Sentient - Pilot update - May 20th 2015

Sentient – Pilot update – May 20th 2015


The Season One page lists each advance of the script.

The latest update to the pilot went up May 20th and features significant changes which are important to your understanding of the story. 

SEP - Girl - red t - white and red line T 151515 600

The Teaser and Act One

Time starved? Here’s a summary. 

Within the first nine pages we;

  • Intro the hero, Lt. Commander Michael Dowd
  • Preview a foreboding future for Dowd and Sydney
  • Employ a dialogue segue that gets us into the story fast. ‘What do you see?’
  • Show Dowd in his element in the ocean
  • Create a story ghost for Dowd, (the death of the Admiral’s son)
  • Introduce Dowd’s key nemesis, Commodore Friesner
  • Reveal Dowd’s presumption that the base has been hit by a weapon of mass destruction
  • Reveal Dowd pursues his training and protocol
  • Reveal Dowd’s immediate objective is to reach his command and ready for a fight
  • Reveal the storm and its impact on the living and the dead
  • Hint that someone or something is watching Dowd
  • Intro scientist Dr. Amon Teicher, (Teicher reveals he is an observer of detail)
  • Intro the Admiral’s dog, ‘Hec Waller’ who will lead us to the Admiral and Dowd’s nemesis, Commodore Friesner

red line on 151515

Character visual reference

These actors are not attached. Their images provide visual reference as to what these characters might look like and who we think might be very good casting choices.


Visual reference - Amon Teicher -Actor Dr. Nicholas Hope


Visual reference - Michael Dowd - Actor Matt Nable


Visual reference - Friesner -Actor - Anthony Hayes

red line on 151515


Dowd’s foreboding vision of Sydney, the creation of a story-ghost and the early introduction to Dowd’s nemesis, Friesner, is all geared to enhancing the work. Has it worked? Have your say.

Need to read? Take me to the Pilot.

*The Facebook comments function is disabled. Please login to the site to comment at the bottom of the post.

red line on 151515

Got an idea, observation or criticism to improve the story? 

LOGIN to the site and share it via the COMMENT section BELOW. The Facebook comments function is disabled.  Please, do not send your ideas via private email to the HOD. If you cannot share it with the whole team, then don’t.  Share any genuine enhancement or critique and you’ll find a points – present on your profile, promptly. * Now say that three times, ‘Points-present on your profile promptly.’  Nice work Slick.

SEP - Girl - red t - white and red line T 151515 600
Sentient TV

40 Responses

  1. I’m late to the game, sorry about that! I really like it- no feedback from me, nor criticism. Really quite intrigued!

  2. A few suggestions…
    I feel the flashback scene with the trainees is too long and a bit distracting. Maybe use mini-flashbacks or flashes of memory as Dowd is disoriented and still recovering so it keeps momentum in the scene but shows he is drawing on his own training while under duress.
    I’m not sure why Dowd would threaten Teicher with the fire extinguisher – at this point I expect Dowd to be wary but focused on making an ally of Teicher before resorting to threats. While O2 is at a premium, they need to work together for the best outcome. And so overcome their conflict, which is yet to be determined.
    The level of Dowd’s facial palsy needs to be established. It immediately indicates a neurological issue, which could have been caused by the incident and the barometric chamber. But if his nerve damage is severe, his affected eye will have a very droopy lower lid and be constantly watery; also the side of his mouth will be droopy so he will have very slurred speech and will constantly drool. So this will affect his character and he will be immediately aware of his condition – it won’t be a secret that Teicher can keep, as indicated on page 9. Dowd can wear an eye patch (sexy!) but the droopy mouth and drool… not sexy!
    Also, the blood pooling in the eyes like the dead people suggests they’re also on their way to the same fate – suggesting significant neurological damage. I suggest sub-conjunctival haemhorrages which look bad but are just the blood vessels on the white part of the eye that have burst, due to pressure of some kind. And maybe just nosebleeds instead. Also, should the dog have the same symptoms ie bleeding nose/eyes as the people? Or is he ‘special’?
    Also, Aussie spelling for ‘dishevelled’ on page 1, line 1.
    Overall, an interesting beginning…to the end! 🙂 AA

    • Panda,
      Thanks so much for the feedback.

      That flashback; establishes in Dowd’s mind what he thinks is happening, the procedure to address it and therefore objective and finally Dowd’s perceived threat, ‘someone is coming to kill them’. It also introduces the character in their full professional setting so we know they are a person of stature within their community and a leader.

      I get the concern re the length. We could fuzzy it up and shorten it but as far as communication to an audience is concerned, that would be job done. Foundations laid.

      Dowd does NOT threaten Teicher with a fire extinguisher. The audience are meant to get that impression early, then realise this is for what is potentially waiting for them outside. Dowd has indicated with his STARE INTO THE ABYSS and the REVERSE SHOT, SOMETHING STARING BACK, and then by LOCKING THE DOOR BEHIND HIM and jamming a chair into it that he perceives a THREAT outside. The FLASHBACK concludes with, ‘SOMEONE IS COMING TO KILL YOU’ then DOWD hears a noise and we set up that the THREAT may already be there. SO, Dowd may appear to threaten Teicher BUT we soon see that his focus is on what is OUTSIDE. The SET UP is all there and sequential. I kept it as straight-forward and sequential as I could.

      Many survivors experience temporary effects that mimic blindness, stroke and other. They pass. So, all the survivors and the Sentient recover.

      The attack is focused just on humans, the number one predator on the planet.

      Dang. I am on it.


    If post there awakening the SENTIENT were surprised to find human survivors and perceived them as immediate threats then we would be at war from the get-go.

    That would heighten the action and risk.

    When the Sentient begin to discover a little about our journey, even become attracted to us in their second stage/ state, there may be a chance for some humans and some Sentient to find a way forward BUT this would be bitterly resented by the hardliners on both sides.

  4. A message to SENTIENT’s female team members regards the most recent PILOT script.
    We have just under thirty comments regards the new pilot and NOT ONE FEMALE VOICE.

    I received some private feedback criticising the lack of TRANSITIONS and CAMERA DIRECTIONS.
    Just to clarify, it is NOT the job a writer to indicate transitions and camera directions.

    Yes, in a shooting script, no for a script in development.

    No director wants to be dictated to by a writer. Planning and executing HOW they will shoot it, is their job. Let them direct.

    Even transitions, whilst you may choose to indicate your preference of transition, why not let your editor surprise you? Once again, that’s their job.

    Writers need to focus on the STORYTELLING outcomes WE CAN ACHIEVE and let the directors and editors do their job. They are the next LEVEL of storytelling beyond the writers but not the last. That’s reserved for my favourites, our long-suffering COMPOSERS.


  6. I am entertained … but a bit confused by some of the dialogue … perhaps I have to read it again, but it’s kinda like when someone is talking with references to things that are only in their own head, so no one else can understand … I wasn’t getting the conversation that was happening

  7. Liked what I’ve read thus far, David. Got me hooked. Nice beginning. Though, if I can be a bit critical, I was not impressed with Freisner’s lines. Less is more here I think. An uncertain/smug smile would telegraph a lot more than an obvious set-up of dislike between Dowd and he. Teicher’s character is intriguing. Wanted to know more. But that’s good. The dog worried me a bit, but I do not know where this part of the story is going, so I’m prepared for a man/hero to have a best friend in the midst of hell. 🙂

    • Thanks Daniel,
      Looking into Friesner.
      The Admiral’s dog has a through-line that also sees him develop a relationship with one of the Sentient.

    • PS: AMON TEICHER, oh really. Message received.

      • Inside voice, outside voice. But seriously, I like characters that intrigue me. I just spoke openly. And that’s fair dinkum. 🙂

        • I really appreciate how important it is for actors to have good scripts, strong characters and engaging drama. Amon Teicher is a very interesting character. I must publish a character guide of Amon, Dowd and Friesner to provide a greater background. That said the choices a character makes in a story reveals all we can every really know about them from an audience’s perspective.

          • Agreed, David. The choices are all we ever know. And in a great script all we ever need to know. But I guess that leap from simply good to greatness is not only in the casting – which remains paramount, but in the script’s subtext reflected in the character’s eyes. In other words: if the actor’s lights are on then someone is home; a brain is thinking, a heart is beating. Then the magic happens. I watch David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” once a year as a matter of course, pleasure and movie education. It never ceases to amaze me how complete that film is. But it is Peter O’Toole’s remarkable performance and David Lean’s vision that continue to make me bow to the Gods of Art. To know how high the bar has been set to achieve acting and cinematic “greatness” in perpetuity.

          • Preaching to the converted brother. I hear that. Design is the key.Design of every element.

  8. Great work David, It’s so well written.
    I want to know what happens next!


  9. I should read it again later. Visual imaging isn’t clear yet this early in the morning for me but one detail’s been bugging me.. If you see someone with dried blood all over them, wouldn’t you assume they’re already dead? I don’t think he needed to check for a pulse. Do we get a WTF moment at the end of the pilot? I’d like to read the rest of it. ^_^

  10. Yes, good. I found the Dowd/Teicher interaction a little bit more interesting. The only problem may be that the in business with the bomb/mine, the action was a little confusing and also has one wondering if the bomb disposal is part of the premise, especially if thee’s a fatality, but I assume not it just gets Dowd into hospital.

  11. Hello Dave and all,

    I can’t just help it wanting to keep reading and reading. In fact I hungry for more than ever. Brilliant, thrilling, breathtaking and suspense-filled.

    Sets the pace for more revelations. More actions. Smart Dog “HEC WALLER” is he?




Leave a Reply


Skip to toolbar