DAWN Has Had A Face Lift

It’s back! I’ve started working on DAWN again, the feature film I’ve been mulling over for the past year. If you’d like to get up to speed click here for more information.

Up to date? Okay let’s continue.

After my dissertation was handed in I took a two week break from University work thinking that this film script was due in at the end of May when in reality it was due in beginning (oops) so now the panic has set in and has blocked up my mind totally. I find myself procrastinating so much unfortunately. But tonight I had a break through with it.

I went out to Pizza Hut with my dad and talked my film idea through with him and he gave me some good ideas, because let’s be honest, the script in its current form sucks. It’s a first draft though it’s supposed to be shit. There was no side plot, no character development, no structure, no interesting story.

I’m not sure how much this will have changed with this current incarnation of the story but it feels more packed, there’s stuff happening plot-wise, there’s room for characters to grow. It has a clearly identified antagonist, and protagonist.

Which brings me to the next point. Roy, the main character up to this point, is no longer the main character. Alice is. And they’re now dating. And work together. And the Doctor is in love with Alice which makes him cause Roy to have a coma. Okay that sounds confusing so here is a handy bullet pointed list of the story as it is at the moment.

  • Alice walks in on Roy’s apparent suicide.
  • Roy is rushed to hospital where he is deemed physically fine, but he is in a deep coma.
  • Robert Lineback, the lead scientist on the DAWN Project (a virtual world designed for coma patients – a project for which both Alice and Roy work for), convinces Alice that Roy is a good choice for the first human subject.
  • Roy wakes in DAWN, not knowing who he is or what is going on. He doesn’t remember Alice, whom he is engaged to.
  • Roy is shown his apartment, where he’ll be staying.
  • At a party, celebrating the success of Roy’s rebirth into the world of DAWN, Lineback is drunk. He makes a pass at Alice but she denies him and goes home. Lineback’s furious.
  • Charlie, Roy’s guide in the world of DAWN takes Roy to a virtual reality bar (a bar in which the customers can “visit” anywhere they want in the world and fully immerse themselves in video games, much like an arcade). There Roy gets drunk and meets Lucy, one of the self-aware AI that inhabit the world of DAWN. [NOTE: I’m just using the name Lucy as a homage to the original version of the script. This has nothing to do with the Lucy from the original script, by which I mean it’s not Alice in disguise.]
  • Roy takes Lucy back to his apartment and sleeps with her.
  • Back in the real world Lineback forces Alice to watch this as punishment for the rejection, but under the pretense that it seems Roy’s mind isn’t recovering.
  • Alice really wants to quit but can’t because she won’t have access to Roy anymore.
  • Alice starts to dig into DAWN’s history. She uncovers information on the Shēnghuó incident. [NOTE: Shēnghuó is Chinese for “Life” (according to Google translate)]. The Shēnghuó Project, to which the Shēnghuó incident concerns, was the virtual world of DAWN’s original incarnation. The Chinese developed it to help with the over population of China. All 1000 test users died as a result and the technology was auctioned off.
  • Roy goes on another date with Lucy, they really seem to be hitting it off. Alice watches this from her desk and then when Lucy and Roy are asleep, Alice (who is a programmer for DAWN) deletes Lucy from the system, effectively murdering her.
  • Not long after Alice watches Roy sleep and he is tossing back and forth. In the midst of this he calls out for Alice, but doesn’t wake. Alice is ecstatic with this development because it shows that he may end up remembering her again after all.
  • Determined to find out what is actually going on at DAWN Laboratories, Alice digs some more and uncovers Lineback’s plan.
  • Lineback plans to use DAWN to house the minds of politicians and people in power and “hack” their minds and implant his own ideas and suggestions into them so when they reawaken in the real world they will think that the ideas are their own. Finding out that this is possible Alice realises that Roy’s apparent Amnesia is caused by Lineback’s hacking. He decided to use Roy as a test subject, trying to get him out of the way so he could get Alice. He arranged Roy’s apparent suicide and has been administering a drug to him that’s keeping him in the coma, when in fact he could have woken almost instantly after he was resuscitated.
  • Alice gets to work on her hacking of the world of DAWN. She plants code that will allow to her to enter DAWN and get to Roy, hoping that she get him to A) Remeber her and B) Wake up from this coma.
  • Alice visits Roy’s body and plants a mobile phone in his pillow. She then takes one of the portable DAWN kits that allow conscious people to enter the world and makes off with it. She uses it to enter the world of DAWN.
  • In the world she keeps a low profile and makes her way to Roy’s apartment. Roy is under 24/7 surveillance in the real world so when she gets there she will have to be as quick as possible before Lineback can stop her.
  • Back in the real world, Lineback discovers that Alice is missing and realises what she has done. He sends a team to locate her.
  • We cut between a team mobilising and going to her apartment and her making her way through DAWN, avoiding The Guardians (visual representation of a virus checker/firewall). The team get to her apartment and the audience is led to believe that she is about to be caught but she it’s revealed that she’s safe for now as she isn’t actually there.
  • Alice reaches Roy’s apartment and makes it up, she believes she is still incognito so she is surprised to find that Roy is expecting her and is pointing a gun at her. Lineback has took control of Roy’s mind as is making Roy aim the gun at her. During this scene Roy realises what is happening to him, that he is being controlled and Alice’s appearance frightens him because although he doesn’t remember her, he does at the same time. He takes note that she is obviously someone important to him for her to risk all this and he manages to fight Lineback for control of his mind and instead turns the gun to himself.
  • Before anything can happen Alice rushes Roy and kisses him. The kiss grounds Roy and brings all the memories back. Now he is fully aware and he knows the situation Lineback can no longer control him. He tucks the gun into his waist band and Alice gets him to leave. Alice has programmed in a specific way out, that will allow them both to return to their bodies. They make their way to the exit.
  • In the real world Lineback orders the program shut down. This isn’t an instantaneous thing, it shuts down slowly. This is represented by a huge blackness sweeping across the city, deleting things as it goes. It’s a close race but Alice and Roy make it to the exit in time.
  • Roy and Alice wake and she scrabbles for her phone and dials a number. The phone that she hid in his pillow rings and he answers it. They arrange to meet.
  • Lineback’s men have tracked her actual location down now and are closing in. She makes it out in time to her car and meets Roy. She calls Lineback telling him she has all the information ready to send out to the police, the press, online blogs etc. He calls the men off, but she does it anyway.
  • Lineback is sent to prison. Whilst in prison he is in an accident that leaves him in a coma.

If you’ve got this far then thanks for reading. Feel free to comment on whether you like this new version or not and suggests any improvements. I have to write this feature in two weeks and hopefully get at least a redraft done in that time too….challenge accepted.

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2 thoughts on “DAWN Has Had A Face Lift

  1. A new DAWN

    Good to see you’ve made some strides in the script. First drafts are always just jumping off points and it looks like you have things under control. Getting it done in two weeks would be an impossible task for me, two months is more my speed, but I think you can pull it off.

    Everything looks fine in the script to write it as is but I want to point out a few red flags that pop out.

    1. Lucy. I see this Lucy is a different character than the original, no problem there. The issue I have is that her death is little more than a plot device to take Roy’s mind off of her. It also makes Alice appear like jealous murderer, not the thing you want in the heroine. If Lucy’s death cannot be meaningful, then her role is not necessary. She can be a nameless one-night-stand or a Bangkok hooker if her only purpose is for Lineback to show Alice that Roy has moved on.

    2. Lineback’s plan is very lofty, controlling politicians through VR. To what end, money, power, wealth? He can achieve all of that through selling the technology to the government to a. control prison populations, b. control the growing poor and welfare recipients, c. secretly train the military for dark operations, d. torture terror suspects e. sell to the porn industry f. sell to the video gaming industry, g. all of the above for untold billions of dollars and worldwide influence.

    3. The goon squad that Lineback sends after Alice and Roy is cliché. Why would a research facility need a security team like that? I’m not saying not to have one, but explain why hired killers are needed for the project.

    4. If Roy is in a drug-induced coma, I would think that he is under surveillance and round-the-clock medical care. How does he come out of the coma, answer the phone, and get away after being laid up for weeks? The end needs work.

    Those are the red flags that jump out right now, but there is a bigger issue at hand and that is the character development. Switching the focus from Roy to Alice is a big step. That step means the audience has to get to know lice, her flaws and weaknesses at the beginning and see her transformation throughout the story.

    What you have is a couple separated that gets back together. But what we miss are all the good parts, the first meeting, the first kiss, the falling in love, the first fight, the first break-up, etc… What we have is an established couple that is torn apart. How does Alice react to this, how does it change her, how does it affect Roy, who is he without Alice? Allthese questions and more MUST be answered or you will end up with a action movie where no one cares about the characters.

    Imagine a Doctor Who episode where nothing exciting happens. You’d still watch it because of the characters. Now put Doctor What in the Tardis and have him battle the Daleks for three hours. Explosions, laser blasts and supernovas go off every ten minutes, but it will be dull since we don’t know Doctor What or even care.

    Special effects and plot twists are fine but characters are everything.

    Good luck

    1. As always I appreciate your feed back (: It’s been such a stressful semester but hopefully I Can get this done (: I’ll answer your flags/acknowledge them in their numbered order haha.

      1) I took this on board and now she’s still called Lucy but Alice doesn’t kill her. What actually happens is Roy mumbles Alice’s name and this wakes Lucy, Lucy asks Roy what’s up and he just shrugs it off as a nightmare and cuddles into Lucy. Alice is really happy that Roy mentioned her name and I think it shows the character being strong and having renewed hope due to the fact that even though he just shrugged it off as a nightmare and also then cuddled up into Lucy as Alice watches, she doesn’t seem phased because she knows Roy has it in him to remember at some point (:

      2) It’s not about money for Lineback it’s about power, sure he could sell off the technology but he wouldn’t be in control anymore, I see it as more that he can influence who he needs to influence and he retains control. He’s a meglomaniac through and through, and he being in control of this virtual world makes him feel godlike, almost like a kid playing with his toys. I don’t think I’m going to do that justice in my script but that’s how he is in my head. I do think at the moment though he is a little two dimensional unfortunately.

      3) Yeah it does seem cliche thinking about it, but I’m not quite sure how else to do it. I was thinking of them being there to prevent corporate espionage, and because at the moment this is a secret experiment he needs to keep people quiet. We see a scene around half an hour in where Alice is starting to have suspicions and she reads a report from this amateur journalist and when she tries to track him down he’s apparently commited suicide, showing it as Robert’s preferred way of taking out people who could cripple his enterprise.

      4) Again yeah now you mention it it doesn’t seem very thought through. There’s a character called Martyn, one of Roy’s carers who Alice is friends with, I am hoping to use their friendship as a means for Roy to escape, with the aid of Martyn.

      On character development and showing them together, I have the scene of their proposal mixed in with the opening of the script in which she finds Roy hanged. Much like the first act of “Things We Lost In The Fire”

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