Although on the surface, the (Y) wheels have seemingly ground to a halt, behind the scenes we have been cooking up a little something. One Of One is a short Science Fiction piece originally devised and written as a feature length by myself and then subsequently reimagined as a short piece and rewritten with Henry. In order to ramp up anticipation prior to our Fundraising for the piece’s production, we will be bringing you the story of it’s beginnings, it’s reimaginings and it’s future. This first instalment, written by myself will set the scene, giving you an insight into it’s conception first as an idea and then as the first act of a feature.
The idea for One Of One neé The Brainless arrived as many do at 3 in the morning just as I lay my head down for sleep sometime roughly a year ago. Many of these ideas end up lost in the ether but this one I had to get back up and type into my iPod lest it be forgotten. The note reads like this:
The synthesis of the idea springs from a single line in Robert Rodriguez’s 2007 zombie romp Planet Terror. Josh Brolin’s character’s young son sits at the breakfast table, toys in hand, repeating the mantra “I’m gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge”.
Although I have since learned that what I had always thought the original concept of the Zombie to be – that brain eating element – the line in Planet Terror resonated with me. The Zombie is a creature whose literary and cinematic history is rich, varied yet unfortunately diminished in the modern world. The ability to see what others have seen, to know their joy and pain, their whole life’s story in one instant moment of consumption seemed like a good base for a revamp of the Zombie mythos.
Every film with a Zombie outbreak of course needs a genesis and that age old mad scientist archetype seemed like the perfect instigator. In this way, you have a protagonist who may or, more likely, may not be a good guy. A complex character driven by his own isolation into inadvertently only making himself more isolated. His greed and hubris charging him down an unconscionable and irreversible path.
And that was that for a while, the idea languished with a multitude of others ready to one day be called upon and extrapolated. Then, the third year of university rolled around and the opportunity to write a feature came along and The Brainless seemed the likeliest candidate. It follows similar themes to my previous, still unfinished first feature, something of a thematic follow up. Somehow, it seems a large amount of my ideas follow a master craftsman or genius lead to an inevitable downfall thanks to their misanthropy, self-induced isolation and above all, deep, deep narcissism.
Although I gave up University to join my friends in the unemployed realm of home and ultimately to start this venture known as (Y), I continued my work on the film. To date, the first act stands alone as a completed segment, 30 pages long and monologue heavy. The way it evolved so that our protagonist would be the last man alive didn’t leave much room for dialogue so I had to create him a non-human companion.
Seeing as Hannes as he came to be known was already a genius neurosurgeon it seemed fitting to make him a polymath and adept engineer too. Soon enough, I had devised him something of a robot butler, once called C.A.R.O.L. an acronym with no original components. Now C.A.R.O.L. stands as our hero, less a device used for exposition and more of a full fledged character – One Of One himself.
In our next instalment we will be talking about how Henry’s first read of The Brainless drew his eye to C.A.R.O.L. and how that little robot, and indeed the whole project, evolved from there.
– Oliver Drew