Lore of the Sentient

Lore of the Sentient

Jillie Simon


Missed the first two Sentient posts? 

View Part One  – Sentient (featuring the story model, the synopsis, the science and a scene introducing the main character,   ‘I wouldn’t do that’).

View Part Two – Sentient, the why (Featuring a scene introducing the theme of colonisation, ‘First time for you’).

Read a trailer script based on Roderic Byrne’s ‘Vera or Samantha’ story. 

Introduction to the series

Welcome to Part three of a new series bible that will form the foundation for the pilot, first season, and series. This is your, ‘Get to know the Sentient’ orientation session. Enjoy.


Origins of the Sentient

They may have been travelling since before we became homo sapien. 

They may be the reason we became homo sapien. We do not know their origins.


The way of the Sentient

They are instinct driven. 

They journey through space in seed form.

They seek out planets with a chemical signature they are familiar with.

They spore when they hit an atmosphere then target the most populous predator.

They erase the mind and move in.


How they possess

When the storm hits the atmosphere it creates a hypnotic visual experience mesmerising their targets. The spores float to earth, target the most populous predator and paralyse their brains.

It is not a pleasant experience. Humans bounce off walls trying to get them out of their heads.

The Sentient erase the mind just like a hard drive then move in as a digital presence, (an electronic signal that writes them onto the brain of the entity they have possessed).


What happens after possession?

The human survivors find piled bodies with hemorrhaging from the ears, nose and eyes. They appear dead. They’re not. The Sentient are busy writing themselves into the brains of the beings they have taken possession of.

Once the Sentient gain a basic understanding of the body they now control, they head to a mass of water.


The previous life form the Sentient possessed was amphibious so they go with what they know. When they reach water, they purge.

Think, harbour or lake filled with floating bodies.


Why purge?

The Sentient do not eat. They do not practice peristalsis. They atomise organic material to achieve sustenance. There is no waste.

The Sentient do not overpopulate. The excess of humanity is atomised and absorbed as sustenance. The human survivors discover Hiroshima-style ash piles all over the city, (the remnants of those atomised).



Humanity becomes real estate.

The body is the building and the tenant is evicted when the mind is erased.

The Sentient move in and take over.

The soul that existed before is erased.


What happens to the bodies the Sentient possess?

Firstly, where they can, they will choose the prime real estate, (the fittest).

Whoever they choose, they will lean down and muscle up.


The mind of the Sentient

The Sentient are not a hive mind. They are individuals. 

They are capable of tribal behaviour.

They may congregate just as we do, especially when there is danger.

They are rewriting the brain of the body they have occupied with their own life experience.

They are discovering our humanity and it is curious to them.


Sentient communication

They are first and foremost instinctual so the need to communicate between them is limited.

If they need to impart an experience they do so by touch. You see what they see or have seen. All other behaviour is instinct. This will change as they experience more of the human journey.


Go with what you know

The last life-form the Sentient possessed was amphibious.

Many of them will head back to the water and begin to adapt our DNA for a gradual return to the sea.


The journey of the Sentient

Humanity is not intellect alone. We are chemical and instinct. Our chemicals change our bodies and influence our behavior. We seek to employ our intellect to shape our lives but for the most part, our chemicals and instinct drive us.

The Journey of the Sentient will be no different. However they may have lived before, our chemicals and instincts will shape their behaviour.

Once they become aware of their sexuality and experience bonding they will practice possessiveness, jealousy and territorial behavior.

So, their journey to becoming Sentient is our journey of being human.

Through this, the audience will develop empathy for them because they want, they desire, they need and those needs are unfulfilled.


Look of the sentient on Pinterest

We have created two Pinterest boards with examples of what the Sentient might look like. You can request permission to pin your ideas and images directly to the boards by contacting the HOD. 

Team members like writer-director, David Nerlich, writer, Amanda Asquith and concept guy Alex Soliven are big fans of Pinterest and often contribute reference images to our boards. Their contributions give visual and video references.

Not registered on Pinterest? Get to it and share your vision for the project.

Sentient – The look

Sentient - The look

Sentient – Eyes

Sentient - Eyes

A human who observes you in a wholly dispassionate way may appear like a predator.

At first the Sentient observe us from the shadows.

They may mimic our behaviour as a learning experience.

If encountered in the flesh they may observe you from a distance but if you approach one, watch out for a palms turned-out gesture.

When they learn how to manufacture spores within the human body they can exhale them either through their palms or mouth to paralyse your brain.

They can choose to atomise you or part of you by touch. It is not a swift process so you’ll have plenty of time to suffer if they want you to.

Just like human anatomy, one part can perform a number of functions.

The same hand that can exhale spores to paralyse or atomise can also be placed over your heart or temple to impart ‘perspective’.

The same mouth that can exhale spores can kiss.


Sentient communication

Sentient don’t employ language.

These are simple, well-evolved and instinct-driver entities.

They can act like a flock, they may employ instinct but if they want to communicate they can impart perspective.

If they want you to understand their view they show you what they see. Seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes can be daunting.

The only words one of the Sentient may utter in Australia – Season One might be, ‘unique’.

A female Sentient tries to explain her experience of our life-form compared to any other life-form they have experienced in the universe.

Tiger tiger

Sentient are playful

Imagine a scene where one of them opens a cage door for a hungry tiger.

The tiger and the sentient stare off then charge at one another.

The tiger pounces and the sentient leaps over the top of the tiger, rolling to a stop and turning back. They repeat this a few times until the tiger realizes there is no meal here for him and moves off.

Retail therapy

Sentient are uninhibited

Imagine a scene where an attractive person strolls completely naked through the Queen Victoria building. That’s a new take on retail therapy. *Image from the 1980’s Sci-fi Vampire movie, Lifeforce.


Sentient are curious

Imagine a scene where Dr. Amon Teicher sits down at a grand piano to play ‘Moonlight Sonata’ in a darkened concert hall then upon finishing finds himself surrounded by Sentient but rather than attack, they touch his hand to encourage another performance. He has mesmerised them.

Add a contrasting edit where those seeking to genocide the sentient, napalm city streets as part of their bait and burn strategy and now you have some real danger for the Doctor but the sentient only wish to hear the music again.


Sentient breaking bad

As our human chemicals begin to shape their behaviour they will experience the sensations of want, desire, jealousy and belonging. Such feelings may overwhelm them and give birth to the very worst behaviour we are capable of.

To love is to want and as any Buddhist will tell you, to want is to feel pain.

The Sentient’s ultimate objective

All entities have only two key goals, survival and growth and the Sentient are no different with the exception they can achieve a sustainable existence.

What if they return to the sea?

Comments, questions and ideas

Why not add your comments, Qs and ideas by logging in and adding them to the bottom of this post.

Recently NYC team member, actor, Jillie Simon suggested a great idea, ‘What happens when a survivor meets their spouse, now possessed by the sentient? What happens if they are one of the sentient that choose to return to the sea? We liked the idea so much it now features in the Australia series where the lead character meets his estranged wife as one of the sentient.

Jillian earned 100 points for that idea and a Collaborator credit.

If you have an idea we can employ, we’d like to hear about it.


The next post – The conflict model

To get started on the pilot we need to sort the conflict model.

We’ll be tasking the team to submit conflict models that they feel will drive the structure.

Get the model right and the conflict is organic, rather than forced.

The trick to this is about achieving wholly valid and passionate positions. Regardless of what the players do, they must be able to justify it and truly believe in their choices. They must be passionate and fully motivated. Audiences should be drawn to both opposing arguments/sides and the choices the protagonist makes should allow us to explore theme and message.

Here is an introduction to the combatants and the foundation for the current model. After reading about this model you can log in and comment below.

Combatants – The Sentient

A shark has no ill will towards its victim. It bites because that’s what sharks do.

The Sentient seek-out and possess the most populous and dominant predator on a planet.

That’s their modus operandi. It’s not personal.

The Sentient commence their human journey neutral, observant and curious.

They change when the chemicals, feelings and instincts that drive humanity are activated.

The human survivors’ retaliation against them and the way it is conducted makes it personal for the Sentient. When it does become personal, the Sentient become terrifyingly dangerous predators and when they do, we watch the new ‘Eden’ quickly disintegrate.


Combatants – The human survivors – Those who seek revenge

This group is hardcore, sometimes religious, patriotic, certainly angry and wholly unyielding in their belief that the Sentient are ‘untermensch’, (and we don’t use that term lightly).

They argue the Sentient have occupied our nation, extinguished our culture and murdered our families therefore it does not matter what we do to them; imprisonment, torture, medical experimentation, forced labour, rape, murder and genocide are all considered acceptable.

It is not enough to exterminate them. There is a hunger and delight in achieving punishment. They want to see suffering.

The belief is passionate, expressed and gives license to any number of atrocities.

Their position should be argued as wholly valid to align members of the audience to that view.


Combatants – The human survivors – Those open to change

This group observe great beauty and redeeming features in the Sentient, their innocence, their childlike curiosity and their ability to demonstrate compassion where such is shown to them.

They observe the Sentient can survive without damaging their environment and that they may be better at being human than we are. They seek to establish a relationship with the Sentient though at first they are terrified of them and with good reason. 

Their position should be argued as wholly valid to align members of the audience to that view.


Combatants – Our protagonist and the exploration of theme

For the Australian story, we have chosen an Indigenous Australian Navy officer as our lead character because as an indigenous Australian, he has already experienced colonisation so his perspective is very different to those who are outraged and demand action. 

His choices and decisions explore our theme.

‘First time for you’.


Over the horizon – Future posts and tasks

We have got a lot to cover. The HOD apologises for the slow progress so far in 2015 but here’s what has to be addressed. *All of these prepare us for creation of the pilot and the first season. 

  • The Teaser trailer for our first crowd-funding campaign
  • ROI (return on investment for team and investors)
  • Business model (sale of the whole franchise to the major markets for remake versus trying to make selling the locally created content)
  • Terms and Conditions that secure how we work together and your entitlements
  • Copyright and your ownership of IP, (intellectual property) on the site
  • The Leaderboard
  • The site changeover – Journey to Sentient or to the Presence development site
  • Changes to Presence
  • Inner circle management
  • Actor task – Team up with FX Make up and photographers and create your vision of a sentient character to explore the look
  • Casting
  • Composers and theme
  • New motion graphics
  • New branding


There is a lot of work to be done to get the series into production. For this to be realised as a local and a global project we need your input so log-in and comment in the space below. Rate the post to indicate your pleasure or displeasure with the content. 

This is a global community and an ambitious project but it is unique in its approach to addressing first contact with an alien species, suggests an origin for our species and allows us to address contemporary conflicts and problems within the theme. We would very much appreciate your comments ahead of the next post – The conflict model.

Sentient dreaming

36 Responses

  1. huge thread, so apologies if any of this is not new … here’s my comments from the top:

    – evolutionary theory is frequently misunderstood, most people remember only the phrase “survival of the fittest” and think this sums up evolution … far from it, in fact Wallace & Darwin would be both astounded & rather unfamiliar with a great deal of the present day theory. In this regard, I want to point out a couple of things, then propose some modifications which (for me) allow for that possibility AND introduce new story line elements which give a really interesting take on things, and are to some degree reminiscent of the concepts used in Avatar.
    – Firstly, there are more examples of cooperation than competition in evolutionary biology, in fact no multicellular life would exist were it not for symbiosis & cooperation … Secondly, it is actually not exclusively “survival of the fittest”, a far better & more accurate phrase would be: “survival of the best adapted to local & global conditions, best adapted to variability in those conditions, best adapted to extreme events, best adapted to cooperative & interactive relations & functions between living & non-living elements of ecosystems required to handle such variability & extreme events, and just plain bloody lucky (as there is nothing in your genes that allows you to survive such things as asteroid impact, you simply have to be lucky enough to be the species that was no where in the vicinity at the time).
    – So this makes me think: “why & how would this species which starts in spore form, look to dominate the greatest predator on the planet?” … and what I don’t like about the answers is (in my mind) they tend to enforce the existing misconceptions, and I like the idea that films should teach, re-educate, and debunk … so this makes me think: “what if they instead looked to adapt themselves into a symbiotic collective of modified species, instead of just a single species” … and now we open up the possibility of non-human characters, able to relate to the Earthly origins of each species, but simultaneously able to communicate and collaborate BETWEEN these variant species in ways not previously possible … and in turn this allows the story to have a very meaningful aspect of exaggerating what we already know is possible in interspecies relationships, and thus educate people about what we know to be true on the planet, but which contradicts their existing understanding / misunderstanding / brainwashing … a great example of this you may have seen recently in the media concerns a man & his wife whom are experts in fungal life, and whom are challenging Monsanto’s destrution of ecosystems & their approach to chemical poisoning of species & ecosystems … and which acadmic work done by this couple actually confirms what was proposed in Avatar about commication between the trees, as it does indeed happen in electrochemical form via the fungii which are able to swap nutrients between different species of trees.

    – This of course makes for an interesting possibility with the “playfulness” scene between converted human & original tiger … perhaps we can show converted tiger also … and how does this conflict play out in the mind of the original tiger & its baser survival / procreation motivations … does it see super-tiger as threat, does it understand common relationship with both itself & the super-tiger, and between super-tiger & super-human?

    – On to CONFLICT: where I would be very interested to see the conflict of human kind wanting to know, do we survive, do we ally, do we ask to be converted … and with respect to other literature there’s an interesting analogy here between this case and the case of vampirism, where a vampire would have multiple “thralls” or “humans whom wish to be converted” (aka vampire groupies) … does the same thing happen?

    I’d like to suggest something that might surprise the audience … that a small group of humans recognise the failure of those fighting … how do you fight such a perfect colonist? You cannot kill everything, and yet any other species could be this new species, so it’s spreading faster than you can deal with, and besides which, you have symbiosis with other species & ecosystems so you rely on them … killing everything is neither feasible nor a solution … so do they go to the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) end? No, because they come up with a better idea (or one of them does & convinces the others, and all that is left is to figure out how to communicate it) … and here is what he/she says:

    … the alien’s priority is to survive & thrive through symbiosis, hence it forms symbiosis both WITH AND BETWEEN species within a planetary ecosystem … and since that power comes through both upgrade / modification & difference in capacities (assimilating & adding to what it finds on each planet), what it has MISSED in this whole process is the idea that the difference in a NON-modified species (kept in its original form & allowed to evolve on its own) is actually a massive benefit, because these things have different motivations etc to the modified versions, and ALLIANCE is therefore a solution to all needs … IN OTHER WORDS: for humans, whom can communicate their desire to be a part or not of this evolutionary upgrade, give them the choice, for other species, experiment with their natural ecosystems to find a balance … and for sustenance, atomise rocks & dirt, since its all the same stuff anyway, what do you care what it tastes like?

    • ALSO – this could (perhaps for the first time for this alien species), form conflict BETWEEN factions that start forming in its ranks … sentience has really given it a major conundrum to deal with, and so you get the idea of betrayal occruing on both sides of the conflict … and the outcome is that BOTH sentient species survives.

      LONG TERM IMPLICATION: alliance & acceptance of these ideas allow the transference of sentience beyond what was otherwise possible to other species … they still have vastly different capabilities, but they have been lent & evolve with a higher order intelligence & appreciation for themselves & their own relationships within ecosystems of species

      • Hi TR,
        Can you provide a visual reference of what they might look like represented as a scene?

        • Sorry mate, as stated I am really struggling with internet & for some reason this site can be harder to access than others … it was really just the conseptual shift I was suggesting, and I have to get on with the task of finding a new home & solving some other problems … I don’t think they have to look any different that what you’ve done already … the issue here isn’t one of how they look, but more so just a suggestion of an interesting bit of meaning to insert into the story, which is central to the genetic / evolutionary concepts of organism > symbiosis > colony … so for example, the correct way of looking at a human being is not as a single multicellular organism, because we would die without our internal & external symbioses … only 10% of the cells that make up a big chunk of our body mass are actually human, the rest are bacterial … so we are a symbiotic colony around a central (dominant) multicellular organism … and perhaps for the aliens they are taking this to a whole new level, because they’re using viral & bacterial mechanisms to colonise both organisms (species) AND ecosystems of organisms (colony / symbiosis), and taking it to a whole new interplanetary level … perhaps the idea here is that we do not stay human .. the big conflict is resolved when we actually let go of our humanity to evolve past it with external help (?)

    • TR,

      Describe what that might look like. Demonstrate visually what we would see.

      The Sentient don’t convert. They colonise by taking over our brains. Later, we discover they can manufacture the spores as a defence mechanism. They have no intention of conversion. Their intent is not malicious. They become dangerous when the survivors start to genocide, incarcerate, medical experiment, slave-labour them.

      Can you demonstrate what that world might look like if it was a scene?

  2. Is our world as we know it going to become history and future generations will only have folklore , because this is the new reality.

  3. Hello, gentlemen. I’ve just looked through the lore and it looks really cool. Special thanks for the original way to deal with several millions corpses left in the cities (cause it worried me a lot, what to do with bodies of those who didn’t survive the change, who rejeted the virus). There’s a huge field of cool undiscovered ideas with this type of lifeform, i believe and that’s great. To put my coin in here, i’d say that we can consider a kind of ”brain” or hivemind, whatever you call it, the specie of the Sentient with high enough level of intelligence that can estimate and calculate the situation on the planet, who can control if not all, but most of the Sentient hord and who has certain goals about humanity and Earth (as the simplest idea – Sentient was sent to clean up the planet for further use of this ”brain”). Anyway, there’s plenty of things to make within this lore and it’s very cool, so Moscow team is back in business)).

    • Hi Nik,
      Thought you might like the tidy-up.

      Yes, this species is very different and an opportunity to explore new ground. Re HIVE MIND, not a fan of this. It has been done before and whilst that is no disincentive, I believe we are closer to an instinct lead life-form. As we explore the conflict model we will discover they become quite tribal and territorial meaning that they do not collaborate in the way that a hive mind would. Think my Cylons from BSG than Borg from Startrek YET the Sentient are very different. Simple, instinctive, physical, journeying from instinct to sentient.

  4. RE CONFLICT MODEL (My opinion)
    Hi Dave,
    I think of categorizing the sentient into the good, the bad and the ugly. The Good ones are just here to find a new meaning to their lives in our planet. These good ones probably will win the hearts of some human survivors whom as the story progresses discovered they meant no harm. Nevertheless there are some set of human survivors totally opposed to the good sentient thus a threat to each other.
    I think of a scene where a teenage girl is about to be attacked by a wolf only for one of the sentient probably a young lad comes just in time and save the girl’s life. He charges and kills the wolf. The girl’s father defenseless witness what happened. Now the sentient lad is given a warm reception by the girl and her father.
    In another scene, the same sentient lad as a means of “self defense” also attacked a human neighbor who threatened to kill him. Now we see the reason for his actions as being justified.
    However, the conflicts between the sentient and human survivors enlarge continuously.

    The Bad sentient are opposed to humans. They don’t agree on the same term. It’s basically “I see you I kill you, you see me you kill me” mindset. But the bad sentient understands the other sentient “The Good” and their mildness. Nevertheless they sometimes oppose each other.
    I think of a scene where some sentient are gathered in a park. When an elderly woman mistakenly crosses their path, she is startled and screams out. Within a blink of an eye she is surrounded, three bad sentient try to rape her only for them to be beaten by another sentient who disapproves of their evil. They all get into a brawl giving the woman the opportune to escape.

    The Ugly sentient are the most sinister and radical of the others. They’re extremely wicked and terrorize for pleasure and seek to regain absolute control of earth. They are hardcore. They want to take over every part of the planet; to wipe away humans completely and take existence of their forms and nature.
    I think of a scene where a group survivors are indoors sleeping after a family dinner when this ugly sentient enter into their house and kill every one of them from the least to the top. Unfortunately one of the survivors escaped the genocide.
    From this experience gathered his perception about the sentient changes. He now team with other survivors who are completely against the sentient including the good to fight them to the end. Thus revenge is born. And we could see his action to eradicate them as justifiable.

    The conflict is not only with the human survivors and the sentient.
    It’s among the sentient.
    It’s also among the human survivors.

    Those who teamed with human survivors fight against the bad and ugly sentient. While the bad and ugly also fight the good ones.
    Confusion, hatred, fears, disagreement among the human survivors leads to quarrel and even sometimes killings among themselves. Sacrifices are made. Some of the survivors against the killing of the good sentient sometimes give up their lives for the good ones.
    A scene shows an argument among the human survivors on a decision to kill a good young and vulnerable sentient. Mr. A. refuses to let them. He stands on his ground. Since the sentient is in his custody after much deliberation an angry Mr. B brings out a revolver and kills him. Now they have access to the sentient and get him burnt outside of the house.
    Another scene shows a militant survivor who leads other bandwagons as they go house by house, hamlet by hamlet, village by village killing other survivors who is against their campaign.
    Basically, the good sentient and the liberal human survivors will form a good team to battle their rivals (both human and sentient) on the front-line/frontier.


    Ebuka 🙂

    • E,
      Good, bad and ugly.
      Yes but nature or nature? The way they are treated and their losses will shape them into the ugly.

      Some will rise above. Others will be consumed by their feelings.

      Yes, thus the expression, ‘No good deed goes unpunished’.

      Rather than think of these as the BAD, think of them as the MOTIVATED. HATE is a very powerful emotion and if they have been slighted or harmed or seen others killed they may be MOTIVATED to act. That said, all the SENTIENT start off neutral, their possession of humanity is not PERSONAL.

      Yes, I understand but I would use a subtler approach. More on this later.

      Once again, think of them as MOTIVATED and seeking REVENGE. They don’t delight in evil, rather REVENGE exacted.

      Inevitably there must be some TEAMING UP against the more radical from both sides.

      • Yes we need some clarity on the relationships between sentients, the meaning of the tribes, and how that drives positive and negative interactions with the unpossessed.

        • Whilst we don’t have the ground rules laid down for that yet, agreed. Whatever manifests it will likely take shape via the drama manifesting and shaping the choices. That may sound obvious but my point is that it will be an organic outcome if we get the conflict model right.

          • Hi Dave,

            – As regards LORE OF THE SENTIENT, I do like to know their strengths and weaknesses more importantly how vulnerable, they could be when exposed/confronted to/by human threats.
            Again, are they IMMUNE to bullets/fires/acid/chemicals etc?
            What possible way can humans kill them?
            I know sentient may chose to harm his/her victims by atomizing them, or is there another way/means of sentient getting back at their rivals?
            Like an attacking/defensive mechanisms of any sort.

            If these mechanisms are inherent in sentient, how best can the human combatants suppressed them to the point of raping/genociding/suffering/experimentations with them? What kind of weapons at their disposals could be used to pilot the expunging? I.e. can a syringe, rifle or knife be used to kill a sentient or an alternate?

            I’ll also like a pin interest (a visual images) of what these sentient looks like before assuming human form (maybe it does or doesn’t ring a bell).
            And is it wise to see them in that alien form in the movie or just so we move on to observe them when they’ve already in the human form?

            I believe with these mentioned above writers could possibly be guided on establishing a warfare scenes. Scene where sentient are captured, maltreated, arrested and eliminated etc. scene where humans are killed by sentient too in a combatant (a reprisal attack). Scene where a sentient uses his/her defensive mechanism to avoid being killed or threatens the killer(s).

            A visual image of their attacking/defensive could help too. Aside from their looks/appearances. Do they grow fangs like vampires?
            Do they claw?
            Do they spit fire from their eyes or mouth like dragons?
            Do they produce spider-like webs? And many more when provoked or raged.

            I hope this might be helpful. A clue.


          • E,
            Thanks for your Qs.

            1. LORE – Think of this as metamorphosis. From the time they take over a human they are learning how to drive it and they learn how to adapt it.
            2. IMMUNE – They are immune to nothing at the beginning. NEO in the MATRIX could be defeated at the beginning. He adapted and learned to defeat his enemies
            3. IN THE SHADOWS – This lifeform are very creepy in the beginning as you DO NOT see them. They are in the shadows. Always spotted in the corner of your eye and gone YET they OBSERVE the survivors and learn
            4. FIRST ENCOUNTER is like surprising a cat. There is a dead stare. A choice of fight or flight
            5. ENCOUNTERS – Don’t have to continue as conflict. They can be surprising
            6.ADAPTION TO THREAT and CONFLICT MODEL – Walking dead taught us, zombies are not a sustainable form of conflict. Conflict is about human on human issues. Conflict from our SENTIENT will take place when the SURVIVOR characters choose to capture, experiment, exorcise, torture, rape and genocide. When the Sentient experience that, they start to adapt
            7. ADAPTIONS – London based ALEX SOLIVEN is exploring that now. TOUCH BASE with him and BRAINSTORM. Also, Sydney based, David Nerlich is exploring that via the LOOK OF THE SENTIENT – Pinterest board
            8. WEAPONS – I believe the SENTIENT would perceive weapons as vulgar. They would employ surprise, contact, or forces first. In the 1980s movie LIFEFORCE, the vampires drew the lifeforce out of humans. I can see the SENTIENT doing this by touch and leaving the human as a pile of ASHES just as in the BLADE vampire franchise.
            9. SHOWING THE SENTIENT AS A PRIOR ALIEN FORM – No. Where there are FRIENDLY relations, let touch IMPART their vision of another world or the universe. Don’t show what they were, show WHAT THEY SAW in another world.
            10 – SPIDER WEBS – This lifeform OBSERVES and learns from everything it sees. Without turning them into SPIDERWOMEN, they may employ some very interesting techniques and the more angered they are by how they are treated the techniques may be more extreme

  5. Ok some thoughts:

    The sentients have really come to life and are inspiring all sorts of ideas which is great as the nemesis is usually the story driver, thought sentients will also step into other character types (allies, heralds, tricksters etc).

    Yes, the body markings suggest something similar to octopi. They have great ability to alter the colour and patterning of their skin with such subtley they could display images if so inclined. This can be used to threaten, attract, communicate and also ninja style camouflage, like octopi.

    It doesn’t seem to be mentioned on this page but I understand they don’t speak? This is challenging for complex interactions but could be interesting. I wonder though if they will acquire the power of speech from us later?

    Elsewhere, someone expressed concern that the vision-based communication might mean weak expository flashbacks but i think its more like imparting the brief startling visions David Lynch used in Twin Peaks and Dune. The visions could be initially conveyed via changes in their skin but I gather they have some telepathic dimension so the images would come to life as it were a bit like Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man” ?

    How it progress from here? Now we have a premise, I’d guess it might be by imagining characters that embody various ideas and themes that play out in this world. One thing I’ve ought about is people who had an apocalyptic mindset like a survivalist or a religious zealot of some stripe who was engaged in hastening armageddon. Suddenly these characters are confronted with an apocalypse quite unlike the one they were preparing for. What will that to to their heads?

    Reading the post now, I can imagine some among the peacemakers approaching the sentients seeking possession only to be atomised. Then again arguably it turns out the fate of the possessed isnt that different. But one can always consider if the show had a long multi series run, that there is scope to turn nearly everything we know at the start 180 degrees.

    “The Sentient are not a hive mind” … though I did propose on Pinterest that there might be a state of transcendent group mind they can access – depends ultimately whether thats useful to the plot or not.

    The Sentients appear irresistable but i feel that to some extent they need to find they have bitten off more than they can chew on Earth. Things cant be too easy for them (I see this is covered above in ‘combatants’). Or it may turn out that they’ve been here before and discover something they’d forgotten.

    all4 now

    • DN,

      Yes, so a hero can only become so by rising to a challenge. The current model looks like the INCITING INCIDENT and FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN drive the opening followed by HUMAN NEMESIS creating the problem that leads to the SENTIENT becoming quite terrifying ,(as visualised in your LOOK OF THE SENTIENT images).

      Absolutely. The challenge we face is finding the sweet spot. Getting their presentation, interaction and evolution right is no easy job.

      I like that angle of the markings can be use to threaten, attract, communicate and also ninja style camouflage.

      The only word we need to hear from the Sentient in the first series is UNIQUE, (describing their take on our species in all the universe). I like the idea of revealing that we are wholly unique.

      Re no speech being challenging, I remember Jerry Anderson’s UFO from the 70s. The aliens didn’t speak in that and UFO scared the hell out of me.

      Re the limitations of no speech in the first series, consider how we encounter the Sentient.

      They move from appearing dead, to the water purge to being gone. Where are they? From then on we see them as shadows, reflections, hazy silhouetted figures that dart past and inspire fear.

      The next step is to encounter one in the flesh and not know you have. This is where you are observed in close quarters but you are unaware of it, (the audience is in the god position of seeing what the characters do not).

      We see evidence of them by the tribal street markings or supermarkets where all the packets have been opened, (they observe what we do and mimic to see what the experience yields).

      Beyond this, a very close encounter would be to enter a small, darkened space and to hear breathing behind you, sending your heart racing and the character running for their life but still no contact.

      Finally contact by accident. Walking into a room where a Sentient is looking into a mirror. That will be a curious event. Add one testosterone-fuelled male Sentient invading that party and delivering extreme threat, body markings bristling and becoming visible and this begins to demonstrate a range of behaviour.

      We have presumed that evolution is a journey to a higher form of intelligence just as ours.

      The Sentient have developed a way of existence that does not require that kind of intelligence BUT as you have proposed they hit the wall with humanity as our chemicals and instincts drive extreme outcomes and feelings.

      Firstly, they employ instinct which may manifest as a flock behaviour so communication is less relevant though like any flock, one may spot for danger or opportunities and the rest act on that spot.

      Next, re the vision based communications. I agree, short, sharp visions but keep that ability for communication between Sentient and humans and hold it back as a reveal at a critical story-point. PS: Nice work on that visual markings and the illustrated man angle on the LOOK OF THE SENTIENT Pinterest board.

      Well here is a question. Who survives. Irony is the survivalist with the fully stocked bunker that doesn’t BUT I get your point re WOW this is really happening, now what?

      I also like the idea of survivors failing to realise everything they knew is now gone and a new paradigm is in play. The survivor may be an Admiral or a housewife, whichever they are trying to bring back the old and even use the old power structures to force compliance from the other survivors whether that is calls to duty, (patriotism) or even religious values. There will be a range but the thing they have in common is their steadfast refusal to employ common sense to see the situation for what it is. They try to live the old paradigm regardless of the consequences. I believe this is theme-relevant as we live in an age where conservatives steadfastly refuse to address the new challenges we are facing and keep dragging us back into wars we don’t have to fight and social issues we addressed back in the 60s. They refuse to move on.


      The American’s went with a WILD WEST ICON of the LONE GUNMAN, the SHANE for WALKING DEAD. That is their history.

      For the Australian franchise, our only contemporary history to reference from the genre is ON THE BEACH. For that reason I chose a NAVAL OFFICER and went with the INDIGENOUS angle to allow us to explore the theme of COLONISATION.


      Tapping the Battlestar Galactica formula we would start with a military group that immediately want to take harsh action.

      This group would then find themselves replaced by a more hardcore militarist group, (THE PEGASUS), and would find themselves apologizing for not being harsher on the Sentient.

      Both sides, the survivors and the Sentient would endure an internal power crisis.

      This is best summed up as the moderates versus the extremists.


      Shakespearean style tragic misunderstandings lead to that mix of atomizing and napalming the peacemakers and the cycle of conflict continuing.


      The Sentient are surprised by the power of the chemicals and instincts that drive us. These manifest as feelings so they develop attachments to humans and we all know how that works out. To want is to suffer.

  6. In response to an email from Suzana Purkovic – Team Serbia

    Hi Suzana,

    Great to hear from you.

    Often I will have twenty members send me the same Question. It helps a lot if you add these kinds of comments and Qs to the POST so I can answer to you and the other twenty all at once.
    * You also earn ten points for the comment and if it is a great idea we pay 100 points as a valued contribution or collaborator.
    * I will cut and paste this one into the comments section but do add it directly in future.

    We’re on the way. We must lock in the CONFLICT MODEL first. If it is organic they it will be very natural.

    We also need to ensure the CHARACTERS we choose will, by their personalities and choices lead to a natural conflict.

    Yes, we must find a unique look YET it must pay homage to the works before it, WALKING DEAD – 20 DAYS LATER – DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS and in the Australian story, ON THE BEACH.

    Australian team member, David Nerlich pinned a series of images in our LOOK OF THE SENTIENT pinterest board that demonstrate a RANGE of what might happened to a SENTIENT if it becomes enraged. Whilst the images are fantasy or fantastic, the point David was making is, ‘What happens to the look of the Sentient when they become enraged?’ If they come from an amphibious background in another world can they, like an octopus, change their look and will it become very scary?

    Our emotions and chemicals will shape them in a way they have never experienced before. It will surprise them.

    Yes, Australia looks to be going with an Indigenous Naval officer as Australian Aboriginals have already dealt with colonisation and have a different perspective.

    Serbia and the region is a land with such an amazing history that a General who had fought three wars and had realised a higher moral understanding of right and wrong would be a perfect choice for a main character. We don’t have to chose military leaders. Australia went with a Naval hero to pay homage to ON THE BEACH. WALKING DEAD chose the SHANE style LONE GUNMAN that is famous within the WILD WEST because they know that iconology. YOU, TEAM SERBIA should look to a character the culture KNOWS AND IMMEDIATELY IDENTIFIES with.

    We had roles for children in JOURNEY. We haven’t considered roles for children for the Sydney franchise yet because it sends out budget through the roof. That said, it seems logical BUT as a producer I have to find the simple, cheap outcomes and that is about design of the story as much as anything else.

  7. I like Eliza’s idea of the sentients showing more humanity on some parts than we do and how our destructive tendencies differ. (From a discussion elsewhere)

    How’s this as a buildup from start then see the sentients evolve?
    Phase 1: Mass extinction (Day One)
    Phase 2: Hints that they’re still alive. Maybe there’s hope for them coming back.
    Phase 3: Holy shit they’re zombies! (Sentients activate reptilian brain wiring)
    Phase 4: They form small groups. (Community and empathy with mammalian wiring evolves. Also learns other forms of nourishment in environment)
    Phase 5: Complete Sentient. Inidividuality develops (Human Wiring. Learns from human hosts)
    Phase 6: Transcendance. Either us or them reach dominance through evolution. At this time survivors have studied them enough to benefit from them. Should we try to kill them all off or should we learn from each other and integrate. They’re only trying to live and survive. This could usher a new era and stable world order. Lots of conflict.

    Plot twist.. Something similar happened before that explains how humans became more intelligent all of a sudden some few million years ago but it took much longer.

    The way this model works is the start as microbial spores that build up adaptations to evolve and connect with each other within host bodies. Those with better connections and better adaptations with the new hosts (us) have greater chances of survival and the rest just eats up the hosts and turn to ash. It’s basically close to how we developed from single-celled to multi-cell to animals then humans but starting from the fungal branch instead of bacterial. Some of us have some degree of immunity or adaptations with the sentient spores.

    Disclaimer: I might be wrong on some facts but we’ll take care about those parts with actual biologists. You get the gist. Either way that’s 6-8 seasons or years or work right there. ^_^

    Bottom line: Time to set up some new ground rules to balance the science with a touch of fantasy.

    • Yes, as per the post.

      One thing, no zombie. Don’t use the word zombies. They are not zombies.

      What are they? They are an alien life-form that have taken over the brains and bodies of humans and are firstly discovering what it is to be human and our journey.

      They are everything as per the post, curious, playful, observant, centred, focused. They will experience all of our chemical journey and be shaped by it.

      They become hateful and seek revenge as the survivors unleash hateful choices upon them.

      I hope that the post – LORE OF THE SENTIENT achieved a lot of that.

      Hoping we can focus on the CONFLICT MODEL as proposed and new suggestions for the next post.

      • Brad Hunt says:

        I watched a great David Attenborough series just a few days back “Life in the undergrowth” it is undoubtedly the most alien like reality I have ever seen and it is truly inspirational when it comes to creating scenes of invasion and mind trickery.
        The segment that comes to mind is that of a very sinister wasp whom cleverly invades an ant colony to inject its eggs into the nursery. Once in the ants nest the wasp is set under brutal attack from a defending colony, however he releases a pheromone that sends his attackers into total confusion and completely changes their behaviour. He tricks them into turning their attention onto their own species and they attack one another while he continues his mission to inject his seed into the ants nursery. When he leaves the Ants start to regain normal consciousness and actually care for his eggs until they are hatched…. I do recommend watching this brilliant piece of Attenborough gold, it just might spark some more inspiration Into our Journey of the Seeds.

  8. Hi Everyone. I love what’s happening here. Sentient is most definitely more my speed than JOTS was and I can hear the collective whirring of creative cogs from all over the globe. Exciting times.


  9. As I’ve always said David, this “global series” is going to be epic. The exhilaration of the complete surprise encounter w/ the Sentient is totally overwhelming. Humanity has got to think fast of their feet to survive, and keep it moving.

    The fast paced action and plot twists of “us against them” and the long build up to finding out how to eradicate them from the planet, creates collaborations worldwide as to method, mode and operation. As the planet becomes even smaller, the will to live between human survivors; the revenge seekers and those open to change; battling amongst themselves which leads to stepped up ways using new chemical concoctions to counteract the Sentient chemical intrusions on the bodies they inhabit.

    The worldwide scramble between those who have, and those who don’t, sets up w/ in the human community those who are sacrificed to be taken over; unaffected groups colonize themselves and create “safe zones” whilst work continues to combat the Sentient. EVERYONE is scrutinized. EVERYONE is suspect.

    Can an antidote be created or found to inoculate those who can remain unaffected? What rare group(s) of people might possess “natural immunity,” and can they be found? Can/will some Sentient be turned (over time) not to possess? Can there be, will there be an eventual blending of Sentient and humans? This is for ALL THE MARBLES!

    This is EXCITING! Nice work Steiny and team. EPIC!

  10. Hi Dave,
    This is particularly wonderful. Though I’ve to read thoroughly to be able to discern and comprehend wholly the “Lore of the Sentient”.
    Again I do like to know – let’s take for instance “can a human survivor mate with a Sentient? And if it happens are they capable of reproducing and what becomes of the offspring?” That’s if the Sentient are capable of reproduction.
    You also made mentioned of sentient returning to the sea. What is the connection with the sea?
    Lastly “they are capable of tribal behavior” break it down for me.



  11. Steve Syson says:

    Whoever plays the the lead they should have a problem with politicians because real leaders hate BS. Having a politician taken over by a sentient may work especially if it could be kept secret working as a spy.

  12. Steve Syson says:

    Great stuff! The becoming human idea is always a great one as in BSG the cylons having emotions. The human body is a good vessel but also the human condition can become a trap for these beings. It would be a good idea for them to have an old enemy in the universe something that feeds on them because with predator’s there is always a bigger fish.

    • Hi Steve,
      Thanks so much.

      Spot on re the observation – BSG cylons.

      The old enemy is dealt with by tribal division between the Sentient in the same way the Cylons became divided.

      As in BSG there are those who will find a THIRD WAY and those that cannot let go of hate. That seems to be the human condition.



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