The Change-Up

The Change-Up

David Steinhoff T

This post proposes the biggest change in direction in the history of the Journey project. It can empower the global team and get the project into production in 2015. Some of you won’t like it.

Development so far

Four months after publishing the first of the series bible posts, we’re still answering questions on the basics of the Journey story.

Content, collaboration and production

It maybe too difficult to explore this kind of story employing on-line collaborative development. So, we propose a radical solution to retain the community and commence production in 2015.

Radical

What if we ditch the bigger story?

The simplest story to pitch and shoot is the arrival of the possessed.

What if we simplified the story to…the meteor storm is the inciting incident and the threat is the arrival of a life-form from outer-space that possesses humanity.

Employ the same genre formula as Day of the Triffids, 28 Day later or Walking dead.

Focus on the survivors’ story.

Our survivors may emerge from caving expeditions, mines, wake up in oxygen tents etc.

The survivor model can be applied to our teams all over the world and be created under the one franchise.

A guide to the sub-genre of Walking dead

Frank Darabont’s Walking Dead is based on Danny Boyle’s 28 Days later and 28 Days later is based on Day of the Triffids.

Here’s how this kind of story works.

Typically, a survivor wakes up from coma, walks outside and discovers the city is empty.

This provides a ‘keys to the city’ experience. That’s an empowering experience for an audience however this is followed by a first encounter with the threat.

The threat cannot be reasoned with and is always scary-dangerous. The threat provides an opportunity to, ’kill without remorse’ and that is also a very empowering experience for an audience.

The survivor then meets other survivors and there is hope however the survivor ends up having to fight other survivors to survive.

The lesson? No matter how scary the threat is, humanity is a lot scarier.

USP

The unique selling point is the threat.

All life on earth originated in outer-space.

This life-form travels dormant in a long tail meteor storm.

Its spores germinate when they hit the atmosphere, (just like a gumtree dropping seeds after a bushfire).

It targets the dominant predator on a planet. That’s us.

The red mist drugs humans. The life-forms take over.

They are pack-predators and they predate on anything.

They start using the very basic capacity of the brain stem but evolve. They observe and get smarter and become more dangerous. The smartest and the most dangerous survive and organize.

They never become human in a way we would recognise. There is no compassion. True to the Alien formula they kill to live and live to kill.

Implications

We create a new title and artwork.

The synopsis is straight forward.

The sub-genre has clear expectations.

The focus is on the survivor story in a post apocalyptic world.

We have a great threat.

We lose historical characters that return from the abyss. This is now an alien life-form. There is no parallel universe. No fantasy. No prophecy. Just survivors and a post apocalyptic world.

We’ll lose some supporters.

Equity from Leaderboard remains.

We will still create a new presentation site for the content as per the Van Wilt Report.

We honour the original author, Carol Baauw’s equity position as her support has been the foundation for the project.

The existing development site will start to feature new content as soon as we can create it.

Trailer

The beautiful thing about the new approach is that the trailer concept remains much the same.

There’s a meteor storm that covers the planet.

People expect a fireworks display.

They are seduced by the red mist.

Things go bad just like in ‘Vera and Samantha’ and people start bouncing off windowpanes.

The follow-on survivor story

We then cut to the survivor or survivors coming out of underwater cave, mine or waking up in an oxygen tent. 

They look across to a nearby city and see a red swarm surrounding it.

Cut.

Track through a desolate and deserted city.

When they meet humans they are possessed and hunt like pack predators.

When they meet humans that are not possessed, they may be even more dangerous.

Where can the story go?

Wherever it goes, we keep it simple.

It’s post apocalyptic.

We focus on the survivors’ story.

The only rules are the genre rules and how we define the possessor life-form from the meteor storm.

Shoot in 2015

Rather than spending 2015 developing, we can be shooting.

Each franchise, be it in Moscow or Brazil can be creating their own survivor stories in their own language.

We have the teams and talent to make that happen.

Comment

This is a big call. We seek your feedback. You need to be vocal about the choice.

If you are for the decision to simplify the franchise, you need to vote or comment. 

If you are for keeping the fantasy side of the story, you need to start talking about where the money will come from to support that because it has not manifested so far and is unlikely to based on our current experience.

Regardless, comment. Advance your view. Have you say and donate whilst you’re at it.

The community

This is an amazing community with outstanding resources.

Keeping it together and realising global project and employment of the team should be our utmost priority. To that end, we encourage you to donate or sponsor and when you do you, gain equity points on the Leaderboard. You know how this works.

Why not grab a character naming rights deal?

Support the project and community and keep it alive.

If there was ever a time to act, this is it. Donate, sponsor, vote and comment. 

Have your say

Vote using your social media or log in and comment below.

Sponsor Sentient

33 Responses

  1. […] the decision to change the story from the Journey of the seeds model to ‘Sentient’, (employing the Walking Dead model), Ebuka drafted new versions of his three […]

  2. […] vote on the Change-up poll revealed a desire for a simpler […]

  3. Either way I’m in for the simplicity so as to get production going that’s what creativity offers. Though I still have a thing for the fantasy genre even though it is far-fetch in actualizing it as a result of finances. Why not? Let’s get this concept achieved. Though integration could still make it catchy and captivating. Nevertheless I’m all in!

    Thinking of survival story in Africa.

  4. I like the simplification. Let’s get a product going. and if that then generates funding because we’ve proven we have a viable concept, maybe then explore the fantasy/parallel world again. I definitely think we must present something different than the regular zombie aspect with this story though. I really like everything everyone is saying. There’s a lot of thought put into this, and each comment is really well written, meaning I can see the talent all over the world. That’s a very exciting prospect. I think this gives new life to the project overall.

  5. I like the trailer but prefer real actors

  6. Another idea occurred to me regards retaining a fantasy component. In Directors, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Motonori Sakakibara masterpiece FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN, the main character of Dr. Aki Ross has visions of the phantoms home-world, their origins.

    If we are dealing with a life-form that can possess other lifeforms, it will have memories of the lifeforms and worlds it has possessed. If one of the survivors can tap into those visions, we may be able to introduce a fantasy element, though different to the one we had planned. The story can have greater range if we choose to include it as the possessed are not zombies.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0173840/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

  7. Happy New Year to all.
    There seems to be a strong support for the simplification but some of the team want to retain the fantasy angle for legs. I guess the compromise is to feature one or more of the characters having the visions of the other world but making the outcome more vague or at least seeing how audiences took to it to determine if it will fly. Ne’er the less we could scrap the saving of Australia, the geo-political angle and keep with the survivor story.

    ‘The book of Eli’ worked a prophetic outcome in a post apocalyptic world but the prophecy revealed with a tad lame. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1037705/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_7

    That’s the problem and we certainly don’t want to go the way of LOST and end up LOST.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAMUv22y1og

  8. Profile photo of Janet Shay Janet Shay says:

    I am so excited about this new focus!! I think it is a fantastic path! It allows for the simple, yet much loved, theme of humanity and what we will do to survive! I absolutely love the concept and know that we can create a series that will appeal to a variety of cultures and backgrounds. It may resemble a “Day of the Triffids” concept but the range of survivors rising from all four corners of the world adds a delicious and exciting element! The experience for the audience will be similar to that of the Olympics: The whole world is represented and the lovely emotions of unity is in the air, BUT when the games begin, forget the other guys! You want your favourites to win!! Oooh!! I am am seeing a fun and innovative new series! Thanks for taking this bold step!

  9. Profile photo of Keith Melton Keith Melton says:

    HI ALL
    When I first saw the change up email it was just after 1.30 in the morning in Brazil and the Comment space did not seem to be open. Also it was extremely frustrating because I was just putting the finishing touches to my Henry Vlll goes to New Zealand script – which clearly does not fit the new pattern.

    I have sent it now to David and hope he will publish it because it probably says better the things I wish to say about the creative aspects of the old versus the new model.

    For me the original model was unique in a way the proposed new model is not – the new one is a twist on Predator/Alien and although it may be more likely to attract funds it feels to me that we are selling out.

    Also pertinent is that I am quite hopeful about a possible funding opportunity here in Brazil – but clearly that will have to play out as it will and it is very early stage, so it may fizzle out. My creative juices flow from the bringing back of souls from the abyss, or purgatory, since I am very familiar with Tudor stuff and Henry Vlll seemed a good plot inclusion – but that dies a death with the proposed new line, so I would have to bow out gracefully if we opt for the change.
    I look forward to comments about the script if it manages to see the light of day. David?

    Kind regards from Brazil
    Hope we all have an interesting 2015 in prospect
    Cheers
    Keith

    • Hi Keith,

      PUBLISHING
      We will be publishing the latest version along with work from Ebuka and Alex Soliven. So, yes, your work does go up and you get the points fee for it. We really appreciate your creativity and effort and I am a big fan of your work.

      RETURN FROM THE ABYSS
      Well it is a strong story angle and very interesting. I have been pitching pitching pitching pitching until my throat is hoarse and my ears and eyes are bleeding and there is no pick-up.

      APPEAL TO THE BASIC INSTINCTS
      You’re a former military professional. I once had an Army Captain say to me, “The measure of a man is what would he do if he knew he could not be caught?”

      The reason why projects like FARGO or NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN are so successful is that they pose the question, if you had the opportunity, would you do it? We as an audience like to voyeur that fantasy.

      WALKING DEAD gives you licence. You can whack people with a baseball bat and wander through the city and take what you want.

      License enables whole nations to go to war and commit atrocity. It allows the CIA to torture. Giving license to characters, perhaps powerless characters is a voyeur experience an audience wants to take.

      It’s a sad situation but there is no appealing to higher values here. I’m dealing with people that blow $250K at Vegas each year but won’t donate $25 because it’s not their model so we just need to wise up and pander to it or we will never see production.

      PUBLISHING COST
      It takes me a day to three days to publish. Now, you can see how the cost of that is enormous but I have done it and I will do it because I believe in the team but there is nothing in the kitty to pay for hosting, phone or critical bills to keep the site alive. So, our challenge is to raise money and I have to be fast on the ground to do it with a formula that will keep the community and site alive because all the noble writing values in the world will not pay the cost of operation and if the site goes down all I will receive is abuse. So, we will publish but so far the overwhelming desire expressed is to go to the simpler model.

      COMMENT SPACE
      I will look into this. Can you advise if you were using a mobile or desktop device and which operating system you employ for example WINDOWS or APPLE or ANDROID? Also which browser do you employ?

  10. I think is a great change! on the story and on the production strategy! Would love to do the survival version on UK! =)

  11. I agree with alex I think we can do both, make it easier to jump in on and sell to others, but keep the big picture in the background. It would distinguish it from all these other Zombie type survival stories out there. I think the fantasy aspect is what puts us apart.

    Of course i will support seeds which ever way it goes.

  12. I’m starting to feel like the annoying one who’s always bringing up problems but anyway… The meaning of the story appeared to me to be contained in the fantasy side so in throwing that out, what then is the meaning of the story? Survival has been mentioned but i dont think that can sustain a series length narrative. I’ve made a film that was deliberately one dimensionally about the traumas of survival but it was under 90 mins in length.

    i think the problem with the fantasy side was not the ideas about humanity but the setting and characters lacking consistency. If we’ve got space demons thats got to bring ideas with it about what the demons are up to. I guess my question at this point might be can the original story ideas play out on a devastated earth or are we really telling a whole new story about… what?

    • We’re telling a new story using the same inciting incident. It effects the whole planet. New characters.

      Your argument would be my argument. It is completely logical but I can’t sell it.

      The legs of the original story work far better but we’re really struggling.

      Walking dead has a walking storyline. They may think they have a series bible but as Frank Darabont would tell you, they’re making it up as they go based on what works.

      The only thing that appears to work is the KEYS TO THE CITY and KILLING WITHOUT REMORSE.

      We’ve spent a few years now and I’ve pitched to a lot of people but I just cannot dumb it down enough. Not only that, consider the last post, we received virtually no pick-up. The most pick-up we’ve received was when we suggested we dumb the fantasy, dumb down the story and proceed from there.

      I am more than frustrated, I am despondent that this is the course of action we have to consider taking but my gut is telling me regardless of the problems with the legs of the story, funding is more likely to flow to the new model.

      Maria Durso listed a whole bunch of requirements for the new story but the important thing is money, cast and shooting. That is the only thing that will garner any cred regardless of the minimalist story.

      The last thing I will be doing is delivering 4 months worth of story bible posts again. From here on in, we go organic. Let the inciting incident and the collection of the cast create their own problems.

      OH re the VOTES. I was trying to thumb the UP THUMP and I got the DOWN THUMB. So I corrected with an UP THUMB. It was an accident. Your comments are always most welcome.

      • I wanted to moderate my comment actually. Individuals need a more complex goal than just surviving but a society trying to survive – thats complex. By complex i mean rich with potential, not complicated. Really i just have unanswered questions rather than doubts, mainly who/what are the space demons and what do they want?

  13. would like to share a link to “A Note On Soulless Zombies”: https://geopolicraticus.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/a-note-on-soulless-zombies/; that, goes into some interesting notions on this subject. how the extra-terrestrial predators differentiate themselves from the true “seeds of humanity” could become an interesting sub-plot. what interests me about this article is this idea, that:

    “The soul is nothing but the image of society introjected into the individual and appropriated as his or her essential identity. When a person has been successfully integrated into the religious life of a social group, they then take that image of the group and of all the virtues and goals, the mission of the group, the ideals that it adheres to, and brings it on board as part of their own being.”

    “a perfect zombie would presumably be able to successfully integrate into the religious life of a group; and so, would be able to appropriate the group identity as its own.”

    “this sharpens the dilemma a bit, as it’s possible to imagine a soulless zombie undergoing initiation rites in the informal group spirit and mimicking those aspects of behaviour associated with the social manifestation of the concept of the soul. yet, that soulless, or perfect zombie, would be without any feeling of what it’s like, to be a member of that community and to feel the fellowship of the shared ritual of a liturgy that affirms the soul.”

  14. I like the idea of simplifying it. One possibility that bears entertaining: since we have crews all over the world with their own stories to tell, perhaps a True Detective kind of deal could be created. Each season has its own unique setting, story and characters.

    I’d watch that.

  15. Regards Carol and the site
    I’ve been fielding some calls.

    Even IF we go with the proposed new formula, no, we’re not going to close the site down even with the new franchise.

    We would most likely gift it to Carol and continue to help her manage it so her die-hards who follow the fantasy story can continue to do so.

    We’ll be taking care of Carol and the Journey brand.

  16. Profile photo of Maria D'Urso Maria D'Urso says:

    HI David, this has strong potential. Love the simplicity because as the project progresses, it can always acquire layers. Is ‘survival’ the only theme or does each team add/ develop their own? Sci fi and ‘survival’ – sure. What’s going to make this series a total and irresistible stand out and win the attention of funding bodies? A lot more thought still needs to go into planning and cohesion. Audiences and investors are sophisticated and discerning. They’ll only get interested if the themes, story lines, characters appeal. Would love to see think tanks on all continents on full revs!! Story lines from different continents could even intersect at times. Ideas refined, distilled and polished into worthwhile stories that touch hearts and get hearts pounding – need planning. This wouldn’t take long to put into place if intensive effort is devoted to the project. This can be done .All best.

    • Thanks Maria. Re themes, each team will have their own themes, relevant to their culture and location. Certainly, that will be a great opportunity. Survival is a great place to start.

    • Hello everyone;

      yes, am all for simplifying the story, to focus on the survival of the true seeds of humanity. rather than the notion of one location per season, I relate more to the idea of a non-linear, intersecting narrative, from different cultures all over the world. for those following the global currency wars, this “post-pockylips” tale is operating twenty minutes into the future; so, will be very real in an allegorical way to most people. though “zombies” may be an over-saturated concept these days, the indigenous notion of humanity, based on the psychic connection with nature and one’s tribe, is something profound; as it would be very tenuous during cataclysmic events. as, the cyclical nature of such cataclysms is backed up, by both universal myths and geological evidence, this story has great resonance; so, keeping it simple makes sense, rather than trying to oversell it with unnecessarily dense plot lines.

  17. I think this is a good way to go but we can get the best of both worlds. It does make a lot of things easier for everyone so we could start production sooner. We could still keep some of the bigger picture but it’ll only be hinted in the background every time. We could eventually get a clearer picture but only if we get far enough and the fans start asking questions and answering it themselves. We could then shape the direction in the long run. Up to the majority of the key players really. I’ll follow whichever direction seems best for the majority. Different perspectives and places in development with a central hub to drive the direction puts us in a good position to focus on which ideas work and sell. Crossovers are going to be epic.

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