Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

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ThatDarnMKS
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Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:46 pm

Last summer, my frequent collaborator (you may not recognize him as the man behind the masks in my short films) and I decided to write a screenplay with the pure intent of it being something to send out and not make ourselves. We kept potential low to mid budgets in mind and applied some.of Blumhouse's rules for scripting to keep things right and relatively inexpensive but nevertheless, it's the most ambitious and BIG script I've worked on.

Logline: In a future where corporations control entire cities and the minds of employees are programmed to be obedient and love their jobs, a former artist begins to malfunction and look for a way out.

It's in the tradition of Verhoeven films, Blade Runner and South Korean thrillers.

If you wanna give it a whirl, I'm looking for virtually any feedback as no one has read this except the two of us at this point. Just post here and I'll PM you a link. Please don't share or anything but I trust you guys and your opinions so I thought I'd open it up here.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:49 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:Last summer, my frequent collaborator (you may not recognize him as the man behind the masks in my short films) and I decided to write a screenplay with the pure intent of it being something to send out and not make ourselves. We kept potential low to mid budgets in mind and applied some.of Blumhouse's rules for scripting to keep things right and relatively inexpensive but nevertheless, it's the most ambitious and BIG script I've worked on.

Logline: In a future where corporations control entire cities and the minds of employees are programmed to be obedient and love their jobs, a former artist begins to malfunction and look for a way out.

It's in the tradition of Verhoeven films, Blade Runner and South Korean thrillers.

If you wanna give it a whirl, I'm looking for virtually any feedback as no one has read this except the two of us at this point. Just post here and I'll PM you a link. Please don't share or anything but I trust you guys and your opinions so I thought I'd open it up here.
Would you be giving away too much to speak of the elements of the plot here in the open? I am curious as to the general shape of the plot.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:56 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Would you be giving away too much to speak of the elements of the plot here in the open? I am curious as to the general shape of the plot.
The film is a relatively traditional plot but is structured (hopefully) to operate as a series of reveals as the narrative is tethered to the POV of the protagonist, former artist now miner, for whom the programming has stopped working. It's an action oriented sci-fi so this leads to messy, violent brawls that punctuate each act.

I'm sorry if I'm vague and I do know a trailer would likely give away what becomes the driving force for the plot in the second act but currently, it's still (hopefully) a surprise so I want to get a pure reaction first before I start telling more.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:20 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
The film is a relatively traditional plot but is structured (hopefully) to operate as a series of reveals as the narrative is tethered to the POV of the protagonist, former artist now miner, for whom the programming has stopped working. It's an action oriented sci-fi so this leads to messy, violent brawls that punctuate each act.

I'm sorry if I'm vague and I do know a trailer would likely give away what becomes the driving force for the plot in the second act but currently, it's still (hopefully) a surprise so I want to get a pure reaction first before I start telling more.
Ah, so you're going for a twist.

Sounds like PK Dick territory.

So is our protagonist literally working in a mine?
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:25 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Ah, so you're going for a twist.

Sounds like PK Dick territory.

So is our protagonist literally working in a mine?
Dick is certainly in there (Phrasing!)

Yes. The opening starts within the mine. I'm hoping we convey the opening scene correctly as the closest comparison I can think of would be Gangs of New York, which similarly starts underground and feels post-apocaltptic then gradually reveals the actual time and place. This one is clearly in the future but hopefully the opening will seem evocative of turn of the century mines at first.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by wigwam » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:30 pm

I'll read it, PM me
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:32 pm

wigwam wrote:I'll read it, PM me
Sent!
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:10 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Dick is certainly in there (Phrasing!)

Yes. The opening starts within the mine. I'm hoping we convey the opening scene correctly as the closest comparison I can think of would be Gangs of New York, which similarly starts underground and feels post-apocaltptic then gradually reveals the actual time and place. This one is clearly in the future but hopefully the opening will seem evocative of turn of the century mines at first.
I like the "coal mine" that Neo works in in The Matrix. That is, he's at one of those "bullshit jobs" which David Graeber has described in detail, meaningless labor which sucks the soul, makes us feel guilty (for not really working hard), keeps us trapped, but most importantly preoccupied as docile bodies. In a like manner, the best aspect of The Cube, IMO, was that there really wasn't a point to the device. It was just a project that crept along, existing for the sake of existing.

The thing that is frightening about the future is that it will involve diminishing value of human life (there are too many of us for all of us to have perfect rights with corresponding claims to resources) and a diminishing need for the oppressed (i.e., labor). Say what you will about Pharaoh, but he had to supply mead to his laborers to keep them working on his monuments to himself. Say what you will about the Queen, but able seamen impressed into service were still guaranteed a rum ration and biscuits so that Britannia could rule the waves. Say what you will about the industrialist, but he had to pay laborers to work in those mines. Consider that our folk tale of John Henry is a human fighting to keep his shitty back breaking job from being automated away (shitty as that job was, it was better than starving).

But what is our relationship of our future dystopian oppressor and the human race? You don't need their labor (the weakest aspect of The Matrix was the goofy conceit that machines would need us to serve as "batteries"). So why not just kill them off? Or why not just turn them out and let nature sort it out (build walls and put the poor on the outside)? A truly dystopian future is not one in which oppressors "rely" upon the oppressed to make the great machine work.

The creepiest dystopian futures are not the ones which feature a mustache twirling villain, but well-intentioned utopians functioning as our collective "parents" or "game wardens" managing the human population and doing it "for the greater good." This is, for example, part of what makes Thanos a surprisingly compelling villain. He's not just an asshole hellbent on creating swirling vortex of world ending destruction to be stopped in the 3rd act. Rather, he's a Malthusian.

In short, how does your future care about us? And why are we stuck in mines?
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:21 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
I like the "coal mine" that Neo works in in The Matrix. That is, he's at one of those "bullshit jobs" which David Graeber has described in detail, meaningless labor which sucks the soul, makes us feel guilty (for not really working hard), keeps us trapped, but most importantly preoccupied as docile bodies. In a like manner, the best aspect of The Cube, IMO, was that there really wasn't a point to the device. It was just a project that crept along, existing for the sake of existing.

The thing that is frightening about the future is that it will involve diminishing value of human life (there are too many of us for all of us to have perfect rights with corresponding claims to resources) and a diminishing need for the oppressed (i.e., labor). Say what you will about Pharaoh, but he had to supply mead to his laborers to keep them working on his monuments to himself. Say what you will about the Queen, but able seamen impressed into service were still guaranteed a rum ration and biscuits so that Britannia could rule the waves. Say what you will about the industrialist, but he had to pay laborers to work in those mines. Consider that our folk tale of John Henry is a human fighting to keep his shitty back breaking job from being automated away (shitty as that job was, it was better than starving).

But what is our relationship of our future dystopian oppressor and the human race? You don't need their labor (the weakest aspect of The Matrix was the goofy conceit that machines would need us to serve as "batteries"). So why not just kill them off? Or why not just turn them out and let nature sort it out (build walls and put the poor on the outside)? A truly dystopian future is not one in which oppressors "rely" upon the oppressed to make the great machine work.

The creepiest dystopian futures are not the ones which feature a mustache twirling villain, but well-intentioned utopians functioning as our collective "parents" or "game wardens" managing the human population and doing it "for the greater good." This is, for example, part of what makes Thanos a surprisingly compelling villain. He's not just an asshole hellbent on creating swirling vortex of world ending destruction to be stopped in the 3rd act. Rather, he's a Malthusian.

In short, how does your future care about us? And why are we stuck in mines?
I'm fascinated by consumerism, corporatism and the way we surrender our freedoms and information to companies to make our lives easier. This dystopia takes place in a privatized city, in which virtually everything is owned by a single corporation and people, either through the justice system or personal choice, submit themselves to programming in order to love and accept the job the company gives them. It gives people social elevation. It gives them their purpose. Their "dream."

The corporation profits off the cheap and happy labor while deeming itself benevolent because it makes its employees feel fulfilled and satisfied with their lot and life while maintaining a low bottom line because it's more cost effective than the burgeoning robotics market.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:59 pm

I'm interested in reading it as well. Can you PM it to me?
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:26 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:I'm interested in reading it as well. Can you PM it to me?
Done and done!
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:29 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:I'm fascinated by consumerism, corporatism and the way we surrender our freedoms and information to companies to make our lives easier.


I agree, but that is what leans me in the direction of Kafka/Dick territory of the bureacratic coal mine.
ThatDarnMKS wrote:This dystopia takes place in a privatized city, in which virtually everything is owned by a single corporation and people, either through the justice system or personal choice, submit themselves to programming in order to love and accept the job the company gives them. It gives people social elevation. It gives them their purpose. Their "dream."


I think we already live in an age of corporate sovereigns without realizing it. They don't have seats at the UN or "territory" or armies, but these are costs which are outsourced to client states which serve them (e.g., the U.S. stages a coup for United Fruit Co. in 1954). But this is all late stage capitalism stuff, capitalism which still has imperfect monopolies and still has a role (albeit diminishing) for labor.

What do your ascendant masters who have conquered the world want from us?

In Dark City, they want to understand the human soul. In The Matrix, they're farming energy. Why your oppressors "need" us? If they own the game, they don't need to play nice, right? Are the utopians? Are they doing this for our own good?
ThatDarnMKS wrote:The corporation profits off the cheap and happy labor while deeming itself benevolent because it makes its employees feel fulfilled and satisfied with their lot and life while maintaining a low bottom line because it's more cost effective than the burgeoning robotics market.
Hmm, so they still "need" labor because it is cost beneficial over robotics? This does not seem likely given what we know about the world. The best cancer diagnosticians are now AIs. In a few years, truckers will be robots. Are you sure there isn't a bit of Romanticism in your vision? That is, we are so in love with ourselves that we think aliens will be fascinated by us, that demons will need to torture us, and that capitalist will need to exploit us for our unique labor inputs? Or, perhaps, might we be suffering from the "end of history-ism" that doesn't really let us imagine post-capitalism (Zizek's complaint that we cannot really imagine post-capitalism, which is why we embrace zombie-apocalypse tales).

Why not position them as paternalistic? That is, they don't really need us, but they're humanistic enough to not simply want to kill us all off or let us die. Thus we're troublesome pets that they need to "manage" because the "care" about us, while doing so from a privileged distance (e.g., Logan's Run).
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:40 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:

I agree, but that is what leans me in the direction of Kafka/Dick territory of the bureacratic coal mine.



I think we already live in an age of corporate sovereigns without realizing it. They don't have seats at the UN or "territory" or armies, but these are costs which are outsourced to client states which serve them (e.g., the U.S. stages a coup for United Fruit Co. in 1954). But this is all late stage capitalism stuff, capitalism which still has imperfect monopolies and still has a role (albeit diminishing) for labor.

What do your ascendant masters who have conquered the world want from us?

In Dark City, they want to understand the human soul. In The Matrix, they're farming energy. Why your oppressors "need" us? If they own the game, they don't need to play nice, right? Are the utopians? Are they doing this for our own good?



Hmm, so they still "need" labor because it is cost beneficial over robotics? This does not seem likely given what we know about the world. The best cancer diagnosticians are now AIs. In a few years, truckers will be robots. Are you sure there isn't a bit of Romanticism in your vision? That is, we are so in love with ourselves that we think aliens will be fascinated by us, that demons will need to torture us, and that capitalist will need to exploit us for our unique labor inputs? Or, perhaps, might we be suffering from the "end of history-ism" that doesn't really let us imagine post-capitalism (Zizek's complaint that we cannot really imagine post-capitalism, which is why we embrace zombie-apocalypse tales).

Why not position them as paternalistic? That is, they don't really need us, but they're humanistic enough to not simply want to kill us all off or let us die. Thus we're troublesome pets that they need to "manage" because the "care" about us, while doing so from a privileged distance (e.g., Logan's Run).
Is that not what I said about their perceived benevolence? It's not exclusive to exploitation for financial gain.

It's not romanticism when humans become interchangable with programmable machines. Technology continually pushes away skilled labor into more and more mundane jobs or offering no viable replacement. This is a means to turn people into manageable property while feeling good about it.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:54 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:Is that not what I said about their perceived benevolence? It's not exclusive to exploitation for financial gain.


Gotcha. I think that is the right direction. The most frightening dystopias are failed utopias. And at the end of the day we don't want power simply to oppress and to make people miserable, but out of the sense that we know best or that we have the will to doing what needs to be done to set things right.
ThatDarnMKS wrote:It's not romanticism when humans become interchangable with programmable machines. Technology continually pushes away skilled labor into more and more mundane jobs or offering no viable replacement. This is a means to turn people into manageable property while feeling good about it.
Sure, but our capitalist overlords would not create a collective dream for computers or embed them in a social hierarchy. They don't care about machines in the way that they care about us as an obligation, or wildlife to be managed, or freeloading broke-ass family members, etc.

I think it is MUCH more dehumanizing to do labor that you know (or learn that) does not serve a purpose -- pointless tasks like "Take this wall apart and move it and then move take it apart again and move it back." The shadow of our technological information age dystopia is the realization that labor is increasingly meaningless and thus loses power as a source of dignity (honest work) and power (STRIKE!). Indeed, I would love to see a scene in a movie where our protag learns that his/her labor is meaningless and that, in a sense, s/he has not been vital to making the machine run, but rather a beneficiary of welfare plus busy work (think of Kurt Russell's reality/humanity melting away in Vanilla Sky, LOL).

Meh, it doesn't matter that much either way. It would still be great for our heroes to learn that society no longer has any use for them, save as a sort of welfare beneficiary of being managed property (like the deer population). Just so long as you don't do The Matrix thing where our oppressors inexplicably "need" us, just about any set-up is good.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:00 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:

Gotcha. I think that is the right direction. The most frightening dystopias are failed utopias. And at the end of the day we don't want power simply to oppress and to make people miserable, but out of the sense that we know best or that we have the will to doing what needs to be done to set things right.



Sure, but our capitalist overlords would not create a collective dream for computers or embed them in a social hierarchy. They don't care about machines in the way that they care about us as an obligation, or wildlife to be managed, or freeloading broke-ass family members, etc.

I think it is MUCH more dehumanizing to do labor that you know (or learn that) does not serve a purpose -- pointless tasks like "Take this wall apart and move it and then move take it apart again and move it back." The shadow of our technological information age dystopia is the realization that labor is increasingly meaningless and thus loses power as a source of dignity (honest work) and power (STRIKE!). Indeed, I would love to see a scene in a movie where our protag learns that his/her labor is meaningless and that, in a sense, s/he has not been vital to making the machine run, but rather a beneficiary of welfare plus busy work (think of Kurt Russell's reality/humanity melting away in Vanilla Sky, LOL).

Meh, it doesn't matter that much either way. It would still be great for our heroes to learn that society no longer has any use for them, save as a sort of welfare beneficiary of being managed property (like the deer population).
I think the best dystopias echo the current failures of reality. While the problems of the future will deal largely with automation and human obsolescence, I don't think that says very much about right now. It's a present problem, as it is present in this dystopias, but it's not THE problem nor is it what the film is trying to comment on..

And while it's ambiguous, it also doesn't take place in the future of a currently developed nation, so echoes of globalism and corporate driven imperialism factor into the trajectory of this world.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:47 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:I think the best dystopias echo the current failures of reality.


Sure, and those just happen to echo failed utopias.
ThatDarnMKS wrote:While the problems of the future will deal largely with automation and human obsolescence, I don't think that says very much about right now.


I don't know. It seems that we've been commenting on the phenomena of superfluous human labor quite frequently in comedies like Office Space, so I'd say it's not only of the now, but a concern we have as audiences. We should note the "solution" for our hero in that film--he wants to escape a world of meaningless abstractions and do honest work with his hands (not unlike Wittgenstein who once fantasized that he would escape the bullshit world of philosophy by emigrating to the Soviet Union to be a common laborer--the Soviets rescinded their offer to him when they realized he wanted to be a menial laborer, commenting to him that they already had plenty of people to turn shovels) and so our hero escapes into construction work. Your hero, on the other hand has a desire for transcendence--escaping the mundane world of manual labor and moving into a more dignified human sphere of art (in this sense, your story sounds romantic to me). Such is the contrast between tragedy and comedy, but also of the ideology that projects us into these frames (and must all tragedies assert our importance as a cog in some great machine?).
ThatDarnMKS wrote:it's not THE problem nor is it what the film is trying to comment on..


How dare you make a movie that's not about my message!
ThatDarnMKS wrote:And while it's ambiguous, it also doesn't take place in the future of a currently developed nation, so echoes of globalism and corporate driven imperialism factor into the trajectory of this world.
Fair enough, but I am still curious as to what "truth" it is that you're telling us. Is this a possible world? A dream world? A future world? Our present world? What is this medicine for? What are you treating?
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:49 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:

Sure, and those just happen to echo failed utopias.



I don't know. It seems that we've been commenting on the phenomena of superfluous human labor quite frequently in comedies like Office Space, so I'd say it's not only of the now, but a concern we have as audiences. We should note the "solution" for our hero in that film--he wants to escape a world of meaningless abstractions and do honest work with his hands (not unlike Wittgenstein who once fantasized that he would escape the bullshit world of philosophy by emigrating to the Soviet Union to be a common laborer--the Soviets rescinded their offer to him when they realized he wanted to be a menial laborer, commenting to him that they already had plenty of people to turn shovels) and so our hero escapes into construction work. Your hero, on the other hand has a desire for transcendence--escaping the mundane world of manual labor and moving into a more dignified human sphere of art (in this sense, your story sounds romantic to me). Such is the contrast between tragedy and comedy, but also of the ideology that projects us into these frames (and must all tragedies assert our importance as a cog in some great machine?).



How dare you make a movie that's not about my message!



Fair enough, but I am still curious as to what "truth" it is that you're telling us. Is this a possible world? A dream world? A future world? Our present world? What is this medicine for? What are you treating?
If only I'd written it down somewhere...
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:50 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote: If only I'd written it down somewhere...
In that case, I guess I'd like to request the PM of the script.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:55 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
In that case, I guess I'd like to request the PM of the script.
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:22 am

Image
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:54 am

Jinnistan wrote:Image
Sent!
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Re: Dream City- a new sci-fi script co-written by me.

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:46 am

Danke.
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