David Steinhoff - Head of Development - Presence Films


Your vote on the Change-up poll revealed a desire for a simpler story.

We’ve heard you and acted.

Presence has created a new working title. We’ve focused on the sci-fi story and employed a Walking dead model.

We will create a new site dedicated to the new franchise and will bring across the development community.

The leaderboard and entitled equity in the project can be retained and a Terms and Conditions agreement included on the new site. For now, we will continue to develop using the existing site.

When we’re ready for the shift, we may offer to gift the existing site to the author of the Journey of the seeds, Carol Baauw so if you are a dedicated Journey fantasy fan, you don’t have to leave the site. Carol will also receive an equity position in the new franchise based on her support of the community and Presence will assist any Production Co wishing to continue with the development of Journey of the seeds. 

Now, here is the new story, ‘Sentient.’


Working title


Target market

Global sci-fi cable and local TV networks.

Just like

Think Walking Dead meets Invasion of the body snatchers.


When an alien lifeform possesses humanity, billions die overnight leaving the survivors to battle the possessed.


Hunger for life.

Extended synopsis

When a long-tail stream of meteors hurtles towards earth, scientists reassure the community they pose no danger. The shower puts on a spectacular light-show, illuminating the night-sky but when dawn arrives an eerie red haze engulfs the planet.

Unbeknown to scientists, the shower carries a lifeform who is awoken by the fiery entry into the atmosphere and delivered to earth via a stream of red spores. As the red tide drifts to earth, it paralyzes all that inhale it.

The effect is immediate. The spores either kill or enable the life-form to possess.

That which has possessed humanity is hungry for life.

In just one night, billions die leaving only a few survivors spread all over the globe to battle the possessed.

The science

We have no hard evidence of aliens visiting us. There has been no contact.

Shifting organic forms around the universe is a perilous business however if a species resigned itself to traveling dormant in a seed form they could hitch a ride to anywhere masked as a meteor and they could have been traveling since before we evolved into homo sapiens.

They could be drawn by electronic noise that indicates intelligence. 

When they arrive, they would naturally select the most dominant and populous predator and rather than colonise the planet, they would colonise the predator. Humanity is the most populous and dominant predator on earth. 

Once they achieved possession of the body they would seek to master it. At first, they would be driven by instinct. The question is, would they become sentient and what would that look like in a human form?

Becoming sentient doesn’t translate to kindness. We’re sentient and we industrially slaughter pigs. You don’t think twice about eating bacon. What if they see you just like a pig? Becoming sentient may make them even more dangerous.

I wouldn't do that

Meet the main character

We’ve prepared a two page scene introducing the main character for the Sydney story, Navy diver, Lieutenant Commander Dowd. 

Read, ‘I wouldn’t do that.’ 

* No research on decompression sickness or its treatment has undertaken yet. This is raw story.

Franchise model

Sydney in collaboration with our global team would create a master trailer, soundtrack and teaser.

Teams from all over the world can then create their own survivor stories under the same title and branding, using the same genre model, created in their own language for their own market.

The question, writers and development teams need to ask first is, ‘Who is your survivor?’

Walking dead starts with an injured cop but 28 Days later employs a bicycle courier. The Sydney team has suggested a Navy Diver in a decompression chamber. Who will you choose? 

Investor, sponsor or supporter?

Interested in investing, co-producing, sponsorship or support?

Contact the head of development David Steinhoff. Let’s chat.

Why not support development and production in 2015 with a monthly donation via Patreon. 

New to the community?

David Nerlich created a motion graphics trailer to promote the original project. The arrival the storm is presented in a stylised way in what we lovingly refer to our super sperm model. This trailer features the fantasy component ending and old title.


We seek a clear, unequivocal mandate from our development community backing the story, the simplified system and the approach. To that end we ask you to vote. 

A yes vote states, ‘Yes’ you are in favour of the simplified story and approach. It does not lock in title or design. It does lock in the Walking Dead story model.

A ‘No’ vote says, you are not in favour of the simplified story, the approach or the direction the project is taking. 

Have your say and why not donate to support development of the project? Every dollar increases your stake in the project and advances development.

 Humanity’s end is still just the beginning

21 Responses

  1. Five years ago who would believe that Sentient predated Convi19 Saga???

  2. […] voted to shift to Sentient. February – March will see the publishing of a series of posts to […]

  3. Hi David,
    I like the new storyline- LOVE sci-fy and also do drama, not just comedy- I believe you were remembering when I wrote that I had written a comedy recetnly- but I have played many dramatic roles as well. This sounds like a good storyline! Keep me posted! :-)!

  4. Hi David,
    In the Africa series instead of the mutants represented as opposed to the alien lifeforms now introduced as our major threat in the new direction of SENTIENT right? However every other thing/characters/actions/settings remains the same or is there needs to change the story angle too? Since some of the characters featured in the series survive the ordeals that confronts them and looking forward in meeting other survivors as the story continues to widen and deepen in the course of subsequent actions.


    • Hi Ebuka,

      1. In the original story of Journey of the seeds the premise was that the souls from the abyss/hell return to earth to possess humanity.
      2. In the new version these are an alien life-form that possess humanity
      3. By possess, I mean they first take over the brain, so they now drive the body BUT they must learn HOW to drive a human body. Their experience of life is from the last species they possessed.
      4. The original characters from the Journey of the seeds story including Toowyn, Kahlil and Che are gone. We have removed the fantasy side of the story and all the characters. That story is now dead.

      So, what can you ANCHOR too? The original story starts with a meteor shower, the red spore haze that rains down and the possession of humanity. That remains THE SAME.

      From there, we have unique survivors all over the world that have avoided the possession. One character in SYDNEY is Lieutenant Commander Dowd, a Navy Diver who was in a decompression chamber and missed the first part of the storm.

      The first question you have to ask yourself is how did your character miss the storm?
      a) Were they working in a mine?
      b) Were they diving for pearls?
      c) Are they resistant to the spores?
      d) Were they able to resist the possession by the alien lifeform

      Each character exposed to the storm has blood running from their noses, eyes and ears because the spores seek to overwhelm the brain causing it to surrender to the alien lifeform.

      That’s where we start.

  5. Christian Stamm, head of Barcelona department.

    Hi guys,

    I just voted: fantasy story. I wanted to vote, BEFORE THINKING AND TALKING about it too much, because that is clearly one of the things that have been going on TOO MUCH in this project (in my opinion of course). When I signed up for this about a year ago, a loved the idea and everything around it, and I jumped into it right away, started to work, presented a script,.. and that is how I end up being head of Barcelona. My guts decided, and my guts acted. And my guts now still say: The original idea is awesome, the ”simplified” thing is just a sad copy of what we have seen a million times. Oh, by the way: I hate WALKING DEAD, it’s plain and stupid; Steiny pointed out, it’s ‘based on’ “28 days later”, I say it’s just a sad copy of the “28 days/month later” saga. With JOURNEY OF THE SEEDS (damn.. even the title is awesome!), we have the opportunity to create something huge, new, amazing. And the reason it didn’t work out so far, in my opinion, is not that it is ”too complicated”, but because too much time is spent on ”asking for opinions”, instead of following through with the initial idea, which is perfect already! You have teams all over the world right now who turned in scripts; we should USE THOSE AND PRODUCE THEM, instead of ”correcting them”, ”retouching them”…. and “TALKING ABOUT THEM” a million times!!!! DOING, INSTEAD OF ”TALKING ABOUT DOING”..!!!!!!

    Ok… I understand that, due to “money issues”, we could “simplify” our exigence as far as ‘production’ itself is concerned (in Spain we have become authentic “maestros” in low and close-to-zero productions), but on the basis of the original idea, not a new one!! Why do you guys want to change the whole thing again?? THAT is wasting resources, time and energy!!

    When Steiny told me that for the production of each 5-6 minute fragment a budget of 30-50000,- Dollars was calculated, my ears literally started to shake..: WITH THAT BUDGET WE JUST PRODUCED A WHOLE FEATURE MOVIE!!

    You guys want to ‘simplify’? Ok, then simplify your expectation as far as ‘production’ methods and costs is concerned! I can produce you a top-notch 5-6 minute fragment/short movie/trailer with 15000 easy, and I’m talking bird-view shots, tons of blood, excellent cameras and optics, 10-20 year experienced professionals…. ALL working on a on a non-cash, percentage on benefits cooperative basis! And I am sure, other groups around the world can do the same.

    But hey, this is just my opinion.

    • Hi Christian,
      You know I think highly of you and respect your work. Let me give this some perspective here. I just completed my 500th pitch for the Journey project. Ja, 500th.

      I have pitched every angle imaginable. I was speaking last month with the CEO of a 1.6 billion dollar building company about our warrior builder character Toowyn. Zip. No result. No impact. Couldn’t gain any interest and that was with one of our support team introducing me directly.

      That’s not unusual. That’s the norm. I can’t sell it. I can’t sell it. I can’t sell it. Now , maybe someone else can but not me.

      I am pretty frustrated by the situation and I am not a quitter but I cannot let the entire community and the project come to nothing to hold onto a dream.

      Re the Walking Dead model, don’t worry about that. We’re going to take it to a special place and I have you and other great talents in mind in the design BUT we must get into production or the community will dissolve.

  6. Maria D'Urso says:

    This is looking good, David!
    Don’t know much, actually nothing, about ‘Waking Dead’ , but initial considerations [hope they’re helpful] may include:

    – what’s going to make this ‘same but different’ to ‘WD’?

    – as well as competent hero, introduce characters who are out of their depth or who need to change big time in order to survive. Survival and challenges on so many levels. The idea of a mild mannered teacher becoming a full on meth concoctor was a great hook for ‘Breaking Bad’.

    – introduce characters who matter to protagonist [ could be some overlap with previous point] Heart pullers needed.

    – subplots/ central conflict that twist and turn, give hope, take it away, give more hope etc.

    – have humans be very creative with the limited defence/ attack resources they already have. Familiarity taken to non familiar levels.

    – pump up the menace and all the interesting ways it makes life hell for characters. Even the nastiest menace needs a personality, at times even a poignant one. Takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster.

    – mutations in menace, humans, central plot and subplots. Mutation heaven, just not all at once!

    – temptation would be to have protag determined to save the world from the beginning. That’s a lot for audience and protag to absorb.Perhaps he begins with small bites, extending to large panorama as series develops, while world wide threat is still ever-present and seen by audience. Threat and hero’s perception of threat needs to be increasing. This will also give him time, challenges and opportunity to develop as a 3 D character.


    p.s. Enjoyed your sample very much.

    • M,
      The guide is embedded on the page under Walking Dead.

      WD uses slow zombies. We use an alien lifeform that possesses humanity and firstly tries to use the body as it did its last form. It grows to control the body and then becomes sentient. Not the same as humans but aware.

      Same behavior as VAMPIRES in 40 DAYS OF NIGHT

      Yes like that very much.

      I based it on a BATTLESTAR G format of a character who at first thinks this is a terrorist attack then they discover it is very different. They want to get back into the fight, take the fight to the enemy but there are just too many of them. So, military thinking but they have to change tactics.

      Nice work on the rest. Very helpful.

  7. Hi David,

    I discovered there is a departure from the previous and I do like to know more. Again brief me up on the Sydney project. The challenges and the solutions.


  8. The Possession model should still hold up I think.. With some weird side-effects.

  9. I abstained on this question as I think it’s more one for writers and those trying to sell the idea to financiers. I think the possession angle has the potential to lift it out of the cul de sac of being just another zombie story. I also liked the idea of the ghosts of historical figures returning to possess the living but Im not sure if that’s currently on the table. For anyone wanting an exploration of the potential for that I could recommend Philip José Farmer’s afterlife novel “‎To Your Scattered Bodies Go” (first book in his Riverworld series).

    • Hi David,
      Yes, “‎To Your Scattered Bodies Go” is an excellent example.

      We’ve abandoned the idea. I couldn’t sell it as part of a fantasy franchise whereas the alien possession idea is neutral enough to get away with it. It is a very conservative country and people do not cope well with anything non standard when it comes to religion or spiritual beliefs. I could see the turn in investors’ faces each time we got to it.

      So, it’s alien possession for us BUT not GHOSTS OF MARS!

  10. David;

    for some reason, nothing seems to happen, when I try voting, by clicking on the “yes, I’m for it”.

    as, I previously voted, before you confirmed the new name and basic narrative; I’m still supportive of the new departure in the project vision.

    is it possible, you still might be interested in using my previous character proposal: a Canadian Innu Coast Guard navigation officer, working on an ice breaker in the Arctic, named “ATKA UNGALAAQA”?

    all the best with the transformation into the new construct.

    happy trails,
    Derek Stephen McPhail

    • Hi Stephen,
      Well that works for me. Thanks so much. Re the vote problem, I will look into it. Thanks for the heads-up.
      Now, re the Innu Coast Guard. This new version of the story can take place just about anywhere. I won’t discount it. The issue is finding teams and the money. Sydney is the key. Get the Sydney project end up and we can move forward for all the franchises as we have a model to show.


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