What Is "The New Herald"?
The story takes place in a dystopian alternative history. The eight-to-nine minute movie opens on that first day when humankind across the world sees its increasing reliance on robotic limbs and organs reach a nightmare ending.
Robot rebellions and burgeoning sentience are a part of science fiction lore and mythology. They were a large part of the wildly popular fiction of Issac Asimov whose "I, Robot" was reimagined recently by Hollywood.
Where does the "The New Herald" fit in?
This movie describes a different kind of rebellion. One far more bleak and absurd than science-fiction has imagined. Instead of a full fledged robot rebellion like an angry C3PO or fed up Rosie from the Jetsons, this film tells about the terrible day when organs and limbs, mechanical devices installed and attached to our crumbling bodies decide to break free and seek their own fate.
A heart jumps suddenly from an unsuspecting housewife's chest. It has grown tired of doing the monotonous chore of pumping blood for her.
Aspen, Colorado where a taxi driver, weaving through traffic discovers that his robotic arm is wrestling itself free. After the inevitable crash, it can be seen crawling away into the shadows.
What does it want? No one knows. Without a clear reason why, or corporate entity to blame for the catastrophe the world turns their anger into chaos.
When humans are at their most dependent, their most vulnerable, our man made implements of artificial intelligence turn to unthinkable ends in the name of freedom.
Is the story offered in "The New Herald" likely? I don't think so.
Is it impossible? I don't know.
I'm not a robotics or artificial intelligence professor. I do know though that even the near future seems absolutely absurd until it becomes accepted reality.
How Are You Going To Produce Science Fiction On A Budget?
The story told in "The New Herald" would be prohibitively expensive to shoot as a conventional film. Think of all the special effects and make up.
This is why I plan on using found and public domain footage. These downloaded bits will be woven together to create a new, innovative narrative. The internet is well stocked with home movies, caches of news footage and industrial videos that I aim to re-edit together.
Holding all of this together will be a Voice Over track. Using a documentary style, the viewer will be guided through the sequence by a seductive, suggestive female voice. The alternative history will be narrated, conveying seriousness with a dark humor undercurrent.
Innovation is the best remedy to a small budget. When the story for "The New Herald" came to me, I knew immediately that not having 20-30 million bucks would stand in my way. This is a compromise and one that I hope gets the story out there.
What Are Your Influences?
In creating the visual feel and story mechanics for "The New Herald" I sought influence from a number of established films and books.
Two of my favorite films when thinking of this project have been Woody Allen's "Zelig" and Werner Herzog's, "Incident At Loch Ness." The character of McCain in the script is influenced by the flashback scenes in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" one of my Top 10 films ever. I'm indebted to Jay Rosenblatt, whose "Human Remains" is still one of the most unforgettable films I've ever seen.
As far as the concept of alternate history, there are quite a number of fantastic authors from Italy and Russian who are writing interesting re-interpretations of the past. The bookish and curious might want to check out the Bologna based cooperative Wu Ming and one of the most exciting post modernists writing, Vladimir Sorokin.
Who Has Contributed So Far?
I am lucky to have already received the support of two wonderful artists. Both of their work can be seen in the short slide show featured on this project page.
The story boards were provided by Portland artist, Alison Gayne. I approached Alison with the concept and the script. Her response was: "Cool. Weird."
Her interpretation of the screenplay has been inspiring. I thank her for being innovative, imaginative and having enough of a sense of humor to follow the concept.
I'm a big fan of Carl Sagan's Ghost from Seattle, Washington. CSG is the creative moniker of ambient artist Daniel Davis. The songs from his "At The End Of It All" album provided much of the backdrop for the script's writing sessions. They seemed to go hand in glove.
I've never met Daniel before. When I emailed him through his site though, he was immediately willing to share his music. I appreciate his eagerness to help out.
Where Will The Contributed Funds Go?
Production costs, even on a short film, can be very expensive. Although I cannot offer a line item breakdown of my expenses these are the general areas.
1.) I will hire a professional editor. I will seek someone who can find the right images, edit them together and give a professional polish to the project.
I will look locally for this position. Portland is brimming with cinematic talent. I will work to find someone who can take direction but also breathe life into the story.
2.) The project requires detailed sound work. I will be looking locally for this position as well. We will record our voice over tracks in a studio with top top notch vocal performers.
3.) Although the film will be derived mostly of found footage, the ending requires one live action sequence. For this pair of shots I will hire a whole crew and an actress as well as a special effects team for the final image.
4.) The end of photography and editing is not the end of costs. Your contributions will help with DVD duplication, a website, contest entry fees as well as more artwork. I want to promote this film to the enthusiastic world of science fiction fans through film festivals.
Is There More Here?
To anyone interested, I will send a copy of the short script. Read it for yourself. Tell me where else your imaginations take the story.I've written a treatment for a feature length version of this story but welcome input.
I believe that there is more than a short film in "The New Herald." The first step in making that happen is getting the short version onto as many small screens as possible.
Thank you so much in advance for your support.
- (45 days)