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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    The August Challenge  ›  Official August/September 2WC Discussion Thread Moderators: Scar Tissue Films
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  Author    Official August/September 2WC Discussion Thread  (currently 1560 views)
Zack
Posted: August 23rd, 2019, 1:19pm Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right. Get it written.

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How exactly will this be written? Screenplay format, or something altogether different?

Concept-wise, I'm very interested. Especially if it's a group collaboration.


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Heretic
Posted: August 23rd, 2019, 1:26pm Report to Moderator
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For me, the existing work that sounds most similar to this project is Josť Saramago's novel Blindness, and the film adaptation from 2008.


Quoted from JEStaats
Like Blondie, I first thought of World War Z (the book, not movie) as a collection of personal accounts rather than a running storyline.


Would be very interesting to have various personal accounts that occasionally integrate, where we experience one person/group's side of the account, and then the other person's side in a later episode and reveal key context. Could be a very chilling moment where a group encounters a few people at a sweets shop that are cordial and whom they trade supplies with -- then a later episode goes inside the shop to reveal that the supplies being traded for were to medically treat captives held for forced pregnancies, or whatever terrible thing. Or the reverse -- the seemingly insane and violent man that a group turns away from their apartment building and leaves to die later turns out to have been desperately trying to save his dying kid.


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Nomad
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I like your notes.

The way I write, I figure out the world and then populate it with characters and story.
Once we get the world dialed in a little bit, I'll come up with some characters and throw them to the wolves.

Ultimately this is someone else's project, and I'm just exercising my creative muscles right now.

It feels good.


Quoted from FrankM


Some kind of terror in the sky is kinda mandatory because mere fog does not ground aircraft. Make it thick enough, however, and ground vehicles inch along or turn into their own fiery heaps.  
I was thinking some kind of chaff or radar/IR reflective element to the fog.
That would eliminate any use of FLIR or radar, and thus eliminate the need to explain what they are or how they work. Maybe later in the story a LSA (Ultralight/gyro-copter) could come into play.


If we have some idea how far one can see a light through the Fog, it may be possible for someone with a lantern to guide a truck to carry heavy stuff.
I would prefer that the fog not be too thick for the entire story. It narrows our options if everyday is dark as night. There has to be a race against the setting sun.

The world does have some experience growing plants indoors, but it takes electricity to generate the light.
That's why I mentioned the nuclear power plant.  It shouldn't need deliveries of coal or other fossil fuels, and as far as my limited knowledge goes, they can run for a long time with minimal maintenance. However, it has to die at some point to push our characters to the next stage.

Mushrooms will probably become a staple food. If the Fog comes with humidity, there's probably a lot more mold, mildew, Trenchfoot, etc.
That's gross. I didn't think of the moisture and how damp everything would be all the time. It could be a good reason why fire torches don't work well.

Whether Fog comes with a side of humidity or not, there's an unanswered question about how it covers everything from woodlands to deserts more-or-less equally.
We don't need to answer this just yet. Maybe we never answer it. What was in the case that Jules and Vincent got back for Marsellus Wallace?

China is probably the furthest along in weather control technology, if only because they have few qualms about experimenting out in the open over their own ample territory. Attempts to burn off the Fog will probably start there.
But China is far away. Any news about burning the fog off in China will have to come from third or fourth or nineteenth hand.  Maybe we start locally. Alanbrooke Barracks
is nearby but I'm not sure they'd have the proper munitions to test blowing some fog up.
Maybe someone a little more on the local side could answer that.



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Mr. Blonde
Posted: August 23rd, 2019, 1:40pm Report to Moderator
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I'm excited to hear more details from Rick, because I have a second idea. "212" and "Telephone".


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 23rd, 2019, 1:51pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from hawkeye
It sounds very interesting and Iím certainly game for it, but thereís lots of questions to be answered for sure.  Iíll just raise some of them here and maybe you can address:

1.  Formatting. Most of us (maybe all of us, perhaps) have never written for podcasts before.  Iíve listened to podcasts often (S Town perhaps being my favorite), but have never thought about how you would actually write one. Seems all dialogue driven with no action sequences to speak of. Do you have a link to a podcast script that we can review and familiarize ourselves with?

2.  Logistics. This to me is the biggest challenge. Letís say there are fifteen of us willing to participate.  Someone needs to be the chief cook and bottle washer so that structure can be brought to bear. I would think that person would be you, Rick, so it might be good to hear your thoughts on how this comes to fruition. Letís take the overall storyline. How is that going to be developed?  You have fifteen creative people with the guidelines to work from are going to have 15 completely different story arcs and characters. You saw how just having a setting in a psychiatristís office and a bobble head resulted in a lot of wildly divergent stories. So some order has to be brought to the chaos. Just curious how that would work. Same goes for the writing of actual episodes, editing, etc.

3. Sign off.  Who has final sign off on a script?  Do we all vote on it, or again, do we place that all in the hands of the team lead? I think we just need to make that clear from the outset so that there isnít any rumblings later.

4. Legal stuff. Iím back with my legal hat on.  If weíre talking about something actually getting produced and put on iTunes and other platforms, there probably should be agreements signed by anyone whose work is used, especially where there is the potential for monetizing the podcast at some point down the road. What if it become popular? What if a second season is to be made?  What if (GASP!) a producer wanted to option it for a television series? Who owns the rights to it? These are things that should be addressed prior to it going into production lest there are any quarrels raised later.

Iím sure there are plenty of other questions but thatís all I have for now.

Gary


1. I have looked for a template, but frankly have been unable to find a suitable one. If anyone else discovers one, then let us know.

However, I think it's safe to say that formatting it like a film script will be fine, just remembering that everything to be read out should be formatted as dialogue. Then everything outside of dialogue must necessarily be a description of some sound or other, whatever the description is such as:

INT. LITTLE PIGS BEDROOM - NIGHT


NARRATOR
The three little pigs were bouncing on their beds.


Sound of beds creaking.

FIRST LITTLE PIG
Do you think if we bounced high enough, we could bounce all the way to the Moon?

Bang!

SECOND LITTLE PIG
Well, maybe if there wasn't a ceiling.



It occurs to me that someone might also want to give some information such as:

Jack and Jill run quickly down the street...to establish we need footsteps and that the actors are out of breath. So just stick that outside of dialogue and it should all be obvious what's meant. I don't think it would need to get any more complicated than that. May as well retain scene headings to inform sound design.

If there are better suggestions, let us all know.



2. We're going to discuss and establish the overall story lines, both of the episodes and the whole season before we start. We'll also develop ideas for characters and their arcs together and arrange them into the story before we begin.

There will be three or four strands.

World Events, which can be relayed by radio, internet or hearsay. Including things that aren't true.

Local Events. What's happening in the immediate area.

Relatively local events. What's happening in nearby areas which might effect our characters. Like in nearby cities etc

Psychological states...how people are coping with what's going on. As the story progresses people will start acting more strangely, aggressively, manically etc so we'll know the general attitudes of the surrounding cast.

Once we've got an idea of everything that's happening, it should be fairly easy to plot how our characters are involved in those events.

So we'll have a reasonable structure. We'll know what happens when and to whom and what happens afterwards, so the writers can take it from there.


3. Once things are written we'll all look over the work and make suggestions. I'll reserve the right to make a final edit just to make sure everything feels consistent. And I'll make any final decision in case of some dispute, but I'll be heavily swayed by the majority opinion.


4. OK. I'll dig out a release form.

I'm definitely hoping to do more than one season,if we make a go of it. I reckon three altogether would be the sweet spot. I'll be spending money on actors, the recording studio, sound effects and marketing. The bulk of time will be spent editing the sound files I imagine. I'd want to recover some of that money if money eventually found it's way in, ideally. I reckon it's probably easier if the copyright stays with me, and then we separately apportion any proceedings from a sale between us. I'm open to suggestions on what you think is fair.

One of the things others have done with these things is have a Kickstarter campaign after the first season to get money to make the next. Somethign to look at, but we'd all probably need to market it pretty hard to make that a reality.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 23rd, 2019, 1:53pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from FrankM
Is this going to take-your-turns writing episode by episode, or are you planning something more of a group effort on each one?

If it's the first I might have to bow out because I can't write suspense to save my life.

If it's the second, I can dive into the more technical stuff (e.g., how radar, sonar, lidar, flir, etc. deal with fog).



We'll organise it first, then see how the card lie, I think (Is that the expression?). It could be either, or both.

I don't personally feel that what you mentioned is a problem. Maybe there's a scene that's more drama that you could write, or intense action or philosophical musings or whatever.  Plus, I'm of the opinion that we'll be able to add things like suspense beats or whatever else is needed to each other's work as we read it, then edit it.

Some brave souls will need to get some pages down, or there isn't anything to work with. So there will have to be some people willing to write scenes, but there will be other bits and pieces to work on.
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Scar Tissue Films
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Quoted from Matthew Taylor


Just the structure of the challenge - what exactly I will have to do.

As in, will each writer be responsible for a single episode? or are a few writers assigned to collab on an individual episode? are we all just aiming to collab on the first episode with future episodes coming in future challenges?

Can't commit just yet when I'm not sure how much I will need to contribute lol


It partly depends on how many people there are, but I was imagining that there would be a central story in each episode, involving the main character/s and that central story would probably be written by one person.
But then there would be other things in each episode...maybe News Reports that everyone eagerly listens to. Maybe one individual just wants to write those, so they write all of them, then they're spliced into each episode, or I have an idea for a local radio host who gives out messages of hope and encouragement, but starts to slowly go mad on air over time...so maybe someone wants to write that whole arc, then it's later spliced in. Maybe Police Statements. Maybe a Scientist recording his findings.

Ultimately some brave souls need to get some pages down so there's a story, whether it's alone or in a team. But there will be pieces of things, I imagine, that others can write if they don't have much time.
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Scar Tissue Films
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Quoted from Heretic
This is a brilliant idea for a challenge, Rick.

I have the same questions as Gary, above, especially re: contracts/ownership.

On logistics: I feel like this is unlikely to work without a showrunner (which I'm assuming would be Rick). Having a pilot episode, or half, or whatever, to read before we all sit down to actual writing would really help establish a tone for the show and a style for the writing, which I think would be necessary to keep the feel and the characters consistent. It seems to me this would work best with a traditional writer's room approach, ie. that we are all trying to match the showrunner's established voice.


In terms of contracts/copyright, see my answer to Gary and let me know what you think is fair.

My feeling was that if I wrote a whole episode for people to follow it would have become too much like an assignment and less of a shared experience.

However, there is clearly a lot of sense in what you are saying.

Perhaps what we'll do is put the first episode together over the course of the first week, after we've worked out where it's all going. So we'll have a template for format, structure, tone etc.
Do you think that's workable?
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Scar Tissue Films
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Quoted from Mr. Blonde
I think I get what you're going for, Rick, and this sounds like a good bit of fun. A couple notes/questions I feel may be important to ask:

You mentioned the idea of us (the participants, as well as yourself) plotting out the big events that made the world how it is.

You said the world is already covered in fog. How long before?
Do the stories take place chronologically, or is this like World War Z (on the smaller scale you've described) where we get individual stories of alternating time periods?
Did anything else change about the world, besides the fog?
Is there any form of communication (radio, TV, internet)?

I have a story I would really like to tell for this and I think you will enjoy it quite a little bit. Just say the word. =)



1. Do you mean from the point the story starts?
2. Due to the logistical complexity of it all, I would probably favour chronological events. But it's definitely a discussion worth having. Were you thinking of having statements relating past events?
3. I don't think so. But the characters and the audience don't know that.
4. Yes. I believe everything would still be working. At least until something happened to make it not working.

Feel free to make any suggestions.
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Mr. Blonde
Posted: August 23rd, 2019, 2:19pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
1. Do you mean from the point the story starts?
2. Due to the logistical complexity of it all, I would probably favour chronological events. But it's definitely a discussion worth having. Were you thinking of having statements relating past events?
3. I don't think so. But the characters and the audience don't know that.
4. Yes. I believe everything would still be working. At least until something happened to make it not working.

Feel free to make any suggestions.


1. From whenever. If you want to run it chronologically, when the first story happens, how long before that did the fog arrive? This will determine how people react to it.
2. Writing chronologically is perfectly fine by me. My honest suggestion to you would actually be to write them out-of-order because then, you wouldn't have to figure out the entire story before you begin writing the first one. This is a bit of advice I learned from the trauma of writing Christmas Story. Lol.
3. Even if the answer isn't known or discussed, know the answer. Whatever it is is cool, so long as it's definitive.
4. Sounds good.


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hawkeye
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I think the idea scenario is for us to have a storyline in place, at least for the first two or three episodes.  Makes it easier for people then to write if they know they need to color somewhat inside the lines, but with the flexibility to experiment with something if they think it will work and can advocate it to the rest of the group. Then after we finish the first three scripts and see how the stories are developing, continue with the next set of storylines for three more episodes.  The point being is that if you try to Plan too far down the road, with a bunch of people trying to all contribute in various capacities, it gets to be a bit of a jumble.

At 5000 words and roughly 200 words per page (your mileage my vary) youíre talking about anywhere from 25 to 30 pages per episode. So maybe you break it up to 3 writers per episode so the writers arenít overwhelmed and the rest of us can then edit and pick apart the scripts.

ALSO VERY IMPORTANT:  As weíre working on each episode, make sure each episode has its own separate thread on the board so we can easily keep track of things like edit changes, comments, and so on.

I donít mind building an excel spreadsheet that keeps track of everyone participating, what the assignments are for each episode, deadlines, and so on.

Gary


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 23rd, 2019, 2:49pm Report to Moderator
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@JeStaats, Heretic and Mr. Blonde


Could you expand on the World War Z thing?

Are you meaning the characters are relating a past event to someone like in World War Z?

Or do you mean it's like a series of thought processes from different characters in the present?

Or something else?
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Scar Tissue Films
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Quoted from Nomad
A few thoughts:

  • There would have to be a trip to Beetham Tower.  Or maybe the story starts in Beetham tower so we already know that the fog is at least 169 meters thick.  The sun sets over Liverpool as an iridescent mist swallows the city.  The residents wake to find a thick fog blocking all light, turning day into night.  Someone's alarm goes off to wake them for work, but it's still "night" since no light can penetrate the fog, at least at this time in the story.  They open their curtains and a milky fog lumbers on the other side of the glass.
  • Send up a drone to see how thick the fog is.  It never comes back.  It catches a glimpse of something in the air that destroys it.
  • Ben Nevis would be another destination to see if there was a way to get above the fog.
  • I would suggest that all air vehicles (planes, helicopters...) are destroyed and come crashing back down in a flaming heap.  Maybe in the future there could be someone who shows up in a helicopter.  Mystery! Why didn't he die in a flaming heap?
  • Hydroponics would be a way to grow food if the sun couldn't penetrate the fog to keep plants alive.
  • There is 1 nuclear power plant in the area, Heysham. As long as it was operating then there would be electricity in the area. Once it goes offline, then we move on to the next chapter.
  • There will be the good, the bad, and the ugly. Good people want to survive and hold on to their humanity. The bad people want to survive and don't care about their humanity. They will survive by any means necessary. The ugly don't care about surviving. They're going to do what they want, take what they want, hurt who they want, and devolve to the most basic of desires. Think 'necrophiliac cannibals'. Who is who? Every time people meet, this is the question they're going to have to ask and find out.
  • HAM radio operators will come in to play somewhere along the way. There has to be some sort of communication at distance.


This is my 2 cents. Or maybe it's 8 cents.

Either way, I'll wait to see what you want to do before I march in any particular direction.


Just to note your contribution. Some very interesting thoughts.

I was not imagining there would anything in the Fog, but your little Drone set piece gives food for thought...
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Mr. Blonde
Posted: August 23rd, 2019, 3:03pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
@JeStaats, Heretic and Mr. Blonde


Could you expand on the World War Z thing?

Are you meaning the characters are relating a past event to someone like in World War Z?

Or do you mean it's like a series of thought processes from different characters in the present?

Or something else?


The idea of multiple storylines over a period of time. For example, the book had stories ranging over 10 years from about 60 perspectives. From came from right after the event, some were years later, but all were related.


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Nomad
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films

I was not imagining there would anything in the Fog...


I wasn't imagining that there wouldn't be anything in the fog, but I guess there doesn't have to be.  

In fact if there isn't anything in the fog, and it's just fog, then that's where some hysteria could set in and people see things in the fog that aren't there. It'll drive some people mad that there's a lot of fog for no reason.

I hear people screaming at the fog now.


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