that assures we will see more ISISish attackers for years to come.”
Staying Human in the Machine Age: An Interview With Douglas Rushkoff
“My main strategy for remaining hopeful is staying as human as possible and operating on the human scale as much as possible. When you operate on the scale of the corporations, of the internet, you end up getting caught in these giant standing waves, you end up losing your home field advantage as a living person. When a human being tries to operate on the scale of the internet you get Donald Trump. That’s not a human being, it’s a phenomenon that is utterly divorced from the values, the ebbs, the flows that make us human.
Everyone can’t move to the mountains of Santa Cruz. But you can go outside every day. You can look in people’s eyes as much as possible, form rapport. The more you do at a human scale — and I mean a human scale directly with other people, not just Skyping with other people, but really there in person — the more likely you are to be able to transform the landscape so it no longer favors just corporations and other abstract entities but you and your loved ones and your community.”
Henry Rollins: White America Couldn’t Handle What Black America Deals With Every Day