Let me run this by you....

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DruffyB
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Let me run this by you....

Post by DruffyB » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:55 pm

I realise that I havent been on the forum long enough to create a thread but you guys seem to be very honest so I want to ask your opinion.

I am currently a trainee accountant so I'm expected to gain at least SOME money in my life. The job search to get into this is not going so well but...meh. This isn't what I realy want to do though. I've always wanted to make movies.

The one I'm thinking in particular is something I call Deadlands which is a post-world war III western set in a war torn desert. It's a 'wastern' one might say (ba-dum-tiss). The story revolves around a man (who I havent thought of a name yet for him) who lives as a scavenger in post war mid-west USA in the near/mid future. World War III was not in fact nuclear it was simply a war between NATO and China whereby China invaded USA. Anyway he lives a peaceful life with his wife and children. The wife however witnessed a murder by a local militia planning to ambush their vilage. The militia therefore makes a pre-emptives strike and rape and murder his wife and the village. Upset obviously he plots revenge. He leaves alone, furious that no one besides him had attempted to stop them.

A year later the man approaches Vicemetal a town in Southwest USA after gaining a reputation for slaughtering any of the militia he can find. Upon approaching the local bar he is approached by members of the militia who he promptly kills. However during this time he has become cynical of humanity and kills everyone in the bar believing them to be collabourators. He is imprisoned for this. The town believe him to be a member of the militia and agree to exchange him for the militia to leave them alone.

This is what I've got so far. This would compose of the first 30 minutes or so. I'm thinking of giving it a classic rock soundtrack including Cherry Red by the Bloodhounds and The Weavers Answer. So what do you think so far? Any feedback would be welcome!

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Dirty n Evil
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Re: Let me run this by you....

Post by Dirty n Evil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:32 am

DruffyB -

Don't kill me don't kill me don't kill me. But it's fairly coincidental that at my job since we're closing everything down, we're playing mix CD's that the coworkers have burned. And the first song on the first CD is Muse's Knights of Cydonia. If you've never seen the video before, watch it and you'll see why it was the first thing to come to mind as I read your suggestion.

Okay, honest opinion. Too much machismo. There's a reason why the Clint Eastwood westerns were favorites of guys but not something you can drag most ladies to see... when the hero is just "Mr. Badass" (even if there's a catalyst at the beginning of the film to set him on his course), you already know he's unlikely to have anything worse than a graze hit him while he instead blows off people's heads from 100 feet out. Now, that's a deliberate exaggeration, but I wanted you know how some people see this sort of story.

My suggestion is that the story is missing a villain. A face of the militia, the reason they're such a feared force amongst the good people. There's an old saying in writing that the villain should always be more complex and developed than the hero. I would say... make the villain the main character. Show him being this horrible human being, this loathsome bully. From there, you see where the story turns its focus off the hero and onto this head of the militia. And if there's one thing people like, it's a good villain.

This makes the hero less of the "steely eyed badass" and more of the "former family man with nothing left to lose". If you have him kill people that aren't involved with the militia, you can depict it in the light that he's a broken man who's still a bit unhinged by the loss of his family. He's not a man who's unnable to be frightened... he's a man who's divorced himself from the ability to care anymore, and he feels so dead inside that the only thing he moves towards is revenge. THAT'S a hero that is flawed and interesting to the audience.

You sound like you're a fan of westerns, and I am as well. So I'm certain you've watched Eastwood's Unforgiven. I suggest you think about the section of the movie before Eastwood's character William Munny goes into town and gets into the big gunfight with Little Bill, Gene Hackman's character. The movie is all about subtly. Almost everyone is attempting to act bigger than they feel inside, and as the viewer you can see that. A western story you're less likely to have read, but that I strongly recommend? The classic Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark. It's a short story and you could easily finish it in a day, but it shows a very good feeling for what the "Wild West" was really like. It's a classic, and if you can't find it in a library I'm sure you can find it in most bookstores.

Hopefully, I didn't overwhelm you with suggestions... I consider myself a writer, and while I can get pretty burnt out to the point where I'm unable to provide enough fuel to write my own ideas sometimes the ideas of others sparks a fire under me. I also hope you can see my suggestions were intended to be helpful, and that they might give you some good ideas. Good luck!
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Re: Let me run this by you....

Post by DruffyB » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:02 pm

Thanks for replying. First I'd like to apologise. What you said DOES actually appear in the film but I thought that this forum had a limit on how many words you could have per post I thoght I had to condense it. Besides it would be a case of tl;dr... :P

The man was formally part of the militia. However he left after the militia started to defer from its original purpose which was to create a more free, fairer America promoting free speech, true representation and Libertarian principles much like the origin of the original American Revolution. However the leader (who is the main villain which was ommited for the reason above) realises that to achieve this he will need to kill any disenters, people that disagree and people who follow collectivist/elitist attitudes. The result is that while many people are slaughtered it is done for what is perceived the greater good. They also kidnap people to serve in their factories (of which some still exist after the war) producing weapons and food for the militia. The main character,who was a colonel, gets dissilusioned with this after he becomes guilty with the killing and decides to desert. He on the contrary believes that America had become over-ripe and that the militia's methods simply recreated this scenario. he believes that America is better in it's present state as a country which has splintered into several small federations. By being smaller the principles are easier to follow and freedom can be attained by individuals rather than a state following these principles. He is also of course angered that the militia are slaughtering people regardless of it's intentions.
This obviously angers the militia and they come after him and kill his wife and family when he retires to a village. Nobody helped them due to both fear and a feeling that it was deserved. At this point the hero becomes disillusioned with humanity as well as if they cannot help others why was he trying to create a better country for them. Whether rightly or wrongly, he thus believes that America doesnt deserve to be saved. The militia's slaughtering was the original reason why he slaughered them. However I felt this wasnt a good enough motive for him to kill people so I changed it to his family being killed as it is then more personal. Also I don't want it to be a political movie paricularly as I'm commenting on America but am in fact English. Not a very good idea [-X
This is where the movie starts; upon coming to Vicemetal where he is tracking them down he enters the bar where several members of the militia are staying. He gets a drink and watches them playing a card game in the corner from the bar. One of the members is shouting through a door, evidently at a woman, using several sexual threats including making sounds resembling her hymen breaking (he's an arsehole....). The miltia recognise the man and start to threaten him, he then overpowers them and kills all of them in the room whilst spouting that they seserved this. However he then questions the barman who he claims is collaborating with them, after killing him her shoots up the entire room believeing them to all to be collaborators. The door where the rapist was shouting opens and a woman walks out and sees the carnage. The mantells her to leave saying that she doesnt serve to die victim that she is. Sorry need another post screen keeps scrolling.

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Re: Let me run this by you....

Post by DruffyB » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:40 pm

He then leaves the bar and is captured by the local lawman.
When in prison he tells the lawman that the men he killed were former comrades and laments that he had no choice but to kill them. It turns out the militia had been attacking Vicemetal frequently and kidnapping men and women. The lawmen mistakenly believe that he still is with them and offers the militia him in exchange for peace from further raids. When the deal takes place 10 miltiamen turn up and threaten to 'court martial' the man. Fearing incarceration whilst being carried away he steals a gun and shoots 4 men. After a brief shootout whereby he manages to kill 5 and seriously injure one. He breaks the injured miltiaman's arms to extrat information that the militia are based 50 miles away to the West. After saying a brief and reluctant goodbye the man shoots the militiaman in the head. He then takes out a notebook from his pocket and scribbles out 12 names from a list saying '12 pricks down...56 to go' he then looks into a reflection in the window of a bulding and says '57'. The lawmen then approach him threatening to shoot him if he doesnt leave because he had created too much chaos in a town that was peaceful before he came. He then launches a tirade about how he just saved the town and that the town are no better than the village than stood by and watched as his family was murdered and that all humanity acts with cowardice and lacks any moral backbone. After leaving the woman follows under the belief that despite all the death and violence that follows the man, he is a good person and wants the best for everyone.
During the movie he feels remorse for having to kill his former comrades and that someone has to kill them and that it may as well be him. He is in particular in two minds about the leader. One the one hand he respects the man as he follows a path of righteousness depsite using evil means as a method of achieving this aim. On the other he realises that for the greater good, at least in his eyes, he must kill him or else the militia would just slaughter anyone who disagreed with them, something that plagued his many years there. A common theme in the movie is that greater good intentions can only really lead to evil as violence will eventually have to be used to achieve it.

Now I realise that this is very machismo at this point however I would like to point out that many movies appeal to certain people. Many men don't like romance flicks which are very feminine. If I tried to appeal to everyone then I appeal noone (a problem it seems which plagues democracy). Besides most good westerns are machismo which I think is the problem with a lot of westerns nowadays with the exception of true Grit which was better than I thought. :-j Any other feedback is appreciated...

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Re: Let me run this by you....

Post by 'J' » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:00 pm

what you've got here is i fairly standard issue revenge story; not bad in any way, but nothing the audience hasn't seen before. alot. could still make a very enjoyable movie if done right.

what you could do to make it abit more interesting would be to bring in some moral ambiguity. not to make the hero less heroic, but to make the villains less villainous. is there any reason they need to rape the wife other than to hit you're audience over the head with a sign saying "these are the villains. hate them. do not feel bad about the things that will happen to them."?

consider this alternative: the wife gets captured and the audience gets to see the condition of the raiders' camp, specifically that they really do need the supplies from the village; they're almost out of fuel for their vehicles, ammo is low, they are starving, kids are sick, etc. she meets the leader who is portrayed as a decent man forced to do distasteful things by circumstance, and in conversation he indicates the intention for a quick raid with minimal casualties. eventually she manages to escape and warn the village, giving them a chance to prepare themselves, and so when the raiders do show up, the fight turns into a bloodbath on both sides. in the end, the raiders win through attrition more than anything, and everyone in the village is dead. man gets home, finds the aftermath, and the movie picks up from there.

i think it was harry turtledove who said "everyone is the hero in their own story". consider how in road warrior the film goes to great lengths to establish that The Lord Humungus and his men are the villains, but if you think about it, what choice did he really have? The Ayatollah Of Rock And Rolla is responsible for a lot of people who are dependent on their vehicles, he needs that go-juice, and since the defenders won't share what else can he do but take it by force?



one thing i really like is the idea of the post apocalyptic/western aesthetic. you could have alot of fun with that, and for some reason, it isn't really done much. most post apocalyptic fiction is just trying to be mad max. try to ask your self things like: is oil still being pumped? if not, how are factories still working? can things like bullets be mass produced without them? without large scale industry or infrastructure, what kind of things become a precious commodity? what kind of shape is the ecosystem in?

also, the post ww3 thing is abit quaint these days, what with globalization and all, particularly between massive trading partners like china and the us. consider how you might get around that. example: a neo-maoist uprising overthrew the chinese government and became expansionistic, started a second cultural revolution and took over all of east asia.

the idea of a second american civil war is more interesting. ask you're self, how did it happen? how did the rebels manage to overcome the us military? how stable is the new social model really? why was it militias and small states that took over, rather than corporations and religious organization?



i suggest you check out the audio series Tales From The Afternow, it's an interesting take on the post apocalyptic genre. sort of a cross between mad max, and blade runner, where corporate power has eroded and overtaken government power so that some places are police states, while others are completely lawless. there is even a western themed episode which is alot of fun.

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Re: Let me run this by you....

Post by DruffyB » Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:52 am

Thanks again for the reply...

I dont think it's quite a reveng story. While the originl story may involve him seeking revenge for his family it quickly escalate into ideological reasons. Also the man usually has to fend for himself especially after Vicemetal killing any bandits or edible creatures in order to survive so it does have a somewhat western feelto it. Vicemetal is also typical of a western town.

Ive thought of what you said about his wife being kidnapped. I actually wanted to make the point about his ideological background and his wife and kids being kidnapped and him running after them would make the chase too personal. The militia you understand kidnap people because they don't have the manpower nor the means to do it themselves. They fight on empty stomachs and need people to produce it for them. By having a starving camp as well it would also be a little too similar to Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven which is a cliche I'd rather avoid. Perhaps if the leader when he is met says that the militia need to do what they do as they are running out of resources and need to hasten their plans. In the scene there are a bunch of militiamen dead on the ground due to starvation.

I find that the Western genre by the way does not focus entirely on machismo incidently. Most villains do what they do because they have to to survive.

Any more thoughts dont hesitate to reply. This is actually interesting points I hadn't considered before. Keep it up!

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