The first in the series is titled, ‘El Presidente’.
A feared dictator returns to possess the soul of a Spanish political leader.
Christian Stamm’s original concept explores a former Spanish dictator returning to possess a contemporary Spanish political leader.
The Moscow series introduced the concept of the return of the, ‘evil archetype from history’, in that case, ‘The Inquisitor’.
We have published Christian’s original script but have important notes re the changes and path we’d like to see the work take.
The current script is long and verbose but the idea has legs.
Choice of dictator
The choice of dictator might be better served by the return of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s as they represent a universal evil that everyone can immediately recognise.
There is no doubt that former Spanish dictators represent a terrible past but the Nazi’s are a universal evil and Adolph Hitler employed a unique, ‘theatre’ that is once again, easily identifiable.
Introducing their return
The current script features a ultra-right wing conservative politician who is possessed. I’d argue there is little shift to be achieved there.
If you want to introduce Adolph in a unique way, certainly the introduction of theatre of the dictator, his mannerisms, pauses and so forth will start to reveal themselves during the possession but if you really want to go for an interesting start, have a young woman from the audience, (now also possessed), come forward and inquire in a gentle way, ‘Dolpho?’ All the Hitler character has to do is pause for a moment of true love, then respond, ‘Eva’.
We just introduced Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun in a romance.
Add members of the audience all rising to the dictator and you have the return.
The Translator’s role
Christian’s character of the translator sees there is a problem, when no other translator does. He could choose to flee with a female translator.
They could run down a corridor, reach an emergency exit and emerge to discover a crowd of the possessed outside, waiting for them in complete silence. The possessed are, ‘true believers’ drawn to the dictator, like iron filings to a magnet. The Translator may turn back to discover the female translator he raced outside with is now also one of them.
Create a short, simple, engaging scene with a unique twist on the introduction of the dictator using romance rather than ranting and introduce Christian’s survivor character, the Translator and we will transform the work into a strong and executable piece.
Team Barcelona has a phenomenal resource of talent to execute this work. Presence is very keen to back their work and to develop a long term relationship with the team.
Thanks so much to Amanda Asquith for her editing and formatting service.
Adventure is calling
This entry was posted on Friday, June 20th, 2014 at 12:04 pm
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Tags: Barcelona, Christian Stamm, David Steinhoff, Journey of the seeds, Presence Films
Posted in: Day one scripts, Help, Uncategorized, Writing
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Further to previous comment – there needs to be some clearer intimation of possessions here. This is where it all begins. People laugh, get angry etc. but possessions are far more sinister than this. What evidence is there that the press, the President, the reporters, the translators etc are suffering from something far more dangerous than strange behaviour?
Great scene with a lot of potential. The sense of urgency builds throughout, the change in people’s behaviour and the meteor shower imagery all contribute to a vivid presentation of a world increasingly spinning out of control.
EL PRESIDENTE’s dialogue is distractingly long and [perhaps purposely] incompetent. Each line of dialogue needs to add to our story information or character profile in some way in order to justify its existence – without repetitions and roundabouts. At present, convolutions and tautology cloud an otherwise lively portrait of a dictator under siege. The overall style would benefit from streamlining.
TOM presents as a decent guy, caught in the chaos. He flees because everyone else’s behaviour is increasingly abnormal. The change in behaviour in his fellow workers and the press gallery is well handled, but is it enough to make him flee?
The vapour makes people lose their inhibitions and rationale, but what’s really at stake here? What else is happening that ‘ups’ the danger level to an unbearable degree? What are the implications of the change in people’s behaviour?
What else does Tom see/ experience [either inside or outside the building] that petrifies him? If this is intended as a slow reveal over several stories, then some intimation of something far more onerous still needs to be given here.
If this scene is the catalyst that sets up the entire story, the catalyst needs to be clear and BIG, not just ‘potentially big’ and we need to feel and understand the SPECIFIC danger. We need to see the horror that Tom sees. We need to feel his emotions. What is at stake not just for the country, but for Tom personally? There is a need to exploit this scene to the max.
STORY LOGIC: Tom looks to ‘the sky outside’. What does he see? We are given a vivid description of impending chaos in the meteor shower, but why does Tom go back to his work? Doesn’t he see what the people see? If not, this needs to be stated.
Why isn’t Tom affected by the vapour? Do we need to see him fighting to stay rational and ‘normal’? El President’s guards aren’t affected either. Why? Do we need to see them struggling to stay alert and on duty?
Without knowing Tom and El Presidente’s role in the rest of this story, it is difficult to suggest further dynamics in this scene. Is El Presidente anything more than part of the set up for this part of the world? What is Tom’s role after this scene? Do the two characters conflict in any way? Do we see a set up in this scene that sets El Presidente against Tom – or vice versa? Does Tom have a special/ personal interest in the ‘Barcenas’ case? Sounds intriguing. Lots of potential here. Great start.
RE: EL PRESIDENTE
Initial opinion: It’s just too long! I started to glaze over in the first passage of dialogue and needed to go back. As far as I can see, the dialogue itself is not as important as the way it’s spoken so I found the actual reading a bit of a chore.
Characters: There are two characters of consequence here, Tom and the President, and I don’t know anything about either of them other than their jobs.
THE PRESIDENT: The only words from him before he’s possessed come in the form of a speech. These are usually written by somebody else. As such, I have no idea what his actual ideals are. When he changes, for all I know, he could be speaking from the heart. I didn’t get that he was possessed. I thought he was just drugged or insane. If he is possessed by a known dictator, we really should see familiar mannerisms or hear familiar words.
TOM: who is this guy? Hopes, fears, opinions… What does he want? What’s stopping him from getting it? What difference does it make to him that the president has gone a little cuckoo? Nothing much happens to make him truly terrified, does it? I mean, no one is trying to get him personally except to get into his pants.
SETTING: Not intimate enough. It really lacks that suspense that comes with claustrophobia. I get that the meteors story is on a global scale, but we’re exploring chapters, bite-sized fragments of individuals. As it is, there is no threat. Tom and his colleague (whom I also care nothing for) run in the other direction while the shambling masses come to a halt.
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION: Lets learn something about the characters. A tiny exchange with a loved one; a cab driver; a hair dresser; a gold fish – something. Make the setting more intimate/claustrophobic. Lock the hero in with the threat.
One suggestion might be: a council of world leaders. Locked in an office with security/bodyguards and translators. If Tom is the translator to the German Leader, the second El Presidente starts spouting far right attitudes, he’s going pick it up – probably before anyone else. How does he react? How does his boss react? What if they try to leave in disgust but El Presidente forbids it? Security lock down. What then?
Another possibility might be a TV interview. It is the interviewers job to goad the interviewee. Might help to build the tension.
To conclude: I’m in agreement with Steiny that this situation has legs and I am excited to see its development, but it requires some significant changes.