The Monster Story Conference
by Luke Burrage
Introduction and License.
This novel is dedicated to all the listeners of the Science Fiction Book Review Podcast who put up with my ramblings about writing, and are kind enough to give good and honest feedback.
Often feedback can push a story in more interesting directions, and never more so than this one. Thanks is also due to an anonymous blogger who goes by the name of The Mystery Man on Film, for indirectly inspiring the form of this manuscript.
I wrote and edited this version of "The Monster Story" in four days in February 2010, while cruising in Antarctica. Instead of taking months to release it, after many rounds of feedback and incremental changes, I thought I'd just put it up on my website right away. It is what it is; a spontaneous and experimental science fiction novella. I think working on it further would dilute the experience for both myself and the reader.
(Edit: this version comes from April 2012, with minor spelling and grammar corrections.)
Just so you know, there exists another 35,000 word manuscript that I wrote last February, which has an earlier version of this story, told in another quirky and experimental way. Nobody else is going to see that, except my first readers who already critiqued it. And, I think, I'll probably write a longer and more traditional novel, the definitive version of "The Monster Story", before the end of the year.
Even so, if you spot glaring errors in spelling and grammar, or have any other feedback, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information at http://www.lukeburrage.com/fiction.html
This file is released under a Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
You are free:
to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
Under the following conditions:
Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
Noncommercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
No Derivative Works — You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
For more details see: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get my permission.
The license only applies to the electronic text version of the novel.
If you would like to do more than read or share the text of the novel electronically (eg. derivative works, print publishing, audio versions, film rights, and other commercial interests) please email me: email@example.com
Thanks for reading!
The Monster Story Conference
Anver -- to work with you both. Are you recording?
Taylor -- Yes. Later I'll go back later and check if I missed anything in my paper notes.
Anver -- Okay.
Taylor -- Here's C.J.
C.J. -- Hi, Taylor! Nice office.
Taylor -- Thanks.
C.J. -- And Anver, how you doing?
Anver -- I'm good, thanks.
C.J. -- Okay, let's cut right to the chase. We're here to run over your movie. I already have an idea what you want to put on screen, and I tried to explain that to our script writer here, but what I want you to do is go right back to the start, and tell us both the full story.
Anver -- Right. Well, it starts with the classic shot of a spaceship, in space, approaching a planet. The audience have seen this so many times, they instantly know what to expect. Star Wars has the ships over the desert planet Tattooine. The Aliens movies did it too, and Avatar, and all that.
Taylor -- So this is classic sci-fi?
C.J. -- Exactly. I'm doing the rounds, and I'm pitching this project as a mid-range movie. He has buzz from his first picture, and the studio's pleased with the box office. Sci-fi is a good next step.
Anver -- If you get the budget this could be the big summer blockbuster.
C.J. -- Yeah, but the money is only going to show up if the concept is solid. And if the screenplay is solid. That's why I've got the two of you together.
Taylor -- So let's do this. A spaceship and a planet.
Anver -- Right. The audience sees that world behind isn't Earth. The shape of the land is all wrong. They won't know that they know it, but they'll know all bets are off. On Earth you've got to play by Earth rules. On another world, anything can happen. You can meet anyone.
C.J. -- Or any thing.
Anver -- Exactly. Thing is the right word. This is going to be a monster story. But a monster story with a twist.
C.J. -- Tell him the twist.
Anver -- Already? I was going to save it for later.
C.J. -- He's the script writer, he has to know what we're building to. Tell him what you told me. Tell him about the tripod.
Anver -- Okay, it goes like this. Normally you have the humans. A small group. They have conflicts within the group. Then you introduce the monster. This is external conflict outside the group, and they have to pull together to overcome the threat of the monster, or the group falls apart and there's only one or two survivors.
So what I want to try is a picture with more than one monster. The different monsters, these aliens, coexist without problem, down on the planet. Add humans to the mix, and humans get it from both sides.
C.J. -- Both sides?
Anver -- Yes. One monster is dumb, like a big bird or a dinosaur. Probably a dinosaur. But not exactly. The other monster is an intelligent alien, and remains hidden for the first half of the film. They live underground, and don't come out much. There's like a whole city in a hole, out of the way.
Now, the intelligent aliens aren't frightening in their normal form, but they have something that makes them really spooky. They have technology that lets them cloak themselves in holograms. They can make themselves look like anything. A tree. A human. A dinosaur.
C.J. -- So they remain hidden.
Anver -- Yeah. The dinos turn up right at the start, like right at the opening. You think it's going to be the story about the dinos, but there's this whole other level. The humans catch glimpses of the aliens, the intelligent aliens, but don't understand what's going on.
Once everything is in play, like in the third quarter of the picture, we've got this stable situation. Dinos ignore the aliens, as they can't see them. Aliens ignore the dinos, as they are no longer a threat due to their holographic cloaking devices. Humans, in the middle, attacked from both sides.
C.J. -- Tell him the last plot point.
Anver -- The final act has to be clever. Right? Too often it turns into a shooting match, and the humans just happen to have the bigger gun. But think about Arnie in the Predator.
Taylor -- The mud.
Anver -- Exactly. Arnie gets covered in mud. And the Predator, who only sees heat, can't see him. Once we know that, and Arnie knows that, it's down to Arnie and his biceps and sharpened twigs. So what we need is our hero to work something out, something to click, and from then on the ending has to follow the new rules of engagement. I still want guns and explosions, but they'll all come from the tripod toppling.
Taylor -- The tripod?
Anver -- It's not quite the right image, but it's what first came to mind. Dinos and aliens and holograms cancel each other out. Our hero can go against the dinos, but they are too strong and bite too much. Or he can go against the aliens, but there are too many of them, and they have weapons. Or he can kick away the third leg of the tripod, the hologram, the holographic cloaks. What happens then?
C.J. -- The dinosaurs eat the aliens.
Anver -- Bingo. And while the aliens are getting chomped, our hero goes in and mops up.
C.J. -- Kills them all?
Anver -- Something like that. He has to have a reason, mind you. To save the girl. Or to stop them from returning to Earth. I know that's what they did in Aliens, but it makes the stakes really high. Saving your own life is good. Saving your girlfriend's is better. Saving the whole world is clichéd, but it makes for great popcorn sales.
I'm just not sure how to make it work. The planet will be a long way from Earth, and if the aliens are going to be a threat, they'd be one now if they're already so advanced. In Aliens there was an evil corporation that wanted the aliens for weapons tech, but that's a whole level of plotting too much for a single movie.
C.J. -- Yeah, that was Aliens, not Alien. Alien was just about the monster and surviving it. The threat to Earth came in later movies, to up the stakes.
Anver -- It went Small Group under Threat to Entire Colony under Threat to Oh Shit, We Can't Let This Alien Get Back To Earth. That's why you needed Ripley's sacrifice in the third movie.
C.J. -- So we're going to keep this at the Entire Colony under Threat level?
Anver -- Unless we can come up with a way around it. Maybe we can save it for the sequel. You know, have the spaceship flying out of the clouds, heading towards Earth, then zooming in and seeing one of the passengers flicker. Like this. And you realize that one of the humans is actually a cloaked alien.
C.J. -- What danger is a single alien?
Anver -- Hey, I don't know. Maybe it's carrying a dino egg. It's thinking, you humans made dinos eat my brothers, now I'm going to take a dino to eat yours.
Actually, forget all that. It makes no sense at all.
C.J. -- What else do you have? Talk big picture. Later we can go through act by act, scene by scene.
Anver -- I'm imagining a world of woods and open grass and small streams. There's got to be caves, so that's limestone. And water just drops through it. There's not a lot of rivers on the surfaces. Lower down there is, but all our action will take place on some highish plains, mostly covered in trees. The trees hide the dinos. The caves hide the aliens. Our humans pitch their tents on the top of a hill, clear of trees.
Taylor -- What do the dinos eat?
Anver -- Cows. Or the local equivalent.
C.J. -- There's cows in space?
Anver -- I've thought of this, and it's one of the individual scene ideas. It would be a great opening.
So, there's a scientist explaining to someone about convergent evolution, and he's like "See this?" And the other person says "It looks just like rat." And the scientist says "Exactly! Where there's an ecological niche, an organism evolves to fill it. If the niche is the same, the body size and shape and habits are the same too."
C.J. -- Who's your audience?
Anver -- What do you mean?
C.J. -- You're going to open the movie with a discussion of evolution? Money is made in middle America. They've come to see dinosaurs eating people in creative ways.
Anver -- But convergent evolution explains all sorts of things. There's things that look like rats, and cows, and maybe sheep, and some kind of small scavengers. Maybe not look like them, but enough similar so you know they do the same job, right? Fill the same niche. So first we think this talk is about rats, but its actually about the dinosaurs. And then about the aliens.
C.J. -- So we have a full ecosystem. Rats and dogs and cows, but local versions. The dinos are local versions of what?
Anver -- Crocodiles. Or lions. Bears. The biggest and meanest meat eater.
Taylor -- Apex predators.
Anver -- That's the one.
C.J. -- And the aliens are what convergent evolution has designed as the local versions of humans?
Anver -- Exactly. This is set up right at the start. And then, in the last act, we can just throw out another line about convergent evolution, and the audience will buy it.
C.J. -- Which is great for the budget, because then we can just dress someone up.
Anver -- I was thinking CGI.
C.J. -- For the dinos, sure. But convergent evolution explains why the aliens have two arms and two legs and two eyes in the right place. Just like the extras.
Anver -- It could, but kangaroos and deer do the same job, fill the same niche. They both eat grass, but can run away fast and jump. Same job, same niche, but different body shape.
C.J. -- I thought convergent evolution meant the same shape.
Anver -- It can, but it also lets up play with creature design.
Taylor -- If I may?
C.J. -- Go on.
Taylor -- So there's a wide shot, out in the field, and a scientist is following some local cow things. The cow thing leans down and drinks from a steam.
The hero is there with him, or the scientist is the hero, and he's talking to someone else. He says "let me show you something"
We get some footage of a buffalo drinking from a river. It's on a thing. On a screen he has with him. And the scientist says "Evolutionary theory says that a two similar ecological niches will be filled by two similar creatures."
The hero asks "Why are you showing me this? I know what a cow looks like."
"Watch." Suddenly a crocodile leaps out, grabs the bison, and drags it away. Then the scientist turns off the screen, turns round, and points to the local cow thing. He says "We've found the cow. Where is the crocodile?"
Anver -- And they look and there's another scientist down by the water. And they suddenly start shouting "Get away from the water!"
C.J. -- But it's not in the water. It comes out of the trees behind them.
Taylor -- This is more of an exposition thing. The apex predator can't show up right away. That's really the first big plot point.
Anver -- We can have that scene at any time. It might be good to have it later.
C.J. -- Do we have to even bring up convergent evolution?
Anver -- You asked me to share my big picture.
C.J. -- What else?
Anver -- Our hero. I want our boy to appeal to young viewers, kids, but not be annoying to adults. I'm thinking seventeen. That means he can still be a boy at the start, but grow up by the end. And he's interested in girls too. Any younger and you can't believe he can do the things he's going to have to do. Any older and he's not interesting any more. How old was Luke Skywalker?
C.J. -- Young. When I first saw the film he was older than me. Now I just remember he still lived with his uncle.
Anver -- Right. Like a teenager.
Taylor -- What's a teenager doing on a new colony?
Anver -- Here's my idea. Everyone goes to sleep for the journey, as it takes twenty years. They're all frozen, just like in every sci-fi movie ever.
He was born on the spaceship on the way. Like when they set off from Earth, his parents were part of a revolving maintenance crew, and gave birth on the ship, but against the rules. By the time they get to the planet, he's mostly grown up. He has nothing else to do but go down to the colony.
C.J. -- I like it.
Anver -- So here are some options. First, he can be the only kid. Everyone else is twenty something, thirty, forty. He's seventeen or eighteen.
Second, other kids were born on the way. They're all younger than him, and they stay on the main ship in orbit while he goes down.
Third, he has a sister too, also born on the way, so they can go on an adventure together.
Taylor -- Fourth, the sister isn't his sister, and we have a handy love interest.
Anver -- Maybe, but not all of the scientists are old. There are some younger, aged about twenty or twenty one, right out of college, but they're all frozen.
When he's growing up on the spaceship he goes and looks at the women in their tanks or baths or booths or whatever. He works out who is the youngest, looks at records and such, and kinda falls for her.
C.J. -- That's just creepy.
Anver -- We can play on that. At the start his sister teases him about it, like how he wanted to be there when the technicians wake her up. And he's the first person she sees, and says "Aren't you a bit young to be a doctor?"
C.J. -- Aren't you a bit short to be a storm trooper?
Anver -- Luke and Lear were bother and sister. Marty McFly's mother hit on him. I don't think we should worry about it being creepy.
C.J. -- I do.
Anver -- We can play it for laughs. She's saying he's too young to do this or that, and he can always be trying to prove himself. Like the first time we see him he can be really thin, and she laughs at him when she sees him with his top off. A few months later they cross paths again, and he's been working out, and now he's built. In the end she realizes that the age difference isn't a big deal. He's the hero, and saves her at the end. Rides the rocket into the sunset.
C.J. -- Let's go back to the sister thing.
Anver -- So you think that going for your sister is less trouble than a slightly older woman?
Taylor -- Is there something you want to tell us?
C.J. -- Not the sister. The thing.
Anver -- If the girl isn't his sister, but a slightly younger love interest.
C.J. -- Yes.
Anver -- I don't know. It seems a bit forced. There's just one other girl on the entire planet, and she just happens to be the same age and beautiful. If she's the sister, she can tease him, and do annoying sister stuff.
Taylor -- Is this on screen?
Anver -- I don't know. I want to jump into the action pretty quick.
Taylor -- There's a lot to explain here before we ever get to the dinos.
C.J. -- Let's back up a bit. Who is our hero. So he's young. What else?
Anver -- He was born on a space ship. It was never a place for kids, right? I want him to be really well educated in ship systems, and piloting aircraft. He learnt it all in the training simulators. He has this massive library, but it's 99% science texts. The rest is crap entertainment.
Oh, and his parents were both world-class scientist, who were also fit enough to be chosen for a space mission. He's got great DNA.
But he has this weird upbringing, with loads of theoretical science knowledge, and is trained by the world's leading scientists. I mean, the crew will have to be the best to be sent out to a new colony. But he has no real world experience. All he knows are a few movies. He's never seen a real house. Nor a real dog. He's never climbed a tree.
C.J. -- How does this play in later?
Anver -- He has a gun, and he's going to shoot a dino. But he's never shot one before, only in a simulation back on the ship. He fires the gun and falls over due to shock. I mean, the shot is perfectly on target, but he didn't expect the recoil. And there can be a scene with the love interest, and he's doing nerdy science talk, about the function of sexual intercourse and medical terms for his erection. She's really frustrated.
Taylor -- If he grew up on a spaceship, wouldn't he be really weak?
Anver -- Why?
C.J. -- No gravity. But when's the last time you saw a spaceship without artificial gravity? In a movie? So that's what they have. We can do it in visual shot. It's a spinning thing. Gravity by centrifugal force. Not even artificial. Solved.
Anver -- Actually, I had an idea about this. It's called a Conveyor Drive, but I'll need some paper to describe it fully. It works by harnessing specks of Dark Matter. That's the stuff that only interacts with regular matter gravitationally.
My idea is that you have a power source, and when applied, the gravity of the Dark Matter increases. It only takes a tiny bit of power, but you can very easily create mass. Too easily. In fact, when you turn it on, the lowest possible new mass is about as heavy as the Earth.
C.J. -- What are you talking about?
Anver -- You can power your interstellar starship with a Conveyor Drive, but it's only safe to use it at long distances from Earth, way out between the stars.
The technique was first tried back on Earth, or on the Moon, and the sudden increase of mass meant the apparatus fell in towards the center of the Earth. In doing so it lost power and immediately turned itself off, as nothing was strong enough to lift something as massive as the whole world. However, in the moment it was turned on, everything on Earth, and in the solar system close by, suddenly had to put up with twice as much gravity, and from a different direction.
So buildings collapsed, planes fell out of the sky, all the communications satellites flipped out of orbit. Tides washed around the world, the moon shifted closer. Real disaster movie stuff. You know, there was one scientist who'd worked out what was going to happen, and wanted the main researchers to stop, but they carried on anyway. In the end he survives with his family, but the world is shot to shit.
They have to start all over again, rebuild all the technology again, but this time there is more caution. Less reliance on advance tech. Enough to do the job, but an emphasis on human capabilities, rather than high technology.
Taylor -- You want this in the movie?
Anver -- Not at all. Maybe a different movie. I'm just saying, it's all back story. They can talk about the Big Hit back in 2034. It screwed the Earth, killed billions, but it made the starship possible, with artificial gravity on board besides.
Keep it in mind. Dark Matter is the latest thing. They're looking for it at the LHC.
C.J. -- Let's bring it back to the hero.
Anver -- So he's young, really clever, but naive at the same time. He knows how to do lots of things, but everything he does in the main movie he's doing for the first time.
C.J. -- Let's call him John. What about other characters?
Anver -- His parents are out of the picture by the opening. If the other kid is his sister, maybe the mother died giving birth to her.
And the father had already gone back into cold sleep during the second pregnancy. Or if not, they stayed awake with the kids, but they were put back in the freezer as punishment for giving birth against the rules.
The kids would be put away too, out of the way, but the freezers have to be built from scratch for each person, or something. It would take too much trouble to make a new one for him and the sister, so they're left out.
They have no specific skills, and are used around the camp as general labor and helping hands.
C.J. -- We need a captain.
Anver -- Yes.
C.J. -- Let's go through the picture scene by scene, and write down what characters we need.
Taylor -- Can we do it act by act?
C.J. -- Sure.
Anver -- Okay, I normally break my stories into four parts, not three acts, but we can do it either way. Four parts, with three things in between, means seven things. Four parts, and three turning points. Seven key pieces in total. The rest is just to get us between these events in the logical way.
C.J. -- If you say so.
Taylor -- It's a good place to start. Running time?
C.J. -- Hundred ten pages.
Anver -- I don't mind going longer.
C.J. -- I do. Let's keep it short.
Anver -- So, here's how it breaks down. Part one is all setup. We see the ship coming in, staying in orbit, sending down landing craft. There can be a voice over or titles, saying how this is colony ship, but the first people to go down are scientists and explorers, to make sure everything is safe and ready before establishing the main colony.
Then we meet our small group, with maybe twenty people. There'll be five or six main characters, and the rest are fodder for the dinos. Two of the main characters will die before the end of the picture. One will go to dinos, one will go to aliens. We'll have one of the big name actors eaten early on. You know, like how John Hurt was the first to go in Alien. It'll establish that anyone could end up as dinner.
C.J. -- There was that movie with the sharks, and Samuel Jackson gets it. He was the biggest name.
Anver -- Exactly. We set everything up. We do the apex predator talk, see the layout of the camp.
C.J. -- We need them to find a carcass with huge bites taken out of it.
Anver -- Yeah, all that kind of thing. Hook them in. We'll show off all the technology that will be used before the end of the picture too. There's a gun on the wall in the first act.
So, next comes the first turning point. It's time to throw in the first crisis. After this, everything changes. The hero suddenly has a goal, and the group starts falling apart. This is going to be violent, with a dinosaur charging through the camp, eating people.
C.J. -- How big are the dinos?
Anver -- I'm not sure yet.
C.J. -- If it's big enough we can have it eat people without seeing any blood. Too much blood and we can't have kids watching.
Anver -- So the second part, this is all about how the team doesn't know how to respond. The leader can think one thing, but the others are scared. Or the other way round. This will bring us to about half way, maybe just before. Meanwhile we'll have more dino action, but it won't be plot based. I mean the dinos won't be plot, but we'll start hinting at the other element.
Taylor -- The aliens?
Anver -- Yeah, because we're going to bring them in at the half way mark. This is turning point number two. The audience won't notice it right away, but suddenly the dinos won't be the most important thing. Maybe the hero or the group can kill a dino, and think they're getting the upper hand. But then we bring in the aliens, and it's back to square one.
That brings us to part three. This is where we ramp things up. The aliens can come in and start killing people too. Except they look like other humans, and the crew don't know what's going on.
C.J. -- This will be confusing.
Anver -- It'll be tricky. But we can have a thing to show who is alien and who is real. Like they never blink. There'll be a lot of action. We can do a chase.
That brings us to the third turing point. Remember what I said about Predator? The first two turning points are action, but this one is knowledge. The hero works something out, and that's what he finally needs to defeat the aliens.
Taylor -- The cloaking device?
Anver -- Or something. Whatever happens, this brings us to part four. Now we know everything we need to know. We have all the pieces. We just need to see the hero follow through and save the day. It needs to go out with a bang. I want the aliens and humans and dinos all going at it. Everything plays out. The final scene can be on a shuttle, heading back up to orbit.
C.J. -- Sounds good. What are your thoughts.
Taylor -- It looks like he knows what he's doing. Why don't you let him write the whole thing?
C.J. -- Because the studio doesn't trust him. You've heard his ideas.
Anver -- What's wrong with my ideas?
C.J. -- Too complex. This whole tripod thing. You said it yourself. We need a small group of people, with internal conflict, then add a monster. That's the standard. The whole extra level on top is too much.
Taylor -- I agree, with reservations. You've talked about Predator. That was a great movie. You've talked about Alien. Great movie too. Did you see Alien vs Predator?
C.J. -- This is exactly my point. The whole concept was flawed. And that was for people who had already seen the other Predator and Aliens movies. The monsters were already known. You're asking to introduce an entire world, a hero, a monster, and then another monster.
Anver -- The Dark Night. The villain was the Joker, but then half way through we got Two Face.
C.J. -- But they didn't need time to establish Batman or Gotham or any of the other characters. We already knew them from the previous pictures.
Anver -- This is why I wanted the opening shot to be a spaceship with a planet. We don't need to establish the world, as everyone knows the sci-fi rules.
C.J. -- And the hero? Will there be space for his story?
Taylor -- He needs a story arc.
Anver -- But it doesn't need to be complex. What was Arnie's character development in Predator? He started out a badass with a gun. Ended the same.
Does James Bond have character development? Does Indiana Jones?
But we can do the hero story, no problem. We just need shortcuts. We'll get to the heart of the character in the opening scene, and from then on we just follow.
C.J. -- I'm just saying, we're here to see if we can make this story work at all. Right now this is your project. But if, by the end of today, we don't have a working synopsis, I'm going to be passing it on to someone else. The studios want a sci-fi monster picture, and I'm going to deliver. I want you to direct, you've a good eye.
Anver -- If I'm not directing, you can't have this story.
C.J. -- What story? So far we don't have a story. You've thrown out some ideas, and that's great, but ideas are cheap. The only new thing you have is the tripod idea, and that's the one thing that's making me nervous.
So you've got to convince me. If you can show how this is going to work, I'll see about taking it forward. If not, you can do another car movie. That would make the studio just as happy.
Taylor -- Do you want me to step out?
C.J. -- No, he'll be fine. Right?
Anver -- Right.
C.J. -- We'll go through the entire story, now, and see what we can come up with. I want you to ask the hard questions, Taylor. You're here to pick apart the logic and all that. You're probably going to be writing the script, if we do this project, so you need to know everything.
Taylor -- I get you.
C.J. -- So, let's get to it. Opening scene.
Anver -- Okay. Here we go again. Spaceship in space. A planet behind. A voice over. "It's the year 2121. After a voyage of twenty years, the New Endeavor reached orbit around Planet XYZ, the first planet discovered with an oxygen rich atmosphere. Thousands of colonists stayed in cold sleep aboard..." and here we can have a dolly shot going past the ends of huge rows of cold sleep tanks.
But the VO continues "... and a group of scientists descended to the surface to study the local conditions." We see their shuttle leave for the planet. "This is their story." Or "This is what they found."
All that takes about 30 seconds.
C.J. -- I like it. It would be a good trailer too. Play that opening, then action clips from the rest of picture.
Anver -- Anything that doesn't cover?
Taylor -- Will anything else happen in space?
Anver -- Only the final shot, which will mirror the descent of shuttle. It'll be the shuttle heading back to orbit. Everything else happens on the planet.
C.J. -- What about our hero?
Anver -- We need to establish him in the next scene.
C.J. -- Jurassic Park opened with a raptor attack. We need something like that right away.
Taylor -- You didn't see the raptors.
Anver -- We can do both at once. He's a kid. He complains that nobody believes him when he sees a monster.
C.J. -- How much time has passed?
Anver -- About a month. We can have a title screen saying "Forty days after landing." That way we can already have the camp set up, and everyone lulled into a false sense of security.
So if we start with an unseen monster, we need to establish the hero in, like, two lines beforehand. Who's this kid, and what's he doing here?
C.J. -- Someone should tell him off. "You're not even meant to be here, so don't go causing trouble." He can be playing a joke on someone. Doing a kid thing, then by the end of the movie he's all grown up.
Anver -- I want him outside the camp. Then, when he goes back into the camp, we can follow him along. We see the planet as natural as possible, then as he goes home we see the human settlement, first at a distance, then close, then him inside it. That way we can show the entire layout as he walks in. Or runs in, because he's still a kid.
Taylor -- He's up a tree.
Anver -- Perfect. He can be looking out across a valley, and sees something moving in the distance. Trees shaking. He says "See that? There's something big out there."
C.J. -- Who's he talking to?
Taylor -- The sister.
Anver -- Right. So they're both up a tree?
C.J. -- Could be. Maybe she can't see the monster. She's saying "Give me the binoculars" and he's shaking her off.
Anver -- She's going to get annoying really fast. Let's not have her whining right from the start.
C.J. -- See, the kid thing is already too complicated.
Anver -- Let me think. Okay, here's how we can do it. The title says "Forty days after the first landing."
We cut to a shot of the girl running through the trees. First just her feet, but see more of her over time. She's screaming "John! John!" We think something bad is happening already, but really she's just looking for him, as he's missing from the camp for a while.
She reaches a tree and looks up. "John? You've got to come back to camp."
We cut to a shot of him in the tree, looking down from above. She's in the background, down on the floor out of focus. He's got a pair of binoculars to his face, and we can't see his face. He pulls the binoculars out of the way, and we see his face.
This way we see he is young, but intelligent too. Binoculars means he's focused. He's perceptive.
C.J. -- A bit blatant.
Anver -- He says "I think I see something."
She says "What?"
He says "Come up and I'll show you."
And here's where we get all the exposition we need. She says "I don't know how to climb trees, I was born on a spaceship."
And he says "So was I." But he says it under his breath, as though it's the most obvious thing.
C.J. -- So does she climb the tree?
Taylor -- Not yet.
Anver -- Yeah. She'll be afraid of heights or something. When she really needs to, she sprints up the tree no problem. But that's later.
Our hero puts the glasses to his face again, and we switch to his viewpoint. We do the two fuzzy circles thing, the standard binoculars shot. Trees move, bushes sway. "Something's out there" he calls. We switch back to the shot from above, and she's in focus now. "There's nothing out there."
C.J. -- And just as she says it, we hear a roar.
Anver -- No, he says "There's something out there."
And she says "It's just a cow thing."
And he looks closer, and it's true, it's a cow thing. And it walks behind some trees. "But there's something else out there. Something big."
And she says "There's nothing else out there."
C.J. -- And then we hear the roar.
Anver -- No, we hear the cow thing scream. The sister looks shocked. And maybe its head flies out from behind the trees. The cow's head.
C.J. -- Thrown heads is a bit Cloverfield.
Anver -- So just some blood. Or maybe we don't see anything. We could do a reverse shot. We hear the scream, then see straight on, binoculars over his face. But we track forwards, into one of the lenses, through the lens, right to his eye. And as we hear another scream, we see his pupil dilate. Which way round is it, when you see something you don't like?
Taylor -- They get smaller.
Anver -- It'll be a good shot. We don't see what John sees, but we know it's bad. Later, when he tells the scientists, we're not sure if he's telling the truth.
The sister shouts "What did you see?"
And he says "We've got to get back to camp."
And she says "I told you that already."
So what have we covered?
Taylor -- We have the forest, the cows, and that there's a monster about. We have the sister, that she's afraid of heights. We have the hero, and his name. We know they were both born on the space ship, and we know he's more adventurous. We know he's unreliable, not responsible, because he's outside the camp and he's not meant to be there. But we also know he's clever, because he's not playing about. He's seeing things that the scientists don't know yet.
C.J. -- Good. Is the sister younger than him?
Anver -- Yes. But that doesn't matter yet.
Okay, I know the next character. The mentor. We need the older scientist who has taken John and the sister under his wing, as are teaching them life lessons. Nobody else in the camp likes them, and thinks they are a waste of resources, so he's the one who they turn to. And he'll defend them against other people, but not when he thinks they might be lying.
C.J. -- We can kill him off later. He can sacrifice himself to save the kids.
Taylor -- Shall we call him Ben Kenobi?
Anver -- He doesn't have to die, but he'll have a beard. Beard means old and wise. He can be the one who tells them about crocodiles.
C.J. -- The apex predator scene. Right. What's the next scene?
Anver -- Here we see the camp for the first time. John and the sister run through a forest, we're close in on their backs. They run ahead, and we swing the camera up, through the trees, and we see they're actually now close to the camp. And there it is in front of them.
Hey, the love interest can be a scientist who works with the mentor.
C.J. -- What's the camp like?
Anver -- It has to be something that twenty people can build in a month. Nothing permanent. It has to be tents or prefabricated units.
In my head I have picture. It's a ring. In the middle is a watch tower, and a landing pad for the shuttle. Around the outside is are the buildings, with all the doors facing inwards. And the whole thing is on a small hill. They've cleared the trees all around, a way down the slope, so it's all exposed.
C.J. -- As they run towards the camp, a shuttle can fly overhead and come down to land. That way we can see the shuttle, because we'll need it later to escape.
Anver -- That works. As they run in, they can pass other things that'll be useful later too.
Not really blatant, like the start of the second Matrix movie. They go to Jericho, and there are these huge robot things. They were set up for the second half of the third movie, but you could see it coming a mile away.
Whatever we come up with later, we can see in the camp in the next few scenes. Where do the kids go?
C.J. -- To the mentor?
Taylor -- Not yet. We need his good attitude to contrast the other colonists'.
Anver -- Who was in the landing shuttle?
C.J. -- I don't know. Probably the leader.
Anver -- Right. Let's have the leadership be a conflict in the group. There are three leaders, and they all have different goals. One can be all about science. The other can be all about landing the colonists as soon as possible. The third can want something else.
C.J. -- Two leaders are enough already.
Anver -- Okay, how about there's one overall leader, but he's weak. Then he has two people under him. One is science, the other is colonization. They both try to influence him.
Taylor -- What about security?
Anver -- I don't want it too militaristic. If they have too many guns, or robots, the dinos wouldn't be a problem. Nor would the aliens. They surveyed the planet, didn't see any technology, and decided there was no risk from the natives. The aliens live in caves, and the scan didn't pick up on their gear.
C.J. -- They'll still need security from animals. They can't have cows wandering through the camp.
Anver -- So we'll have a fence around the outside. The only way in and out is through a gate at the front. Or with the shuttles. They don't need guns. They don't know about the dinos yet.
C.J. -- So three leaders.
Anver -- Wait, we can see some guns. They have some cow things in the camp, and want to study one. They have a dart gun, and shoots some kind of dose into it. It falls over in ten seconds, then they drag it away. Later we can use one of those guns on a dino, but the skin is too thick.
Taylor -- They can have someone with an elephant gun standing by, just in case.
Anver -- Right. The cow thing plays up, and someone nods, and they load up the elephant gun. But they don't use it, because the mentor does his job right, and calms the cow thing down. This can be the next bit of drama.
But before then we need to introduce the leaders.
So the kids run into the camp. The doors to the shuttle opens and the main captain jumps out. He can be all beefy, strong-looking, but he's the weak one.
The colony captain can be a woman. A real strong character. She's the one who's really pulling the strings.
The science captain can be a thin man, with glasses, the stereotype. Of course, the colony captain dies later, and the scientist survives.
C.J. -- The main captain should die too.
Anver -- Probably. There should also be a ships captain, who stays in orbit. And a security captain, who doesn't have any power at the start, but by the end is key.
C.J. -- Can the science captain and the mentor be the same person?
Taylor -- I don't think so.
Anver -- They'll have different roles. The mentor must be pretty powerless, or else his respect for the kids would be too important in the camp.
C.J. -- Okay.
Anver -- So we have an exchange between the three captains. The main one is mostly silent, and the conflict plays out between the other two.
C.J. -- They've just been on a survey trip.
Anver -- Right. They're looking for a better place for a permanent settlement. Where they are is good for now, but they want to be closer to a river.
So they jump out of the shuttle, and the she's saying, "I say we should begin clearing the forest as soon as possible. We should wake more colonists from cold sleep, bring them down and start establishing the new town right away. That's what we're here for!"
But the science captain says "We've only been here a month, we still don't know enough about local biology."
And she says "We know it's incompatible with our chromosomes, and that there's no risk of any infections or contamination."
C.J. -- Handy.
Anver -- It means they can walk around without face masks and not get ill. Maybe proteins, not chromosomes. Maybe she can say that. So they have a quick back and forth, all exposition.
Taylor -- We don't need to introduce these captains, they can all have name tags. Everyone can have labels.
Anver -- Yeah. We'll go the utilitarian overalls route. But not too scruffy, because this is a prestigious operation.
The kids run up and John says "I saw something out in the forest. We need to go check it out."
And all three captains ignore him, and keep talking about settlement.
C.J. -- So while they're talking about how there might still be something important or dangerous in the forest, John is trying to tell them the same thing.
Anver -- Dramatic irony. The viewers know John is right, but because he's just a kid the captains won't even let him speak. One of them can say "You kids are running around out in the forest? You shouldn't even be here, so don't start causing any trouble."
And another can say "Or we'll ship you back to orbit and put you in cold sleep with your parents."
And they call the mentor, and say "You said you'd take care of these kids, keep them out of our hair. But here they are, bothering us. Get rid of them."
C.J. -- So the mentor, he draws them away from the captains and tells them off?
Anver -- Maybe. Probably not scold them, as he's old and wise. Maybe he just explains the situation to them, to make it clear they shouldn't cause trouble.
C.J. -- More exposition.
Anver -- That's what part one is for, right? He can say "Now, your parents gave birth to you on the flight here from Earth, against all the rules. Your mother is gone, and your father isn't out of cold sleep yet. It's just you and me, kids. There were no cold sleep tanks designed for you two, or else you'd be asleep too, but now you're down here with us. I've volunteered to look after you, so do a favor for your old teacher, eh? Stay out of trouble."
C.J. -- A bit. It doesn't have to be all said in one go like that. Spread it out over the next few minutes of the script. What else do we need? Characters?
Taylor -- We need the love interest, the security captain, and dinosaur fodder.
Anver -- The fodder can be all over the place. There'll be the cronies of the colony captain, and a whole load of scientists. We can have a meeting at one point, after the first dino attack, and we'll see how many more people we have to kill. About twenty or thirty.
C.J. -- There'll be loads of empty chairs at the meeting, and that'll be how many people have died so far.
Anver -- And later, at another meeting, even more chairs are empty. Maybe that can be a thing. A running visual theme.
Taylor -- Did they bring the chairs down from orbit?
Anver -- No, that would waste too much energy. What they have is a machine that they feed the local trees. It spits out wood. Like chipboard. MDF. Medium durability flooring.
C.J. -- Medium density fiberboard.
Anver -- Whatever. It spits it out in preset shapes, and these slot together into any wood thing you need. That's what the chairs are made out of. Add some glue, and you're good to go. Same with the buildings, too. Some people have tents, but every day or so a tent is replaced by a new building, and they move in.
C.J. -- It'll look new, but really like a frontier town.
Anver -- More importantly, it won't be strong enough to stop a dino rampage. So I think we should meet the security captain at the same time as the love interest. There should be a connection there.
C.J. -- If they are involved, the girl would never go for the kid. No one will buy it. The security captain is going to be beefy, right? And pretty powerful. A man in uniform. She'd never go for the loser kid after him.
Anver -- Right. Maybe she just likes him, but they aren't a couple. He has a wife back home, or a wife still frozen up in orbit. He wants her, as any red-blooded male would, as she's twenty and hot. You feel sorry for him.
C.J. -- What does he do later?
Anver -- I don't know. He wasn't my idea.
Taylor -- I saw him as one of the main characters. He's the only one in the camp who knows how to shoot the elephant gun.
C.J. -- Is he a good guy or a bad guy?
Taylor -- Good. We're going with the colony captain as the main bad human.
C.J. -- I think this is one character too many.
Anver -- He can be the father of the love interest. He's someone who knows how to hunt and shoot, and she's a zoologist, the opposite. And they both ended up on the mission. Why is never explained, it can be left as a mystery.
C.J. -- So he's older, and protective of his daughter.
Anver -- And maybe an old friend of the mentor.
C.J. -- Too complicated.
Taylor -- How about this, and I know it sounds strange, but it'll be a great subplot. The mentor and the love interest used to be a couple, back on Earth. They're both biologists.
C.J. -- I thought the mentor was older.
Taylor -- He is.
Anver -- Yeah, this could work. Back on Earth they were a couple, but then they boarded the spaceship. She slept the entire time, and didn't age. The mentor woke up for a shift on duty, which normally would last a year, or two years. But for some reason he stayed awake for the entire journey, and grew older without her.
C.J. -- Why would he do that?
Anver -- For the kids, right? He's not just a biologist, he's a doctor. No, he's a vet. Or something medical. He was going to go back into cold sleep, but the mother got pregnant with John. So to make sure the pregnancy worked out okay, he agreed to stay awake. Of course, due to them being in space, there were complications, and he stayed awake longer, looking after John as a child. He's like a second father to him.
Taylor -- And then the next kid comes along, and he does the same thing.
Anver -- If the mother dies, and the father is back in cold sleep, he brought them up himself. He's like their father and their mother, all in one. Other people came and went on the skeleton crew, but he was the only one who stayed awake the entire time.
C.J. -- Got it.
Anver -- So the mentor was five years older than the love interest back on Earth, which is fine if she's twenty, and he's twenty five. And maybe his first shift was three years. Then nine months, then eighteen years until they reach the planet and John is grown.
C.J. -- You said the spaceship only took twenty years to get there.
Anver -- Doesn't matter. It could be forty years. No single person was awake through the entire time.
So now love interest is still twenty and he's, what, he's like fifty three. He still loves her, but he's had an entire lifetime without her, and remembers her like a childhood sweetheart. And she looks at him and doesn't see the same person anymore either.
C.J. -- Is she still the daughter of the security captain?
Anver -- Could be. But now her old boyfriend is older than her father. That's suitably inappropriate.
It could be how he got the the job.
C.J. -- Who?
Anver -- The security captain. The mentor and the love interest were both going, working together on the same alien-biology team. The mentor put in a good word about him, and got him the job as the security captain.
C.J. -- This is like a soap opera. We can't have all this in the movie.
Anver -- Give it a longer running time. A bigger budget. This can be a big reveal near the end. The love interest and the hero can have a quiet moment, and she can explain the whole thing. You know, she resented John because the mentor gave up their relationship to look after him and his sister. But, because the mentor brought him up, John is very much like him, so she was drawn to him too.
C.J. -- This is a lot of backstory.
Anver -- It'll add a lot of tension later. It can't all be about monsters. Finding out this history will make us care for the characters.
Taylor -- Do we still need the sister?
Anver -- Wasn't the sister your idea too? I think we should keep her. We need someone with the same status as John. She'll be just fifteen though, so no love interest for her. It'll be the most frustrating thing in the world for her, to be the only horny teenager within fifty light years, and only have her brother at hand.
Taylor -- Or not at hand.
C.J. -- But we'll have to bring in something to make us care about her too. So far she's just a thing.
Anver -- Maybe the mentor can be the sister's father. Her and John are only half-brother-sister. So, once John is born, the mentor has an affair with John's mother, and the sister is the result.
Taylor -- But then he'd be put into cold sleep as punishment too.
Anver -- Only if he's found out. The affair was a one-time thing, and the father didn't know, and he went into cold sleep not knowing she was pregnant. And the mother kept it quiet.
Maybe even the mother didn't know if the mentor was really the father. She always told herself he wasn't, but deep down knew that he actually was.
And then she died in childbirth, and the mentor feels doubly guilty, once for sleeping with a married woman, and then letting her die in childbirth, because he was the doctor.
The mentor never told anyone he was the father, and let people presume the other man was the father.
C.J. -- They would do a DNA test if there was any doubt.
Anver -- But there wasn't any doubt. This could be it, you know, why the mentor stayed awake the entire time. First it was to take care of the pregnancy, then to take care of the next pregnancy. When the sister was born, he did the test himself, and found he was the father. So he decided to stay awake to see his daughter grow up.
Taylor -- He was never caught, because he did the test himself and kept it secret.
Anver -- Exactly.
C.J. -- How will we find this out?
Anver -- I don't know. It doesn't have to go in the script. But it's there, if we need to use it later.
Taylor -- I like it.
C.J. -- I think it's two steps too far. So we have two fathers, one of the love interest, and one of the kids. And once the older father looked up to the younger father as some kind of father-in-law figure, because he dated his daughter, but now is a dirty old man, who slept with another man's wife, then let her die. Pretty complex.
Anver -- That was fifteen or sixteen years in the past. Now he's a wise and honorable old man. Being a father, or being a father figure, has changed him.
C.J. -- Okay, but let's leave out that he's the father of the sister.
Anver -- For now, sure. So one possibility is that the security captain has to die to save the love interest, and in doing so shows that he approves of the budding relationship between his daughter and the hero, John.
C.J. -- Or the mentor has to die to save John, and in doing so shows that he approves of the budding relationship between his student and the girl who he was going to marry twenty five years in the past.
Anver -- Or, to look at it another way, the mentor dies to save the love interest, showing he still cared for her deeply, even after twenty five years apart, but in doing so knows he's going to free her up to get together with the hero.
C.J. -- The security captain dies to save the hero?
Taylor -- Why would he do that?
C.J. -- No idea. It was the last option. What about the relationship between the security captain and the mentor?
Anver -- The mentor should be cool with the security captain, and still have this respect for his elder, even though he's now older.
But the security captain should resent the mentor for abandoning his daughter, and breaking her heart. He now knows they can't be together, as he's too old and doesn't love her any more, but he still has this resentment.
C.J. -- This could be a fun relationship for the audience. Two old men sneering at each other, but really friends on the inside, but why they say they hate each other is never explained until later.
Taylor -- Guys, you do know these two men have to die together, right?
C.J. -- Why?
Anver -- He's right. It's just too powerful. They have to be rivals, of sorts, from the start.
Then, in the last fifteen minutes, they're stuck together in a situation, and they can't decide who will stay behind, and who will go on and live. But they make up, and decide the best way to give both the hero and the love interest the best chance to get away from danger is that they both stay behind, both do their jobs, and both die. Back to back. This is the kind of thing that'll have everyone in tears.
Taylor -- I can't not write it. It has to go in the script.
C.J. -- Box office gold. So what about the sister? What does she do?
Anver -- We'll see as we go along. She obviously idolizes the love interest though, looks up to her as some kind of goddess of beauty.
C.J. -- Okay, we'll leave her for now. Where are we up to?
Taylor -- We've got our character list, and we've got a lot of backstory too. It's not all been on screen yet, but we have enough to move forward. The important relationships are there.
C.J. -- So lets start the plot moving.
Anver -- Not yet. We've still got loads of foreshadowing to do. Let's see if we can shoot a cow thing. The mentor takes the kids away from the captains. He says "Come on, we've got to knock out a cow."
The sister asks "Will Sandra be there?"
And John is like "Who cares if she is?" But it's obvious he cares.
C.J. -- Sandra?
Anver -- The love interest. The mentor says "Of course, she's the one who wants to study the cow."
So they arrive at this huge pen. Along the way, John tries to tell the mentor about the thing he saw out in the forest, but events keep happening, and the mentor never really hears the question. They can keep meeting the dino fodder, doing different jobs and things.
When we get to the pen, on the edge of the camp, we see these cow things. Sandra is there. She's awkward with everyone. The security captain, let's call him Hamilton, is there too. He has the elephant gun.
The mentor and him exchange glances, like neither of them are happy with having to rely on the other. The mentor takes out a blowgun, or a blowpipe, and loads up a dart.
"Will this work?" asks John.
"There's only one way too find out," says the mentor, "Sandra said the dose is good."
C.J. -- And we see Hamilton load his big gun just in case.
Anver -- Yeah, and the mentor can say "We want it alive, only use that if I say."
C.J. -- "I'm the security captain, son, I'll use it as and when I say."
Anver -- Right. The tension is there. Calling him son is a nice touch. So they shoot the cow, and it panics and starts pounding the ground. Hamilton raises his elephant gun, but the mentor holds up his hand. Raised voices.
In the end Sandra says "Father, listen to him!" and that sways him. He doesn't shoot, and immediately the cow keels over, limp. The mentor looks good, like he knows what he's doing. Hamilton looks good too, like he takes threats seriously.
C.J. -- How big are the cows?
Anver -- Big. Like the size of a rhino. But no horns. Floppy ears too. It has to look stupid.
C.J. -- Right. Name of the mentor?
Anver -- It has to sound good. Like Kenobi or Morpheus. Let's call him Galatris.
C.J. -- What does it mean?
Anver -- I just made it up. But it sounds as though it has meaning. Sandra and Galatris run out to check the cow. Stick it with needles and things. The sister runs over to help, because she wants to do whatever Sandra is doing too. You see them working in the background.
In the front of the shot, John looks at Hamilton's rifle. He asks "How powerful is that?" Or something. He needs to mention the thing he saw in the forest.
C.J. -- Does Hamilton believe him?
Anver -- No, he says there's nothing out there, nothing but the cows. That he probably just saw a cow.
John says "I saw something!" but when pressed he has to admit all he saw was some shaking trees, and those were a long way away.
Then Galatris comes over and asks "Your sister told me you saw something out in the forest."
John says "Yes."
And Galatris says "Let's move this cow into the lab first, and then we can talk about it."
C.J. -- Hamilton has to say "Whatever's out there, this gun can take it down." But of course, when he tries later, it doesn't kill the dino.
Anver -- Yeah. But that's the end of that scene. It's doesn't feel very long, but the cow thing can take up a lot of time. That's where we see the character interaction. How long have we got?
Taylor -- I guess about fifteen pages, fifteen minutes.
Anver -- That long? So we only need another ten before the first dino attack. This is where we can do the bit with the crocodile.
C.J. -- Okay. Where is this?
Anver -- In the lab. John and Galatris are there. So is Sandra, working off to one side on the cow. But we don't see them right away. Instead we cut direct to the wildlife documentary of the bison and the crocodile. The audience thinks "What's going on here?" but we zoom out from the screen and John is looking at it.
He says "This is a bison?"
"Yes, but that's not what I want to show you."
"Then what..." but right then the crocodile jumps out and bites the neck of the bison.
So Galatris explains to John and his sister about convergent evolution, the dialogue we hashed out before. We only need to take two minutes here, but we need to take away these points.
One, nobody has found an apex predator on Planet XYZ yet. Or not on land.
Two, crocodiles hunt alone, so have to be bigger than their prey, but lions hunt in packs so they are smaller than their prey.
C.J. -- So how about our dinos?
Anver -- Both? Males hunt alone, and are huge. Females hunt together, so are smaller, but maybe slightly more clever. Whatever, both might come into play later.
Anyway, after that Galatris sends them off to bed. The sister can complain, saying Sandra doesn't have to go to bed. Galatris says she's an adult, and the kids are still teenagers.
John can say, "she's just twenty, and I'm already eighteen." Or "I'm almost eighteen and a half." But sort of under his breath.
Galatris asks him to repeat it, but John slouches off. John and the sister don't know Galatris and Sandra's history, but Galatris suddenly notices that John is in love with Sandra. Maybe he knew before, but now he knows he knows.
C.J. -- Would he send them off to bed?
Anver -- Off to dinner then. Or off to study. Out of the way. We get a small exchange between Galatris and Hamilton here.
C.J. -- About the dinos?
Anver -- About the apex predators. Hamilton can walk in, and he's overheard the lesson, but didn't show himself until after the kids left.
C.J. -- Hamilton can say "You shouldn't scare the kids like that."
Anver -- A good line. He doesn't believe there's anything out there, and thinks Galatris shouldn't encourage John's fantasies.
He can say "The kids grew up on a spaceship, they probably see all kinds of weird stuff in their minds. Before a month ago they'd never even seen a thing." Seen a tree. Something.
C.J. -- Does Galatris defend John?
Anver -- Half.
Taylor -- The gun is too powerful.
C.J. -- What?
Taylor -- As soon as Hamilton sees the dino, kaboom, no more dino.
C.J. -- He only had the gun out because they were drugging a cow. Normally it'll be in a safe. Locked away.
Taylor -- Okay.
Anver -- But we can use this. Say we have the gun, but Hamilton is away. Or he's away with the gun.
C.J. -- He can decide to check out John's story, and see if he can find the cow carcass.
Anver -- Right. So the exchange ends "If I have time in the next few days, I'll see if I can go check out that area of the forest. Meanwhile, keep those kids inside the camp."
C.J. -- So he does believe John?
Taylor -- We need to swap the sister and John at the start.
C.J. -- What?
Taylor -- It'll make sense. The sister is up the tree, and John is down on the ground, calling up.
Anver -- That's it!
Taylor -- Everything else follows.
Anver -- This is way better. Okay, let's swap that round.
C.J. -- Swap what?
Anver -- Shall I?
Taylor -- Go ahead.
Anver -- John is running through the forest. He finds his sister up a tree, with binoculars. He calls up "Come back to camp."
She says "I see something."
"It's just a cow."
"I don't think so. Come up and I'll show you."
John is afraid of heights, so doesn't climb up. The sister screams once, but we don't see what she sees, we only hear a cow thing scream too. John doesn't believe she's seen anything. They go back to the camp.
Taylor -- Now John is trying to be adult, and saying she's just being a kid. And the adults fall into line with him, all saying it's just her imagination.
Anver -- The mentor, Galatris, uses her imagination, as he sees it, as a way to teach the lesson about convergent evolution.
This works better, actually, because when we hit the first plot point, things change for our hero. If he already thought the dinosaur existed, nothing would change for him at the first dino attack. Now he has a new mission. He's going to protect is sister. He's going to have to climb a tree.
Taylor -- He's going to try to impress the girl.
Anver -- That too. He'll have a lot of things to do. So will everyone else.
C.J. -- We've solved the sister?
Anver -- I think so. Let's give her a name. How about Tess? Now she can ask about the gun, maybe. It'll shake out when we're properly scripting, right?
C.J. -- Okay, I'm happy with this now. Next scene.
Anver -- Is Hamilton going to go out to check what the sister, what Tess might have seen?
C.J. -- If so, that can get him away while the dino attacks.
Anver -- That's going to be tricky. If he discovers the pool of blood or the carcass, he'll rush right back and warn the camp.
C.J. -- He can get back too late.
Anver -- We can do cross cutting, but you don't know that we're cross cutting between two different places.
We can see bushes shake, then see Hamilton shifting forwards. Back to the bushes, maybe a sweep of a tail. Back to hamilton. Back to the bushes.
Now we see a claw pull aside a branch. Hamilton sweats, flicks off the safety, steps sideways. Someone is with him, and he can wave them back. Back to the bush, and we see an eyeball looking through a gap in some leaves.
C.J. -- Where is this leading?
Anver -- Hamilton picks up a twig, and throws it off to one side. Now, we think that the dino in the tree is what he's stalking, but in fact the dino is back on the edge of the camp. Instead his thrown twig disturbs a small animal, like a vulture. It's a scavenger, or there's lots of them. They run off, and there's just a carcass.
But then we cut back to the dino's eye, and track or zoom out. We keep going, and we see it's sneaked right up to the edge of the camp, or close to it, and is looking up the hill at the fodder. Or up at Sandra and Tess.
C.J. -- Do we see the dino?
Anver -- Not yet. Okay, we swing from the eye round to the camp. It'll show the geography. The dino is right there. The threat is right there. We know it. We're waiting for it to attack, but the people in the camp have no clue.
Taylor -- Let's draw this out.
Anver -- Okay. Back at the carcass, Hamilton prods it with his gun. "It's nothing," he says, "Tess just saw a dead cow thing and freaked out."
C.J. -- Who is with him?
Taylor -- Fodder.
Anver -- Right. Whoever it is, they're probably going to die before the end of the day. It can be a security person.
There should only be four regular security personnel, plus Hamilton, plus the shuttle pilot. By the end of the first dino attack at the camp, there can just be Hamilton left. What else?
C.J. -- They can have a discussion about the carcass. Point out teeth marks.
Anver -- They find a tooth. A broken tooth. They're like "This is too big for a scavenger."
We cut back to the dino, and show a real closeup of its mouth, showing a tooth. The same tooth. Or a missing tooth. We can hear the sounds of the camp close by. Can we do slow motion?
C.J. -- You used it to good effect in your first picture.
Anver -- So Hamilton says "We should get back to camp, and warn them there might be something out here." A better line than that. Okay, I've forgotten what I was going to say.
C.J. -- Slow motion.
Anver -- Whatever. So we need a final cut that makes sense here. Back to the dino, but with meaning.
C.J. -- We don't have to work out every shot yet. Just let's say the dino roars, and everyone in the camp freezes.
Taylor -- What about the fence?
Anver -- The dino wades right through. Maybe it stops him for a minute.
C.J. -- Okay, the dino is here. We need to know more about it. The camp must have some kind of defense. How big does the dino have to be to get through?
Anver -- Pretty big. Not T-Rex. A half T-Rex.
C.J. -- That's one weak fence then.
Anver -- So have the fence electricified. At the camp they run everything from these huge battery packs that they fly down from orbit. They charge them on solar power, or on the nuclear power core up at the starship. Everything is wired up to these battery packs, including the fence.
The dino can touch the fence, get a shock, and step back for minute. But then he pushes through.
C.J. -- Jurassic Park is on the phone, it wants its ideas back.
Anver -- So the fence is big, but the dino can climb. Maybe it can jump really high. Would that be a problem?
C.J. -- It's a T-Rex with super powers?
Anver -- It needs something, right? Predator had the whole cloaking thing. Alien has the Escher look, with the two mouths, and the acid blood to get through walls.
Taylor -- Not Escher.
Anver -- So we need something to set our monster apart. Something that will get it into the camp, but not too quick.
C.J. -- Wings? Like it can jump and glide. Climb a big tree and launch itself into the camp.
Anver -- The opposite. Maybe it can tunnel under the ground.
C.J. -- Tremors is on the phone.
Anver -- Yeah, yeah. Can it spit fire like a dragon?
C.J. -- Maybe it can blow really hard, like the big bad wolf, and blow down the fence.
Anver -- It has an electric attack, like an eel. It can zap its prey at close range. This way it can zap the fence, short it out, then climb right through.
Taylor -- Sharks detect electricity.
Anver -- Do they? That could be it. The dino can feel the current in the fence, and doesn't touch it.
C.J. -- That doesn't get it into the camp.
Anver -- Ok, let's try this. It's immune to electricity. So, the dinos migrate long distances, and they are adapted to catching all kinds of prey.
Like a bear, right? They catch fish in the lakes, then eat berries, then chase down elks. Like an omni-carnivore. Orcas are the same, right? They swim up onto beaches to catch seals, then later the same day round up herring out in the open sea.
C.J. -- Where is this going?
Anver -- While the dinosaur hunts cows, it also spends a lot of time in hunting in water, like a bear. One of the creatures in the rivers has an electrical attack. A few thousand volts. Zap.
So the dino has evolved a way to defend against the zap. Normally this doesn't mean anything, only that it can eat the zapping prey, and nothing else can. That's a good evolutionary advantage right there. Then, after the wet season, the dinos head north to the cow pastures, to raise their young. But the cows migrate off north, where it's too cold for the dinos, so they move back south to the wetlands, and feast on the new zapping prey.
To bring it back, when the dino reaches the fence, it detects the electrical current up close, and attacks it. Maybe that is why it was drawn to the camp, it can feel the ohms.
C.J. -- The fence is like paper.
Anver -- The fence isn't local material. It uses wire brought down from orbit, spun out into webs, with each section powered up all the time. It's really weak though, structurally. It's designed to shock predators, not stop them bodily. Who could have predicted an apex predator that isn't conductive?
C.J. -- Us, about two minutes ago.
Anver -- Actually, the dino should be super-conductive. It has these metallic stripes all over the body, that lead to the feet. Like a black and silver tiger. It'll look awesome. Each dino has a unique design, with shaped swirls and things.
The teeth and claws are wired up too. So when it bites the zapping prey, the current is shorted out through the teeth, across the outside of the skin, and it grounds out through the feet. The claws of the front and rear legs can be connected too. It only has to be touching the ground with one claw, and that's enough to protect its insides from zaps.
C.J. -- This is really good.
Anver -- Is this a Faraday Cage?
Taylor -- Those are for stopping radio signals. The size of the holes dictates the wavelengths of EM that get through.
C.J. -- We can use that too.
Anver -- Only if it eats a radio. Hey, did you ever see Jurassic Park Three? The T-Rex swallows a satellite phone.
C.J. -- If we have an electric-proof dino, what else can it do?
Anver -- The metallic skin can be like armor. It'll stop bullets. Maybe. A cattle prod certainly won't work. No tasers either.
Taylor -- The aliens, the other monsters, can use the zapping prey as a source of electricity, and have fashioned electrical circuits out of the skins of the dinos.
C.J. -- Keep going, all of this might come in handy later.
Anver -- When the dinos mate, they rub against each other so much they build up a static charge. When the dino ejaculates they set fire to the surrounding trees.
C.J. -- That's not going in the picture.
Anver -- You said keep going. During thunder storms, all the dinos gather on hilltops. Getting struck by lightning produces some kind of rush. Maybe that can be part of the mating ritual.
C.J. -- It doesn't matter how they mate.
Anver -- The life cycle of the Alien alien was one of the most interesting elements.
How about EM pulses? Would they work on the dino? It shorts out circuitry, but if it's shielded it survives. Maybe the dino can swallow a radio, then all other radios are fried, and the only working radio is inside that one dino. They have to cut it open to call for help.
C.J. -- Maybe.
Anver -- The dinos communicate via radio. The spines on the backs picks up on different frequencies.
C.J. -- How do they create the radio waves?
Anver -- There's a certain kind of tree. They rub against the tree, and that makes them vibrate.
Okay, not that.
C.J. -- They can detect electric. What are the other senses?
Anver -- This is just one monster of two, so let's keep it simple. We can use the T-Rex shortcut. It can see movement, so if you keep still it doesn't notice you. At least it has no sense of smell. And bad hearing. Good eyes, bad hearing and smell. This is actually an idea I wanted from before.
C.J. -- What idea?
Anver -- The dinos and the aliens are opposites. Dinos live out in the open, and see well but can't hear. Aliens have evolved for living in caves, so can't see well at all, but have superpower hearing. Not at the level of bat-like echo location, but getting there.
This is why they made the cloaking devices. They only have to fool the dinos' eyes, not their ears and noses too.
Also, the beady eyes of the aliens will mark them out as the bad guys.
C.J. -- Are you getting all this?
Taylor -- Yes. It's like a puzzle, but I'm good at puzzles.
C.J. -- So we have the dino, and the fence. Let's get on with the scene.
Anver -- We leave Hamilton as he says "Let's get back to the camp." Cut back to the dino.
Wait, this scene has to happen out in the forest.The dino attack on the camp must be the one that reveals all the strengths of the monster and the weaknesses of the fence. We can't give everything away just yet. We just need to show a glimpse of the monster.
C.J. -- So who goes out into the forest?
Taylor -- Hamilton has to drop the gun.
Anver -- Good idea. So a few days later, we round up a group of five to go check the cow carcass. We'll know it's a few days because when we see the carcass it's half rotted.
First we just see Hamilton, and we do the creeping up to the trees sequence, but without cutting to a dino. We can have a scare when he finds out there's no dino, just some scavengers.
He's got his daughter with him, Sandra. John will be there. Not the sister, though. And two more. One of Hamilton's security personnel. We'll have met him in the opening ten minutes, and his name is Marshall. Maybe four will be enough.
They start to examine the carcass. Hamilton is already dismissing Tess' story, but Sandra can say the neck of the cow is twisted backwards, so it must have been a violent death.
John picks up a tooth, and holds it up. "What's this?" he asks.
So what we'll do is get Sandra, John, and Hamilton, standing together, looking down at something. Out of focus, in the background, we see the trees swaying, but don't bring any music. We did the music back when Hamilton was creeping forward.
Suddenly there's a whoosh, and a scream, and we cut to a swinging tail, swishing back into the forest. That's all we see.
C.J. -- Marshall has disappeared.
Anver -- Exactly. But none of the other three saw it, and neither did we. They stand in silence for ten seconds, looking at each other. Then there's a signal, and they all run.
C.J. -- What signal?
Anver -- A roar? Another scream? A body part flying back through the trees?
Taylor -- How does Hamilton drop the gun?
Anver -- When they discover the carcass, Marshall walks up to him and gives him his thing, a flask, to drink from. It's some whiskey or something, a character point of Hamilton. At that point Hamilton gives Marshall the gun. While they are investigating the carcass, we can keep cutting to Marshall, holding the gun, looking out into the forest.
Later, John can be running away through the forest, and he'll trip over something. When he looks down it'll be the elephant gun.
C.J. -- Make a note of that.
Taylor -- I am.
Anver -- Noticing the gun has gone along with Marshall can be the signal.
Sandra asks, "Dad, do you have your rifle?"
Hamilton says "Marshall was holding it."
One meaningful look between them, and they run. We know they are within running distance of the camp, because Tess and John were nearby at the opening of the film. There should be one more security guy with them though. He can make it back to the camp with them, backs up their story, but dies in the next attack.
Is this all okay?
C.J. -- Sounds good to me. When the dino takes Marshal, can he leave Marshall's boot behind?
Anver -- His hat can fall off.
C.J. -- Good enough.
Taylor -- That was the first turning point?
Anver -- Yes. Everything up to that was part one. The attack, when the dino becomes real, this is the first turning point.
Now we're into part two. Part two is all about failed responses.
C.J. -- What do you mean?
Anver -- We have to have the hero and the rest of the humans attempt to fight back, but they don't know all the facts about the dinos, and they're still fighting among themselves. They put up a defense, but we know that they can't succeed. You don't succeed at this point in the story, you're still reacting.
We're building towards the second turning point. This will be a moment of small success, but will immediately lead to a much bigger crisis.
C.J. -- So they kill one dino, but immediately four more turn up.
Anver -- That kind of thing, but we've got another level of foreshadowing to do now. The aliens are going to show up at the second turning point. That will be the new crisis, the new threat.
C.J. -- Let's talk about part two first. What do we need to do?
Anver -- The captains have to be ineffectual. One of them must die in the first dino attack on the camp. We need to discover the dino's super powers. We need to discover a way that might kill one. We need Hamilton to start taking more of a leadership role. We need John to spot an alien, but not realize it.
And we need to accomplish all of this in about twenty five minutes screen time.
C.J. -- Let's do it.
Anver -- Next scene. The guys run back into camp. They immediately tell the captains. The main captain doesn't know how to respond. The colony captain can be dismissive, but Hamilton can say Marshall is missing. And Marshall was a good man, and wouldn't play around out in the forest.
The science captain doesn't believe what's happened either, until John throws the tooth on to the table in front of him. The science captain grows some balls and says "You should listen to Hamilton."
Hamilton says "As security captain, I'd like to use my power of command to say nobody goes outside the fence." He also orders his remaining personnel to man the lookout tower around the clock, and carry weapons at all times.
C.J. -- What weapons?
Anver -- Ones that don't work against the dinos.
C.J. -- So small handguns, cattle prods, and tasers.
Anver -- Maybe something that throws a net. So they get kitted up, and wait. We see the rest of the camp complaining that they aren't allowed to go outside, or that the security guys are getting in the way. The people who complain may or may not die before the end.
We can have a scene where Tess asks John about what he saw in the forest. John says he didn't see much. And we need a lab scene. Sandra analyses the claw of the dino, and discovers it is highly metallic. We don't know what that means yet. This all has to be quick though.
Then the first dino attack.
C.J. -- That has to interrupt the science lab scene. We don't know about the metallic claw thing, but we find out right away.
Anver -- Right. So the guy in the watch tower, the same guy who was out in the forest when Marshall got bit, sounds the alarm. Everyone comes rushing outside. Hamilton shouts for everyone to get back inside, but nobody does, of course. They say "The electric fence will protect us."
The dino is just in the trees, not far from the fence. The tree can shake, and the birds can fly up. The colony caption, let's call her Sibelius, says "It's just a cow thing."
But there's a roar, and we know its not a cow thing.
Taylor -- If an animal is deaf, why would it roar?
C.J. -- Maybe it isn't completely deaf, but has really bad hearing. So if it wants to communicate, it has to do it really loud.
Anver -- That works. So, I want John to do something brave and stupid. He walks down to the fence to get a better look. Hamilton shouts for him to get back.
No, Sandra goes to take a closer look, as she has professional interest. John, trying to show he's not scared, follows her down. It can be a thing. Hamilton shouts for them to get back, but they also say the fence will protect them.
Whatever, I want John down by the fence. Sandra can stop a short way back, but John can get much closer. She's like "Careful, the fence is electric!" and he turns round, nods, and as he turns back, the dino steps out.
This has to be really slow. A claw comes out, then the nose, then the tail flashes round. Then we see the it emerge completely.
C.J. -- Why so slow?
Anver -- It's confused by all the electric in the fence. We don't know that yet, but it makes it mysterious. We need to see the whole dino, because we need to keep the story pushing forwards. So it comes out and looms over the fence, and stops.
We cut back to the view from the tower, with the edge of the camp, the slope down towards the fence, Sandra, John, the fence, the dino, then the forest. It shows scale, shows all the geography.
C.J. -- In this pause we need Sandra to walk forwards slowly, and say something like "It's beautiful!" Because it's going to look spectacular.
Anver -- The dino takes another few steps forward, and John takes a few steps back. Sandra stays there.
Then the dino reaches out and touches the fence. It can pause with it's claw up above the fence, as though thinking, or considering, but it's still confused about the electric. Then it touches the fence and there's a huge burst of sparks.
C.J. -- We can show a side view, with lightning playing over its body, grounding out into the floor.
Anver -- Exactly. And with its face glowing from the lightning it rears up and crushes that part of the fence flat, right down onto the ground.
C.J. -- It can snap wires and everything.
Anver -- The power battery, back at the camp, can start smoking. Someone shouts, "Cut the power to the fence, or the battery will blow and we'll all be toast."
But before they manage to switch it off the fence shorts out anyway, and all the flashing lights along the top go dead. The lightning stops too, and the fence is now just a tangle of dead wire.
Taylor -- What about John and Sandra?
Anver -- They've fallen backward, but get up and start backing up the hill, really slowly, but ready to run. The dino steps into the camp.
C.J. -- Hamilton is just watching?
Anver -- No, he shouts "Get down!" Sandra pulls John to the floor and the security guys open fire with their pistols. This distracts the dino away from John and Sandra. The dino roars once more, and charges up the hill. It's been slow up until now, but here it has to be chaos.
C.J. -- How many people die?
Anver -- Quite a few. Five or six. The dino wades into the group. We see the security guys being real heroes. One jumps forward with a cattle prod, but the lightning shoots down into the floor again, and the dino sweeps him away with his tail. What else?
C.J. -- The taser. And that guy is bitten.
Anver -- There's the net thrower too. Whoosh, and it wraps around the dino's front claw, completely ineffective. We see Galatris shoot it with the dart gun, but the dart just bounces off. Someone has to have a smaller hunting rifle, or a handgun, and keeps unloading into the dinos side. We see the bullets cause tiny wounds, little flicks of red, but it only enrages the dino further.
So it kills four or five, and then scoops up one or two, which will be its lunch for later, and runs back to the fence.
C.J. -- One of the men isn't dead yet.
Anver -- That will be the science captain. His glasses are knocked off, and all we see is his moly face and bald head. He's pounding on the dino's front leg or arm, and screaming. He disappears into the forest with the dino, and we never see him again.
Then there's silence. The camera starts in close to a dead body, then swings out on a crane, and we see the entire damage.
C.J. -- That's a lot of blood. We'll need to cover the faces of the security guys so we don't see their faces as they die.
Anver -- Next we need the town meeting thing. The captains are arguing. There's empty chairs.
Taylor -- Who's arguing? The science captain is dead.
Anver -- You're right.
C.J. -- Who is second in command? Can we have the mentor become the new science captain?
Anver -- Sure. That's good.
The debate is this. Do we stay here and try to defend the base? Or do we abort the mission and evacuate to orbit?
C.J. -- Of course they don't.
Anver -- But why not? The colony captain is too persuasive. And the main captain doesn't want to fail. Any argument by Galatris is dismissed, because he's been science captain all of three minutes. Hamilton says he needs more men, and the other elephant guns from orbit.
C.J. -- But Hamilton's happy to stay on the surface?
Anver -- Not happy, but he's an old soldier, and will follow the orders he's given.
Taylor -- The next attack must come before the reinforcements arrive.
Anver -- How long does it take to wake up from cold sleep? Say four days?
C.J. -- Also the guns don't exist yet. They have to be manufactured in orbit.
Anver -- But the person who can do that is down on the surface, running the wood manufacturing unit instead.
Taylor -- The shuttle pilot died in the attack.
Anver -- That works. Of course they'd have backups, but they'd all be security personnel too. There's a space shuttle in orbit too.
Okay, let's say there are two shuttles in the camp, and one in orbit. The two shuttle pilots are dead. They need to wake up more and fly them down from orbit.
C.J. -- There's someone who can pilot in orbit, but that is the captain of the spaceship, and he isn't allowed to leave. The only people there are him and a skeleton crew. He can wake a replacement, but that will take four days too.
Anver -- Happy?
Taylor -- Yes. This can all come out in the meeting.
Anver -- Sure, and right away we hear moaning that the captains can't plan for shit. Next scene?
C.J. -- Hamilton directing the new defenses of the camp.
Anver -- We need to show that John can pilot one of the shuttles.
C.J. -- He can?
Anver -- Yes. He grew up on the spaceship, and spent years playing in the simulators. At first he can just roll it from the pad into the hanger, not leaving the ground, but it'll come in handy later.
Taylor -- It's how they stop the next dino attack.
C.J. -- With the shuttle. They are pretty powerful, I guess.
Anver -- They get the dino to a certain place, and blast it with the rockets.
C.J. -- That'll work.
Anver -- So after the attack, the rest of part two is them setting up the defenses. Hamilton directs them to burn down the forest around the camp, clearing a few hundred meters in all directions.
Then they erect a funnel-shaped fence, not strong enough to stop a dino, but solid enough to guide it to the back of the shuttle. They can dump loads of wood into the machine, and it spits out fence posts and frames and beams.
Tell me if anything sounds wrong.
Taylor -- We should have an exchange between Galatris and Hamilton. Galatris is furious that he's burnt the forests.
Anver -- Yeah. It goes against all their noninterference protocols. And we need a moment, in the planning stage, where Hamilton says "We need to move the god damn shuttle, and we're out of pilots."
John has to raise his hand and say "I can do that." Then he explains he spent hours in the simulator. We can see him looking nervous, but he does the job.
C.J. -- Maybe Hamilton knows how to pilot, or did once, but that was twenty years ago, when he was much younger, and he's not sure about the modern systems on these shuttles.
Anver -- They can sit next to each other, and work out the controls. Hamilton sees that John is really growing up, and is quite capable.
C.J. -- They have to talk about Sandra.
Anver -- Yeah. They can be talking about how to pilot, being responsive, feeling your way, treating it like a woman. John thinks he's talking about actually piloting the shuttle, but Hamilton is really explaining how to deal with women. "Don't hurt them," he says. Or "Don't be too pushy, and they'll respond."
C.J. -- Nice.
Anver -- But except for these character moments, we've got to get the defenses up quickly. We'll do it as a montage, the whole camp working together. It'll be uplifting. Except the colony captain and the main captain will be the only ones not working.
Now, usually this kind of thing, everyone working together, would be in part three, just before the third turning point. But we're less than half way through. About forty five minutes. The audience will know this can't be near the end, as if it was, the movie would be way too short.
They'll know there's a piece of the puzzle missing, so just before the next attack, or during it, we need to hint at that piece. And then the next turning point will be revealing the aliens. Not their final identity, but the fact they are the new threat.
C.J. -- Yeah, about that. I don't think we need them.
Anver -- What?
C.J. -- The aliens. We've got enough already. I think I'm going to pitch this as just a monster story.
Anver -- You can't do that! You said I had until the end of the meeting to convince you the tripod will work, and we've not got there yet.
C.J. -- But look at what we do have? A great monster. The anti-electric thing is a unique selling point. We have an interesting setting, a nice lineup of characters, interesting relationships too. Galatris and Hamilton are great.
Anver -- You can't just take these ideas and leave out the original concept. These are my ideas.
C.J. -- You can still direct, if you want. If not, you can get story credit instead.
Anver -- I want to direct, but I want to direct the tripod movie. Without it this is just another dumb monster flick. Anyone can do that.
C.J. -- The studio wants another dumb monster flick. These days they're cheap, with CGI, and if released at the right time do real nice at the box office.
Anver -- I can give them more than that. With a solid concept, with the twist of two monsters, this could be huge.
C.J. -- The tripod thing will never work. The studios won't take it.
Anver -- They should.
C.J. -- Remember what I said. Mid-range.
Anver -- I can't believe this.
C.J. -- Are you in, or not?
Anver -- You want me to gut my own story, settle for mediocracy, then put my name to it? Spend a year directing something I know isn't my own vision? And you want me to go into the project so disillusioned?
C.J. -- Sit down, there's no need to...
Anver -- You're not the only producer who's interested in my next movie. I'll take my talent elsewhere. I'd rather work on another car chase picture, with or without you.
It's been fun, gentlemen.
C.J. -- Okay, that could have gone better.
Taylor -- You want to call it a day?
C.J. -- No. Let's get this story finished up. He's an ideas machine, but we have all the ideas we need.
Taylor -- He has more than just good ideas.
C.J. -- I know. He has a good eye. But we can get another director for this, no problem. Have you ever directed?
Taylor -- I did some TV work. Now I stick to scripts.
C.J. -- Well, if you want a shot at this project, behind the camera, just say. I'll pitch your name to the studio.
Taylor -- I'll think about it.
C.J. -- So, you're the expert, do we have enough for a one-monster picture? Tell me how you see it.
Taylor -- Most of this can stay as it is, but we'd slip the focus to the earlier events. Have a bit more on the spaceship in space before coming down to the planet. Or maybe not. Let me think.
C.J. -- Okay.
Taylor -- Let's keep his seven element framework. Four parts, with three turning points. The first part, with the exposition and setting up, can be them arriving, landing, and starting to set up the base.
C.J. -- So we see that happen, rather than just a 40 days later title?
Taylor -- Yes. Some of it. We need someone to go missing right at the start. A woman. She's out alone and get eaten, but only the audience sees it, not the characters. That'll be in the first landing party. Nobody knows where she went, but they think she fell off a cliff or into a cave or something. No problem. Accidents happen.
C.J. -- That's what Sibelius would say.
Taylor -- The first half continues and we set up the Sandra, Hamilton, Galatris and the rest. And John, of course. We might not need the sister at all. Anything else?
C.J. -- Sounds good. What's the first turning point?
Taylor -- That will be John seeing the dino himself. We can do the iris shrinking shot. But nobody believes him.
In part two we can have the scenes which were in part one before. We can do the cow shooting, and the talk about apex predators.
They can find the carcass. That's John's first triumph, when he is vindicated, the dino is real. Marshall gets chomped, lose the gun, and they run back to the camp.
Oh, and we get to see the dino for real this time. At least a quick look. We've already had two glimpses, we've got to pay it off on the third showing, just like we did in the other version.
C.J. -- That was the first turning point before, right?
Taylor -- Yes, but now it's just within part two. Remember that part two is when the characters are all in disarray, and don't have a coordinated response.
Back at the camp, the captains want to stay and defend the camp. Great. The fence will be enough.
The second turning point will now be the first attack on the camp. Actually, it will be the moment the dino touches the fence and is unharmed.
C.J. -- So we don't need to introduce more aliens to up the threat level?
Taylor -- Right. The dino is already more dangerous than we first thought. The attack on the camp can happen exactly the same as before. Lots of people die.
C.J. -- The same people as before?
Taylor -- Sure. Make sure we kill the pilots again, so we can have the moment with John and Hamilton. That'll be in part three.
C.J. -- What's the function of part three?
Taylor -- Regrouping. The characters come up with a better plan than before, and start putting it to work. They can build the new fence, move the shuttle into position, all that.
C.J. -- What is the third turning point? The next attack?
Taylor -- No. It has to be something the hero does. He has to decide to put everything on the line to save the day. The second attack will come half way through part three. It'll be a great triumph, but as soon as they kill the dino, four more show up.
C.J. -- So the plan works? The dino attacks, is funneled into the camp, right into the flame from the shuttle.
Taylor -- Yes. Now, the first dino was male, so huge and hunts alone. The next dinos are females, and hunt as a group. We can do this with dialogue, foreshadowed at the apex predator talk.
C.J. -- Or maybe they are the babies of the first dino. They've come to look for their dead mother.
Taylor -- That works too. In fact, it doesn't matter too much. Maybe another big dino comes along with them. It's a family. Two adults, and clutch of four kids. The smaller dinos don't bother with the funnel in the fence, and instead they scramble right over the wooden fence, through the electric fence, and rampage the camp.
C.J. -- Here we have the most killing.
Taylor -- Right. The captain will shout "To the shuttle!" By that time there are only ten people left, so they all fit inside no problem.
Hamilton hits a button that reads "Abort to Orbit" and the shuttle begins to take off.
There's this hatch at the back, or on the side, and it's open. Galatris is standing there with the remaining captain. The last big dino lunges forwards, snatches the captain, eats him, and holds on to the shuttle.
C.J. -- Can the shuttle take off?
Taylor -- It tries, right? It swings around, all crazily out of balance. The dino pulls itself up, and Hamilton runs back to help. Him and Galatris manage to get it to let go, maybe by poking it in the eye or something.
Galatris is hurt here, so he can't run later. The dino falls, and disappears in to the forest below.
C.J. -- Dead. Or not dead. Good.
Taylor -- I say dead, but we don't know that yet. The shuttle is damaged, and we can have it crash down into the forest a few miles from the camp. John is trying to pilot, but it only has one rocket left, and there's nothing he can do. Crunch, and blackout.
C.J. -- The light comes up, and we have just our main characters left alive. Sandra, John, Hamilton, Galatris.
Taylor -- And two other people. The audience will expect them to be the next two to die.
They now have a choice.
They can stay in the shuttle, and wait until a shuttle gets down from orbit. But that will take hours, and it's going to be dark soon.
Or they can run back to camp, and try to escape in the other shuttle.
This is the third turning point. John has to do something.
C.J. -- He knows something in the shuttle to help them get back to camp. But the shuttle is burning, and he has to risk his life to get it.
Taylor -- Yeah, this is where we can lose Galatris. He's hurt in the shuttle, and it's already burning. He says "Take Sandra, and get out of here!" So John helps everyone out, and they run to a distance. Then he says "I can't leave him, he was like a father to me!"
C.J. -- He runs back into the shuttle and starts trying to drag Galatris out, but he's still trapped.
Taylor -- He tries to be a hero, but it doesn't quite work. As he runs up, the shuttle explodes, and he's thrown back and stunned. This can be the blackout. Not before. We'll keep the action going through to here.
C.J. -- Okay. So he comes round.
Taylor -- Yes. Now we have to have the confrontation between Sandra, John, and Hamilton. John thinks he has the most right to mourn Galatris, because he's known him his whole life. Sandra cries "You don't know what you're talking about, you don't know anything." And storms off.
Then Hamilton explains her history with Galatris. Says Galatris abandoned her to bring up John. John says "But he said to me 'Take Sandra and go.'" That is the final piece of the puzzle in the relationship side of the story.
C.J. -- I thought Galatris and Hamilton were going to die together.
Taylor -- No, their moment together can now be working together on the shuttle, fighting off the dino. They suddenly work together like brothers. That one dies so soon after they high-five each other after killing the dino makes it just as moving.
C.J. -- Okay. So what do we need to do now?
Taylor -- We have Hamilton, Sandra, John, and two others. John still has to do something else though.
C.J. -- Maybe he goes to get the shuttle by himself.
Taylor -- That's good. That shows he's the real hero. Hamilton is injured, and Sandra won't leave him. Now, this is tricky, because now instead of hitting the Abort to Orbit button, John has to fly back to pick them up himself.
C.J. -- He can do that. We've had two scenes with him at the controls already.
Taylor -- I've worked it out. This will be the ending. Stop me if I say something wrong.
At the crash, Hamilton isn't injured, but there's more people with them. Maybe seven or eight other survivors. But half of them are badly injured, and they can't go as a team back to the base.
After sitting about for a while, John decides he's going back to the camp to fetch the other shuttle. Everyone says he's being stupid, but he's going to do it anyway.
He walks away from the group, back towards the camp. He hears something in the forest with him, and starts to run. The trees are shaking behind him, but we don't see what's following him.
After a while he trips on something. He falls, and finds himself in a pile of bones. Or a next to a pile of dino shit. Whatever, he's in a kind of hollow, and Marshall's body is laying out. Or half of it.
He stands up, looks around, and finds the elephant gun they lost before. The lander crashed in the same direction as the place they lost the gun. We can show that easily, flying over landmarks.
So, he cocks the gun, and as the trees shake, then part, he fires. And he almost kills Hamilton. You see, Hamilton was running after him, because he's decided to go with John after all. Here's some dialogue.
"Whoa! You almost killed me, son." There's a bullet hole through the top of his hat or something.
"What are you doing here?"
"I couldn't let you be the hero all by yourself."
"You could have warned me it was you."
"With those dinos around, I'm not about to go shouting my mouth off. Give me that gun, and let's go."
C.J. -- I like it.
Taylor -- So they make their way back to the camp. Along the way they find the fallen body of the big dino. It's not quite dead, but in a lot of pain. Hamilton wants to leave it, but John convinces him to put it out of its misery. In the end he does this by saying "We've not tested the gun against a dino yet. You should see if it can pierce the skin." So bang, and somehow we feel sorry for the damn thing.
C.J. -- That'll be good.
Taylor -- But there's still five or six of the little critters out there. As they get back to the camp, the small ones attack. Four of them. At the entrance of the camp, they run towards the shuttle. Hamilton says "We're not going to make it." And stops, turns, and starts shooting the smaller dinos. He gets two. At that point he's overrun, and dies saving John.
John closes the hatch, and has two dinos attacking the shuttle. These are smaller though, so don't do any damage. He lifts off, again quite wobbly, and manages to fly over to where he's left the group.
He lands, opens the hatch, and looks out. Nobody is there, but there's more blood on the ground. We think everyone is dead.
C.J. -- That would be a good ending, for a different movie.
Taylor -- But then they show up, through the smoke of burning lander. The other lander, the one that crashed before.
Sandra runs into John's arms, and they kiss. She's saying "I can't believe you're back."
The she looks round, and can't see her father. We'll do all this just with looks. John will shake his head, and have tears in his eyes. Sandra will try to be strong, but also have tears. But she'll understand her father died to save her and John, and the others.
C.J. -- But mainly her and John.
Taylor -- Yeah. Now, we could have one last scare, but I think that last exchange should happen on the flight up to orbit. Like, Sandra is the big hero, getting all the people on board, and John can already have hit the Abort to Orbit button. He's making his way back through to the back part of the shuttle, out of the cockpit, when Sandra slams into him and they kiss. Then she can push past into the cockpit, and not find her father.
C.J. -- That will work.
Taylor -- And we'll go without dialogue until the end. John can sit down in the pilot seat, and Sandra can sit next to him. We know the shot from before, with John and Hamilton, sitting in the same seats.
John can put out his hand to the control panel between them, palm up. Sandra can take his hand. They don't kiss now, they just look into each other's eyes.
C.J. -- Then we can do a shot where the camera pulls back, through the cockpit door, through the back part, out through a window in the back hatch, and we see the shuttle lifting away into space, the planet below.
Taylor -- Yes. Mirroring the opening shot of the movie. Or we can track forward, between the two of them, out the front window, and just keep going. Not looking back. Just see stars. More poignant.
C.J. -- Maybe.
Taylor -- Roll credits.
C.J. -- Awesome. I think we have something good here. How about it?
Taylor -- I'll take a shot.
C.J. -- Hundred ten pages, six weeks.
Taylor -- Sure.
C.J. -- Keep me up to date. From what I have already I'll be able to get interest from the studio. And again, tell me if you want to direct.
Taylor -- I'll let you know.
C.J. -- It's been a pleasure working with you.
Taylor -- See you later.
C.J. -- Bye for now.
Taylor -- Hey!
Taylor -- Yeah, it's me.
Taylor -- Guess who's coming over to talk to you?
Taylor -- No, not right now. Probably within the next few days though.
Taylor -- Nope. I'll give you a clue. He produced Atlantic Drift.
Taylor -- Yeah, C.J. The same guy who slept with Simon's fiance.
Taylor -- I know. So, when he sees you next, he'll have a pitch. It'll be a sci-fi monster movie.
Taylor -- Yeah, he said you wanted one. It'll feature an alien that looks like a dinosaur, but one that can detect and is impervious to electricity.
Taylor -- I know, great concept, right?
Taylor -- Yeah, I'm meant to be writing the script. He said six weeks, but I could do this in two.
Taylor -- The catch is, I want you to do me a big favor. Turn the bastard down.
Taylor -- Believe me, I know you'd probably take it, but I'm not going to work with this guy. I just watched him screw over one of the most talented new directors I know, Anver Dante. This would have been their second movie together, and he as good as fired the guy halfway through the first story meeting. The only reason I turned up was to work with Anver.
Taylor -- Yeah, they made To The Horizon together. The guy's a genius. So what I want you to do is stall the project until I've talked to Anver again. I'm going to offer to produce and script, and he can direct. You can executive produce.
Taylor -- The point is that the real script, the one I'll work on with Anver, will be far better. He has this idea about a tripod.
Taylor -- I can't explain it now. I'll introduce the two of you, and let him talk it over.
Taylor -- No, I don't care about C.J. I have the entire meeting recorded. If anyone thinks this is his story, and not Anver's and mine, they can just listen to the audio.
Taylor -- Let me call him back in, and we'll work out the real ending.
Taylor -- Yeah, later.
Taylor -- Hey.
Taylor -- Shut up and listen to me.
Taylor -- Shut up and
Taylor -- Are you finished?
Taylor -- You're back on the project. You can have it your way. Come back over and we'll bash out the rest of your story.
Taylor -- He's off the picture. I'm producing now.
Taylor -- Yeah, welcome to Hollywood.
Taylor -- How you feeling?
Anver -- Pretty good, considering. What a shit-head. Did you know he slept with Yvonne Coulton? Mr. Cole's girlfriend?
Taylor -- Everyone knows that. Shall we do this?
Anver -- Let's. I've been thinking over the second half of the story since I left a few hours ago. Where did we get up to?
Taylor -- I'm not sure, because I've already written one ending to the story already.
Anver -- How was it?
Taylor -- Derivative. Just like every other monster movie out there. It reminded me of the one with Vin Diesel.
Anver -- So let's go from just before the second attack. They're setting up the camp, with a wooden fence. We can do it as a montage. We need to start bringing in hints of the aliens.
Taylor -- Talk to me about the aliens. Are they from a different planet, or from this planet?
Anver -- This planet. They evolved above ground, like humans, from some lemur kind of creature. We can see those early on, swinging in some trees. Bipeds.
So the aliens walk upright, and are the same shape as humans. Their faces look similar, but have small beady eyes. They have big ears, probably pointy.
Now, once they roamed outside, but then dinos arrived on their continent when the sea level dropped, and a land bridge was formed. So they retreated into caves. Here they lived for thousands of generations, slowly gaining intelligence, and their amazing hearing ability. They can see a bit, but not well at all. They make a high pitched squeak, and can hear some reflected sound, but only make out very rough forms with the echos. Like, is there a huge hole in front of me that I'll fall down and die, or not? Does this tunnel end in a dead end or not? That kind of thing. And they can tell if there is a person in the room with them, and who they are.
But we don't see an alien for a while, because they have a cloaking device. They can look like anything they want, holographically projected around them.
Taylor -- I was thinking about when you said this earlier, and I have two problems with this.
Anver -- Shit. The entire end of the movie revolves around the cloaking holograms.
Taylor -- We can work it out, I'm sure.
First, if an intelligent species can't see very well, why would they ever create a technology based around sight? I can imagine they would have great sound recording devices, and are great at sculpture, but not something that you can only see, and by definition, can't be touched or made to reflect sound waves.
Second problem. This level of technology is way beyond what we have here on Earth in the twenty first century. How can the aliens have developed it, but still live in caves, and still hide from dinos? And wouldn't they already have spaceships of their own? As soon as the humans turn up they'd see evidence of an advanced civilization.
Anver -- Those are problems indeed. I thought they would still live underground, and so we wouldn't see them. But you're right, if they were that advanced they'd be living back on the surface again. That would be like saying humans, with modern computers, still only lived in Africa, because that's where we learnt to rub sticks together to make fire.
Taylor -- Exactly.
Anver -- What if they're a fallen civilization? They used to have loads more technology, but there was big crisis, and they retreated to the caves. There used to be millions, but now there are only a few thousand. The cloaking machines are like sacred objects, passed from generation to generation. There can be a few other technologies too.
Taylor -- If that was the case, most of the scientists would be archeologists. There would be evidence of the lost culture all over the place.
Anver -- You know when I said they were native to the planet? Maybe I was wrong about that. So, they are actually alien aliens, and recently arrived, just like the humans. They are cloaked in space too. We can't see their space ship.
Taylor -- Too convenient.
Anver -- I know.
Taylor -- What else?
Anver -- In the past, other aliens visited, and our aliens were their prisoners. The spaceship crash landed somewhere on the same continent as our humans. The prisoner aliens rose up and killed the other aliens, taking their technology. They now live in the caves, using certain devices, like the cloaking technology, and maybe some fun weapons.
Taylor -- Where is the crashed ship?
Anver -- That has the biggest cloaking device of all. On the satellite images all they see is a big hill. In fact there is a rocket underneath. This is where the final scenes of our movie take place. John has to fly the shuttle under the fake hill.
Taylor -- You're close.
Anver -- Yeah. Let's take it the other way round. Hundreds of years before the humans get there, maybe a thousand years, an alien space craft landed on the planet. It needed repairs. But the local population, our aliens, lived in caves, and only had a very, very basic level of technology. But they had something the aliens needed.
Taylor -- Manpower.
Anver -- Or some element that ran the engines. Maybe something as simple as water.
Taylor -- There's lots of water in space. Half the asteroid belt is water.
Anver -- Okay, something else. But while they were there, they needed to refuel, and set up a hydrogen plant. This is easy, because it just takes water and electricity. And our aliens already had that, right? Water in their caves. Also, they can tap into the zapping prey, and get electricity that way. They use strips of dinosaur skin to make wires and switches and stuff. I mean, they used to use the equipment of the other aliens, but now the other aliens are gone, they get by with local materials.
Taylor -- This is it. What happened to the other aliens?
Anver -- They flew off, but in a hurry, and left a lot of tech behind. Or maybe they left the tech as payment. Whatever, we can still use the same cloaking device that used to hide the other alien base and spaceship. That can now be our aliens base of operation, and it can be two hundred miles from the human base.
Taylor -- So close?
Anver -- Sure. Both space-faring captains picked the same region for the same reasons. We can think of them later. So how long ago did the other aliens land?
Let's call them the Wayfarers. If they landed a hundred years ago, our aliens can have a store of their technology, but are keeping the batteries full with the zapping prey. A thousand years ago, and most of the technology is falling apart, and held together by repairs that only half work. Anything with any complexity is gone. The only things left are the appliances with no moving parts, and that are as simple to use that a tribe of savages can work it out.
Taylor -- Let's go for the second. Or nearer too it.
Anver -- The cloaking devices must be as easy to use as an iPod Classic. One button, one dial. Select a shape from a list, click, and that's who you become.
Taylor -- They can be white and square, like they're designed by Steve Ives.
Anver -- Right. But when you finally see it, it's dirty, and the strap has been replaces by old rope or animal skin. It used to have really nice fabric straps, but they are long gone.
Taylor -- Is that the only technology left over?
Anver -- No. There are other simple things that work with just one button press. Guns. But no new ammunition. Or only reusable ammunition. Like a crossbow. The aliens can also have things that shoot nets. Or a laser that they can recharge. It has to run using hydrogen or electricity, as that's all they have.
Taylor -- Can they have an airship?
Anver -- What?
Taylor -- I was thinking about hydrogen.
Anver -- Yeah, airships are cool. A future mission to Mars will probably be an airship. Hydrogen is too flammable, and helium is the way to go. So the Wayfaring aliens had an airship, and deployed it on Planet XYZ when they landed. They never needed it elsewhere though, or could make a new one, so they left it behind as a gift or payment when they left.
Now when we see the airship, we can tell it used to be high technology, but now it's also being held together with iron age technology. The aliens can smelt iron or something out of the dino skins. And it used to use helium, but now they top it up with hydrogen. All of the airship technicians can have scars where they've been burnt by hydrogen fires.
Taylor -- And they hide the airship underneath the big cloaking device back at the old Wayfarer base.
Anver -- And we make it crash and burn in the final part of the film. It can go down like the Hindenburg. With aliens jumping from it into the trees. We'll work out how later.
We'll never explain that the aliens' technology is stolen or borrowed from another spacefaring species, we'll do it all with visuals. You know how people say the Pyramids were built by aliens? Or aliens visited the Mayans in the Andes? That could have actually happened on Planet XYZ. There'll be such an obvious mixing of Wayfarer and alien technology that we never have to go into the backstory.
Taylor -- We'll see about that.
Anver -- Hey, how about the Wayfarers also visited Earth on the way past a thousand years ago? So the cloaking devices aren't just preloaded with aliens, dinos, trees, cows, shit like that, but also with historic humans from the fifteen hundreds?
Taylor -- Like Shakespeare?
Anver -- We can pick any period we like. That would be really interesting. So John thinks he sees someone out in the forest, but doesn't recognize the person, and is wondering why the man is dressed in a toga. Or as a Roman Centurion. It can be totally bizarre. The aliens can't see the humans very well, but work out the right shape.
Taylor -- All these humans look the same.
Anver -- Yeah. Like the whole "All black people look the same" thing. So they say "Hey, we have these humans on file," load up the setting, and all turn into Elvis. Later on a hundred Elvises attack the camp.
Taylor -- Elvis was an alien.
Anver -- Of course he was. Elvis is too late though. The Wayfarers would have visited Earth in the time of the Egyptians. Maybe Stone Henge. Whatever.
Taylor -- This is all good stuff. Anything else we need to know about the Wayfarers or our aliens?
Anver -- We can work it out as we go now. We have the rules in place, now we need to play them out. Ready?
Taylor -- In your own time.
Anver -- So, at some point during part two, John has to see someone outside the camp, actually an alien, and shouts for him to get back inside. The person doesn't though, and wanders back into the forest. John runs out there, and doesn't see anyone. Of course not, the alien can change into whatever he looks like.
Taylor -- So why didn't the alien make himself look like a tree?
Anver -- He was testing the human image, to see if it would fool the humans in the camp. It did. The audience doesn't have to know why. What John does find is a the dino. It chases him into the camp. Actually the sister can see the human, run out into the forest, John follows. Then they are both chased back to the camp.
Taylor -- We wrote the sister out of our script.
Anver -- Yeah, I'm still not sure we need her. Anyway, they do a good job, and make sure the dino runs right into the flames at the back of the shuttle. We get all triumphant music, but we're all wondering "Who was the guy out in the forest?"
Well, the aliens have been following the dinos on their migration, to study them and to take the skins from those that die along the way. They see the humans killing the dino, and really don't like that. Especially because they do it in such a horrific way.
So right away more dinos turn up. Some of these are real, and some are fake.
We can talk earlier on in the movie about how the life detecting sensors have been unreliable in the earlier scans. They sometimes show animal life but the humans can only see trees. And the humans see cow things, but the life sensors show much smaller animals. You get the idea?
Taylor -- Sure.
Anver -- So another dino comes up the funnel, and they hit the flames, and it runs back. The humans shoot at it with their small hand guns, and it roars back at them, not hurt at all.
Meanwhile two dinosaurs approach from another direction, much slower than the first dinos. These are the fake dinos, with aliens inside. They don't blink, or whatever. The humans shoot at them and Hamilton calls out "Don't waste your bullets, wait for them to come round to the gate."
But the bullets do their job, and kill one of the aliens inside the fake dinosaur.
Taylor -- Does the dead dinosaur stay there?
Anver -- It could. The other dino can run back to the forest. But the alien isn't quite dead. It moves, and waves its arm. I mean the humans see the dino wave its arm. Now, the alien's friend, the dinosaur that ran away, wants to come out and save its injured companion. It's like his wife or something. How does he do it?
Taylor -- Turns himself into a cow thing?
Anver -- That would work. So a cow thing walks back out of the forest where the dinosaur disappeared. All the humans are saying "What the hell?" and so is the audience.
Taylor -- This is the second turning point, right?
Anver -- Exactly. Or close to it. So the cow thing reaches the dino, and nobody knows whats going to happen. But then, poof, the dino disappears and only the cow thing is left. Hamilton is shouting "Did you see that?" But other people are distracted by the dino on the other side of the camp.
Taylor -- "There's something not right here!"
Anver -- So now the real dino runs away from the front gate again, around the side to where the cow thing is, which is actually one alien pulling his partner to the safety of the forest. The dino sees them, roars, and rushes forward. Now everyone is watching the cow thing, and it turns into a dinosaur right before their eyes.
This is the second turning point. The new dinosaur is huge, way bigger than the real dino, and stops it in its tracks.
Taylor -- What do the humans do?
Anver -- Watch, dumbfounded. They've just seen a cow turn into a dinosaur. The real dinosaur backs down, turns, and rushes into the forest. Someone opens fire on the fake dino, and somehow brings it down with just the handgun bullets. The humans cheer.
Taylor -- Do we get to pause for a moment?
Anver -- In a minute. Part three will have plenty of action we'll ramp it up to the end, but there'll be plenty of time off too. Whatever, we keep making things more dangerous for the next twenty five minutes.
Taylor -- This is going to have to be longer than a hundred and ten minutes.
Anver -- Blockbusters can run long these days. Let's say two hours thirty. It'll give us more time for all the exposition and building tension early on.
Taylor -- Okay, I'll see what I can do.
Anver -- So now we know the alien threat exists, but we still don't understand it. We can make the next steps as weird as we want.
Taylor -- Let's bring in the airship.
Anver -- Right on. So, for the final action to happen back at the alien camp, the old Wayfarer base, the aliens will kidnap the majority of the humans. Some of our lead characters will be left behind, and it's up to them to save the day. Who will be the heros?
Taylor -- John and Sandra. They need screen time. The sister too.
Anver -- Do we have to bring the sister? It would be good to have her captured, and John has to go save her.
Taylor -- That's good. She can be our viewpoint character among the aliens.
Anver -- How about, earlier on in the movie, Galatris fits her with a tracking device, because she keeps running out into the forest without permission?
Taylor -- Maybe.
Remember when the captains tell Galatris to keep a closer eye on the kids? Well, back then in the following scene, Galatris gives Tess a necklace. Like an amulet. She smiles, trusting, and doens't think about it.
But John knows something is up. He asks what Galatis is doing. Galatris admits right away that it's a tracking device. He says "The same kind we fit to cow things. I can just type 53445 into one of Sandra's consoles and it'll tell me exactly where she is."
He gives one to John too, and John takes it happily, but later throws it away. But crucially he doesn't tell Tess.
That's how John and Sandra know where to look for the kidnapped humans.
Taylor -- Perfect. Is Galatris her father?
Anver -- I thought we were going to leave that question open, but it would make sense. So that happened earlier. Where are we now?
Taylor -- The airship.
Anver -- Right. The humans have now killed cows, dinos, and lastly aliens. The aliens are having none of it. Some nearby aliens radio back to the base, and send for the airship.
Taylor -- They have radio?
Anver -- Maybe. It doesn't matter. Maybe they have a telegraph network, with thin wires running underground through the caves. It doesn't have to happen right away, but the airship flies in. But before that, we have to get John and Sandra out of the camp.
Taylor -- They go to look at the dead dino, the one with the fake alien inside.
Anver -- Spot on. Sandra, being a zoologist, wants to go investigate. She gets into a spat with her father, Hamilton, who won't let her leave the safety of the camp. In the end John offers to help her. She knows he's just doing it to get into her pants, or to try to impress her. But she says "Fine, you can help me carry my bags."
They sneak down to the fence, and he helps her over, accidentally touching her butt as he pushes her up.
Taylor -- Accidentally.
Anver -- Really, he can be all embarrassed about it.
So they get over the fence, and run out towards the dead dino. It's about a hundred meters away, right at the edge of the forest. Right?
While they are approaching, a real dino lunges out of the forest, off to one side, and they have to make a break for the trees themselves. We get a cool moment where they are helping each other up, branch by branch, and the dino is rearing up at them, snapping at their feet. It lifts itself into the lower branches, but they break, snapping under its weight.
They are safe, but now they're stuck sitting in a tree.
Taylor -- K. I. S. S. I. N. G.?
Anver -- Not yet. That's part four stuff. The dino is waiting there at the bottom of the tree. John says "Now what?" That line will show he's not had his final growing up moment. Sandra is still the adult in the situation, and she takes the initiative.
Taylor -- They should shout back to the camp.
Anver -- Yeah. This could be a comedy bit. "What are you doing over there?" shouts Galatris.
"It doesn't matter," shouts Sandra, "Shoot the damn dinosaur!"
Taylor -- Now the airship arrives.
Anver -- Yeah. No. First Hamilton says "We've decided to fly back up to orbit, we're getting out of here." But they can't leave until John and Sandra are back in the camp. John tells Hamilton to fly out with the shuttle and pick them up.
Taylor -- There's a single button on the shuttle controls that says "Abort to Orbit"
Anver -- Is there?
Taylor -- There was in the single monster version of the story.
Anver -- That's good, I guess. So Hamilton doesn't want to risk wrecking the shuttle by flying it over. All he trusts himself to do is power up then hit the abort button.
Taylor -- Now the airship turns up.
Anver -- Yeah. After some fades to show time passing. Hot sweltering sun, flies buzzing around John and Sandra. The dino resting at the bottom of the tree.
With the airship attack, we can do this a few ways. Either only from the perspective of John and Sandra, so they look up, and see the old gas bag fly over, hover over the camp, then everything confused at a distance.
The dino at the base of their tree jumps up and rushes away at the sight of the airship. Some Ancient Egyptians holding guns start walking their way, so they jump out of the tree and run into the forest. Fighting back is an option, but John says "There's nothing we can do but run!" Sandra hesitates for a second, but agrees. They run.
Taylor -- The second way is to get up close in the camp, see the whole thing, including the aliens kidnapping the humans.
Anver -- Yeah, that way we can see the captains dying, along with others. Everyone with a gun dies, but the rest are caught in nets and pulled up into the airship. Some are injured. We keep cutting back to John and Sandra, but really we care about the sister, Tess, Hamilton, and Galatris.
Taylor -- We don't need to decide yet.
Anver -- You're right. Either way, we're in a really good position. We can have fun chase through the forest. Sometimes John and Sandra are being chased by humans, sometimes by cows, sometimes by dinosaurs. It'll be really spooky, but we'll get a good sense of the capabilities of the cloaking devices.
Taylor -- John has to trip over the elephant gun.
Anver -- Exactly. He picks it up, cocks it, turns, and fires at the aliens as they approach. They look like humans at that moment, and there's two of them. He shoots both. One through the head. We'll do a cool special effect as the cloaking device tries to contain the exploding head of the alien, blowing up to twice the size, then popping like a balloon.
Taylor -- Yuck.
Anver -- The other alien he can shoot in the body. The bullet hits the cloaking device, lets out a shower of sparks, goes right through the alien too, and kills it dead.
Taylor -- Anything they see at this point could be an alien.
Anver -- That will be a great tension builder for when they make their way back to the camp.
So before John shoots, one of the aliens shoots a net at Sandra, and she's all tangled up. And he's really hurt his shoulder too, because the recoil is a bitch. It's a big gun, and I think this is the first time we've seen it fired. Right?
Taylor -- Yes.
Anver -- Maybe his shoulder is broken. That would be a good handicap for him for the rest of the movie. What happens now?
Taylor -- Well, John has to untangle Sandra. Then I guess they look at the aliens.
Anver -- This is perfect. She's a zoologist, you see, so she takes one look at the aliens and says "This is this, that is that." She explains all we need to know about them physically.
She also drops in the reference to convergent evolution. "The dinos fill the niche of apex predator, and these aliens fill the niche of intelligent bipeds with opposable thumbs. They fill the same niche as human."
John, on the other hand, is more concerned about the cloaking technology. He says "This must be some kind of holographic projector. But look, it's a mix of two different technical levels. It's like they found the technology, not invented it themselves."
But with less clunky dialogue. Like "They might have evolved here, but this holographic projector comes from another planet. Their clothes are from one technological age, and this is from a culture that's way more advanced."
Taylor -- Right.
Anver -- So they take the cloaking devices with them.
Taylor -- They shot one. There's only one left.
Anver -- You're right. As they head back to the camp John plays with it and discovers how to work it. It's like an iPod, so it just works. All the user interfaces are obvious icons.
We'll do closeup shots of his face, and everything around him is fuzzy, but when the camera cuts to a wide, he's like a dino, then a human, then an alien, then a tree, then a cow. He sort of sees fuzziness from the inside as a negative, inside out image of the hologram. We'll get the visual effects guys to work out how it might look.
Taylor -- There has to be a folder on the device with some unknown alien species, obviously not from Earth, nor from this planet. The folder icon is the globe of the planet. So the human is in the folder with Europe and Africa and that. The Planet XYZ creatures are marked with the right continents too.
Anver -- Of course. Maybe they don't recognise the Earth symbol right away, because it's upside down. North for south. But then he realizes when it's against his chest, and he's looking down at it, it's the right way up.
Taylor -- Like the Apple logo here. For you it's the right way up, but when I close the lid. See?
Anver -- Yeah. Hey, if they only have one cloaking device, they have to stand really close together. Like, really close together.
Taylor -- "Stop prodding me with the elephant gun."
Anver -- "That's not the elephant gun."
So the flicking of the different animals can be played for comedy, and that kind of line too, but soon they realize everyone they know is either dead or kidnapped.
Oh, we can see the airship fly away overhead at some point.
Taylor -- That can be when John pulls Sandra close, so she's inside the hologram with him. When it flies out of sight, only then do they realize they are hugging each other.
Anver -- Hey, you're way ahead of me with this stuff.
Taylor -- I'm thinking while you're talking. And you talk a lot.
Anver -- Really the airship flying off was a signal to show they can go back to base. Now, as they walk back they're constantly on the lookout for other humans, more aliens, and the dino that's lurking around somewhere. Which one should they meet first?
Taylor -- They should only meet one or two.
Anver -- They have to meet the dinosaur, because when they get back to camp they're going to be flying away, and won't see it again. We can't set up the threat of the dino and not pay it off.
Taylor -- In the other story we had John kill an injured dino to put it out its misery. So they meet the dino, but it's been hurt.
Anver -- How would that be? The aliens don't hurt dinos, and John has the only gun.
Taylor -- So first he has to shoot the dino, then feels bad about it, and decides to be humane.
Anver -- Are they going to meet any aliens?
Taylor -- You tell me.
Anver -- I don't think so. Not until the camp. There are aliens in the camp, but John and Sandra only need to get to the shuttle. Oh, and they need to pick up the receiver for the sister's tracking amulet.
Taylor -- That can be in the shuttle.
Anver -- Or it can be a standard device meant for tracking animals, so Sandra already knows the frequencies and can program the onboard instruments to track it down. Let's go with that. There are no humans left, and they just have to sneak past the aliens to the shuttle. We'll work out how in a minute.
First the encounter with the dino. They walk back to the camp and the dino appears.
Taylor -- Keeping it simple, right?
Anver -- Yeah, so they turn into a cow by accident, and the dino roars and comes running. They select dino, and the real dino skids to a halt. It rears up and roars at them.
John selects the next setting, which all he knows is "Bigger Dino." John can make a roaring sound, which sounds really loud when up close, with the camera inside the holograph, but then we cut to a wide shot, with this massive dino looming over the real dino, and this puny human voice trailing away.
Taylor -- And you hear his voice breaking at the end.
Anver -- Right. Then the other dino roars again, and it almost blows them over it's so loud.
Taylor -- But it would be roaring at the fake dino's head, not down at human level.
Anver -- Yeah, you're right. In the end the real dinosaur backs down. Sandra says "Shoot it, quick!" And John does. But it isn't a clean kill. Right?
And then he kills it for real when it's defenseless? That first shot seems a bit cold blooded.
Taylor -- In the other story Hamilton didn't know if the gun was powerful enough to kill a dino. Maybe John wants to test it out now, when he can't miss, so he knows he'll be safe later.
Anver -- That's even more calculating. The dino must somehow work out that they're not real, or that their dino projection isn't real, and only then can he shoot.
Taylor -- Yeah, I know what you mean.
Anver -- Maybe we can play this for laughs again, and by making their dino so huge, it's like the alpha-male dino, and the other dino wants to have sex with it.
Taylor -- Okay! This has to go in the script!
Anver -- Or the other way round. They are the big female, and the other dino gets a massive erection and tries to hump them. As it mounts them from behind, it falls through the cloaking projection, and they have no choice but to kill it.
Taylor -- We can't show a dinosaur phallus if this is going to be suitable for families.
Anver -- I'm just worried that if it suddenly becomes female, it will be too much like the dragon in Shrek suddenly batting her eyelids. I mean, that lead to a sexual relationship between a dragon and a donkey. Which is pretty sick, now that I come to think of it.
But let's try it out. Sandra says "Shoot it, quick!"
And John says "I don't know if this gun is powerful enough. Let's just wait until it leaves."
And then, Sandra being the zoologist, the exo-planetary-zoologist, says "John, I don't think it's going to leave. If anything, I think it wants to get really, really close."
The dino is down on all fours, tail in the air, looking back at them coyly. And it starts backing up, showing its swollen pussy.
Taylor -- Seriously, that's just as bad as the dino phallus.
Anver -- Let's pretend this is an R-rated movie for a moment. John and Sandra turn red, and are obviously feeling really uncomfortable. It's really inappropriate, but both of them are suddenly really horny. John can be standing close behind Sandra, and she can turn and look up at him, with the same facial expression as the lady dino. She starts rubbing her ass backwards in the same way too, and can feel John's own phallus, as you put it, against her backside.
Taylor -- I can't believe you're going here.
Anver -- Now, how inappropriate would it be for John to push Sandra aside, ram the rifle into the dino's vaginal opening, and pull the trigger? The lady dino screams and flops forward, but kicks out, and slamming John and Sandra back into a tree.
And then John and Sandra have sex.
Taylor -- How inappropriate? You've just described two people getting off on vaginal-dinosaur-elephant-gun-necro-rape. I don't think it gets more inappropriate.
Anver -- In the second Aliens vs Predator the Aliens reproduced by implanting eggs into the stomachs of pregnant women in a hospital maternity ward.
Taylor -- That was the Aliens who did that, not the human lead character.
Anver -- What if John and Sandra don't have sex right away, but feel really, really sorry.
Okay, okay, don't look at me like that. I'm just winding you up.
What really happens is that, when the lady dinosaur starts shaking her booty at the two humans, Sharon, Sandra, whatever her name is, says "It's not leaving. If anything, it's getting closer. Much, much closer."
They can both turn red as before, but Sandra doesn't do the cock dance. The dino gets too close, and swings its tail through the hologram, the holograph.
We can see its face changing from "Oh baby! Do it!" to "What? It's like my new lover is made of thin air. What's going on?"
She can paw at the holo-cloak, and discovers it isn't real. She could put her head inside the holo-cloak, and finds it really is hollow. Hollow-cloak, holo-cloak. Yeah. It can be a really cool effect. The camera can be sitting on top of the girl dino's head, and we see what she sees as her eyes pass inside the holographic projection. Sandra and John, looking up at her.
Sandra says, "Shoot it, quick!" And John does. Not a clean shot, and then has to finish her off later.
I still don't like it. It turns from funny and kinky-sexy into cold blooded again.
Taylor -- I know. But I really liked the initial idea.
Anver -- How about this one. They stumble back, and we cut to a wide shot.
No wait, I've got it. Yeah, they stumble back, and we see John take a big breath in. He doesn't want to shoot just yet, because it would be too cold-blooded, especially after she wanted to have sex with them thirty seconds ago. Instead he tries to roar one final time, as a last resort. A second last resort, before shooting it.
Except this time, his roar comes out like a rocket taking off. It's like the loudest thing ever, exactly like an alpha-male dino. It rings around the surround sound, and the audience is just as surprised as John and Sandra.
Taylor -- I see what you're doing here.
Anver -- Yeah! They turn round and see another male dino, just as big as their fake dino. It's roaring from the edge of the clearing. It comes bounding over.
Obviously this is the dino's real mate, or it's just another male challenging a rival for the mating rights.
Taylor -- I love it.
Anver -- Sandra says the obvious lines, those that you really don't need to be space-zoologist to know, like "It's challenging us for mating rights!"
"I know!" says John, "He's welcome to them!"
That line can be a real release of tension. You're the script writer, you can come up with a zinger.
So the two of them back away, slowly, all the way to the cover of the trees. Of course, they're still holding on to each other tightly, really close, and again they're feeling randy as teenagers. John is a teenager.
Meanwhile, the two dinos start having really wild dinosaur sex. We don't see it explicitly, depending on the rating of the film, we can just see John and Sandra looking back at it, eyes really wide. And not just wide, but in a reference to John's pupils shrinking at the start if the movie, now both his and Sandra's pupils are huge. Dilated.
Taylor -- If we don't see it, it has to be really loud.
Anver -- Yeah, like two elephants going at it in the juggle. Maybe we can cut to other animals settling down to watch. You know, the lemur-sized creatures in the trees sit down on the branches, eating popcorn. Or nuts.
Taylor -- No.
Anver -- But it has to be some kind of triumphant event, like this happens rarely, and when it does the forest rejoices with them. Like in the Lion King, when Simba is born, and all the other animals line up at the pointy rock. There has to be swelling music.
Taylor -- Swelling.
Anver -- Yeah, that's the point. John and Sandra are really feeling the heat coming from the dino copulation. When they get a distance away, they stop and John says "This is far enough."
We see, back through the small gaps between the trees, and all out of focus, the two dinos still going at it. But we don't see any details, just huge silver shapes pumping up and down and side to side. The beast with two backs.
John switches off the dino holo-cloak, and he and Sandra spring apart. They're both adjusting their clothes, and can't look each other in the eye. Obviously they're both so up for it at that point that they want to tear each other's clothes off, and go at it right there and then on the floor.
Taylor -- Sandra can look at John in the eye, but she's older and more experienced. John doesn't know what to do.
Anver -- Exactly. The moment can lead to sex if he says the right thing. He knows it. And the audience knows it too.
In fact, we should have them spring apart, but notice they are both still holding the other's hand. They look each other in the eye, and down at their hands, and they back at each other's faces.
The audience knows that if John says the right thing now, or even if he doesn't say anything at all, he's going to get laid. And John knows it too. And Sandra knows it too. We can draw this out, and draw it out.
John takes a small breath in, as if he's going to say something, and pauses. He leans forward, and we just know he's going to kiss her. And she does too, and she half closes her eyes.
And again we pause, and in the audience the guys are wiggling in their seats, and the girls think it's really beautiful.
And the question lingers, "Will they or won't they?" And everyone knows the answer.
And the answer is...
Taylor -- Yes?
Anver -- Are you kidding? Of course not. Their families and friends are dead or kidnapped, and they're in a forest infested with away the deadliest living predators known to mankind.
Instead John realizes that saying the right thing to get laid is the wrong thing to do. He has to be the hero. He has to go save the day. In his character arch, this is a turning point. And he gives up sex with Sandra to earn it.
So he says "We have to get back to the camp." He lets go of her hand, and walks away, leaving her with eyes still half closed.
So we can have a shot of her face, going through the following emotions.
First, still all dreamy.
Second, what the hell?
Third, hey wait, you can't do that, I want sex!
Forth, I'm angry with you for leading me on like that, then walking away.
Fifth, you know, it's probably for the best.
Sixth, actually, I respect you so much right now for not giving in to your desires so easily, and taking responsibility for saving the others.
Seventh, I'm sooooo going to have sex with you later.
Taylor -- That's a lot for one shot.
Anver -- It'll be the audition piece when we're casting. If the girl can pull off that sequence, she gets the part. But the way John breaks the moment, and her reaction, will be a better climax than any sex scene.
Taylor -- Climax.
Anver -- He's an eighteen year old virgin, for goodness sake, it'd be the most disappointing sex ever.
Anyway, after the shot of Sandra's face, we jump cut forward in time. John and Sandra are crouching at the edge of the forest, looking up to the camp at the top of the hill. Everything is back to normal again, as though the entire previous scene didn't happen.
Taylor -- If it didn't happen, why was it in? Just to give John his moment?
Anver -- I have an idea how it can foreshadow the end sequence. But for now, John and Sandra have to sneak back into the camp, and steal the lander. We already know John can fly it, right?
Taylor -- Yes. He moved it earlier on.
Anver -- They have one gun, and one holo-cloak. And there's ten or twenty aliens up at the camp.
Taylor -- They have bad eyesight, that will help.
Anver -- Sure. But the cloaks aren't good enough to fool them, because they have the echo-location thing, and that would see right through the holograph-gram. The can't disguise themselves as aliens with the cloak. And they only have one cloak.
Taylor -- Actually, there are another two cloaks laying out in the open? Remember they went out of the camp in the first place because of the dino? There are two aliens with two cloaking devices right in front of them.
Anver -- So it's obvious.
Taylor -- Is it?
Anver -- Yeah. Let's role-play that same conversation again, but in character. I'll be John, because at this point in the script I've got to come up with more ideas than Sandra. But she says all the biological stuff about senses. That's still her area of expertise.
Taylor -- "So, we've got get up the hill, over the fence, into the camp, and into the shuttle."
Anver -- "And I can see about twenty aliens up at the camp, and they have guns."
Taylor -- "How are we going to do it again? There are only two of us, and we just have one gun, and one cloaking device."
Anver -- "Two or three cloaking devices, actually."
Taylor -- "What do you mean?"
Anver -- "That dead dino," John points, "isn't a dead dino. There are two aliens in there. We just need to get them, and pretend we're the guys who chased us into the forest." John goes to stand up.
Taylor -- Sandra pulls him back down. "Wait, just walking in with the cloaking devices turned to the alien setting won't be enough!"
Anver -- "Why not? I thought you said they have bad eyesight." John might already know, but here's a chance for Sandra to explain it to the audience.
Taylor -- "Because they'd see right through it. They have bad eyesight, but the holographic projection won't fool their echo location for a moment. We'd reflect sound waves nothing like aliens, and exactly like humans."
Anver -- John nods, understanding. "So all we need to do is make ourselves some alien halloween costumes."
Taylor -- Yuck.
Anver -- You remember John helped Sandra carry her equipment out to examine the fake dead dino? Well, they dropped the case when they ran into the forest. John finds it and inside are all kinds of scalpels and medical tools.
John runs out to the dino, ducks inside the projection, and finds the dead aliens. They are collapsed in a position, as though one was dragging the other. And both are a bit shot up.
Taylor -- There will be flies buzzing around them by now, as it's been an hour or so.
Anver -- Okay. John drags them back to the edge of the forest, and they go about cutting them up. Then they take bandages or duck tape and secure segments to their bodies, on the outside of their overalls.
Taylor -- This is disgusting.
Anver -- Yeah, but the aliens have beady eyes, remember, and they've just killed a whole load of innocent humans, and just tried to kill John and Sandra too.
Taylor -- Actually they just shot Sandra with a net.
Anver -- And the other alien had a crossbow and tried to shoot John with it. But John didn't take it with him as it had run out of ammo.
But the point is, they saw people being shot at the camp when they were in the tree.
Taylor -- Fair enough. I just think that by cutting the bodies of sentient beings up and wearing it as camouflage is taking us away from the family audience again. It's too cold-blooded.
Anver -- I thought it was clever.
Taylor -- You know who else thought it was clever? Hannibal Lector. At the end of Silence of the Lambs he cuts a guys face off and lays it over his own.
Anver -- What if the aliens have green blood?
Taylor -- It might work.
Anver -- All the native life can have green blood. Like the SNES version of Mortal Combat.
Taylor -- What?
Anver -- Forget it. Maybe the aliens can be slightly insectoid. They have plated shells on their chest, head, back, and their limbs. Instead of skinning the aliens, Sandra can sort of pull at the carapaces, and they pop off with no blood. It'll be like a snake shedding its skin, part of nature. She can talk about it when they first examine the aliens out in the forest.
Taylor -- Sure, but can't the aliens just be wearing some kind of primitively constructed armor? It's designed to be strong enough to deflect their own crossbow bolt, and covers most of the body. You said there was a mix of different levels of technology, right? What could be more different than something that looks like medieval armor and an holographic projector that looks like an iPod Classic?
Anver -- That will work too. But we can shoot both versions and screen test them. All we need to do is make the aliens really bad up until then, more brutal wearing humans as costumes, and we can get away with anything we want.
Taylor -- It's going to be hard.
Anver -- Okay, let's stick with the natural or constructed armor thing for now, plus whatever clothing or harness the aliens may have.
They strip the aliens and put on their disguises. We can have John project an image of the alien around himself, switching it on and off, and we see he's looking the part, with the right profile. Sandra does the same thing.
Taylor -- Good image.
Anver -- Then what? They walk up into the camp?
Taylor -- I think it would be good if the plan works without a hitch. Of course we can have close moments.
Anver -- An alien can see them at the gate, and turns to look. John thinks he's been found out, but the alien guard is just looking at the elephant gun. John mimes "I found it out in the forest." The guard reaches out for it, and John pulls it away, then walks away as though he's just been deeply offended. Sandra just shakes her head and follows. The alien watches them go, and does an alien frown.
Taylor -- An alien frown?
Anver -- Yeah, like this. "Nnnng."
Taylor -- Whatever.
Anver -- So they just waltz up to the lander and get in?
Taylor -- Yes, it's already been prepped for launch, remember? They were getting ready to abort to orbit.
Anver -- Were they?
Taylor -- That might have been the other story.
Anver -- It doesn't matter, because we can make this be another high tension moment. Because we've got to have Sandra and John gather all the intelligence they need for the final rescue, which involves calling the spaceship in orbit, and connecting to the tracking device of Tess to see where she is. Then they have to plan what they're going to do, and then take off.
That's going to take a few minutes, and probably too much talking. We need to have them in danger the entire time. I mean, they could take off right away, and fly about in complete safety while doing the same job, but then there's no tension.
So what can happen is that the engines take five minutes to warm up, or charge up. They get in, shut the door, and Sandra says "Let's get out of here!"
John says "We can't! We have to heat the hot jets. It'll be five minutes."
And Sandra says "But the aliens are just outside."
Taylor -- Cool.
Anver -- So we have the entire next five minutes with everything in whispers, and aliens trying to look in through the windows, wondering what their two alien friends are doing inside. They can start rattling the door, getting more and more violent as they go along. We can see some of this action from outside the shuttle too.
Then, at the end, once they have everything planned, the aliens have got some kind of battering ram, like a heavy fence post, and start banging against the rear hatch. Maybe the aliens can even rig up one of the cow things, attach a rope to it, and try to make it pull the rear hatch open.
Taylor -- I get the idea. Put them in peril while they talk, so people don't get bored with the talking.
Anver -- That's it. So, let's tick things off the list. First, they need to get in contact with Tess.
Taylor -- Get in contact? I thought they were just going to know where she is.
Anver -- But we need more information. For all we know all the kidnapped humans could be dead, and we can end the movie now by having John and Sandra press the Abort to Orbit button.
Or, on the other hand, maybe the humans are all safe, and the aliens are serving them tea and crumpets. In that case they can abort to orbit, wake a whole army out of cold sleep, or work on a diplomatic solution.
Taylor -- These are good points.
Anver -- So the amulet Galatris gave to Tess earlier on in the movie to keep an eye on her, it does GPS, but it also has a camera and microphone.
Taylor -- They are normally used for tracking animals, right? That would make a lot of sense. Does it record and transmit all the time? If so, I think John would have told Tess when Galatris gave it to her.
Anver -- Good point, but there's a way for John and Sandra to communicate back. When they connect using the console, it sends a signal to activate it, and a green LED lights up on the amulet. That shows someone is watching.
Taylor -- Then they can send another signal, and red light turns on, and that says they are recording.
Anver -- John knows morse code, and so does Hamilton, and maybe Galatris and Tess and others. They turn on the camera, and they see the inside of the alien prison. This is back at their base, the place they keep the airship.
Taylor -- Wait, won't people have radios and satellite phones?
Anver -- They try those first, but nobody answers. Sandra says "Are they all dead?"
John says "No, the aliens just took everything that looked like high technology."
Taylor -- And only then do they remember the amulet. Of course the aliens didn't confiscate it, because it looks just like an amulet.
Anver -- Tess doesn't know its a camera, she just thinks nice uncle Galatris gave her a pretty necklace.
So over in the prison, the green light comes on, and back in the shuttle we see the view of the alien prison. It doesn't matter what it looks like just yet, except that a shuttle-load of people are still alive. Maybe more than a shuttle-load.
Galatris looks up, squints, sees the green light on, then scrambles over to the camera. We can have strong fisheye effect.
"Who's this?" he asks "Who's watching this? Captain?"
Taylor -- He thinks it's someone in orbit.
Anver -- Yeah.
Taylor -- He has to be the one to tell them how to communicate. "If you know morse code, use the record indicator to say who's watching."
Anver -- They type out "John and Sandra".
Taylor -- They can get the spelling wrong, because John can't remember the full code.
Anver -- Can we have subtitles with typos?
Taylor -- I thought Galatris could make a joke about the spelling.
Anver -- I just thought of something, remind me about the second pilot in orbit when we've finished with this bit.
Taylor -- Okay.
Anver -- So Galatris says "We're here, and lots of us are fine." Tess swings the camera around to show who's alive. Hamilton is the only person we care about after Tess and Galatris. "But you have to hurry because they keep..." and then he shuts up and turns around.
Taylor -- What do they keep doing?
Anver -- Well, he could tell us, but we might as well see it. Something brutal. An alien comes in, grabs someone, and drags them out. They scream, and the humans look like they're about to intervene, but the aliens have weapons, and beat them back. The camera is following all this on the fisheye lens, so we don't see exactly what happens, but we know it's bad.
Then, once everything is calm again, Galatris comes back over, and says "They keep taking one of us at random. I don't know what they're doing, but it sounds..."
Taylor -- What does it sound? Bad?
Anver -- Again, we can listen in. From the next room we hear a scream. You're right. It sounds bad.
Taylor -- Are they killing them?
Anver -- It doesn't matter. It just has to make the situation urgent for John and Sandra.
To make it even more urgent, an alien barges into the prison room again, and this time walks right to Galatris. He doesn't take Galatris, just kicks him out the way. The alien looks down at the camera, like he's not sure what it is. He just knows it's high tech, now it has a green LED. He reaches out his hand, rips it off Tess' neck. We hear her scream, but the scream is cut off, and the screen back in the shuttle goes blank.
Taylor -- How about the alien comes in, and takes Galatris, and nobody else can understand morse code? So they can do nothing but plead for help.
Anver -- How long will they do that?
Taylor -- Until the aliens come in and discover the amulet.
Anver -- We could do that, but really we want to get through this as quick as possible. They already know where the humans are located, that they're in danger, and that they need to go save them quickly. Anything else, at this point, will just slow down the pacing.
Taylor -- But we need to reveal the connection between Galatris and Sandra. It'll be something that puts her burgeoning relationship with John in doubt.
At least we can have it so when they see Galatris getting a beating, just before the camera feed cuts out, John shouts "Galatris!" at exactly the same time as Sandra.
Anver -- Hey, this is good. They both think he is being taken away to be killed. John will lose his surrogate father figure, the man who has help raise him from birth, and Sandra will finally lose an old lover. Old for Galatris, but still painfully recently for her.
She can try to be brave at first, and so can John. But then John will lose it, and start punching the control panel, suddenly angry that the aliens have taken Galatris. Sandra can say "Calm down, calm down. Maybe he'll be fine."
Taylor -- John says "He isn't fine. They're going to kill him!"
Anver -- Right. John can get really close to breaking down. Sandra can see it, and say "Pull yourself together, John, you're not the only person who loved Galatris! We need to be strong!"
And John says "What do you know about loving Galatris? He was like a father to me!"
Taylor -- Ouch.
Anver -- Yeah. At this point Sandra goes off on him. "You don't know anything do you? How long ago was I on Earth?"
And he says "What?" and then when she repeats the question he says "Thirty years ago."
She says "That's how long by ship time, but for me it feels like two months ago. And two months ago, back on Earth, Galatris and I were engaged to be married. He was five years older than me, and we were waiting until I turned twenty one before telling anyone."
John just looks at her horrified.
"But then, when he was awake for his first watch shift, your parents decided to break all the rules and have a child. You. Galatris was the only qualified doctor awake, so stayed up in case there were any complications. And once he helped your mother give birth, he stayed awake longer to make sure you started life healthy.
"And then your sister was born, and your mother died. And he stayed out of cold sleep for years to look after you two. In the end he journeyed the rest of the way here awake."
The audience will already know most of this, of course, but now they see how much it cost Sandra.
"I woke up two months ago, in orbit around Planet XYZ, and found my fiancé had spent a whole lifetime awake without me. He was now over twice my age, biologically older than my father, and he'd changed so much I hardly recognized him. He was a different man.
"I lost my future with Galatris," she can say, "and you're the reason."
Taylor -- John can say "I'm sorry, I didn't know."
Anver -- "As I said, you don't know shit! Every time I see you, I see Galatris as he was when we first started dating, back on Earth. He brought you up, and now you're so much like him it hurts."
John is devastated. Sandra knows he's not really to blame, she blames Galatris mostly, but she's obviously struggling to get over her resentment.
"Now call the spaceship captain."
Taylor -- I like it. You said you wanted to remind you about a second pilot in orbit.
Anver -- Oh yeah! Now, this bit is key. I kept thinking, "Why does John have to fly to the alien base? Why don't they just send one of the spare shuttles from orbit with a new pilot?"
Taylor -- Because there is only one pilot in orbit, and that pilot is running the ship. And it takes days to wake up the next pilot.
Anver -- But whoever decided a single pilot in orbit, with no backup, is a good idea would get the sack. It doesn't make sense. So here's the setup, and I'll see if it answers all our problems.
There are three shuttles.
There are six qualified pilots, one being the captain of the spaceship, and the others are security personnel.
At the start of the story, only one lander is down on the surface. The other two are up in orbit. One must always stay there for emergencies to take people to the ground. One must always stay on the planet, in case of emergencies, to take people to orbit.
Taylor -- That's a good policy.
Anver -- And at the start of the story, there are three qualified pilots at the camp, two in orbit, and the captain in orbit. And there are maybe four other people in orbit too, running things as the skeleton crew. They look after the thousands of bodies in cold sleep.
So in the first attack, all three qualified pilots on the planet die.
Hamilton and John move the ground-side shuttle in to position, but between then and the second dino attack, the second shuttle flies down with supplies, the handguns used to kill the dino, a new electrical power core to help run the new defenses, and the rest of the skeleton crew from up top. They've come to help out. One of them is doctor, another is an expert with the wood processor. That kind of thing.
And they weren't preparing to launch to orbit when the airship arrived. And also they didn't think they needed to fly out to rescue John and Sandra while they're up the tree, because they were just going to wait it out. When the airship arrived they didn't have time to warm up the shuttle engines.
Taylor -- That makes sense.
Anver -- Crucially, they bring down two pilots, as there will be two shuttles ground-side. And also, and I know this was your idea, so I'm sorry to throw it out, there is no Abort to Orbit button. It makes things too easy. It's like a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Taylor -- Fair enough. Who is left in orbit? Just the captain?
Anver -- And maybe one cold sleep technician, who has been left to oversee the waking of the hibernators.
Taylor -- I think you've cracked it. Except for one point. The guns. Didn't Hamilton say he wanted another elephant gun from orbit?
Anver -- Shit. You're right.
Taylor -- But maybe the elephant gun is the only one they brought with them.
Anver -- Just one? That would be stupid.
Taylor -- Maybe it could be Hamilton's personal hunting rifle. He's given it a name, like Trusty Old Betty. He wasn't officially allowed to bring it with him, but he did anyway, calling the rifles he was issued pop-guns. And he didn't trust all the electronic and non-lethal weapons.
Anver -- Look, if you're going to solve a problem so easily, why even bring it up? Just fix it when you write the script.
Taylor -- Get over it.
Anver -- So now, as we fast forward again, there are very few options, and all of them bad. When they call the captain in orbit, they are told the bad news. Or they have it confirmed. Nobody is out of cold sleep yet, and both the technician and the captain are working overtime to wake as many security personnel ad pilots as they can.
Taylor -- What are the options?
Anver -- Well, if I've restricted them enough, you'll be able to tell me.
Taylor -- John can try flying to orbit, help wake more security people, then go rescue the humans.
Anver -- Not an option. The rescue is time critical.
Taylor -- John and Sandra fly over and kick the leg out of the tripod. Then, after saving the humans, they fly up to orbit. John doesn't have to do the tricky maneuvers in space, as the captain will guide him in remotely.
Anver -- Which is what John is going to decide to do, of course. Another option?
Taylor -- The captain can fly down to camp, pick up John and Sandra, then fly over to the alien base to try to rescue the humans.
Anver -- But the camp is crawling with aliens, and if the captain leaves the spaceship, there is nobody left to run the ship systems. The cold sleep technician is just that, and his hands are full making sure people don't die as they slowly wake up. Also it would take a lot of time, more than the second option.
Taylor -- But if he really wanted to, the captain could fly down in the third shuttle.
Anver -- Technically, yes. And I think, for now, we should leave that option open for later. Right?
Taylor -- Good idea! So talk me through the conversation between John and the ship captain.
Anver -- Let's role-play. I'll be John.
"Sir! We're here, and we're alive!"
Taylor -- "Someone alive! Thank heavens! And John, I know you can launch a shuttle, I watched you practice for months on the onboard simulator. Fly up here, and I'll guide you in the last distance to connect with the ship."
Anver -- "But we've got to save the others! They are being held by the aliens, and time is running out."
Taylor -- "What aliens? What others?"
Anver -- Oh yeah, the captain wouldn't know what happened.
Or maybe he saw footage from cameras around the camp. Yeah, he did, he can say that in his opening line.
Taylor -- Fine. "No, it's too dangerous to risk the shuttle."
Anver -- Not that.
Taylor -- "Don't do it, John, it's too dangerous. I saw the security footage from the camp, and there's way too many of the aliens!"
Anver -- "You must meet us there. We'll need two shuttles to lift everyone to orbit."
Taylor -- "I can't leave the ship, John, I'm the only person left here to run its critical systems, and I'm pulling triple duty helping Fred not kill those in hibernation."
Anver -- "Well, here are the coordinates of the alien base. Drop by if you feel like helping out."
Taylor -- "I'll try, John, but if I leave the ship I'm putting thousands of lives in danger. If I don't make it back, the ship has no more shuttles, nobody awake to run the critical systems. Everyone in cold sleep will die."
Anver -- Nice. So the captain has to weigh the lives of those few held captive by the aliens, and those of the thousands sleeping on board. That's a tough call.
Taylor -- "If you fly up here and wait a few days, we'll have two shuttles and a whole platoon of security goons to go kick some alien ass."
Anver -- At that point the aliens outside the shuttle put a big dent in the door. And John has already told Sandra that the shielding is thick enough to stop micro-meteorites. He mainly said that to make her feel safe, but the fact that the aliens have dented the door means they have to get going.
So John says "Wait a few days? I can't even wait a few seconds!"
The engines have warmed up enough, and the indicator light turns green. John hits the throttle, and the shuttle shoots up into the sky. The aliens fall back, blown away by the jets.
John says "The alien base is two hundred kilometers away, I can make it there in twenty minutes."
Taylor -- "If we don't crash first," says Sandra, putting on her seatbelt.
Anver -- Yeah! Then she asks "Do you have a plan?"
And John says "Not yet, but we've got twenty minutes to think of something good." We get a shot of them zooming off into the distance, to the horizon.
Taylor -- To The Horizon, yeah. So, do we get to hear them make their plan of attack?
Anver -- What do you think?
Taylor -- No way. It'll take too long and give away whatever's about to happen next. At this point the plan must go exactly to plan. The joy for the audience isn't that they think it might fail, but that they're not sure what it is, and want to see it play out. Like a heist movie, or a prison break.
Anver -- It's sort of both, at this point.
Taylor -- We cut to an exterior view of the alien camp. There's an alien in a watch tower, and he's scanning the horizon. The view behind is fuzzy, with the same effect as when John and Sandra were in the dino hollogram. This way we know that there is a shield all around the alien camp.
Anver -- Right. We can do this whole thing in one shot. Start, close in on the alien, right on his face. Track out, and we see him frown. Then he looks left and right along the horizon. Not looking, but cocking his ears this way and that. They can wiggle, and spring to attention, like a rabbit.
Then we track out even further, and he looks directly into the camera.
Track out further, and we see he's in a roughly built wooden tower.
Track further, and we see the whole alien camp below. It's got one large Wayfarer structure, which is a solid building that looks like it was built by Apple. White and smooth, but with wooden huts leaning against it, and with a rough wooden door, obviously added later by the aliens.
Taylor -- That is where the humans are being kept. The inside of the prison had plastic white walls, and no other building has that feature.
Anver -- Perfect. I thought they would have to go by the GPS location, but how would they know exactly which building it was in the camp?
The rest of the camp is filled with wooden shacks and tents, but with one larger structure, which is obviously the head-honcho's place. We never meet him though.
Taylor -- What about a cave entrance?
Anver -- Good idea. There's an entrance to a cave, with a rough fence across it. Rough, but obviously designed to stop dinos.
The rest of the camp isn't defended though, as if a dino gets too close they can just deflect it with their cloaking devices. Every alien has one, so as long as he makes himself into a tree, the dinos never attack. If they do attack, the aliens just run into the cave.
Taylor -- And the airship?
Anver -- That's next. We track back, or zoom out even further, and the airship comes into view. It's tethered to a wooden pylon that looms over the alien camp.
Taylor -- It's tethered to the top of the Wayfarer building.
Anver -- Of course it is. And it has rope ladders hanging from the sides. Beyond the airship we see that the ground and sky is fuzzy, like the inside of a holo-cloak.
Then we track back that extra little bit, and suddenly the whole scene disappears behind the closer edge of the holo-cloak. All we see is a hillside, or a cliff. Something big, like a long narrow hill or bluff, just sprouting out of the plain. Like those rocks in Monument Valley, but with trees and bushes and scrub.
Then the zoom speeds up, and we see the surrounding area. There is less forest than the area at the human camp, and more open spaces of grass. But still a lot trees and places for dinos to hide.
Zoom out further, and there's more of the same kind of hill. The fake hill doesn't stand out too much, despite its weird shape, because other hills are quite similar. They're not fake, they're real, but we don't know that yet.
Then the audience thinks "What else are we going to see?" and the camera swings right over the shuttle, and we see it's flying directly towards the alien base.
Taylor -- I love it.
Anver -- Now it took me three minutes to describe that shot, but it'll only take twenty seconds on the screen. Ten seconds close in on the alien as he hears and locates shuttle. Then maybe ten seconds more before the audience sees what the alien has seen, or heard, which is the shuttle. Twenty seconds, and the audience knows everything they need to know about the geography, the technology, the defenses, everything.
We hold on the shuttle for another four seconds. John's next line will be said over that lingering shot.
Taylor -- He'll say "The hill directly ahead isn't showing up on the radar!"
Anver -- "All the other hills are real, but that one must be a huge holo-cloak!"
Taylor -- "No wonder we never spotted it from orbit!"
Anver -- "But there's something inside, what could it be?"
Taylor -- "The airship!"
Anver -- "Have you spotted any dinos out here?"
Taylor -- "What?" I mean, what?
Anver -- They need dinosaurs. This is the whole point of the entire movie. The tripod.
Taylor -- This is it?
Anver -- Yeah.
Taylor -- You have this part worked out?
Anver -- Pretty much. It's all action, all the time, from here to the credits. Or at least I think I have it worked out. You want me to run with this?
Taylor -- Go for it. I'll chip in if I need to.
Anver -- Okay, here goes. First they have to look inside the fake hill. John flies in close. There's a great moment where the shuttle is going right at the hill, and all their senses are telling John and Sandra they're going to crash into a cliff. But they trust the instruments, and fly through unharmed.
They hover next to the airship, and check out the camp. "They are being held in the white tower, that's the only building with white walls."
The aliens start shooting at them from below, and launch some kind of hydrogen rocket at them. It bursts into flames over the front of the cockpit. Sandra can yelp, but John says "Don't worry, that will never get as hot as atmospheric reentry from orbit."
Then a hatch pops open on the top of the airship, and they start shooting, and throwing grappling hooks. John swings the shuttle around, loses control for a moment, and accidentally rams the airship, ripping it open, and roasting it with the hot jet exhaust.
The airship starts to break up and burn. Imagine the Hindenburg, but with aliens jumping into the trees below, some of them on fire. They cut the airship free from the white tower, so it doesn't collapse onto the camp below, and it starts drifting with the wind out from under the fake hill.
Eventually it will crash into the woods and forest just downwind from the camp, and the rest of the action takes place against this backdrop. A huge burning skeleton of the airship, with the entire plain going up in flame too. It'll look awesome.
Taylor -- Very dramatic.
Anver -- Back in the shuttle, John says "Well, I didn't mean to do that, but it gets it out of the way and creates a nice diversion. There are too many aliens in the camp for us to take on alone, so we'll more on to step two of Plan B."
"Yeah," says Sandra, "lets go find our reinforcements."
So, they have to find a few dinos near the alien camp. They do with by flying over the trees at low level, and Sandra uses the life-form scanner to track some down. It's the same console as the tracking device they used to look up the amulet. She can say "Now I know what to program for, tracking down the dinos is easy."
Convenient, but they can already have worked that out earlier on. For example, after the first attack she can use the scanner. It's how they know the next dino approaches for the second attack. But when the fake dinos appear, she thinks the scanner is broken, or that she's programmed it wrong.
Taylor -- That works.
Anver -- It'll all be set up in advance in the final script. Right now I feel like Bill and Ted on their bogus adventure. "All we need to do is, once we've won the day, is go back and put the keys in your jacket pocket... and there they are!"
Taylor -- I'm sure you'll do it again in a minute.
Anver -- No, I think we've got all the pieces in place already. We'll see, okay?
They find a group of young male dinos not far from the alien camp. Maybe five hundred meters. Sandra puts on her alien costume again, or makes sure it's in place. She's also got one of the guns, one of the guns from the back of the shuttle.
Taylor -- What guns?
Anver -- I said the second shuttle came down with guns and the new power core and other supplies. This one is the second shuttle.
Taylor -- I'll give you that.
Anver -- She has a radio too, so she can talk to John. John flies the shuttle in low, and Sandra jumps out the back. She shouts "Go, go, go!"
At this point we follow two stories. John flies up and back towards the alien camp. He circles round. Then says "Let's buzz the tower," and swoops low overhead. He's not trying to do any damage. He's just a diversion at this point.
Meanwhile, back on the ground, Sandra adjusts the holo-cloak and makes herself into the sexiest lady dinosaur possible. The group of young males see her appear, and start swaggering over. Sandra turns, shaking her dino ass, and runs towards the alien camp. The male dinos, tongues hanging out, follow. They're snapping at each other, but because they're young they've not developed a really violent rivalry.
Taylor -- I love it.
Anver -- John and Sandra are talking to each other all this time, they're a good team. "It's working!" shouts Sandra. "Prepare the power core!"
"I'm on it!" shouts John. "Tell me when to drop it!"
Sandra leads the dinos up to the edge of the alien camp. The aliens on that edge look down the slope, see the dinos, and simply turn themselves into big male dinosaurs, thinking that's all they need to do to scare the young dinos away.
Sandra shouts "Punch it!"
By now John is hovering over the camp again. He presses a button and the hatch opens. The spare power core rolls out the back, and falls into the camp.
Taylor -- I see what's going on here. Very clever.
Anver -- As the power core hits the ground, it cracks open, sort of exploding, but not in a ball of flame. It's programmed to fail safe, releasing energy in a controlled way. We already have enough flame. Instead it releases its energy as an electromagnetic pulse. Voom, not boom. We can show a bubble of expanding shockwave, even though it would normally propagate at the speed of light, I guess.
Want to take it from here?
Taylor -- Sure! Not only the shuttle's outside is shielded, but the electronics also have to work in space, and those are shielded against radiation too. So the shuttle is mainly fine, and only suffers a computer crash.
But down in the camp, every alien that looked like a dino or a tree or a human or any other monster, their cloaking devices are fried. We can have shots of them looking down at their iPod things, tapping them, looking at the wisps of smoke leaking out through the cracks, and wondering if they now look like aliens again.
Or, to the group of dinos waiting at the edge of the camp, they look like dinner. And as the dinos are attracted to electricity, a big EM pulse is like a huge advert saying "Food This Way!"
Sandra strips off her cloaking device, drops it, and runs into the camp. In turmoil her alien costume is good enough, so nobody challenges her.
The dinos follow, and they have a good time biting aliens.
Anver -- Yeah, we can really push the visuals here. Dinos are now playing the part of the heroes. Or at least they're now on the heroes' side. Aliens are still the bad guys. All of them must have some kind of weapon, so it doesn't look like we're killing innocent women and children. The little aliens will all be in the cave.
But we can have as much green blood as we want, right?
Taylor -- Oh yeah! It'll be an orgy of dino destruction. Whatever John and Sandra do now, we can keep cutting back to the young dinos killing aliens.
Anver -- Sandra arrives at the tall white building, and the guards are distracted by the crashing airship, the shuttle above, and the dinos rampaging through the camp. Maybe we can see them desert their posts and run towards the cave.
But if there are any aliens left, she can club them on the heads with the gun, rather than shoot them. I don't think she would be the shooting type.
Taylor -- Are you kidding? She'd punch holes right through their faces and say "That was for Galatris, you bastards!"
Anver -- Hey, whatever fits her character best. She hears, on her radio, John shout. "Watch out below!"
She looks up, and the shuttle is coming down to land, but way too fast. The autopilot has crashed, or something, and John has to land purely by himself. The shuttle lands hard, bending the the landing pads.
The hatch pops open, and John is standing there, smoke billowing up around him, silhouetted by the burning forest in the background, holding the elephant gun. Hero shot.
Sandra looks at him. She's impressed, but doesn't want to show it. "Nice landing!" she says, sarcastically.
He says something like "Thanks, it was the first time I've landed a shuttle with dysfunctional ground radar. In fact, it's the first time I've landed a shuttle, period."
Taylor -- Clunk.
Anver -- It does the job. So together they open the door to the white tower, walk in, shooting aliens, and find the humans. Most of the prisoners are okay, but there are those who the aliens took to the other room. They must be either dead or dying. Galatris is in there, and he's in a bad way. They've cut off his leg, or something, for alien reason we don't understand. Both Sandra and John rush for him, and help him up.
Taylor -- Hamilton takes his gun back from John, and leads the way out to the shuttle, shooting aliens as he goes.
Anver -- Exactly, and Tess helps the others out too. Everyone is back together again, and most of them are into the shuttle.
Really, at this point, we have about five or six different ways we can take the ending. They can fly up to orbit, and that's it, maybe with some suspense when the shuttle doesn't want to start.
Taylor -- The shuttle could be too heavy, and they have to throw everything out.
Anver -- Maybe they need to lose so much weight that Galatris jumps out to save the rest of them.
Taylor -- In the other story we had a dino grabbing on to the shuttle as it took off, and Hamilton and Galatris having their moment as they fought it off together.
Anver -- What happened then?
Taylor -- The shuttle crashed, and they had to make their way back to the camp to the spare.
Anver -- We can do the same thing here. The spare shuttle is two hundred kilometers away, but there's a different solution.
Taylor -- Okay then, can I take it from here?
Anver -- Be my guest.
Taylor -- So they are all in the shuttle, and its starting to lift off. John is driving, piloting, and Tess is sitting next to him. Hamilton and another person is standing at the open rear hatch. Sandra is looking after Galatris in the back. Everyone else is sitting along the benches. John shouts "It's too heavy!" The shuttle is climbing really slowly.
As it gets to about two meters up, a dino jumps up and grabs the back of the shuttle. It pulls out the person standing next Hamilton, and another dino on the ground looms over the man. Hamilton shoot the dino dead, right there, but there's still the dino hanging on to the back of the shuttle, weighing it down.
He points the rifle at this dino, says a zinger like "Dino, meet Betty," and pulls the trigger. But he's out of ammo. The man down on the ground is eaten by a third dino, and the shuttle flies up with a dino hanging from the back.
Anver -- Good image.
Taylor -- Sandra comes back and helps her father with the dino. They press the hatch button, and it closes, trapping the dino's head. All the while the dino is trying to scramble up inside, and is slashing with its claws and teeth. Sandra fires her small gun at the dino's face, at close range, in the eye, whatever. It finally lets go and falls to the ground.
But they're not in the clear just yet. Hamilton is injured, a huge gash on his leg, and collapses next to Galatris. Galatris looks at him and says "You too, huh?"
Even worse, the shuttle is badly damaged. The dino kicked the cowling off the secondary thruster, and the shuttle is going down. It skims over the the tree tops, but John can't keep control. It crashes a few kilometers from the camp. A few people on board die, but our main group of five are still alive.
Anver -- They have to crash in a thicket of dense trees, but there's an open patch of ground a few hundred meters away. Maybe a ravine in between, with a single place narrow enough to jump across.
Taylor -- Right? Yeah. And it's starting to get dark now, late evening.
So the shuttle is upside down, and leaking fuel. It might blow at any moment. Everyone who can jumps out, but Galatris and Hamilton can't move. Galatris is too injured, and maybe Hamilton is trapped. Or the other way round.
Sandra and John try to pull them out but they both say something like "There's no time! The shuttle's going to blow." This is their moment.
Anver -- No, not yet. Galatris says to Sandra "Leave us! Go with John, try to survive!" He's explicitly told Sandra she should forget their old planned life together and move on.
John hears this, and in a split second realizes that Galatris isn't his rival in any way. He's nothing but his old mentor. So he says "Not without you!" or something, and pulls Galatris out of the shuttle. Hamilton too. Maybe he wasn't so badly injured or trapped.
When they get a few meters away from the shuttle, it goes up in a ball of flame, and we think all hope is lost.
John says "Well, there goes our last ride out of here."
Sandra says "The other shuttle."
"No, that's two hundred kilometers away. We'd never make it."
"Not that shuttle. The other other shuttle!"
And she points, and sure enough, the shuttle from orbit flies overhead.
Taylor -- This is too quick. We need for them to say "Okay, let's get it together! We need to get as far away from here as possible!" And they turn to the forest, but a see a group of dinos through the trees. A long way off, maybe two hundred meters.
And the dinos see them.
Anver -- Much better. This way we can bring them really low before the calvary arrive.
The dinos start stalking towards the group. We can make this last for a while, with two injured old guys both saying "We're both dying. Leave us and run!"
But Sandra says "There will be just as many dinos, no matter which direction we run.
John can give a new pack of bullets to Hamilton, who starts loading up.
Taylor -- Eight bullets, but there are ten dinos.
Anver -- Exactly. The characters can spell out their doom. "Call the captain in orbit!"
"This radio won't reach that far, and there's no way he would make it down here in time..."
But then the dinos look up into the air, and watch as the a shuttle zooms overhead, tips its wings, and settles into the clearing a hundred meters away, the other side of the ravine.
A voice calls over Sandra's radio, because she still has it turned on. "Daddy's here! Did you think I wasn't coming?"
So they look at the shuttle, then back to the dinos, then back to the shuttle. John says "Tess, go!"
Tess looks at him, nods, and runs. So do most of the other people, though there's only five or six left. Tess leaps over the ravine, and makes it to the shuttle.
The dinos see the movement, and start picking up speed.
Sandra and John reach down and begin dragging Galatris and Hamilton. Two of the other people help too, but they're struggling. Then they're at the ravine, and there's no easy way to get the injured men across the gap.
Taylor -- Now is their moment.
Anver -- Yes. Now is their moment. They all look at each other, and they know they're going to have to leave one or both of the injured men behind. Galatris says, "Give me Betty, I'll see off the dinos while you break for the shuttle. I can hold them here at the ravine."
But Hamilton isn't having any of it. He says, "No way. Leave me, and I'll do the job properly."
"I'm dying already," says Galatris, "I should have died back in the shuttle crash. Give me your gun."
"Me too, and there's no way I'll survive the acceleration in the launch to orbit. John, Sandra, I order you to put me down right now. Go, run for the lander."
"We can get you both across to the shuttle!" says John, but that's not true. In the end, they have no choice. They never did have a choice. They leave Hamilton on the floor, who swings up his rifle and start firing.
Galatris takes Sandra's gun. "Leave me here," he says, calmly. "I'll help Hamilton with the dinos, but I'll save two bullets for us."
The two others have already leapt over the ravine and are most of the way to the shuttle.
Hamilton and Galatris both shout "Go!" in chorus, and that settles it. John and Sandra leap the gap, and run for the shuttle.
We have a last look between Hamilton and Galatris, and Hamilton says "You still here, son?"
Galatris says "Let's do it." They start firing, and you see a few dinos fall.
We cut back to John and Sandra, and they make it to the shuttle. The door is already closing, and they throw themselves inside. A dino is right behind them, already across the ravine, and we think it's going to grab hold of the shuttle again, just like the last time.
The captain is a veteran shuttle pilot though, and spins the shuttle as it lifts up. The dino is blasted away by the hot jet exhaust, and the shuttle leaps up into the air.
Taylor -- Their sacrifice wasn't just so John and Sandra could live, but so they could live together.
Anver -- Yes. Both knew that there was a chance one of them might survive to orbit, but not without risking the lives of Tess, John, Sandra, and the rest. This way they are making more than a sacrifice, they are making a statement.
Hamilton knows John is going to become the next leader of the colony, and wants to protect that along with his daughter's life.
And Galatris knows he screwed Sandra over emotionally. By giving his life in this way he is saying "I know I hurt you, but John and Tess were worth it. Now go. I lived a life without you, now you must live your life without me."
Taylor -- Is it just me, or is it getting dusty in here?
Anver -- You just wait till we put this on screen. Not a dry eye in the theater.
Taylor -- It'll be a four-way exchange, which won't be easy.
Anver -- It'll be worth it. Just like it would be easier to have John and Sandra have sex earlier on, and we have John walk away.
Taylor -- So what now?
Anver -- The shuttle flies up to orbit. The final shot can be from in front, with the burning forests and plains behind. Then the shuttle will fly past, and the camera can swing round to follow it. The last part of the shot will be the shuttle heading up into the evening sky, with the stars just starting to come out.
Taylor -- We need one more shot, inside the shuttle. The pilot up front, Tess sitting in the copilot's seat, as she was the first one there. Then through the hatch into the back, where the other survivors are sitting.
At the back hatch, looking through the rear window, John and Sandra stand side by side. They're looking back down at where Hamilton and Galatris made their last stand. Then the camera pans down, and you see their hands. Both at the same time, they reach out and take each other's hand, and squeeze tight.
Anver -- Great. We don't even need them to kiss. They both know now isn't the time. That holding hands is all we need to know, like when the held hands after the mating dinos.
The aliens are a problem for another day, and the future is looking good.
Fade to credits.
C.J. -- And whose name will be on the credits?
Taylor -- What are you doing here?
C.J. -- What am I doing here? What is he doing here?
Anver -- Me?
Taylor -- Shush, let me handle this. He's here because you said he'd get a story credit, and I invited him back to work out some details.
C.J. -- Details? I heard him say aliens. There are no aliens in this picture.
Taylor -- If you say so. I was just trying to keep my options open.
C.J. -- I know what you did. I just spoke to Barry, and he blew me off. You went over my head, you bastard.
Taylor -- Not at all. I just explained the situation to a friend of mine.
C.J. -- Well, if it makes you feel better, I went over your head. I explained the situation to a good friend of mine, who just happens to be Barry's boss.
Taylor -- Look, explain all you want, but nobody signed any contracts, and I have the entire story meeting recorded.
C.J. -- On that laptop?
Taylor -- Yes, on this laptop.
C.J. -- Give it to me.
Taylor -- No. I'd like you to leave my office.
C.J. -- Give me it!
Taylor -- Leave it. Hey!
C.J. -- Let go, you bastard!
Taylor -- Hey, hey! Hey, hey!
Anver -- Guys! Don't fight, you'll just break it.
C.J. -- I've got to get --