An excerpt

Here's the first scene and credit sequence for "Survival Record." The rough draft is about 30% done at this point.



1. FADE IN on the rusting hulk of a bulldozer, sitting under harsh light. Sparse, dry grass surrounds the machine in a ring. The shot continues for fifteen seconds.

2. (continued shot from 1) A MAN, half-dressed in fatigues and half-dressed in normal clothes, enters the frame from the camera side, carrying a small briefcase-sized box. He walks cautiously towards the bulldozer. The beeping from the box accelerates. He removes a stake and flag from a marking kit hanging from his chest, then places the stake in the ground and attaches the flag. He walks around the bulldozer, making sure to skirt around it without getting too close. As he crosses to the far side, we see the flag, which says "ATOM" in black lettering. He walks into the distance.



CLOSE UP: a hand marking a red vertical slash on paper.

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE: an enormous, malignant mushroom cloud blossoms.


CLOSE UP: a second slash, next to the first.

MEDIUM SHOT: the shadows of three people are permanently burned into a white wall.

CLOSE UP: a group of five slashes. A sixth is added.

POV SHOT: intensely shaking, the camera is moving forward through a half-completed housing project and into the forest.

CLOSE UP: eight slashes.

CLOSE UP: woman is crouched in a dried ditch, hands over her neck. The camera pulls back, revealing empty land into the far distance.


On the technical front, the Canon 518 arrived yesterday. It's in excellent condition and has a great look with the teleconverter. This will probably be the camera used in the film itself. For shooting most of the project, I've made another purchase - a Nizo S48. A somewhat pricey camera, but it has a tack-sharp Schneider-Kreuznach lens as well as multiple frame rates (up to 54 fps) and a manual exposure control. This will be good for ensuring that the aperture doesn't close on some shots directly into the sun. It will probably be the main shooting camera, with the Bolex as backup. The Canon will be used for first person (due to its light weight and compact form) or risky shots that could involve some damage to the camera.

Within the next two weeks I intend to write out a production schedule with the approximate shooting dates, locations, props required, film to be ordered, and number of setups. This is the longest project I've done by about 5 minutes, but more important than the actual running length is the amount of detail involved in the production itself. This is significantly more intensive in that respect than my earlier work. I hope that it will proceed smoothly without any major crises or delays, but you can't always predict everything. That's what contingency plans are for.

Next time I'll probably write about some locations I'm considering, as well as stylistic influences for the project.

As usual, let me know if you have any comments or suggestions about the script or production.


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