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Author Topic: Alien'79 inspired story, NON-submission to Tongal-...  (Read 579 times)

TC
Sep 02, 2018, 05:21:45 PM
Topic on: Sep 02, 2018, 05:21:45 PM
Q
A while ago 20th Century-Fox/Tongal were looking for entrants to a competition they are running for an Alien 1979-inspired short film.

If you didn’t hear about it, here is the link:

https://tongal.com/alien#/tab-brief

Although I never had any intention of entering, I found myself sitting in front of my computer unable to concentrate on an important assignment that really needed to be done, because I kept thinking about what I would have written for the competition, had I submitted a story.

I find there’s no better way to procrastinate on a project than to become mentally preoccupied with another project that I perversely find much more intriguing. The only way to exorcise myself of this distraction is to write the interloping thoughts out of my brain.

So that’s what I did.

I wrote this a week or three after the competition deadline had passed, but I treated it like an exercise and tried to keep to the judging criteria as outlined in the above link.

Anyway, I was looking at what I wrote, my “non-submission” short-film treatment, and since it has no real usefulness, I thought I would post it here as fan-fiction for other peoples’ entertainment.

(Later on, when I had a bit more time, I started converting it into a proper screenplay, but I never got past the first draft. I guess the exorcism was successful and I lost enthusiasm. If anyone is interested, I might finish it off and post that script here as well.)

TC


****EDIT: If you want to read the script instead, scroll down this thread to reply #5


Quote
TONGAL - 20TH CENTURY FOX
ALIEN 40TH ANNIVERSARY - SHORT FILM COMPETITION

Treatment for 9 minute short film
by TC
15 July 2018

    A Weyland-Yutani stealth ship has been secretly tailing the Nostromo space freighter for months. The stealth ship is about the size of a bus, containing a cockpit up top and a larger hold below. At one end of the hold is the ship’s main airlock, the other end has two hypersleep capsules and an internal hatch leading to the cockpit.

    Onboard are two crew: a female Pilot and a male Operative.

    Main title: “SPECIAL ORDER 937”

    In the cockpit, the Pilot has vacated the pilot’s chair in favour of the workbench in the back. An electronic beep! sounds from behind and a hatch in the floor opens. The Operative enters.
    The Pilot describes the latest report from the W-Y synthetic secretly embedded with the Nostromo crew. The report is troubling: the android synthetic has been unmasked and is facing imminent destruction.
    The Operative snorts, derisively dismissing the synthetic’s fate. He says the thing is insane and can’t be trusted; and no programmed automaton is capable of using initiative in an emergency.
    The Pilot says predictability is what makes it reliable, loyal, and task focussed - all ideal qualities in an agent on an important mission such as this one. It is also a trusted asset relaying valuable information.
    The Operative says he just wants the mission to end so they can go home.
    The Pilot decides that they should converge on the Nostromo just in case they need to intervene, but it will take many hours to catch up.

    Hours later - the Nostromo explodes!

    The shockwave strikes the stealth ship, causing a violent shake and numerous alarms to go off.
    The Pilot and Operative hastily check the ship's computer for damage reports.
    They identify some gas pipes and other structures along the bulkheads that need fixing. They will have to make some running repairs.

    In the hold the Pilot is using a small welding torch on the damaged pipes. The torch is comprised of a portable hand-piece and a replaceable pressurised gas canister.
    On the other side of the hold, the Operative is seated at the console of the long range telescope. They discuss possible causes of the Nostromo explosion.
    The Operative describes the debris field that the telescope reveals. He complains about returning to W-Y with nothing to show for the mission except the synthetic’s reports. That means no bonus pay. He’s about to complete another scan when he glimpses the Nostromo shuttle, unpowered and drifting. It must have been launched moments before the explosion!

    In the cockpit the pilot has plotted an intercept course on the shuttle. They are rapidly closing range when it suddenly lights its engines and rockets away.
    Unable to pursue, the Operative uses the telescope to watch it recede into the distance. He spots a small object drifting in the shuttle's wake - the LV-426 organism! What luck!
    Okay, so it’s a dead lump of charred, motionless tissue, but still a valuable specimen for W-Y's scientists. Once they collect it, now that the synthetic is gone and the Nostromo vaporised, they can go home. And even a dead specimen must be worth a partial bonus - better than no bonus at all.

    The Pilot manoeuvres the ship close to the alien corpse.
    The main airlock to the hold opens and the space-suited Operative leans out. He uses a boat-hook to snag the corpse and haul it inside the airlock

    In the hold interior the airlock inner door opens. Inside the airlock, the Operative is removing his spacesuit. He attaches ropes from a crane arm to the harness the alien corpse is sitting on. Hoisting the corpse by the harness, he moves it from the airlock to the middle of the hold.
    Finally, he gets to examines their prize: the alien.
    It is curled into a single featureless mass like a suitcase-sized armadillo in a defensive ball, arms and legs invisibly tucked away. He runs a glove over the corpse's scorched exterior, causing blackened ash to fall away.
    SUDDENLY IT MOVES!
    He recoils - and leaps for the internal hatch! Multiple jabs at the control panel fail to open it. Over the comms, the Pilot says the shockwave must have damaged the electronics.
    Behind the panicking Operative, the alien slowly unfurls itself.
    The Operative grabs an emergency axe from the wall and smashes the hatch control panel. Sparks fly and the main lights go out! In the dark, he can just make out the hatch’s manual lever, which he pulls with all the strength he can muster. It refuses to budge.
    He turns to face the alien, which is standing upright but in a somnolent, trance-like daze.
    He runs for the weapons locker and grabs an automatic machine pistol. While he fumbles with the magazine, the Pilot yells at him over the comms, “You can’t shoot it! The acid blood will destroy the ship’s hold!”
    “The hold can go to hell!”
    “No!”
    The Operative is about to unload on the beast when the hatch opens and the Pilot steps out. She grabs one of the welding torches and yanks off the pressurised canister. She flicks a lighter before the canister’s nozzle and sends a plume of flame out in front.
    The alien suddenly snaps awake, screeching hideously!
    She forces it back and yells to the Operative to do the same with another torch. He follows her lead. Together they back the alien into the airlock.
    The inner door closes, trapping the alien inside!
    The Operative turns a key in the nearside airlock console, deactivating the door controls. He pockets the key.

    The Operative peers through the door’s small inspection window. The alien snarls at him. The Pilot says they can keep it trapped inside the airlock for the journey home.
    The Operative says this creature will be worth millions on the black market. Even more if they can sell it to one of W-Y’s rivals.
    The Pilot says that would be insubordinate and illegal.

    The Operative furtively enters the avionics bay, a small room barely wide enough to allow outstretched arms. Equipment racks on all walls are filled with electronics. He plugs a laptop into a socket marked “auxiliary input deep space antenna” and types an encoded message: “W-Y SECRET OPS ACTIVITY CONFIRMED. WEAPONISED LV-426 BIOLOGIC SAMPLE ACQUIRED. PRICE NEGOTIABLE. RENDEZVOUS ETA 3 WEEKS.”

    In the cockpit, the Pilot is repairing the welding torches when she gets paged by the Operative. He says she’d better come down and check out the alien, something’s wrong.
    She leaves the welding torches laying on her workbench, along with the machine pistol, as she hastens below.

    The Pilot is looking through the airlock inspection window when suddenly the Operative strikes her from behind with a large wrench. Thump!
    She is injured, but still able to grapple with him. He hits her again, dropping her to the floor.
    He goes to the weapons locker looking for the pistol. Not there! When he looks back at the Pilot, he realises she’s got the console key in her hand. Shit, how did she get that? She uses it to turn on the airlock electronics, then presses a button before keeling over. 
    The Operative yells, “Are you crazy? You’re letting it loose!”
    Beep! The inner door opens and the alien emerges. It pauses at the foot of the Pilot. The Operative retreats to the far end of the hold and wrestles with the internal hatch, but it won’t open. “F**k! I thought you fixed this!”
    The Pilot croaks, “Program active.”         
    “Huh?”
    “Special order 937. Ensure return of organism for analysis. Crew expendable.” She is succumbing to her injuries. White fluid bleeds from her head wounds. “It needs… new host to perpetuate… life cycle.” She suddenly goes limp.
    The alien steps over her lifeless body and moves towards the Operative.
    It is in no hurry…

    Days later. Exterior starscape. The stealth ship floats past in a slow, uncontrolled tumble.

    In the main hold the Pilot is crumpled on the floor where she fell. No movement.
    Near the ceiling, in the overhead cable tray, there’s a resinous nest surrounding the alien. It has curled itself into an inert ball once again.
    On the floor below is an alien egg. The remains of the Operative protrude from the egg's maw. His dissolving face is faintly recognisable.  He momentarily spasms - but the Operative is long since dead, the movement being caused by the egg digesting another centimetre of his metamorphosing corpse.

    End credits.

 :)

« Last Edit: Sep 10, 2018, 01:36:01 PM by TC »

TC
Sep 05, 2018, 01:15:11 PM
Reply #1 on: Sep 05, 2018, 01:15:11 PM
Q
Some thumbnail concepts.

TC








« Last Edit: Sep 07, 2018, 02:30:33 PM by TC »

TheSailingRabbit
Sep 05, 2018, 02:36:59 PM
Reply #2 on: Sep 05, 2018, 02:36:59 PM
Q
You did good with this. It's not terrible; it seems promising and fairly entertaining for a nine-minute time crunch.


TC
Sep 05, 2018, 03:57:02 PM
Reply #3 on: Sep 05, 2018, 03:57:02 PM
Q
Thanks. I should have said earlier all crits are welcome, although it looks like you've already identified the weak spot - trying to simplify the plot to make 9 minutes. Don't think I succeeded.

If I get on to the screenplay I'll probably drop that stricture and restore a few more scenes.

BTW, I'm reading Boreal Nightmare but so far only got to chapter 3. Will comment when finished..

TC


TheSailingRabbit
Sep 05, 2018, 04:05:59 PM
Reply #4 on: Sep 05, 2018, 04:05:59 PM
Q
Thanks. I should have said earlier all crits are welcome, although it looks like you've already identified the weak spot - trying to simplify the plot to make 9 minutes. Don't think I succeeded.

If I get on to the screenplay I'll probably drop that stricture and restore a few more scenes.

BTW, I'm reading Boreal Nightmare but so far only got to chapter 3. Will comment when finished..

TC

Translating writing to film can be a bit tricky. Sometimes something that looks like it would take up too much time is actually a lot shorter.

Thanks for giving that a read. Trust me when I say that's not my best writing.


TC
Sep 07, 2018, 02:26:16 PM
Reply #5 on: Sep 07, 2018, 02:26:16 PM
Q
Here is the script version.

Story is pretty much the same, so may be of only academic interest for anyone that wants to follow the screenplay development, going from treatment through to script.

That said, there's one scene reimagined, others extended, and a couple minor ones that are new. (The 9 minute restriction caused too many plot niggles and besides the treatment failed that criterion anyway; so the hell with it, why not, right? ;D  )

TC


****EDIT: If you want to download a PDF of the script instead, scroll down this thread to reply #9


























« Last Edit: Sep 10, 2018, 01:37:37 PM by TC »

TheSailingRabbit
Sep 07, 2018, 02:41:11 PM
Reply #6 on: Sep 07, 2018, 02:41:11 PM
Q
Without the time restriction, this is absolutely gorgeous. It reads well, and I personally don't see much that can be changed any further, though that's all up to you. The inclusion of dialogue between the two characters made it a lot better.


TC
Sep 07, 2018, 04:09:28 PM
Reply #7 on: Sep 07, 2018, 04:09:28 PM
Q
Thanks!

...The inclusion of dialogue between the two characters made it a lot better.

For me dialogue is always the last thing to go into a screenplay. Everything that precedes it is structure, structure, structure. Not just the overall plot arc but also the scene by scene construction, the character dynamics, the way conversation builds and flows. Once I know what drama or exposition needs to be played out at any given time, which I work out at the treatment stage, then I kind of just "fill in the words." By then, I know what they need to say and I've been testing various lines in my head for days or weeks by then anyway.

But I'm sure Quentin Tarantino does it differently   :)

TC


TheSailingRabbit
Sep 07, 2018, 04:18:15 PM
Reply #8 on: Sep 07, 2018, 04:18:15 PM
Q
True. I try to make dialogue as natural as possible. Unless I'm writing Hudson and I need to add a dash of "no brain-to-mouth filter." Stuff like that helps make each character feel like their own individual.


TC
Sep 09, 2018, 10:09:37 AM
Reply #9 on: Sep 09, 2018, 10:09:37 AM
Q
I'm told the jpeg script pages I posted inline are a bit difficult to read, so here is a downloadable PDF.

TC

« Last Edit: Sep 10, 2018, 10:26:35 AM by TC »

TheSailingRabbit
Sep 10, 2018, 12:07:12 AM
Reply #10 on: Sep 10, 2018, 12:07:12 AM
Q
Huh. I personally didn't have trouble reading the script.

Did you finish "Boreal Nightmare?"


The Old One
Sep 10, 2018, 12:49:05 AM
Reply #11 on: Sep 10, 2018, 12:49:05 AM
Q
The visual concepts are exquisite, particularly the doorway and main hold.


TC
Sep 10, 2018, 07:31:14 AM
Reply #12 on: Sep 10, 2018, 07:31:14 AM
Q
...
Did you finish "Boreal Nightmare?"

Still going and enjoying it so far.  :)

The visual concepts are exquisite, particularly the doorway and main hold.

Thanks. The project is all thought experiment, even so, upon reflection I'd probably return the hatch to the sliding door design as seen in the films since that is the established Alien 'verse aesthetic.

TC


The Old One
Sep 10, 2018, 08:24:42 AM
Reply #13 on: Sep 10, 2018, 08:24:42 AM
Q
I disagree with that notion, it distinguishes your design and still echoes the submarine/future castle of Ron Cobb's work and Ridley Scott's ideas.


Corporal Hicks
Sep 10, 2018, 08:32:14 AM
Reply #14 on: Sep 10, 2018, 08:32:14 AM
Q
I enjoyed that. Seems like the zero-G stunt would have been reasonably ambitious but something I would have liked to have seen.


 

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