Friday, October 31, 2008

Giving it the full treatment!

Ok, not quite a full treatment, no point in posting 50 pages of film treatment on a blog.  So here's the abridged version for starters.  Don't forget this is based on the comments received so far on this site - if you don't like something, speak up and we'll discuss the options.

Just like to give a special mention to Joe Mama for inspiring me to knuckle down and write this, honestly I was unaffected by your comment, didn't phase me in the least.  If I'm ever in LA we should meet up and go out for a drink or a long walk off a short pier.  I'll be right behind you!

Sorry I digress...

Here's the jumping in point, don't forget this is only a first stabb and the first time I've written something openly like this in such a rough form.  It makes me nervous to think it may be shot down in flames before it's had a chance to breath and mature.  Well here goes;

Eight students - Meet them

Take it for granted that everyone is either a classic beauty or unconventionally attractive.  This is a horror/thriller for the teen market, you want to sleep with these people despite the fact that some of them are up their own behinds.  They are Psych students!  Nothing against psych students, in fact I would love to hear from you if you are one, my wife was one.

Stuart, self-confessed son of a rich man (total lie!) and all round playboy, you gotta love his energy though.

Ginnie, back stabbing bitch with a super quick tongue, she's funny but you'll love to hate her.

K, he's one of those people who has denounced his parents and his name, he's just known as 'K'.  Annoying.

Ludmilla, Russian exchange student who is blind in one eye/partially sighted.  Boys quite often sit on her blind side just to stare at her chest.

Twins, non-identical brother and sister, one's a psych student the other hates psycho-babble... seem to hate each other but are actually sleeping together.

Mature student, he is an ex-model who has decided to re-educate because well lets face it, he can't model any more.

Final student... you decide.

If you think any of these sound stereo-typical don't forget we're going to strip down all these layers and reveal the primitives within.  Plus any character will sound stereo-typical when condensed into one sentence.  Ok, enough being defensive!  On with the story.

Our students all attend some polytechnic in the UK and we start in the lecture theatre.  K is filming the lecture as usual (best way to keep notes), plus he's become a little obsessed using his camera.  Its rumoured he films himself and posts it on youtube.  The lecture is the last before winter break and Luke the lecturer is telling the students that to really understand psychosis they need to push their own inner boundaries.  The group breaks and Luke chucks a book - The Dice Man - at K.

Fast forward to the journey to France.

Six of the team are in K's VW Camper van, they constantly talk psycho-babble or sing along to rock songs, flirt and take the piss out of each.  Ludmilla seems quiet. Stuart and Ginnie are following in Stuarts Dad's flash car, actually it's stolen Stuarts Dad died two years ago.  On the Euro-tunnel the girl twin heads-off to the toilet on her own, when she comes back she's is completely freaked out by a man in a joker mask.  She tells the crowd who have mixed reactions and try to analyse her irrational fear, Stuart teases her about having an imaginary sex friend and accuses it of being "just a rape fantasy".  

K and male twin have shared the driving so K has almost finished reading The Dice Man.  Ginnie has been banging on about having an alternative experience and testing their inner boundaries... so to impress her K suggests The Dice Man method of leaving decision to the roll of the dice.  It's a split decision with some sceptics.

The team hit France and paranoia sets in, they constantly hear the sound of helicopters above the car and van, but can't see anything (ala.  Goodfellas).  A roadside stop and K, catches Stuart and Ginnie at it... He's jealous.  Ginnie comes up to him later and hands him a die, which suggests she had rolled to decide to sleep with Stuart.

Night time and the team are finally winding up the mountain roads after an exhausting drive.  They can't wait to get to the house, which when they arrive is cold, dark and in the middle of nowhere.  Ludmilla seems the most freaked out, she blames it on not being able to see in new surroundings.  

We've reached plot point one, which could be described as the new world order...  It's at this point that we define a new world and the characters have to deal with being out of their comfort zone.

K with the help of Ginnie, manages to convince the team that whilst in the house and for the rest of the trip they should live by the dice.  He appeals to their sense of adventure and inquisitive Psych nature.  Eventually all agree, some a little reluctantly.  They throw to see who sleeps where and some have to share beds.  The process is broken by Ludmilla who has found a shallow grave in the garden, whilst having a cigarette outside.  While arguing that it's just someone's dead dog, the corner of a dress reveals more.  They roll the dice and are forced by the first major dice decision to dig up the grave.  It's the body of a headless girl and the lack of rigour mortice/fresh blood suggests that the body hasn't been there long.  Ludmilla loses it the most and runs off into the woods... Male twin follows.

An argument breaks out over what to do with the body. Stuart suggests they roll for it.  Eventually it seems like the dice are the only way to resolve the issue and becomes the best option.  You decide what happens here!

Ok we need to build on the story and the characters emotional state as we get to what's known as the midway point.  The midway point is where the whole plot turns on it's head.  So look out for it.  Here goes.

Some group members decide it's time to break open the alcohol (who can blame them, I would). Whiskey, champagne, wine, beer... roll the dice.  Inhibitions and tongues start to relax, the shocked group members (apart from K, twin male and Ludmilla, who are absent) are dealing with the situation as only Psych students know best, they talk about it.    

Meanwhile,  our absentees are in the woods (night-vision on), through the trees we see Ludmilla who doesn't notice a man in a jokers mask coming up on her blind side as she squats at the bottom of a tree, shivering.  What ensues is a horrific rape scene between said joker and Ludmilla, all the time filmed by mysterious POV cameraman....

Does he roll the dice to decide to save her, watch, join in or get help?

I've just realised that this has turned into a very long post... I'm sure the MTV generation has already tuned out.  Perhaps we should split this up.  I'll continue in a couple of days, in the meantime keep commenting and discuss the sketchy parts.  I realise some of you aren't going to like it much so please be constructive with your criticism.

Additional ideas;

Once they reach the house it never gets light again.

In basement of the house they students find ECT equipment and decide its a good idea to shock people into telling the truth.

The dice games reach a pinnacle when the female twin eats her dead brother, who she's secretly in love with.

The dice tells two of the group to behave like rabid dogs and they never break character even seeming to have dog like strength and agility, as they pray on the weak members of the team.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Six is all - The Dice Man inspired movie is rollin!

So here it is and just to prove it, I filmed the roll, although (as my wife pointed out after the fact) not technically a roll.... sorry about that!  I thought about doing it again but that wouldn't be fair.

Well that's certainly opened things up a bit!!

Here's a list of the pieces which we now have to build a puzzle from;

Eight students looking for the ultimate alternative experience decide to lock themselves away in a house for a week in the French Alps, with a bagful of drugs and furtive imaginations.  On the drive over, one of them reads The Dice Man and convinces the other students that the ultimate alternative experience would be to adopt his rules for the rest of the week and leave their descisions to a chance roll of the die (think Russian Roulette but with dice).  What starts as a fun experiment soon becomes as serious as life and death.  Their alternative experience becomes a struggle for survival as all boundaries are crossed and some take to the amoral lifestyle like it's  second nature.

The actors film each other with hand held cameras.

Smoothly carjack a vehicle to get to the house.

One cast member is raped and beaten by a man wearing a 'Joker' mask just yards from the house.

One member finds a magic mushroom field.

Another finds a recently-dug shallow grave of a headless young girl.

Constant mysterious dead-of-night helicopter landings and take-offs, lit up through dense fog, can be heard from over a hill.

A subterranean tunnel is found under the Aga - a tunnel which smells unbearbly rancid.

One of the characters speaks no English.   Another idea is one of the characters could be deaf or mute.  I like the idea of a character not being able to speak English.  Perhaps a Japanese or French student?  That would add some conflict and interest as well.

One of the characters isn't real (existing only in the mind of one of the others - an imaginary friend/nemesis)

One character spends the entire main story of the film alone and away from the others, dicing by himself.

you don't do a script at all - just bring a dice and let the actors suggest 6 options of the story as you film them and let the dice decide the direction of the film

don't make the movie - must have a negative option

each person is a character from a movie chosen by the dice

they end up finding out the dice is a fake dice controlled by one of the members of the group

they encounter a zen master

start filming today

That's quite a list and some controversial options....  Start filming today and don't make the movie.  These two are really the most challenging.  How do I start filming today and not make the movie.  Well you could say that I've already starting filming... I filmed the dice roll/shake :)

If I don't make the movie, then how can I also adhere to the other whims of the dice?  I'm going to need some help here!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Digital feature film inspired by a book and created by a blog!

Forgive the title, but the more blog savy I become the more I understand the need to optimise certain aspects to entice more readers.  

So what happened?

We were going along at a fine old pace... questions... voting and then this last week... One vote!  Plenty of great comments but only one vote!  Please advise me as to why you felt uninspired to vote this time.  It's important to keep the momentum going, so I just got to know.  Maybe, it's a bit slow with only one post a week.  I've been told by other bloggers to keep posting regularly, so let's give it a go.  We'll call this round rapid-fire.  Thanks to ABW for the great suggestion and in response we'll alter the format slightly.

"6 options to further expand and detail the options in A) and B) and then roll." - ABW

In fact let's make it simple, I say we restrict the actors and film by imposing some Dogma style rules to this already challenging project.

And in response to another great comment from Warren, I'm going to let you guys come up with the restrictions.  Here's my example - No conversation for the first 30 mins of the movie.   Give me six options by Monday night and I'll roll the dice to see which one is the winner.  I'll announce the winner on Tuesday and hit you with another quick round of questions.  By the end of the week we'll have a more solid story, well that's the plan!

So there it is!  The film is in your hands people so get commenting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And the winner is!

Thank you for all your comments and votes...  Despite a strong anti-drugs policy at the beginning of the week, the 'caners' came through to level it out.  So to tip the scales I've decided that the last comment by 'Info' was in favour of drugs.  How this fits into the storyline is yet to be decided so stay tuned.

Being new to blogging I've decided to do a bit of research to see if I'm adhering to the rules... If there are any!  It seems a good idea to repeat the purpose of your blog every now again for new subscribers.  So follow this link to check out the original post  lazy!! ;)

Ok, shake off those hallucinagenic blues and let's dive into the structure, or lack of.

So here's a question for inspiring writers... Did the Blair Witch Project have a recongnisable structure?  If not, did it suffer because it lacked a decent beginning, middle and end. Discuss and debate ;)   

I can't help but notice the similarities between this project and the films by the Dogme 95 collective  I once had the privelage of attending a screening of a short film where Lars Von Trier (The founder of Dogme 95) challenged his mentor to make a short film where no shot was longer than 5 secs.  The effect was spell-binding and by restricitng the filmmakers toolset he'd actually given him a new set of brushes to paint with.  It was liberating!

So how do we liberate our story...

A. We will work out a tight structure from beginning to end?

B. We will impose restrictions upon our actors and film.  ie.  No conversation for the first 30 mins of the movie.

C. We let the movie and the dice decide where it will go.

This is the riskiest topic so far and I feel the control of this movie slipping from my hands and into yours.  It's unnerving to hand over so much control, but I must as part of the experiment.  

In my personal opinion 'C' has been done before by a French Director check out the trailer here .  So I don't want to cover old ground.  But ultimately you must decide.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just say no?

Thanks again for all your comments, everybody has been incredibly positive (tempting fate!)... Which leads me to believe this project is worthwhile.

Interestingly, you've come up with your own question this time. So without further ado let's put it to the vote.

Should drugs be a part of this movie;

A. All the participants take hallucinogenic drugs, which starts a psychotic episode.

B. One member of the team secretly takes drugs and doesn't tell anyone else.

C. Nobody has any drugs because it might cheapen the insanity theme.

If we're dealing with sanity/insanity as a theme to completely ignore the effect that drugs can have on the mind might be misrepresentative.  Personally, I think it would be a bit strange if eight students went away on a trip without any drugs.  Although they are crossing from UK to France so it's possible.  There's always an abundance of magic mushrooms in the woods around the old farm house.

I'll post some pictures to give you an idea of the location.

Finally, on the subject of drugs... I would like to know your thoughts about treating psychosis with antipsychotic medication and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).  Does anyone have experience researching this?  If so, I would love to hear from you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Are lunatics just a mis-understood minority?

"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane" Oscar Wilde

"Insanity in individuals is something rare, but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule." Friedrich Nietzsche

"Only the insane have strength enough to survive. Only the survivors determine what is sane." unknown source

As you can probably guess the majority have voted for 'A'.  'C' received a couple of nods and 'B'... well 'B' saw tumbleweed!

I'm excited that the voting went so well, everybody got into the spirit of things.  A big thank you to all those who have commented so far, I appreciate your participation.  If we keep the momentum going we might actually make this movie!!  

Please remember to pass it on!

I had the great privilege to receive an email from George Cockcroft AKA Luke Rhinehart, author of "The Dice Man", both offering his support and voting on our blog!!!!  In his words... "Great idea, Geek! Go for it!". He said that he would be following the blog and would make the odd comment - so keep posted!

 I feel I just need to make it clear that this movie is inspired by the book and not based on or an adaption of... I would like the next generation of movie goers to learn a little about the ideas in the book, but in a contemporary genre that will appeal to the MTV generation.  Plus this is a no/lo budget film which means it has to be made using what I have available... no Lear Jets, no huge crowd scenes, no Angelina Jolie.  Just a bunch of students looking for an alternative experience in a house in the French Alps.

Perhaps some of the students are psych students?

In a couple of days I'll post the next set of choices for voting.  In the meantime, I'd like to hear more of your comments on the theme of the movie.

Don't be shy... speak up!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Let's kick this off!

So far there's only twelve of you who have actually subscribed...  Don't fear, at this stage we want to take it easy, find our feet so to speak.  The best way to get more subscribers is to recommend people.  

So if you think you know somebody that might be interested...

In the meantime, expect to see more PR on social networks as I use the (deep reverberating voice) POWER OF VIRAL MARKETING to promote this project:)  If you would like to see the press-release or link to the up-coming viral video then send me an email.

ENOUGH PLUGGING and on with the show!

I've actually had some great responses already (unfortunately not in the comments for all to read) and a great initial topic to put to the vote.

Anthony suggested that the 'life and death' theme wasn't a strong enough issue for the film to 
explore and felt it would be better to deal with sanity/insanity.  So this is the moment we find out if the blog is going to work....

Should the thematic issue of the film be;

A.    Is insanity born or bred? Are we all capable of moments/actions of insanity?  Are modern psychiatric techniques effective?  Do drugs induce insanity?  What is the link between sanity and morality?

B.    Is the survival instinct stronger than love?  Do we respect morality or survival?  Is any cause worth dying for?

C.    Is the society we live in the right way forward?  Are we denying our basic instincts?  If we give up our individuality, right of choice and ego are we truly free?

To vote on the theme you would like to see the movie follow then please email me  Thanks we appreciate your involvement.

I'm sure all of the above will be included in the film at some point, but what we need to decide here is what the main theme will be.  The theme is the topic the film explores the most from every angle and might even suggest an answer although you should see all view points.

Here's another plot summary of the book from Wikipedia to inspire you;

"The book tells the story of a psychiatrist named Luke Rhinehart who, feeling bored and unfulfilled in life, starts making decisions about what to do based on a roll of a die. Along the way, there is sex, rape, murder, "dice parties", breakouts by psychiatric patients, and various corporate and governmental machines being put into a spin. There is also a description of the cult that starts to develop around the man, and the psychological research he initiates, such as the "F*&! without Fear for Fun and Profit" program."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Dice Man Cometh!

This blog is about to be dedicated to a whole new style of conceptual filmmaking.  

A little about me....

I won't bore you, I am a digital filmmaker who has written and directed 8 short films.

A lot about this project...

Inspired by the cult book The Dice Man by George Cockroft under the pseudonym Luke Rhinehart.  If you're a big fan of Catch 22 and American Physco, you'll love it!  Here's a quote from Amazon;

"Inspired by an intriguing happenstance, Rhinehart one day makes a decision. He lists half a dozen options then rolls the die to decide which one he should follow. The result pushes his boundaries and opens up a new set of experiences. Bit by bit, he hands his life over to decisions made by roll of the die. The result is a hilarious, amoral rampage of a novel as he infects others with his ideas and injects a pattern of chaos into the chaotic order of his urbane, successful world."

So here's the pitch...

Eight students looking for the ultimate alternative experience decide to lock themselves away in a house for a week in the French Alps, with a bagful of drugs and furtive imaginations.  On the drive over, one of them reads The Dice Man and convinces the other students that the ultimate alternative experience would be to adopt his rules for the rest of the week and leave their descisions to a chance roll of the die (think Russian Roulette but with dice).  What starts as a fun experiment soon becomes as serious as life and death.  Their alternative experience becomes a struggle for survival as all boundaries are crossed and some take to the amoral lifestyle like it's second nature.  Will any of them make it back alive?

And finally here's the concept....

'Will any of them make it back alive' is one of many questions that we will explore on this blog.
This blog will literally write, cast, fund and direct the movie.

Well that's the idea, it's an experiment, much like the movie.  Each week I'll post a question or series of questions, subscribers get to vote or comment and at the end of the next week we'll announce the answer.  Sound good?

Over time we'll develop the script and then we'll move onto the casting.  Post casting clips here, everyone votes etc.  So you see where this is going.  Then all the proceeds made from advertising and donations will fund the final production.  If we only make twenty quid then it'll be a very short movie with my camerawork ;)

So let the games begin...

Next week I'll post the first list of questions, in the meantime, let me know what you think.