I meant to get into Intelligent Design’s development meeting in the last entry, but wouldn’t you know it? DVD authoring snuck in and took over. But, I wrote all I had to say about DVD authoring and now I’m back.
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Earl and Wallace are friends of mine. They’re also professional writers. They also helped me get the script for ALGORITHM good enough where I felt comfortable showing it to other filmmakers. So, Earl and Wallace are good friends, and good at their vocations. I’ve wanted to officially work with them for a while. Intelligent Design was the perfect excuse.
As I mentioned in last week’s entry, the problem I was having with Intelligent design was that it it’s massive. ALGORITHM was 1.5hrs. Intelligent Design, if it goes the way I’m hoping, will clock in at about 36hrs.
As with ALGORITHM, I’m hoping to pack in layers of meaning, so that if someone isn’t paying attention, they miss something. I want there to be meaning in every shot, in every moment.
That said, I made a mistake with ALGORITHM. No. Mistake isn’t the right word. ALGORITHM is perfect for what it is. The problem is that, by it’s very design and the nature of it’s subject, it’s almost unapproachably intelligent.
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[insert 2hr pause here where I went on Twitter to do some marketing]
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But, that unapproachably intelligent problem was really about the nature of the story of ALGORITHM. There wasn’t a realistic way I could make it more accessible without sacrificing the realism, which I was unwilling to do.
That gets into the nature of how to share critical plot information with the audience. That’s called exposition. It’s usually done poorly.
With Intelligent Design, exposition is built into the structure. There are three sets of information that will require exposition:
1. Psychology will be taken care of by Karina (the lead character) who is a psychologist;
2. Spy-craft will be taken care of by the lead character’s CIA handler;
3. Science will be taken care of by the innovators talking with Karina.
That means I’ll still be able to make Intelligent Design approachable without sacrificing realism or quality. it also means I’m going to get to talk about some really interesting ideas, from the nature of creativity and the construct of the human mind, to international relations and the way governments work with each other, to science and how awesome science can be.
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As my schedule is busy but flexible, I asked Earl to set the time. He said Monday August 10, 2015 at 10:00am would work for him. That was the date we set. A week before, something came up and Earl couldn’t make it. Wallace and I rescheduled for Tuesday the 11th.
The plan was, I’d pick Wallace up and bring him to BXI and we’d work a 12hr day, or until our brains melted. The latter turned out to happen first. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
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I picked up Wallace and we got breakfast/lunch at Big Belly Deli (they make the best pastrami reuben I’ve ever had, by far) and then headed to BXI. On the drive I brought Wallace back up to speed on the project, what I had, what I needed, the scale and scope, the characters, and the general plot outline and structure.
His first note was crucial. He said I had an A storyline, but that was just a surface story. I needed several other layers. Other things needed to happen.
The reason I was specifically interested in working with Wallace was because I’d read and loved his short story Sundae. After Sundae, he released a novella series called Slingers. His writing grabbed me on page one and didn’t let go for a second. There was never a moment in the entire series where I was bored. I think I read that series faster than I’ve ready anything else.
Wallace was who I needed to help make Intelligent Design faster, gripping. He knows the tricks and when he uses them, they don’t feel like tricks. They feel like he did exactly the right thing.
So, when he said Intelligent Design needed a B and C storyline, I listened.
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Don’t worry. I’m not going to give any major spoilers in this post for a couple reasons:
1. I don’t want anyone to take the ideas, they’re just too good;
2. I really don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who might enjoy it;
3. Wallace said I shouldn’t and he’s a 6’4”, 300 pound, trained fighter. And he was right.
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Wallace gave some good ideas and some bad ones. I gave some good ideas and some bad ones too. We both let our imaginations run as far and as fast as we could. We dreamed about the story, letting everything we would want to see in this kind of story come out. As the ideas flowed, we selected the best ones.
It was my first time collaborating with anyone on a story and it couldn’t have been more fun or exciting. When we started I knew Intelligent Design was a good story, but I also wasn’t excited about it. I loved it because EVERYONE I pitched it to love it. But it wasn’t exciting me yet.
When Wallace and I finished our work, we were both really happy with what we’d done. It’s everything I could have ever hoped for. It does everything I want it to do and it quickly grabs the imagination, like Wallace’s other work, and doesn’t let go until it’s done.
After 6hrs of pure fiery muse-wrestling, Wallace and I were spent. Our brains were mush. He was slurring and I had no more ideas. I was even stumbling as I walked around BXI.
But we had created something we know is gonna be great!
There’s still more work to do, but I have enough to write the story bible, the pilot, and to pitch it to Netflix. I still need to write the story bible and the pilot, but now I can!
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There was one other thing I wanted to mention here. This project used to be called Beta. In fact, it was even on BXI as Beta. It was a useful short title I knew I would be changing when I found a better one. I liked Beta because of the underlying premise that got the project going to begin with. That wasn’t enough metaphor for me, but like I said, it was a working title.
I had another idea for a title: Intelligent Design. It’s about the innovators, about the nature of creativity and innovation, about the larger story and how it’s structured, and it also touches on the original premise.
Intelligent Design is also used a lot in religion for the creation model of the universe. That’s not a debate I’m going to get anywhere near, mostly because I wasn’t at the beginning and I don’t really have anything to add. But, the cool thing is, when Christians search for Intelligent Design for their whimsical research, my project will come up. In fact, if the project is anywhere near as successful as ALGORITHM, my project may be the first response on Google.
There’s one other major perk with Intelligent Design. It’s initials. ID. Id is a term from Freudian psycho-analysis referring to the part of our minds where instincts are stored. I’ve recontextualized instincts as a sort of meta-mind from which all true creativity stems, which makes id a perfect title.
When something is working on multiple levels, I know I’m on the right track.
The one major issue with Intelligent Design is that someone is camping the url, demanding $39,000 for it. That’s ridiculous. The workaround is to modify the URL slightly, so I have. I bought www.intelligentdesignshow.com which now points to BXI’s page about Intelligent Design, but I can redirect it where ever I want as needed.