Category Archives: Ideation&Development

Walter Mighty Storyboard

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Preferred synopsis

Reignman
Synopsis: Alfred lives in a noisy traffic-filled world of those who phone-chat loudly on public transport and in cafes and who communicate by emojis. He brings about change to arrive in a world where he has some control, where he reigns, even if only for a little while.
Theme: Coming home to yourself
Resources: Self-generated
Context: Stand-alone short
Audience: The metaphor-minded

Alas, poor Zombie

Feedback:

…the 2 zombies talking. Just a suggestion, the zombie idea you had seem to be a little anti climax, as 15 secs of “normal” conversation took place after 15 secs of zombie action

…In this case, try to time yourself with a stop watch as you say the dialogue between the 2 zombies. Don’t just run it through your head, time and record your voice, and watch your pauses. You need to do it anyway for your animatic. My guess is, it will over shoot the 30 secs mark. Also, i’m not sure how you can pull it off, but wouldn’t the zombies’ head be missing after being shot? So how do they continue talking? Finally, in your synopsis, you wrote 2 wise cracking zombie, so how do you plan to convey the horror and tension, and later replace it with wise crack?

My Response:

I agree on the anticlimactic second zombie scene. Combining the two scenes into one could possibly solve that. Have the two characters on set and mix their dialogue in with them waiting for the action call. This would give the scene tension and end with the execution as the climax illustrating what they have just been talking about.

…I used a stopwatch as I wrote and am confident of my timing. There are no pauses in the zombie dialogue as they are about to carry out a stunt, their adrenaline is up and so, therefore is the pace of their delivery. The scenario ends with the exploding heads but, as they are zombies complaining about being typecast in every film, their heads are only blown off as a stunt, not in reality.  I agree that it’s possible to communicate without dialogue: of the three scenarios, the first has no words, the second has six (which I may cut) and the third has some dialogue which is central to the theme. I think wisecracking can make an important contribution to film tension as it heightens the contrast between what is said and what is happening; film noir is peppered with wisecracks.

Zombie Storyboard – Final

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Script
The set is an impressive interior of  a cathedral or a gloomy abandoned richly-textured factory. A cry of ‘Take fifty one. Action’ is heard. Two Zombies, Zed and Zedd, stagger towards the camera, are shot, and their heads explode. A cry of ‘Cut, print that’ is heard.
(15 seconds)
Cut to Zed and Zedd in dressing room getting changed into business suits. No zombie makeup is removed.
The clothes they are wearing change by themselves with no help from the zombies as they talk.
Zedd: Sixty seconds screen time, thirty zombie heads explode.
Zed: Remember when films had brains rather than blew them up?
Zedd: I’m off for a liver burger at the morgue with the missus and kids.
Zed: I’m up for the role of Yorick.
Zedd: Now there’s a script! Best of luck
Zed: Thanks
They exit
(15 seconds)

Background and theme
I had watched a lot of zombie sequences in setting up a zombie walk-cycle for a flash animation unit and quickly got sick of seeing yet another zombie head explode.The central theme is based on two concepts: the comic actor who needs to be taken seriously by wanting to play the role of Hamlet; and the idea of putting yourself in the position of the extra or bit-player as Tom Stoppard did in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (play and film).
Resources
Material: Photo I take inside cathedral or abandoned building; green screen setup; set consisting of a background of a portable clothes rack with zombie clothes; two business suits; two actors; zombie makeup including two forehead bullet holes that can be stuck on with camera on pause and actors in a freeze.
Compositing
Green screen work with lighting to match pre-shot background; muzzle flash effect; exploding back of heads (particles?); color grading; other treatments to achieve ‘film look’.
Context
Stand-alone short film
Target audience
General audience and…zombies;  zombie lovers; actors who have played as extras; those who are ambitious for a better place in life; those who are interested in film.
Touchstones
Tutorials on the effects required and film sequences used as guides to zombie presentation to be included here.
Green screen: the course by Richard Harrington on Lynda.com
http://www.lynda.com/After-Effects-tutorials/Using-Ultra-Keyer/141500/144485-4.html

Synopsis: three

[I have roughly walked through the scenarios and believe I can realise each of them in the 30 seconds.]

Reignman
Alfred cannot stand the world of niceness. His life experiences have taught him never to trust people who are nice; the smiley face hides the cold ambitious heart of an assassin.
He is surrounded by saccharine niceness in a candy-coloured world that is full of people determined and insistent on telling the world they are happy; they rain their unctuousness—the sugar-coating covering their nasty nature—down on him. He finds a way to dissolve that world and creates around him a world that satisfies his every dream, a world in which he reigns supreme.
Theme: Coming home to yourself
Resources: Self-generated
Context: Stand-alone short
Audience: General

Walter Mighty
Walter sits in his pyjamas at his secondhand table in his faded bedsit. On the table is a closed older laptop and a large fruit bowl containing a single banana and a solitary apple. In the background, his secondhand television mocks him with the sound of rich people effusively enjoying themselves. He absentmindedly picks up the banana and begins to peel it as it turns into a Walther PPK pistol, his clothes transform into a smart tuxedo and the room into a luxurious apartment. Two screaming masked ninja assassins appear. He shoots one and throws the apple which is now a poisonous smoke grenade at the other, who quickly expires. A doorbell rings. He calls out, “I’ll be right there, Areola Scarlet”. The room and his clothes return to reality as he rises and exits.
Theme: The pleasure of imagination
Resources: Self-generated except luxury apartment image. Pistol to be a toy.
Context: Stand-alone short
Audience: General

Alas, poor Zombie.
Zed and Zedd are two wise-cracking zombies working in the film industry who are disillusioned by the stereotypical casting they face at work. They are never cast as doctors or as merchant bankers but always as nasty flesh-eating individuals staggering towards the camera before being bloodily executed. Zed wants to spend more time with his family with outings such as family birthdays eating liver burgers at the local morgue. Zedd has hopes of becoming legit by playingYorick in a stage production of Hamlet. We see the contrast between their dreams and their everyday worklife as they take part in another bloody day on set.
Theme: Aspirations to a better life
Resources: Self-generated
Context: Stand-alone short
Audience: General

Story ideas

Walter Mitty

Man sitting at table. Picks up banana it becomes a small handgun, he becomes a private dick, the BG is noir, we hear the dialogue. Return, He picks up an apple it becomes a hand grenade – he is a GI in the second world war in Italy with an Italian beauty hanging off his arm as he defends her and the country. He picks up his bottle of coke, it’s a Molotov cocktail and the Russian Revolution is happening. And so on.
Could be done in 30 seconds of fast shifts.  Same idea repeated so possible concern with narrative arc. Would need extra time to establish his mundane life which imagination allows him to escape.
Green screen for BG. Replacement of clothes and props in real time.

Genie

Man laid up with heavy cold, much sniffing snuffling and sneezes, many snotty handkerchiefs. Much complaining.  Sleep begins. He wakes, looks over at vaporiser in room. Mist alters to genie. He makes wishes. He gets wishes. Wishes turn bad. He wakes up realising not to complain about his present situation. Learns acceptance.
Too long for 30 seconds except if exposition setup fast with montage of quick establishing shots.

One moment at least

Man in his sixties with glass of red wine in hand dancing to modern music in his living room. In the background TV is on, but no sound, showing a male MP being interviewed. The dancer has had a few wines. A woman appears and dances with him as the world transforms just for a moment or two. She disappears. He sits down. He says to camera: ‘A moment like that is worth a lifetime of listening to the bullshit of politicians’.
Possible in time frame.

I have lost nothing in losing

Start on bottle of red. Move to glass. Hand takes glass out of frame. Quick montage of this repeated. Music gets him to his feet. He grabs scarf off hanger to dance with and scarf turns into A woman dressed in flowing dress of red and yellow. He asks her to stay with him forever. She says ‘In grasping the butterfly, you have killed the butterfly’ She disappears. He sits down, pours another wine and says, ‘Oh well, good while it lasted.’

Where do I end and my stories begin?

Man working at Imac. He’s into writing a great story while  music is playing through his loudspeakers. His fingers drift off the keyboards onto the pine desk top as he plays the music on the pine desk ‘keyboard’ and his world enters a montage of past music of past loves and losses. He returns to his typing and we see that what he has typed has arisen out of what he has just experienced. His life and his writing are absolutely interlinked.

The Great Australian Novel

Man writing at table. He screws up page and tosses it aside. We see many screwed up pieces of paper. He is not having success. The screwed up pieces come to life and become faces with mouths that speak of a fantastic tale which unfolds behind them and then return to their screwed up existence as he sweeps them off the table into the bin. In his search for the perfect story he has missed the stories he has.

The gondolier

Very gloomy man is transformed into an aria-singing gondolier with active help of spaghetti and red wine.SBoard1-GondolierGreen screen to change BG from threatening monster shapes of depression to an image of a sparkling Venetian canal. VFX to move food and wine to mouth and raise him in the air.

Alas, poor Zombie

Two people who look like zombies sitting in a dressing room.
Zed: What’ve we got?
Zedd (holding open film script): It’s dead funny. Sixty seconds screen time, thirty zombies shot in foreheads and their heads explode.
Zed: The kids’ll be screaming.
They rise to leave.
Zedd: You look dead gorgeous.
Zed: Drop dead.
They exit.
Cut to Zed and Zedd being shot and their heads explode. Background cries of ‘Action’ before and ‘Cut, excellent etc’ after.
Cut to Zed and Zedd in dressing room getting changed into business suits. No zombie makeup has been removed.

Zed: Remember when films had brains rather than blew them up?
Zedd: Well, I’m off for a live liver burger with the missus and kids.
Zed: I’ve got an audition for the part of Yorick.
Zedd: Now there’s a script!
Zed: You’re dead right.
Zedd: Fantastic, drop a leg!
They exit

 Janus the Iphone

Iphone audio signals a message. Boy picks it up. It reads “You think you’re so smart. FU”. The Iphone morphs into monstrous hands trying to strangle the boy. While the Iphone is strangling boy, it audio signals another message. It reads “Congrats on yr top marks in exam” with 3 clapping emojis. The Iphone morphs into hands applauding him.

Magic surfboard

Boy sitting on mat on floor watching television of surfing championship with huge waves. Floor starts to heave and changes into waves on ocean. Back wall becomes a large wave and the boy surfs the wave on his mat to the sound of Bombora  by the Atlantics.