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.
A quick update. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been at a bit of a stand-still with the writing thanks to a bit of a mental health glitch. On the downside, it’s been a bit disruptive with respect to productivity. On the upside, it’s offered me some insights into the mental state of one of the characters in the Tomekeepers TV series who is currently scheduled to start going into a major depressive episode starting at around episode 5 of the series. Unlike me, she’ll come back to herself with a transcendent ability before being dragged back into the pit, only to rise again as a personage of dark power. Unlike her, I will be enjoying the fruits of modern pharmaceuticals to help smooth out the peaks and troughs, and I can’t kill people with my mind.
On a separate note, I recently attended the New Screenmakers Conference put on by the Media Resource Centre at Mercury cinema. One of the speakers – Allan Palmer (who blogs about screen writing at CrackingYarns.com.au) did a couple of sessions which have made me think very seriously about discarding about ten pages worth of the Chameleons feature screenplay and go back to the planning stage to double check my work. Between cogitating on Allan’s talks and reading Shawn Coyne’s The Story Grid, I’ve been carving a deeper and truer story out of the monolith that was originally going to top out at over a hundred pages, so it’s now starting to look like closer to ninety. It hurts throwing work away. But it’s better to do that than to leave the work overburdened with heavy-handed exposition which doesn’t even relate to the protagonist of the story. On the upside, this will mean that some of the spoilers for the Tomekeepers TV series will be less obvious, so perhaps that will lead to a few repeat viewings and a bit more buzz around the TV show.
Well this has been a productive night! I set myself a target of 10 pages worth of screenplay writing and I’ve hit the mark nicely. The beat that I wanted to hit has been clubbed well and good, and I have a nice little cliff-hanger for myself to think about for the next day or two before I put fingers on the keyboard again. The total word-count for the screen play is up to around 11,100, and I’m up to a total of 50 pages of actual script (i.e. doesn’t include the title page). Yes – there may have been a few rounds of Battlefield 4 between the first five pages and the next five, but sometimes the creative juices need some dopamine inhibition to really start flowing.
A quick update… I’ve finished the synopsis for Season 0 Episode 1 (S0E1) and will start turning that into a script as of tomorrow night. 🙂
I’ve also given some guidance to the other guys on the writing team about what I need from them, and we’ll hopefully be setting up regular chin-wags to pitch ideas about plotting out our season 0 and 1 in more detail. Anyone wanting to join the writing team should do so soon. Jump over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/tomekeepers and let us know you’re interested ASAP. 🙂
Tomekeepers is a project that’s been kicking around the back of my head for a long time now – over a quarter of my life. I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and look to crowd-source funding for a low-budget (but professional) web-series which will hopefully kick towards the middle of this year.
The premise for the series is a zombie-free post-apocalytpic near future in which Earth’s major population centres have been ravaged by factor 46 – a highly contagious nanovirus deployed as a bio-weapon by Gaia-Dire – a radical environmental group. Factor 46 was originally developed as a toolset for activating normally dormant human DNA for the treatment of genetic diseases. However, the ecoterrorists introduced unstable RNA compounds as the genetic payload so now instead of healing humans, it causes random and usually fatal mutations. A number of small populations survived in large and highly travelled cities via innoculations with a factor 46 variant with a DNA stabilizing payload, but not before millions died. Those treated with the antidote have occasionally started to manifest unusual abilities.
Remnants of western civilization remain, mainly in geographically isolated cities that were able to establish quarantine protocols before factor 46 was unleashed on an unsuspecting population. Most of those populations are in remote areas such as Adelaide and Perth in Australia, the Scottish Isles, South-Western Africa, rarely visited islands in the Indonesian archipelago and places such as Austin, Texas, Phoenix Arizona and parts of Scandinavia and Russia that were far enough away from infected sites to be able to establish protocols to keep others out.
The narrative follows the paths of two young women who take very different paths through a world in which knowledge is the difference between death and survival. Ally is an athletic, mentally agile girl who joins the recently established Tomekeeper Corps after graduating from high school. She is emotionally resilient, strong-willed, protective of her friends and a highly resourceful individual. However, she has a blind-spot for deception and is led into dangerous situations by opponents who take advantage of her gullibility. Ally’s best friend Mary is a somewhat more bookish individual who outscores Ally in most academic pursuits, but lacks her friend’s athleticism and is prone to self-doubt and poor self-esteem. These qualities result in her rejection from the Tomekeeper Corps, and leave her adrift while Ally heads to the TK Academy. The paths of the girls will cross at times – and these will be opportunities to underscore the changes that each of them is undergoing as they journey towards adulthood. The series will culminate in a crisis in which both will be forced to recognize a devastating truth which will change their relationship for the worse, and have lasting consequences for those around them.
As a reference point – think of Fringe, Alias and BtVS mashed up in a post-apocalyptic milieu where information is currency, and knowledge is power.