Field Days

So… Chameleons as a title is dead. The story has morphed into something where our characters are literally more fixed, but the characters are stronger as a result. I’d love to get constructive feedback on what follows. The new working title is “Field Days”.

Field Days is a “nano-punk” sci-fi feature length story set in the very near future.

Here’s the synopsis….

Continue reading “Field Days”

The import of thought

A minor digression from the usual updates on where the writing’s at, character bios, short stories, etc. Today I want to share some thoughts about the intellectual basis for the Tomekepeers Project. One of the core themes of this project is the attitudes different factions have towards information: how it’s valued; how it’s distributed; and how it’s gathered. While I’ve written about Factor 46 and Asclepius, I haven’t really talked much about the process of how both came to be. I’m not going to give away any spoilers here, but I am going to talk about the greatest enabler for Asclepius.

The single most powerful thing that any human being can do is to think for themselves. However, that’s also a brave thing to do. To see a problem, think about it and come up with a solution is hard.

In Australia, the USA, the UK and other nations around the world, our most important institutions are trying to tell us that we should be afraid; that we should trust their lead; that we should not make a fuss; that we should accept their truth as our truth.  There is a trend towards the doctrine that there is greater value in “simple” answers that can be consumed in the form of a sound bite, a pithy sermon, a news report that presents conjecture as fact.  That kind of trend is dangerous for our democracy.  It’s dangerous because it gets us used to a pattern of thinking that stops us thinking about and solving problems of genuine importance.

Orville Braithwaite is able to create Asclepius because he’s unshackled by the kind of thinking that says the problems of our world are too hard or too complex to be solved. The problem of providing universal healthcare to all of mankind is complex, but not insurmountable.  Orville also has some other ideas about problems to be solved. Poverty. Hunger. Access to education. Scarcity of potable water. Housing. Reforestation and climate change. Computing resources and internet connectivity for the billions of people who can’t afford a computer or a mobile phone, but have no less need for the resources on the internet to survive and thrive. He’s not focused on how tragic these things are. He’s focused on how to fix them.

We need more people in our society who say “Can do.”  We need more people in our society who are unafraid not only to speak up against inequality and injustice, but also to take positive action to defeating the forces that create them. We need to stop framing the debate in terms of how much things cost, but in terms of how much our nations and our civilization as a whole benefits when we fix the problems in front of us.  We need to stop talking about risk in terms of what we could lose, and start talking about risk in terms of what we might not gain. At some point, we just need to hook in and start getting these big jobs done.

In the Tomekeepers, forces who act to advance complacency in the broader population will be those who suffer the most ignominious defeats. Institutions that fail to keep driving the human race forward will be replaced by ones that will, or renewed from within by people who are worthy of that trust. In short, the Tomekeepers is not just a story that I want to tell, but a personal mission statement.

The call to action from this post is simple. Think. Research. Gather your own knowledge. Don’t take other people’s word for things. Don’t take the easy options and challenge your decisions. Take action to advance not only your personal status but that of everyone around you. Be a citizen of the world, not just a citizen of your own nation. Dream. Share. Live. Love. Be true to the moment, and true to your role as a sentient being in a world where a lot is going wrong.

Screenplay Progress and Other Updates

Hi folks,

Just a few quick updates for you all.

Firstly – I’m about 45 pages into a feature-length screenplay for “Chameleons” – originally a standalone story and now a “Prequel” for the Tomekeepers milieu, which might get split into a couple of episodes of TV.  That puts me at roughly half to a third of the way through.  With the story beats still to go, it’s probably closer to a third.

Secondly – a huge thank you to those of you who have already voted for our entry in the MyRodeReel 2015 People’s Choice awards.  For those of you who haven’t voted yet, PLEASE DO SO NOW!  If you believe in what we’re trying to do here, please also consider asking your friends and family to check out this blog, like/share our page on Facebook and go cast their own votes for us on MyRodeReel.

Finally – I’d like to invite anyone interested in writing on this project to step forward.  Sadly, I can’t dedicate my efforts to this project full-time, so I need some other people around me who can work collaboratively to build out the Tomekeeper’s milieu and populate it with fully realised characters and action.

Episode themes and outlines will be provided, and as long as people are willing to stick to the premise of the show, I’m not likely to be too heavily critical of whatever people produce as long as it’s in an appropriate screenplay format and can be shot on what passes for a budget in our project (which currently amounts to a lot of goodwill and an occasional pizza).  On the upside, the deadlines for this work will be pretty flexible – typically up to 2 months per script, which is a lot more than writers would get on a fully-fledged TV show.

I also reserve the right to do some editing and polishing on the final product, but the primary credit for the script will go to the person who writes it.  If (and hopefully when) we do get picked up for a network/streaming production deal, I’ll make sure people are recompensed accordingly.

To be clear, I’m primarily looking for screen-writers.  The “show-runner’s bible” is in progress and already has a lot of meat on the bones.  However, good suggestions that enhance rather than redirect the direction of the show will always be considered.  What this show is NOT about:

  • Vampires/Werewolves/Marvel-style Mutants
  • Teen romance/adventure – we’re producing a show for an adult audience that some teens might find watchable, not a teen show that adults might enjoy
  • Aliens, alien invasions, alien contact – that’s a shark we’re not yet ready to jump.

What this show IS about:

  • The human and organisational relationships between politics, media and technology
  • Examining in a meaningful way how a post-pandemic society can go from surviving to thriving
  • Considering different attitudes to value and access to information
  • Exploring group dynamics and conflicts in an interesting and thoughtful way
  • Following the lives of a group of young adult (20s) survivors in a frontier world full of modern technologies.
  • Exploring the impacts of emergent nanotechnology and its implications if not properly governed

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in helping out with, sign up on the Tomekeepers Supports Group on Facebook and post a message to that effect.

That’s all for now!  Thanks for reading.

The Tomekeepers: NightFall #MyRodeReel2015 Entry is now official. NOW WE NEED VOTES!

Hi folks,
Our entry has been officially accepted into MyRodeReel. Please activate your networks of flying monkeys and use your powers of persuasion, coercion or telempathy to make them click the VOTE button at the link below! Voting closes on July 3rd, and IP addresses are logged (1 vote per household, in other words) – but the people’s choice award is worth the effort, so please spread the word!

GO VOTE!!!

Another Tomekeepers Short coming up!

Hi folks,

Just a quick bit of news – I’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on a new Tomekeepers script – just a 3 minute short for submission to the ever-expanding (and incredibly generous) MyRodeReel short film competition.  For any amateur film-makers out there, I can’t recommend this competition enough.  Last year there were four prize categories and $70K worth of gear given away.  This year it’s more like $200K of prizes over 19 categories.  If we happen to be good enough to win a major prize, it throws the team’s production capabilities forward a long way!  Like they say – you’ve got to be in it to win it, so wish us luck!  On a separate note,

There’s a people’s choice category, so once our video is up, we’ll be asking you to vote up our entry.  I want to offer a huge shout out to Rode Microphones for their generosity in supporting film-makers in this way.  Their contribution to making production-quality gear available to mass markets has a huge impact on the ability of film-makers that don’t have huge studio budgets to make good quality content at an affordable price.  And they’re an Australian company to boot!

But in the meantime, please engage with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or on the main production blog, tell us what you want to know more about and generally get involved.  I’m still working on back-story short stories, but the ideas for the Chameleons feature are starting to flow again.  I’m not making any promises on production/release dates at this point, as the script is still in progress and I’m working full time… but other distractions are starting to take a back seat and the creative juices (which taste a little like raspberry, if truth be told) are gushing forth in quantity!

One final request… if any of you know anyone in Adelaide who can hook us up with some unoccupied warehouse or retail space which we could use for standing sets, or would be willing to host an occasional bit of filming in a residential space, please reach out and let me know.  Thanks in advance!

The Good Soldier

What follows is the first of a number of short prose vignettes that I’m using as a means of recharging the creative batteries. This is raw, unedited, fresh off the press – and will probably stay that way. I hope people enjoy these as I start making progress on rewiring the Tomekeepers Project in a more realistic light.

The Good Soldier

It was a cool winter’s day. Yellow sunlight burned its way through the damp haze that hung in the air. Jack’s friends had just left after offering their assistance and support. Even Kevin Priest, who could barely stand and stared forlornly at the stump where his left hand had been. They were all unflinchingly sincere in their sadness and their support. Their troop commander Bob Hastings gave us a flag signed by all the men, and left us at the doorstep saying “Anything you need…”
Exhausted by their visit, I sat on the couch while Ally set to drawing with the art set Jack’s friends had brought her.

“Mummy – when do we go to say ‘thank you and goodbye’ to Daddy?”

The question astonished me. Ally had just been given the news that her father had died while serving in Afghanistan. For all that she was a precocious child, this seemed like a question and a statement that seemed even beyond her seven-going-on-thirty years. I choked back a sob.

“Ally, sweetheart. Sometimes you amaze me. Daddy’s funeral service will be on Thursday.”
Ally counted. “Today is Monday? So… three sleeps?”
“That’s right. But if you want to thank him, you can do it any time. Was there something in particular you wanted to thank him for?”
“Oh Mummy! It’s to say thank you for going overseas to help other people when it would be so much easier to stay here and help you make the bed or do the dishes… Or mow the lawns… Or put the bins out!” She finally ran out of chores to list off.

She had a point. Since the news of his passing while on patrol in Oruzgan Province, I had been cursing his selfishness – abandoning us so he could go and play soldier. But I should have known better. He was there because he believed in the mission. He believed he was making a difference to the lives of the civilians who were being subjected to all manner of horrors – economic, cultural and societal – by Taliban extremists. He believed he was doing the right thing in helping the local people of Oruzgan decide for themselves whether their society should be dragged back to the “glory days” of the 12th century. Jack certainly wasn’t a missionary… but he definitely had a mission.

I shook myself out of my reverie and looked wanly at Ally. “Would you like me to tell you one of Daddy’s stories?”
“That’s okay Mummy. I think I remember them. But I do have a question.”
“Oh? What’s that?”
“Where did Daddy learn to love other people so much?”

That threw me. I knew he had a big heart from the first day I met him. We were on a singles wine-tour in the Barossa Valley and the bus clipped a dog. The bus driver was torn between his duty to keep to his itinerary on behalf of his passengers, and the concern he had for the struck animal. Jack said he would leave the tour to make sure the dog was looked after. I left the tour as well – intrigued by the kind-heartedness on display. Jack bundled up the dog – a kelpie/border collie cross – in his jacket, and we chatted while waiting for a taxi to take us to the local vet hospital.

“Oh – it wasn’t just people, Ally. He loves – loved – animals and places and things too.” I sniffed.
Ally stepped over to me and took my hand. “He loved us very much Mummy. He loved you very much.”
“I know, baby girl. He loved you very much too.”
“I know.” She smiled cheerfully. “Do you think we could go visit some of his favourite places?”
“Now?”
“No… silly Mummy. I mean later. Once we have said goodbye.”
“Oh. Of course! Is there any place in particular you wanted to go to?”
“I’d like to go see Max and Uncle Reg and Auntie Jean!”

Reg and Jean Ashton were the owners of Max – the dog that Jack and I took care of the day we met. The vet hospital had called them in and they invited us to stay with them for the balance of the weekend in thanks for looking after Max. A few years older than Jack and I, they were working at one of the big wineries in Angaston. Reg was a junior winemaker, and Jean worked in the cellar door. After that weekend, Jack and I had become a part of not only their family, but of each other’s. They now ran their own winery, and any time Jack was home on furlough, we’d head up to the Barossa to see them.

“I’d like that very much too.” A tear ran down my face as I sniffled.
“Don’t cry Mummy. I’ll look after you just like Daddy asked me to.”
“He asked you to look after me?”
“Of course. Just like he would have asked you to look after me. I’m just a little girl after all.”
“But – w-what – w-w-when…?” I stammered.
“The night before he went to Afghanistan he said that I was a big girl, and that I had to look after you if he didn’t come home. But he also said I had to listen to you, and help with the dishes and the gardening if you asked me. And keep my room tidy and clean. And to eat my greens, even if I don’t really like them. Although broccoli is green, and I like that!”

Until that day, I had thought that I had been Ally’s primary caregiver, with Jack away so often – first in Iraq, then in Afghanistan. But at that point, I knew that she was his daughter first and foremost. She had his brave and honest love, and his big heart. She would be fine. She would become a resilient, open-hearted and caring young woman. And with that, I resolved that I would match her bravery and love with my own. That day, I rescued my own injured dog on the roadside – took responsibility for it, and sought to live up to the standard that Jack – the good soldier – had set for us both.

© Jeremy Huppatz, 27/7/2014

Preview Video – it’s UP!!!

Hi folks

It’s been a while since I’ve posted in here.  I’ve had a couple of busy weeks with my day job (including quite a bit of after hours work) and had to let the body recover from the rigours of preparing for OzComicCon.  (Apparently I’m not a teenager with inexhaustible stamina any more…)  A big thank you to everyone who chatted to us at OzComicCon – we had a great time telling you what we’re trying to achieve, and some of the feedback we received is going into shaping the project further.

Over the last few days/nights, I’ve been trying to get the finishing touches completed on our “Before the Tome” preview/teaser video.  Sorry it’s taken so long to get these videos up – I told people it would be up earlier than this, but between a few software crashes and quite a bit of rework (and the aforementioned day job) it’s finally done. Clearly my computer isn’t quite as powerful as I thought… all the green screen stuff bogged it down no end. Still… it’s done, and I’m proud of what our cast and crew have achieved, basically for zero cost.

Hopefully the end product serves to intrigue our viewers and make them wonder about what happens next. While this effort is exposition heavy, we’re hoping to drive the story forward through our characters and the great cast who will play them.

Next step – back to the writing room to script Episode 0.1. It’s outlined, and in progress. 🙂



For future reference, the links are as follows:

Vimeo 1080p (Full HD):http://vimeo.com/jeremyhuppatz/tomekeepers-beforethetome-1080p
Vimeo 720p (SD):http://vimeo.com/jeremyhuppatz/tomekeepers-beforethetome-720p
YouTube 1080p (Full HD): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccD3Dg1Uqm4
YouTube 720p (SD): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jc6FrQPujG0

Anyone wanting a copy on a USB device who lives in Adelaide, touch base with us and we’ll see what we can do.