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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    The August Challenge  ›  August/September 2WC Chronology Thread Moderators: Scar Tissue Films
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  Author    August/September 2WC Chronology Thread  (currently 1547 views)
ReneC
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 2:18pm Report to Moderator
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Coming into this cold, here are my thoughts.

I don't want to undermine the great work that's been done here so far. I just think it's too ambitious. The scale of events is great for backstory and to draw from, but not everything should be included. It also needs a clear antagonist other than the fog but related to it or a result of it.

The pace is a problem. It's breakneck. So much happening on a macro level so quickly it doesn't leave much room for character and individual stories. It should start off slower and escalate.

Each episode should be centered around a theme or problem and a season story arcing through them. Act one is introducing the fog and how it affects everyone. Act two is the attempts to resolve the problem, the effects of the prolonged fog, the rise of new problems as a result, and culminates with the breakdown of society. Act three climaxes with the inevitable clashes that culminate in the new world, a world of fog with some people adapting and others surviving by any means necessary.

For the episodes themselves, this is what I came up with from what is already here, from character perspectives:

Episode 1: The fog appears. Initial reactions from people affected, government, scientists, and first responders. Physical and psychological effects.

Episode 2: Worsening of effects, demands for answers, and larger problems caused by prolonged fog. Some people mostly unaffected by the fog, others already in crisis.

Episode 3: The first real attempt to clear the fog fails. Reactions from scientists and government, reactions from people affected. Religious clamorings rise and criminal elements become a larger problem.

Episode 4: Food crisis revealed, leading to another attempt to clear the fog with catastrophic results. Panic sets in, leading to riots and hoarding.

Episode 5: Leaders and military try to quell the violence as a cult leader emerges to encourage it. The violence gets worse. People flee from urban centers but many are ill prepared for the fog-enshrouded rural environs and the people defending their land.

Episode 6: The cult gains followers. They sabotage another effort to end the fog and disrupt hydroponic food growth. Power cuts out. Communication lines fail. People going insane. Religious groups slaughtered. People travel in groups for safety but travel extremely difficult in the fog.

Episode 7: Government and scientists forced into hiding. Max security prisons abandoned. Commerce stops. People settle into surviving. Violence ebbs as freezing fog sets in. The cult leader frees max security prisoners.

Episode 8: Patients abandoned in hospitals but some doctors stay with them. Cult kidnaps some. One doctor finds a new community formed in the country. Military breaks down, some bases secured, others fall into cult hands.

Episode 9: All society has fallen. Individuals run, hide, defend. New communities band together to survive and defend. Cult army moves through the fog conscripting or slaughtering everyone they come across. The doctor's community is joined by a military commander with weapons.

Episode 10: The cult army discovers the doctor's community. The army has the firepower, the community has adapted to defending themselves in the fog. Good vs. evil. David vs. Goliath. The inevitable clash nearly destroys both sides. The cult limps away leaving the decimated community to rebuild.

That's the overall story I came up with based on all the events when picturing individual characters in the episodes. The organic process and the need for some antagonist force caused the rest of the changes. Maybe some of it is useful.


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PKCardinal
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 3:20pm Report to Moderator
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Expanding on the radio idea... those interactions can be the handoff. DJ/Newsman gives an update (beginning of each episode). Takes callers or interviews an expert.

If an expert... asks a few questions, we drop some new exposition, then the interview slides/melts into their storyline. Follow him/her for a bit.

Back to the station, take a caller... normal person dealing with the fog, few questions, end of call, stay with the caller and learn more of their story.

The station acts as a central clearing point for every angle of the story.


Other thoughts... we definitely need to have "normal" people that we follow. Makes it easier for more people to identify with the story. Experts and soldiers, etc are cool and necessary... but, the main focus should be on the everyday citizen. (Another vote for the smaller story.)

For some reason, bats keep coming into my brain. I guess because in this world, we'd all be blind as a bat. Their navigation wouldn't change at all, unlike our's.  Just tossing it out there. Not expecting anything to come of it.

I think it'd be a good idea to establish a hard timeline. Episode one... how many days into this thing? Day one?

Episode two: X days later. Etc., Etc.

And, even getting day specific might be helpful. If episode one is Sept. 15, for example... we know when the weather changes. And, when the New Year hits, etc.



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Scar Tissue Films  -  August 25th, 2019, 4:58pm
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FrankM
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 3:52pm Report to Moderator
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Sounds like the bones of a decent arc. The cult leader should be someone from the focal community who disappears into the Fog one day (fairly early on) and doesn’t return. This person would be about averagely unhinged at the time of disappearance, but some of the things he/she says make a lot more sense in hindsight when the leader’s identity is learned.

Could be the radio station engineer or similar so that his/her absence would be noted, but not crippling to the community.

Remember, a prophet is never appreciated at home.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 4:43pm Report to Moderator
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@ Rene.

Welcome aboard. Some interesting thoughts.

The chronology at the start is not a plot line. It's just an attempt to create a semi realistic order of events happening in the world.

So it doesn't include much of what the people are doing regarding the events. Which is why it seems so sudden. It'll be a slow build up at first, mysterious.

According to the research we did, crops start wilting just days after being in heavy fog. So the world's supply of food dies out very rapidly, hence the rapid breakdown of society.

Within about three weeks of the fog starting most of the world's crops have gone. So it's already a battle for survival after just a month or so.

I think we'll probably start at the point the fog's been around for a few days. Before that, the only thing they would have to talk about is the weather, because they'd just be at work, not knowing what's to come. Nothing they could do would have much bearing on what's to come.

I'm thinking a local community meeting with the local Councillor in a Church hall or something... Very English. Everyone introduces themselves before they say their piece. At that point everyone is still themselves and is expecting the Government to get things back to normal. So they're angry with the Government at the disruption. News reports then inform us that the problem is worldwide and is baffling experts...but is expected to be just a temporary phenomenon.

In terms of the cult stuff, I like it but I think you're rushing it a bit. The forces of antagonism with be smaller scale at first, local problems with gangs, the mystery of the fog, disappearances from the local area, then the major problems with people leaving cities.

The cult will develop slowly as the madness kicks in. I like what Frank said about a local community guy. He can go loopy, and be the one that releases prisoners. Then they'll be the major antagonists for season 2.

Bear in mind three 30 minute episodes are the equivalent of a Trilogy of feature films, with another episode on the side... So there's a hell of a lot of time to develop the characters, but also to include a slow build, plus a lot of action.

All the chronological events listed well be interspersed with characters talking, recording their thoughts, moments of levity.

The plan was to stay discussing characters and story lines tomorrow...but we're here now!

One thing is be interested in is any ideas you have for trying to remove the fog. The only thing that seemed reasonable to me was literally trying to burn the atmosphere, which would be a last resort, which is why they only do it at the end of the season. They could try it on a smaller scale, I suppose. Try to bomb the air in a remote location.

God to have you aboard.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 4:52pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
Expanding on the radio idea... those interactions can be the handoff. DJ/Newsman gives an update (beginning of each episode). Takes callers or interviews an expert.

If an expert... asks a few questions, we drop some new exposition, then the interview slides/melts into their storyline. Follow him/her for a bit.

Back to the station, take a caller... normal person dealing with the fog, few questions, end of call, stay with the caller and learn more of their story.

The station acts as a central clearing point for every angle of the story.


Other thoughts... we definitely need to have "normal" people that we follow. Makes it easier for more people to identify with the story. Experts and soldiers, etc are cool and necessary... but, the main focus should be on the everyday citizen. (Another vote for the smaller story.)

For some reason, bats keep coming into my brain. I guess because in this world, we'd all be blind as a bat. Their navigation wouldn't change at all, unlike our's.  Just tossing it out there. Not expecting anything to come of it.

I think it'd be a good idea to establish a hard timeline. Episode one... how many days into this thing? Day one?

Episode two: X days later. Etc., Etc.

And, even getting day specific might be helpful. If episode one is Sept. 15, for example... we know when the weather changes. And, when the New Year hits, etc.


Yes, we'll have ordinary people. I imagine they will be the bulk of the story. I always imagined a small community of people. In a town such as Davyhulme.. A small suburb of Manchester between the City and the Countryside.. So in the way of people leaving the City.

The military/ Government stuff is the background to what's happening, but it's not necessarily the central thing we're showing. It could be rumours they hear, leaks, a News Report, things they witness at a distance etc. That's just what's happening around them.

The specific time line is something I'd like a lot. You can start throwing some dates out, if you want.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 5:08pm Report to Moderator
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What do people think?

Start the day the thick fog appears?

That might be the best.

Characters wake up, and bang, it's there. That gives us a bit of time to ease into the story and get to know people...
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FrankM
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 5:21pm Report to Moderator
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RADIO HOST
...and there you have the Government's
official statement. Now, if anyone out
there understands a word of what I just
read, our phone lines are open.


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ReneC
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 5:29pm Report to Moderator
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Okay, ideas for countering the fog. That gets into the rules of the fog.

How high is it? Is it the same height everywhere regardless of elevation or always the same height above ground? Is it so thick it covers even Mount Everest?

It's global, but does that mean it encompasses the earth or just settles over land?

I pictured skyscrapers being above the fog, looking down on an endless sea of fog, but while that's visually neat it might make things too easy on the people. And it's kind of cliché.

Really thick fog would cover water as much as land and would be much more difficult to deal with. The lower you are to sea level, the thicker and wetter everything would be. Electronics would be highly susceptible to it unless they are water resistant. Everything would become wet. People would be constantly dripping wet if outdoors. Mold would start to form early. Soil would become unstable. Couple that with the reduced sunlight and all manner of vegetation would suffer. All great things from a story perspective and all really difficult to deal with.

For countering the fog, the idea is to reduce moisture in the air. Fire wouldn't be very effective if everything is so wet. A catastrophic failure could come from seeding the atmosphere with something that burns readily but getting the concentration right would be a real trick and easily miscalculated, especially if the fog isn't fully understood. Too little and nothing happens, too much and boom.

It could be chemical, trying to bond hydrogen atoms out of the air. Charged particles could create water, and should work, but if the fog is being renewed too rapidly it would prove ineffective.

Electricity could try to turn the water in the air into hydrogen gas, which could also be disastrous or ineffective.

Atmospheric water generators could be used, but there's so much fog it wouldn't work unless it's on a massive scale in size or quantity. That could be a plan to pursue though.

There's nanotech solutions but none could be produced on the scale necessary to deal with even localized fog. Solutions that require sunlight are likewise impractical if the fog is so thick there isn't enough direct sunlight.

Those are some off the top of my head and with a brief bit of research.



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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 5:41pm Report to Moderator
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That's great stuff. I love the stuff about the mould. That really adds something.

The chemical bond stuff sounds like the most promising line to follow. In the kind of terms a Newsperson would use to describe it...what would they need to attempt it?


You are right about it escalating too quickly, btw.


I'm trying to do it Day by Day at the moment, to try to get it realistic. Some things in the list are too early.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 5:44pm Report to Moderator
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Height of the Fog: Open to debate.

High enough to prevent a huge number of people escaping to high ground, but low enough that you can still escape it, I reckon.

It could also change over time...start to go higher and higher.
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Zack
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 6:07pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films


Start the day the thick fog appears?

That might be the best.

Characters wake up, and bang, it's there. That gives us a bit of time to ease into the story and get to know people...


I think this is definitely the way to start this thing.


Quoted from Scar Tissue Films


It could also change over time...start to go higher and higher.


The fog slowly rising is an interesting idea. Could be a great starting point for a season 2.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 6:17pm Report to Moderator
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OK. I've made a stab at putting some specific dates in and separating it into Days.

I'd love it if people could look at it, and pick out the things that happen too early, or too late, so we can get a reasonably solid time-line.

For instance: The Government trying to build hydroponic towers looks basically impossible given the time-frame.

Also, make a note of any interlinking events you can think of, or anything else that occurs to you that would happen.

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Zack
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 6:18pm Report to Moderator
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Really like the outline you provided, Rene. It has some real potential. I agree with Frank that the Cult Leader should be someone from the local community who disappears early in the fog. Maybe a local Priest?


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ReneC
Posted: August 25th, 2019, 6:34pm Report to Moderator
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Calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, activated carbon, zeolites and silica gel are all common desiccants that could theoretically remove moisture from the air. It would take great quantities spread efficiently through the atmosphere. Think crop planes seeding the air, military jets, etc.

It might even start to work, before the fog increases.

Cooling air holds less moisture. If the fog persists even during cold periods it would be a game-changer, not normal at all.


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FrankM
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Quoted from ReneC
Calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, activated carbon, zeolites and silica gel are all common desiccants that could theoretically remove moisture from the air. It would take great quantities spread efficiently through the atmosphere. Think crop planes seeding the air, military jets, etc.

It might even start to work, before the fog increases.

Cooling air holds less moisture. If the fog persists even during cold periods it would be a game-changer, not normal at all.


It could be some aerosol like the one Libby found, and not water-based at all.

Having it build up to greater heights over time would help drive tension.

There is no particular reason this would affect spacecraft or spacecraft launches, though landing might be out of the question. Someone should have a bird's-eye view and see that it's global. They would also know if the thickness and height are basically the same everywhere or vary in some meaningful way.


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