COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 3: STORY
TELL A LIE, TO TELL THE TRUTH.
So what’s it about then?
Well, here’s where your access-all-areas pass comes in. We weren’t lying when we said we were going to show and tell all.
Here’s the elevator pitch…
COSMOS is a 90-minute contemporary Science-Fiction independent feature film telling the story of the three men who make first contact with extra-terrestrial life.
“The film, follows three amateur astronomers who kit out their car with telescopes, radio equipment and antennae, and in their spare time head out into the night to star gaze, listen to the sounds of space and enjoy the wonder of the universe above.
But on the night that we join them they intercept a faint signal from outer space; and come to the realisation that they hold in their hands one of mankind’s greatest discoveries – proof of alien life. But such a faint signal is hard to keep track of and before long they face the challenge of documenting the discovery and sharing it with the world, before the signal is lost forever.”
“Good ol’ Arri”
Last time we talked about why we’re making this film, but how did the idea come about?
The original concept for COSMOS actually developed from a short film; in December 2012 we bought 800ft of 16mm FujiFilm (Eterna 500T) to use with our Arriflex 16SR and while wracking our brains for a story, came up with the idea of an amateur radio-astronomer listening to space – sitting in a pool of light cast by his angle-poise, this man would accidently stumble across a faint signal weaving around in the radio static and make contact with alien life.
We eventually shelved the idea in favour of a Twilight Zone-esque Victorian ghost story and successfully shot our 9-minute 16mm short – The Mysterious Disappearance of M.M.Bayliss.
But when setting our sights on a feature film, we remembered our little idea about the radio-astronomer and decided to see where we could take it.
Having always been a fan of ‘submarine movies’ (a niche genre!) we’ve always loved that classic depth-charge scene… all the crew stand sweating, motionless, listening to the sonar pings as the battleship passes overheard… and we wondered whether that same nail-biting tension could be created when listening to a signal from space…?
Pretty epic, right?!
So picture this:
Three guys crammed inside their mobile astronomy van; the inside of this vehicle jammed with humming high frequency scanners, aerials, radio transmitters, coiled cables hanging from the ceiling like jungle vines. They huddle before a bank of glowing LCD screens; headsets clamped over their tatty baseball caps…
No one breathes… no one blinks… a faint coded signal swirls across the airwaves… could this be… CONTACT?!
Matthew can’t wait to see COSMOS!
Now if that’s not a picture worth pursing we don’t know what is! So that was our seed idea, and from it grew a 97-page original screenplay we called COSMOS.
WHY SCI-FI? As well as loving old WW2 Navy films (a trait we inherited from our Grandfather… much to our Mother’s dismay!), we also love Science Fiction.
As the old saying about storytelling goes; “You tell a lie, to tell the truth” and Sci-Fi is the greatest lie of them all. Good Sci-Fi tackles subjects more honestly and sincerely than most films placed firmly in reality. Good films change how we view our own lives, and although we enjoy the hero’s quest, the real reward comes from the lessons learned along the journey.
COSMOS tackles one of mankind’s oldest questions – Are we alone?
Everyone of us at one time or another has looked up to the night sky and wondered whether there is life out there, but our instinctive curiosity is equalled by our instinctive fear of the unknown – If there is life out there, what will it be?… And what will it think of us?!
So that is the million dollar question… and that is COSMOS!
Next time we’re talking about SCRIPTWRITING and how to get past that first blank page.
Zand & Ell
Don’t be shy… say “hi” over at @CosmosMovie
Elliot Weaver & Zander Weaver Directors/Producers