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Explorative Trial Shoot: Sat 4/1/17
FILM-5 - Getting issue details... STATUS

Monitor stills from 4/1/17 weekend shoot

Daily stills from 4/1/17 weekend shoot

I prefer the exposure and viewer direction the darker window provides...

This is with an adjustment layer to bright her eyes (will need SRC4 375W eye light for CU)...

History does not repeat, but it does instruct.

Timothy Snyder, "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century"


This is a continuously updated living document

Content here will change during Development & Pre-Production

See Thoughts on final film title


Story Concept (High Concept): 
A hoarder struggles for freedom under a rising dictatorship 

Story Premise (Log Line):
A hoarder living under the grasp of a new fascist regime, receives an intervention from his estranged daughter, and battles inner afflictions as he struggles for freedom, then makes the ultimate choice.
In a world, where no one can be trusted, a hoarder lives under the rise of a fascist regime. After a confrontation with an unexpected visitor, he battles inner demons as he struggles for freedom, and makes the ultimate choice!
(yeah yeah, i know, the "in a world" bit - its a placeholder for now)

See Story Concept vs Story Premise

Inspirational writing:
See Jackal (Sentenced)


PROBLEM: Passive Protagonist
...working on it, Harold is now active. 

Observational Truth

An active protagonist creates Save the Cat moments by virtue of their character driven actions; however, a Save the Cat moment in itself does not create an active protagonist

Final draft for Intervention (INTV)

The below is the basis for a complete re-write of "Intervention"

Moving forward this re-envisioned story is named "Jackal"

Central ideas

  1. Lower cost and time commitment

    1. see: Visual Style & Production Aesthetics

  2. As before our story starts w/ a past-middle-age hoarder living alone in squalor

    1. EXCEPT he does leave his condo, but usually only to visit the corner store

      1. But NEVER at night

      2. Remains w/in a 2 block radius


  3. TV becomes a form of Greek theater and a narrator

    1. Later at the end the narrator is revealed in a twist to be a form of Harold's super-ego or self aware subconscious

        1. the TV fails to work twice, but did it really? or was it a sign of internal Id conflict

    2. The TV is also heard in other locations

  4. Government quickly shifting into a dictatorship is stirring up disorder and chaos, instead of demons

    1. Imagine a US government allowed to continue on the path it started under Trump for 4 more years

      1. no specific references to Trump or social media

        1. prevents on-the-nose treatment and allows for being both topical AND timeless

    2. The US is engaged in WAR

      1. Thus the president is granted great extended powers

        1. Caesar/Rome or Palpatine/StarWars

    3. Passage of "Misdemeanor Treason" federal charge allows imprisonment of unfavorable-to-fed news reporting, media, and political protesters

      1. Harold at the end is arrested on the charge

        1. Due to federal budget focused on military power Harold is sentenced to House Arrest

          1. We end on a similar shot as we started

    4. National border security is now two ways

      1. all US passports are rescinded in executive order

        1. US citizen's outside the nation's border who refused to return in 90 days are deemed ex-patriots

        2. Citizen's attempting to flee the US are instantly classified as ex-patriots

          1. ex-patriots are considered a threat

            1. shot on sight

  5. Heroes save cats

    See Observational Truth  
    1. Up for the viewer to decide if Harold is the protagonist

      1. For our purposes he IS our main protagonist

        1. His daughter could be a 2nd protagonist
          1. Her name could be Jacalyn or Jacqueline
            1. the french root means supplantor
              1. an evolution of the Latin word supplantare
                1. means to "to trip up or to overthrow"
            2. Harold calls her Jackal
              1. because she has always been a stong willed hero
                1. many fear heroes and protagonists
                  1. because they represent change
                    1. change brings the death of something
      2. For the viewer he could me an antagonist

        1. Daughter could be seen as Protagonist by viewer

  6. Daughter arrives to encourage Harold to "Live Again" and flee the US - her intervention for him

    1. She eventually does attempt to leave the US later in the story

      1. canada/mexico or perhaps overseas

      2. Her death may lead to "night of the dark soul"

    2. Though their relationship was previously estranged, she still has a legal conservatorship over Harold

      1. Harold is clinically depressed and ruled unable to care for himself

      2. Perhaps due to federal budgeting his disability/retirement payments are being decreased

        1. She is planing to flee the US and wants him to go with her or make other arrangements

          1. His daughter is murdered as ex-patriot when attempting to leave the US

            1. his new conservator is a soldier that simply arrives and delivers food on a metal plate and a roll of toilet paper twice a day

              1. his home become a jail cell

              2. his retirement pay stays w/ uncle Sam and he forfeits all ownership 

              3. his condo is seized by the Fed and Harold is forced to forfeit all ownership

                1. once his sentence is served, if he is still alive, he'll be required to pay the fed rent to stay in his home

      3. She doesn't knock on his door, he comes home and finds her there

        1. She has a key, because she is his conservator

          1. has never arrived before w/out giving Harold advance notice

          2. Harold finds her inside packing a suitcase she intends Harold to use
            1. he doesn't want to leave
        2. Harold returning home sees his front door open 

          1. has a similar effect as the man breaking through the wall in older drafts

            1. The barriers from the world he believed kept him safe are quickly falling away

      4. When she does leave it is at night, he steps outside attempting to pursue 

          1. first time years he's gone outside at night in years 

          2. But then caves in to fear, retreats back inside condo
          3. Later leaves condo during the day to speak out and fight back
            1. his intervention attempt for the world and former community culture

  7. Escalating hate crimes and racial tensions are the norm now

    1. Lust for power, minorities report members of their same race as terrorist or suspected illegals

      1. Think during the holocaust how some jews turned in other jews for power and favors

  8. All super-scifi removed

    1. super-psychological in some respects

      1. In the ending we hear the voice we believed was the TV, now seen spoken by Harold in the last seconds

        1. Breaks the fourth wall

        2. Raises the point we are all reporters of what we see

          1. weather we believe we don't care or turn a blind eye

            1. every is effected by there environment

            2. not taking action is an action

              1. take action before it is too late

        3. Chilling and spine tingling end

        4. Achieves part of the "Hook"

    2. Gunshots and violence is often not directly shown

      1. when his minority neighbor is murdered we show him waking up in the middle of the night as if frightened by a nightmare

        1. in reality, very quick loud sounds that wake people up are not remembered

        2. he only finds out about the murder by seeing the neighbors door open

          1. front door girl knocks to ask if the police spoke to him

            1. says she saw the suspects, put the police detective just said the case was closed

              1. executive order not to investigate crimes against those who might appear to be immigrants

                1. which is to say, anyone who is a minority


  9. Transform into human perspective piece

    1. The thematic question, "Is it better to be Free or be Safe" is better served from the perspective of Harold

      1. The answer, w/out freedom no one is safe, is best delivered w/ a somber tone

    2. Human perspective pieces are often considered for Best Picture Oscars and similar recognition

      1. Provides a unique perspective by a voice that knows what it is

        1. An exploration of personal struggle between self want and internalized cultural expectation

          1. often during a shift in larger cultural views
          2. expressed as a dark but compassionate drama
            1. evokes compassion in the audience for the character(s)
              1. fosters care for their situation and a desire to somehow help
        2. Flip-side to documentary approach

          1. Docs point to glimpses of a proclaimed reality as narrative symbols to drive cathartic reactions and force ideas

          2. Perspective pieces uses fictional narrative as parallels to human empathy and allow the viewer to make their own decisions

        3. Must not glorify violence or an amoral character
          1. very few exceptions based on genre

      2. What makes a Best Picture Feature?

        1. Third Party views
          1. Dara on Art, America, and Best Picture: 
          1. Rules and requirements to qualify
          2. Theory on Academy Award selection process
        3. How does Best Picture relate to "Best Live action Short Film" Academy Awards
          1. Both awards gravitate toward human perspective pieces
              1. See Stutterer (2015)


Visual Style & Production Aesthetics

  1. Plan for Black & White

    1. B&W says take me seriously art piece AND offers a different lens for provocating new thoughts

    2. Employ full-spectrum OLPF to facilitate unique dream/nightmare/other-worldly looks

      1. Increases exposure range (reduction in light setup power, coast, and heat)

      2. See:

        UV spectrum enhanced, below normal vision (below)

        Contrasty normal vision VS IR only via 720nm filter (below)
    3. Hard Gritty Neo-Noire High Contrast verses Soft High key Low Contrast looks

    4. color cast balancing and first light color correction no-longer needed

      1. Big time saver for both Principal & Post


  2. TV is a character and included in several location shots

    1. corner store has a TV 

    2. front desk has a tv

    3. he has a TV in his home


  3. Most shots Over-the-shoulder AND Sticks

    1. Use ladders, Apple boxes, and crouching

  4. Spherical lenses

    1. mostly 35mm, w/ some 28mm and 50mm, 

      1. Anamorphic uses too much principal production time

        1. Double focus controls end up takes up more then three times the time

          1. makes rack focus changes impossible or sub-optimal
        2. AND i currently don't see a narrative need for anamorphic for this

    2. Manual focus pulling on non-geared stills glass

      1. it works and I can do it

      2. reduces weight of shoulder rig and less gear to transport

    3. Select portrait shots in 85mm, perhaps 100mm and or 135mm

      1. Compression from longer glass enhances percieved beauty:
      2. See video demonstration:

    4. an outdoor vista shot or two w/ 18mm for small subject in big frame

  5. Diffusion and Low Cons filters

    1. low strength Black Pro-Mist and Low Contrast filters

  6. Haze,  Physical diffusion, and Cookies

    1. rent haze machine from DTC $100/wkend

    2. Use of silks and nets as desired

    3. cookies to shape lights

  7. Squib Use

    1. soapbox POV charge scene near ending

      1. watcher is shot and we see the blood explosion as the camera rushes at Harold

      2. may use a different color, such as bright green dye, for chroma use in Post

  8. Consider RED Motion Mount global shutter for motion heavy shots


    2. New/Used buy for $4K/2K

    3. $175 for 3-day-wkend rental 



  9. Most shots must not be at normal eye level

    1. Fosters different perspective thought, except for key moments 

Edit Direction & Post Techniques

  1. Super-smooth seamless cuts juxtaposition to hard jump cuts

    1. similar to memento

    2. create a visual narrative by contrast in scenes cuts

      1. soft shimmering flower bed, cut to hate crime (for example)

      2. mimics the role of dialogue

        1. boxers taking jabs at each other

  2. Green screen paint conservatively applied to key visual elements

    1. to isolate select details that can be keyed and colored in post

    2. graffiti on a door ends up showing up as red in the B&W

    3. sparse use of color is intentional, adds focus, and aids the narrative
      1. see use of red color for blood in MD teaser:

Thoughts on final film title

 "Intervention" was a working-title and the final film title is "Jackal"

It evokes a sense of a timeless struggle for survival that we see in nature, such as in deserts in Africa, and the sense of surviving when you're under assault from an unforgiving environment

Jackals and coyotes (sometimes called the "American jackal") are opportunistic omnivores, predators of small- to medium-sized animals and proficient scavengers.

Hoarders are like scavengers taken to the extreme.

Scene Ideas

  1. When Jackal goes to leave and gives her final goodbye, Harold recognizes her in the present for the first time
    1. creates a heart-to-heart moment
      1. leads up to heartache after her death
        1. next day he gets a call
          1. when he puts the phone down the TV narrator reports on her death
            1. leads to the dark night of the soul
  2. People riding 10-speed bikes in high gear on flat street in background/foreground
    1. symbolic of increased difficulty for everyday people living in a fascist society
      1. adds charm while juxtaposition to the "twilight-zone" horror 

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1 Comment

  1. This is my comment: Dark, dystopian, frightening.

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