I've just finished the script and my rewatch of the pilot. It was interesting seeing what was altered. The "swing scene" in particular was probably the biggest change from script to screen. The shot of Aeon blazing her way through large groups of Breen soldiers above her on either side is one of my favourite visuals from the pilot so it's difficult to imagine the pilot without that small moment. But it does lack the extreme swing situation she finds herself in, in the script. Was that intended as an additional layer of parody; mocking fiction where the "heroes" find themselves in very unlikely situations while on a mission?
― Dwayne, Wednesday, 1 November 2017 18:44 (five years ago) link
Both the swing scene, which was cut mainly for length, and the large room with two doors with soldiers entering and falling in a pile, are scenes from my dreams. The swing is a dream I used to have as a child, recurring during moments of fever and once under the influence of ether. Ether was used as an anesthetic by my dentist while I was living in Kenya as a child in the 60s. Incredible now to think that they were giving a powerful hallucinogen to young children.
― Peter Chung, Saturday, 4 November 2017 04:40 (five years ago) link
Thank you for continuing to post these Peter, I've read them all and would read more if you post.
Are there any unmade Aeon scripts that you're able to release?
― J.P. McDevitt, Monday, 13 November 2017 07:10 (five years ago) link
And thank you for reading. I ask my students to read an episode script before I show them the episode, but they generally don't. Artists who work in animation are often the type who don't like to read.
I'm posting these partly in response to the discussion here about the importance of text to my process.As you can see, my scripts are very specific and will include descriptions of the visual treatment of individual scenes. I write them this way to keep me focused on the original intent of each moment. That can get lost during the visualization, which brings up its own set of questions, which can become distractions.
I will try to find the scripts of the second season LTV shorts. I am curious myself to read them again.
― Peter Chung, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 21:20 (five years ago) link
I am holding onto all the unmade Aeon material for now. There is still the chance that some day they will get made, so I'd rather they be seen as intended, not read.
― Peter Chung, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 21:30 (five years ago) link
Do you see this as one complete 12 hour movie, or is it more appropriate to view it in episodes?
― J.P. McDevitt, Saturday, 25 November 2017 06:08 (five years ago) link
(But feel free to bring us six 2-hour episodes in the future!)
I planned it with the understanding that the segments would be seen in 2 minute increments. When the 6th episode was finished, the producers of Liquid TV decided to air the final installment in a 12 minute block. The format requirement was a very valuable limitation and the experience taught me a lot. First was the need to grab the audience's attention right away. Also, I needed to make sure the episodes could stand up to repeated viewings. Liquid TV was an anthology show, which meant that it would be inevitable that viewers would compare and rate the different segments. Their interest would rise and fall depending on how much they liked what they were seeing at every moment. I though a lot about how to hold their interest, which is (as I teach my students) the first skill a director needs to master. It doesn't matter how meaningful your film is in the end if the viewer can't be bothered to watch until the end. Aeon steps on a nail in episode 4. Two weeks later, in episode 6, she feels its effect. Is it a contrived method for keeping you in suspense? Sure, but it works, and to be honest, everything in an animated film is a contrivance. Just do it in a way to make it seem natural.
― Peter Chung, Saturday, 25 November 2017 21:18 (five years ago) link
Some notes on viewing last night, my first in perhaps over 15+ years and likely my first of the "director's cut" if you made any changes to this for the DVD. (Haven't listened to the commentary yet.)
- Really nice DVD set first of all, glad I delayed the gratification of owning it for 11 years. I rented it at the time just for the commentaries.
- Moves much faster than I had in my memory and what I imagined from the screenplay. Especially struck with how little time was spent lingering on any particular shot (specifically the hallucination shots and the foot licking come to mind). Was this completely conscious and desired, or was it partly a time constraint?
- Definitely calls for repeat viewings, for multiple reasons. 1) The plot itself, and the gaps that need to be filled in by the viewer. "Were we witnessing third-hand a long-planned internal government takeover (making Aeon's mission irrelevant)?" 2) Simply taking in dense visual detail that goes by so quickly. 3) "Let's figure out what the bug in the finger and the crackers is all about, and whether it 'means' anything."
- The dying [couple?] had legitimate emotional weight, and that isn't something I ever got from this when I watched as a teenager or read the screenplay.
- While I understood from the screenplay that the purple stuff in the briefcase was the antidote, I don't think I would have put that together otherwise on just one viewing.
When I talk about wanting to fill in the plot or examine visual detail, is that part of what you feel good about for encouraging multiple viewings, or would repeated viewings ideally (for you) be more about "meaning" or something else?
Do you think that pausing or skipping around is okay, or do you feel the work should be viewed as a linear motion picture the way you constructed it every time?
― J.P. McDevitt, Sunday, 26 November 2017 05:39 (five years ago) link
Watching "War" as the first episode of the new season (which it wasn't according to Wikipedia's airing order, but is listed first on the DVD) was nice because it made it feel like a purposeful subversion of season 1, in addition to action movies and most stories in general. Aeon is once again mowing down thousands, and is put into a tight spot that of course she'll escape. But nope - she's done, much earlier in the narrative than we thought was possible. I wonder if it was initially intended as S2E1 and/or if the DVD ordering was intentional?
― J.P. McDevitt, Sunday, 26 November 2017 11:08 (five years ago) link
In scriptwriting there's a rule of thumb that X pages of text translates to Y minutes of screen time. Does that hold true for something like AF? The script doesn't seem to have many directions in terms of timing -- is that decided on during the storyboard process?
― Philip Nunez, Sunday, 26 November 2017 16:53 (five years ago) link
"War" killing off Aeon right away btw reminds me of Lynch's smashed television at the beginning of Fire Walk With Me.
― J.P. McDevitt, Sunday, 26 November 2017 23:14 (five years ago) link
Something that I found interesting about the pilot is that Aeon isn't a total free agent. Instead she's working as part of a paramilitary organization, which has handlers that push the button on their fallen operatives (and their bedrooms, apparently) to cover their tracks.
If the first two parts of the pilot are about how TV depicts violence, it seems to me that the later parts have a lot to say about sex. Towards the end, we see this boy who looks about 13-14 buying the magazine with Aeon on the cover, from what looks like a whole row of niche fetish magazines (Foozwak = food play?). I always thought that was... pretty f'ing weird. And though the scene communicates plot-related information (Aeon is into feet, Trevor's successful enough to get his face on the money), I've wondered if there isn't more going on here.
If the pilot had to be done "fetishy" because you couldn't show someone going down on Aeon in a TV show, that's in itself an interesting comment on what is and isn't allowed on TV. In Saturday morning cartoons, foot tickling is often used as a metaphor for sex; and while I'm not personally aroused by feet, I've heard of people acquiring a foot fetish from the cartoons they watched as a kid (so much for not corrupting youth). If we think of fetishes as a sublimation of sexuality, then Mr. Blue Vein supplicating himself before Aeon makes a certain kind of sense. And if Aeon is using fetish shoots to fund her espionage, this seems like a handy metaphor for slipping "objectionable" material into the mainstream media. I'm not saying the pilot is definitively about TV Standards & Practices, but that's what jumps out at me.
― Blair Gilbreath, Friday, 22 February 2019 20:53 (four years ago) link
That, and the blue guy as a Trevor-substitute.
― Blair Gilbreath, Friday, 22 February 2019 21:43 (four years ago) link