Sentient - The why

Sentient – The why

David Steinhoff - Head of Development - Presence Films

In this post

  • The tribe has spoken
  • What’s next?
  • Why Sentient?
  • First time for you?
  • Graphic designer wanted for site redesign
  • Next post – preview
  • Your slice of the pie
  • New poll – Crowd funding mythology – Bust this 

The tribe has spoken

You voted to shift to Sentient. February – March will see the publishing of a series of posts to forge development and ready for production.

What’s next?

Sentient goes into production in 2016.

The ‘Development’ site, (this one), will receive a new title and branding focused on Sentient.

A new ‘Presentation and crowd-funding’ site, dedicated to fans and followers, will be created so we can present our teaser content and raise funding.

The Patreon crowd funding site will be closed. Patreon apply a US – IRS withholding tax as well as their fee and PayPal’s. We might as well burn the money. With these sites, it would help immensely if they warned you about these caveats at the front-end of set-up, not during the final step.

While we get organised we will continue to employ, ‘Journey’ branding.

The why

Why shift from the Journey story model to Sentient?


  • Does not trip religious or political red-flags that limit investment or participation
  • Can explore issues and theme in a ‘Gulliver’s travels’ kind of way, hiding our meaning for all but the wise whilst providing pure entertainment for everyone else
  • Will have story legs once we determine the protagonist and the Sentient’s character arc
  • Is not just another zombie story
Australian Navy Diver

First time for you?

Some team members feel we have lost the ‘story legs’ that Journey had. Here is an example of what can be done using the Sentient model.

What if Lieutenant Commander Dowd is an Indigenous Australian?

‘First time for you’ is a quarter page example of how you can create and explore theme.

Wanted – Graphic designer

Are you a designer?

Do you have an interest in sci-fi and fantasy?

Do you know someone you can refer?

We seek to redesign the story brand and site.

Interested? Contact the HOD.

The next post

The next post will feature:

  • A next level story brief including important ‘reveals’ about the ‘Sentient’
  • A Think-tank task exploring story choices

 There is a lot of content coming your way.

 An enormous amount of work has to be done.

 Please be patient and please focus on the task at hand.

Where’s my slice of the pie?

Did you know when you purchase a Campaign Veteran’s stamp you not only support development, you also gain an equity position in the Intellectual property of the work?

You can do this by donating, sponsoring or having a character named after you.

Poll – The mythology of crowd funding – Have your say

Crowd funding mythology states, ‘Post a project on one of the crowd fund sites and a mysterious tribe of philanthropists find you and give money.

The HOD believes that the bulk of contributors come to a project due to its social media reach or the viral promotional efforts of its team, (of which ours is very large).

If that is correct then the crowd funding sites merely offer a portal that enable donations rather than attract donors.

What’s your opinion?

Is there a tribe of mysterious philanthropists scouring crowd funding sites looking to support projects? Fact or Fiction?

Vote fact if you believe the state is more correct than not.

Vote fiction if you believe, we’ll have to do most of the work to promote the project and raise the cash.

Space break

Humanity’s end is just the beginning 

Sentient - Got stamp

30 Responses

  1. […] Part Two – Sentient the why, (featuring an introduction to the theme of colonisation, ‘First time for […]

  2. Team,
    I’m going to forge on with posting of ‘LORE OF THE SENTIENT’.

    Thanks for your comments.

    The POLL is inconclusive. We lack a quorum but special thanks to those who voted and commented.

    It’s going to have to be an executive call so I will go with the creation of a dedicated crowdfund site as well as using an external site such as Kickstarter and we will see what happens.

    Re the science and drama model. When commenting on these issues, it helps to ask the Q, what will this look like visually and how will it be an organic conflict generator?

    For example Jillie Simon put forward the idea of a survivor meeting his estranged wife. The wife was previously grossly overweight and the relationship toxic. Now the wife has shed the pounds, looks fabulous and now the her husband wants her again but now she is one of the sentient and potentially lethal. He wants her, she’s dangerous, there is a gap that raises the question, what will happen. Everything in the viewer wants to see that happen but knows only bad will likely result.

    That’s a visual and dramatic representation of story. That’s the sort of content that advances our model.

  3. Jillie Simon says:

    Hi y’all, I’m very very new to this project, but as David was writing about being interested in ideas for the alien’s wants & needs, I did have a thought about it–– the aliens could be parachuting off their planet because the planet is in it’s last phases of life – their sun could be much closer to burning out – like ours has about 5 billion years left, theirs has much much less…and the conditions could have caused a virus that attacks parts of the brain controlling empathy so, perhaps the majority of the aliens are happy to take over other beings bodies for their survival, cause they couldn’t care less, but there’s a minority who, though they’re participating in fleeing their dying planet, still don’t think they have the right to kill/take over these earth beings – unless they come upon earth beings who have an an aura showing that they’re bad, violent, evil beings and then, it’s morally ok to take them over…
    Then we have different kinds of aliens, good ones as well as the bad…
    –have a great day! (or night if you’re in the Northern/Western hemisphere like me)

    • Ja ja, certainly they may have been travelling through space, dormant, since before we were homosapien. It is likely they have exited one world and may have done this many times.

      Re the choice to possess some versus others due to a moral choice, consider this. A bad guy who learns to do good becomes likeable. A sociopathic species devoid of attachment or sentiment that develops such an empath demonstrates arc. An audience may enjoy seeing that revealed.

      • I agree with Steiny that the further the nature of the space demons begins from where it ends up, the better for dramatic purposes. Same goes for humans? At the beginning the nemesis should appear intractably malevolent and the situation hopeless. Then to our surprise and intrigue, glimmers of doubt, rays of hope, possibly to be dashed but then reborn.

        It’s feasible some entities will change faster or differently from others once the chemistry gets going, which is a bit like Jillie’s scenario, making for inter-alien conflicts as well. Woopee!

  4. Keith Melton says:

    Hello David, Hello All,
    As David already knows, I am one of those with reservations about the change in story line and so I am pleased to see the comment above that it “Is not just another zombie story”. That is a big turn off for me – and I guess, potentially for a lot of people. What would be the point of doing another version of Walking Dead…?
    So my thought is this: Why not make the “Sentient” a more sympathetic antagonist than a Zombie or a Predator or an Alien?
    OK – so the arrival of the spores, or whatever we call them kills off a large portion of humanity (in my version of the antagonist this is just a result of the spores not “taking” when they meet potential hosts?) But what if we treat it as a new version of humans, with a symbiont, but those symbiont/humans also contain good guys as well as bad guys? Does this sound plausible? If so we pick back up one of the appealing elements of the original storyline – that of struggling to find a better way of running humanity – whether it be humanity without symbionts or humanity with symbionts.
    This line does not preclude the eventual killing off of ALL symbionts, – or even, for that matter, the killing off of all non-symbiont humans either. After all there is a strong body of evidence that we humans are pretty bad for the health of the earth anyway!! Climate change, wars etc!? Perhaps we can make people think about the world as well as enjoy the programme. What do you think
    Keith Melton – Captain Cobbler

    • Hi Keith,

      Re not just another zombie story:
      1. The quarter page script, ‘First time for you’ demonstrates how we can start to add depth and theme in the story
      2. We call them the sentient as part of their arc is from a species that possesses humanity to a species that evolves humanity. They become better at being humans than we are
      3. Good and bad Sentient. Agreed and well spotted
      4. Symbionts, the hot concept from Alex Soliven. I am considering this now and will address it in one of the next two posts
      5. Yes, to make people think. We may be able to conclude with this being a natural event, that we have been replaced just as the neanderthals were replaced and the time of humanity has passed but it is actually a good thing
      6. That doesn’t mean there cannot be remnants of humanity that survive. Perhaps it will be a bit like James Mason in the Fall of the Roman Empire movie where they stand on a snowy outcrop of the empire surveying the last of it and knowing their time has past

      All well-spotted Captain.

      • Keith Melton says:

        OK – since we seem to be on a bit of a roll here – let me pursue some of these thoughts and share with you all.
        “First time for you” would work in Brazil and other S. American countries with the indigenous peoples and for N. American Indians, African Americans, and so on, and so on. We could even shoot a number of different versions of the quarter page script as trailers for different countries…
        “A natural event” – yes, that was my line of thinking, like the concept in science that the building blocks for life first arrived on meteors anyway, this is simply an extension of that. Also ties in with my earlier thought that the dying off of humans where the symbiont did not “take” was a “natural” result of the evolution of the symbiont rather than a deliberate murderous intent – allowing us to see it/present it as an evolutionary thing (ref David`s comments about Neanderthals – which just reminds me there is a body of scientific opinion now that Neanderthals were absorbed into humanity rather than (as well as?) being wiped out – see and )
        For me this presents a much richer creative set of possibilities than simply killing off zombies, predators or aliens – we could even mimic the situation by having different teams of writers – one writing in favour of humans one writing in favour of symbiont humans. This would also give the global team an interesting publicity angle for interviews with media reps – setting up competitive PR events!
        We could also create a meme which assumes a history for the previous success of symbiont civilisations which has been more successful in matriarchal societies (thus giving symbiont humans a matriarchal bias in their thinking) – allowing us to explore gender issues of society and leadership and community in both positive and negative ways.
        All of this means we need a way of differentiating humans and symbiont/humans in visual terms which are reasonably well differentiated but potentially confusable. And how long will it be before symbiont humans are capable of breeding…. Or are we looking at a different form of symbiosis transfer – spores of a fungus type of spread or… or what? Perhaps even the fungus growth at specific intervals or under particular circumstances (threat response, even?) is what makes them identifiable? The differentiating process has been done before in Host – see – but they all dressed alike and drove white vehicles (or were they silver?)!!
        One final thought for the moment. If 90+% of the population in the northern hemisphere has been wiped out by the arrival of the symbionts, there would be huge disruption of energy supplies/ infrastructure/logistics and so on which would cause the symbionts just as many problems as the surviving humans. Would they be sufficiently empathetic to work WITH remaining humans for benefit of all (see matriarchal comment above!) – or not!?

        • Keith,

          RIO – INDIGENOUS
          Yes, my thoughts exactly.

          Ja ja, all life came from space yet amazingly life appears in my kitchen when I don’t clean it and that’s not from outerspace.

          Gosh, I suspect fun is on the way

          NEANDERTHALS still with us
          That would explain my father’s choice of third wife. Well spotted/

          This will be a contentious issue. Stand by.

          Next post. Their DNA shapes us.

          Probably a lot more. Re power and so forth. No power. No need for them. They have their own. See next post. Coming shortly.

          Nice work Keith, always ahead of the curve.

        • Hi Keith, David and the crew!

          I have had an interesting consideration on the take of this new sentient storyline and have taken up on both your thoughts.


          * Within us, humans we have the possibility of cancer free cell mutation or… the copious division of defunct cells, which we term cancerous. The latter consumes healthy cells and in the long run keeps our race of people from over-populating. However, it also has the possibility of annihilating it.

          * If the sentient spores are drawn to our species, they could consume our species, but those that come into contact with faulty DNA i.e. Cancer prevalent cell replication – this would kill off the spores and also the host – as it would accelerate the cancer process.
          * Spores that consume a host that is defunct cell free (cancer free) would enhance the strength of human cells. This would create a new protein level around each cell – protecting it – so that the nucleus is free from radical progression. Hence, both the spores and host would live on. Eventually, the host mutates over the childhood~adolescent period of growth, encompassing the new features of the Alien adult being.

          (If you are unaware, the adolescent period for humans is a toilsome period as they loose a great portion of neurological connections due to cell myelination. Which can commence as early as 8 years and continues well into the 20’s for young males. This renders our kids often speechless (one or two word sentences, reclusive, unsociable to the rest of the world who are not entering or going through the process). Nerve damage; cognitive awareness is compromised and all sorts of problems can occur during this period. Basically, it is where the brain is in the process of making new electrical connections or wirings (over 300,000 a day) to make way for new data in our adult life-hood cycle. Usually, this process occurs with minimal neurological damage, but there is always the possibility of occurrence if cells are faulty.)

          * Therefore, if spores attached themselves to humans during the childhood~adolescent period,, there is scope for both the sentient dying and the host. Audience sympathy for both beings is created; Darwin’s theory on the struggle for survival and the possibility for not knowing if either being will remain intact over this growth period is established… which is quite long for a humans. The series is ensured longevity, individuals life stories can established and great depth into how far the sentient consumes and mutates the host will be extremely pertinent.

          What do you think?
          Selina Kucks a.k.a. Sketa

          • Hi Selina,

            THE REAL ESTATE
            Until now, we have addressed the possessed as POSSESSED or HOSTS. Consider them as nought more than REAL ESTATE now. The Sentient ERASE their signature and take over.

            THE SPORES
            These are a tool for disabling and opening the door so Sentient can take over the real estate, (us).

            THE CANCER ANGLE
            If I understand you correctly, the sentient inherit the disease when they take over and we take a dramatic journey with them as they die of the disease. Also, children and the younger adults are most vulnerable. Do I understand that correctly?

          • CANCER ANGLE

            * As the spores, which are the seeds of the sentient …enter, grow and take over their host – they will inevitably receive radical/defunct cells (cancer cells), which puts the growth path for both the sentient and the host at risk .
            * Only hosts free of radical cells are ensured longevity and development to adulthood. Sentient and host survive under these conditions. The host is enhanced and mutated to eventually evolve into the sentient being. All traces of the host are lost to the naked eye as the dominant gene will surface.
            * Sub-dominant genes could be prevalent in the early mutate stages, but eventually these become less important to the character. There is no reason why recessive genes of the host might not reappear in subsequent generations.

          • So take it one step further, what is an example of a drama angle we can extrapolate from the idea?

          • Keith Melton says:

            OK – my take on Sketa`s comments was slightly different. Spores taking over adult hosts with high cancer risks may be one of the reasons those hosts did not survive the first night. But those with low cancer risks become protected by the extra layer of protection Sketa spoke of. SO…there may be a lower incidence of cancer amongst the “symbionts” (this all assumes a large enough population for health details to become apparent/public knowledge, despite the apocalyptic nature of the event??) so we are probably talking quite a long way into the story before this storyline would work…but survivors with a history of cancer in the family might see the symbiont LACK of cancer as a “solution” to their cancerous genetics and become symbiont sympathisers, hoping to benefit humanity? Nicely complicating the harsh line of good v bad.

            On a completely different angle, one reason symbionts may be a successful species is that their dna contributes to a (partial/full) telepathy amongst symbiont humans, so we do not always SEE them speaking but we can, through the wonder of TV hear them speaking (I confess that is not at all an original idea – the film “Host” used telepathy interestingly. But it might work for us too!)

          • Hi Keith, David and the Crew…

            • Although sentient spores affect adolescents in a harsher manner (neurologically speaking), I do not expect they would be draw only to this area of human development. The Sentient is attracted to the human race as a whole and does not/cannot pick and choose its host as it does not possess insight to knowing whether or not the host is predetermined cancerous.

            • Spores enter the human race – grow; develop according to the conditions of health predetermined within the host; procreate, morph and mutate.

            DRAMA ANGLE

            • This creates problems and is determined by family circumstances. Families would be more prone to seeking medical advice on why teens or children, in general, are reacting adversely; the extremes of being able to afford mounting bills will cause families to rip apart – hosts might seek refuge with other families to resolve their issues. However, the refuge family may well be experiencing the same conditions as the host’s family – it becomes a never-ending circle of strife. How would one escape from such troubles? How do families cope?
            • Hosts might be told they have an unknown, faulty strain of DNA sequencing that appears to flourish given different family living conditions – to date, doctors are unaware of those conditions. So families might consider trying all sorts of natural remedies, but to no avail – except one or two that appear to halt or semi-pause the ‘cancer’ (spores/sentient) from growing. However, pausing the beings growth is only one part of the story. The beings ability to manipulate the hosts thought processes, might be a good angle to explore…or its ability to communicate with other spores/sentients when in close proximity.
            • Spores could enter at all ages/stages of the human life cycle, but given the predisposition of defunct cells, radical sentient spore growth progression pends on the above mentioned factors.
            • Of course, the maturing age/matured age of a host will be a less suitable candidate for sentient spores – as defunct cells are more likely and the division of compromised cells are greatly prevalent.

            Over to you…Selina

          • Hi Selina,

            THE SCIENCE
            OK, so the range is the Sentient cannot pick and choose who they enter through to they can and leave the dying and diseased.

            DRAMA ANGLE
            One word… ‘apocalypse’.
            No health care. No families, not yet anyway. No government.

            Think Indigenous hunting and gathering meets the first fleet. What happens after that is a whole new story.

            I see where you are going but hold off until the next post, ‘Lore of the Sentient’.

            Thanks so much.Nothing is wasted. Getting it right requires us to explore options.
            Making it work requires us to focus on the right ones.

          • Additionally,

            Given that sentient/spores could communicate when in close proximity etc., it would enable us to see the Sentient’s stress of being able or not, to survive. We would see and hear everything and the Sentient’s alternatives or resolve for survival.

          • SPORES – The science
            The spores are a mechanism for stunning their victims into stupor. The Sentient enter the mind and erase the hard drive. They take over driving the truck.

            SENTIENT -Communication
            This is very interesting. The issue of how they communicate and if and why they communicate. I can say that touch with permission can allow you to access the mind of the Sentient or share a vision or memory.

            These are first and foremost instinct driven creatures. Their journey into our lifeform exposes them to a range of feelings and sensations they have never experienced before which makes us quite the XTC pill for them.

  5. I voted for a FACT up there, even when i do not look exaclty like the one in the picture, I wish I would 😉
    I feel happy to be able to contribute to an original way of creating.
    Even happier, when I can participate in it.
    I do not believe that I am the only one…. or? 🙂

  6. “First time for you?”
    I see what you did there.


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