Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Next Winter

The previous part of this story covered what was probably the poorest version of the Winter script, but there's a rule in writing that every rewrite makes it better. (Unless you've got someone in the development team who feels strongly about bananas appearing everywhere - luckily we didn't).

Turns out Chris the Director had had an idea in the back of his mind for a long time: he wanted to do something with Steampunk, he had the outlines of a setting and an idea of a feature film script.

What is Steampunk? Well it's a lot of things but essentially it's retro-futurism. Technology as the Victorians might have dreamed it: H.G.Wells, Jules Verne - it's their future. Stories of Victorians in steam-powered spaceships.

Steampunk also encompasses a whole subculture of music, art, jewellery, cos-play, role-play as well as stories. They also tend to involve an idealised image of Victorian Britain or USA - though there are strong efforts by some to work on Eastern culture Steampunk.

Quite often Steampunk is combined with fantasy elements - supernatural and magic - but the universe that Chris wanted to develop was one in which the Steampunk-ness of it derived from a single change in science. What you might call hard-science Steampunk. To cut a long story short I liked the idea and agreed to re-write Winter in this new setting - and as a web series.

Of course we were setting ourselves up with a major issue: cost. It's a period drama (which in movie and TV terms means anything that's not contemporary so needs special set dressing and costume); it has spaceships so that means special effects; it has wild technology which means amazing props and even more special effects.

There was only one solution.

Going back to our collaboration on the MONSTERS mini-pilot, we created a scene for the trailer where the protagonist is dangled over the edge of a skyscraper at night. It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but it was filmed in the cellar of my house - green screen plus CGI.

Winter, we decided, would be CGI sets only - like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

Still crazy, but not quite as crazy.

So I set about the rewrite - as well as beginning to fill in the differences between our world and the Voidships world. You can see some of those changes by visiting the Voidships website here.

In part 4: How the second draft changed everything, for good and for bad.

Part 1: Early Winter
Part 2: Winter's zenith
Part 3: Next Winter
Part 4: Bad Winter

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