My name’s Henry Gale, I’m taking on the role of Director for the short film, ‘One of One’. I’m also manning the art-direction and animation for the piece.
I’ve taken a break from modelling and storyboarding to write a little bit about the piece, and to hopefully whet your appetites for what’s yet to come! If you haven’t already done it, make sure to check out Ollie’s first segment at: https://ycreatives.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/one-of-one-part-one-beginnings/
When Ollie first pitched me his idea for ‘The Brainless’ I approached it without much anticipation. I was interested, because he’s my friend, but I was by no means jumping out of my seat. I’ve never been much of a zombie fan (I find the Canon a little restricting) and I wasn’t expecting anything different. I think by the time I’d laid eyes on it he must’ve been ten pages in. The scene held a man, with a little robot, talking about his life. The monologue was sweeping, erudite and bittersweet. It managed to catch my attention long before I knew its place in the longer narrative.
I can’t remember when I suggested it might make a good short, but when Ollie explained where the script was headed, you could tell it had legs. It didn’t abide by the canon. It was void of cliche. There was a message there I hadn’t seen before. It wasn’t really about zombies, and I think that’s why I liked it. They were definitely there, somewhere, but being quiet for a change. Hardly present. Mise en scene. I wanted to help him film it from the get-go.
It wasn’t too long until he’d written a draft for a ten minute version of the piece. It took place on a rooftop, at the end of the larger narrative like we’d discussed; and it was good. Nicely paced, made excellent use of the older monologue too, and had a satisfying conclusion. There were a couple of things that I thought could use improving though, and we agreed we’d sit down and make a second draft.
One of the more obvious issues was with the robot, ‘One of One’. The little machine, although endearing in his own way, served less as a character you might root for, and more as a narrative crutch. He was there, quite obviously, to help set the scene. He asked the questions. He was the audience. That’s not to say these questions didn’t need asking; This is, after all, still a segment for a longer narrative. We just needed to dull down the exposition a bit. With that in mind, we made him wittier, less obvious, and a little more human.
This I think was the point where we moved from the working ‘Brainless’ Title and replaced it with ‘One of One’. It made more sense. The two characters are the last of their kind, in the setting of the script, and it rang a little more poetically. Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of eponymy?
From there the plot started to smooth itself out, and we started thinking more about the lead, Hannes, and his backstory. I wanted to make his character a little more 3 dimensional, and although I agreed with the overarching misanthropic feel to the piece, it was a bit heavy. One sleepless night I wrote a draft where a lost love is hinted at, as well as some more theological questions. I wanted to make the story a little less dialogue-driven, too, so I found a way to wrangle some narrative into the script’s action. I was a bit concerned that Ollie might object to this, but he seemed to like it (bar a particularly melodramatic line, that we agreed we should remove).
From there we’ve been doing a lot of shifting and rethinking, particularly after expanding on One of One’s backstory, as well as Hannes’ youth. We’re now on our 6th draft, and I’m happy to say that things are looking very tasty indeed.
That’s all for today, but in next week’s edition, Ollie will be talking about end goals for the piece; where it fits in a larger, grander scheme of things, and what avenues we hope to explore after its completion. After that, we’ll get talking about Style for the short, and I get to show off the virtual set designs I’ve been breaking my back to bring to you!
Thanks for reading,