Monday, 14 October 2013

Minor Project: 'Incompatibility' Screenplay Version Four

'Incompatibility' Screenplay Version Four

This is the latest screenplay for my animated short and it is by far the most overhauled in terms of revisions. 
The added and altered elements are highlighted in blue, as before. Almost half of the original screenplay has been either adjusted or omitted in response to significant changes around the Male Robot character.
This revision feels as though it is getting closer and closer to being completed, but it still needs a considerable amount of refining. I wanted to get the bulk of the new ideas together in this draft, but I am yet to streamline it and remove any superfluous content.  

'Incompatibility' (Working Title) Version 04 



ESTABLISHING SHOT displaying the ELECTRONICS STORE, in desolate street of other long forgotten sources of consumer history.

CLOSE IN on a TELEVISION AERIAL mounted to the roof of the store. The camera follows the cable down the side of the building, fading through the wall to the interior of the shop, continuing to follow the cable.


Still following the cable, the camera PANS across the room, from right to left. A plethora of outdated and redundant electronic equipment from throughout the 20th Century litters the shelves, from floor to ceiling. 

The camera slows to a stop, revealing that it is connected to an old and outdated TELEVISION SET, reminiscent of classic Bakelite television sets.
The TELEVISION SET flickers on, displaying snippets of footage with audio that is sequenced as a means of forming sentences. It communicates solely through brief phrases.

The camera PULLS BACK to reveal a lonely MALE ROBOT, the last functioning model of his kind, seen viewing the TELEVISION SET. The MALE ROBOT functions through a series of CASSETTE TAPES, used for to provide him with functionality and instructions for executing preset commands. These tapes are inserted into a TAPE DECK situated in the MALE ROBOT'S chest. In his past life, the MALE ROBOT served as an autonomous multipurpose housekeeper. Each household task had a corresponding CASSETTE TAPE, with the MALE ROBOT being required to insert and play each specific one before a particular task could be fulfilled. 

When there isn't a CASSETTE TAPE in place, the MALE ROBOT is lost, without purpose or direction. He is still sentient and able to move freely, but he is void of any desires or free will. He simply exists to serve, waiting idle for commands. 

The TELEVISION SET is the MALE ROBOT'S only loyal companion, constantly making an effort to keep the lonely robot in high spirits. 
The TELEVISION SET flicks through channels, in an attempt to entertain the MALE ROBOT. The MALE ROBOT only shrugs, shakes his head and sighs with every channel change. The MALE ROBOT simply sits at the workbench, thumbing through his collection of CASSETTE TAPES, waiting hopelessly for an excuse to use one of them.

The TELEVISION SET, recognizing the MALE ROBOT'S sadness, attempts to find something more uplifting for him to watch. The TELEVISION SET flicks through Saturday morning cartoons, stand up comedy and slapstick movies from the 1940's, but nothing appears to cheer up the MALE ROBOT. The MALE ROBOT turns to leave the workbench when suddenly, their attention is drawn elsewhere. 

Note on Style: If relating to previous ideas of the electronics shop being similar in appearance to that of an 80's singles bar, I would have the MALE ROBOT sat at a workbench resembling a bar, with the TELEVISION SET fixed above the workbench on the wall. 

A metallic rattling is heard, as the camera CUTS to a disposal chute of sorts in the ceiling. A hatch swings open as an object tumbles through, landing in a pile of electronic junk with a hefty crash. As the object hits to ground, miscellaneous junk and trash is cast up, burying the MALE ROBOT. The electronic components begin to shift as the object below moves around. 

The object rises to its feet, and it is revealed that it is another robot. A FEMALE ROBOT, at that. The FEMALE ROBOT is far more MODERNIZED than the MALE ROBOT, using COMPACT DISCS for DATA STORAGE. She appears to serve a similar purpose to the MALE ROBOT, although she is a far more advanced model. 

POV of the MALE ROBOT, peering through the electronic junk above him, as he casts his eyes upon the FEMALE ROBOT, picking herself up and dusting herself off.

Stunned, having not seen another robot for goodness knows how long, let alone such a beautiful one, the MALE ROBOT hoists himself up promptly, unearthing himself from beneath yet more junk and miscellaneous electronics. He makes an attempt to play it cool, unsure whether the FEMALE ROBOT knows he is there or not. 

The TELEVISION SET switches channel, displaying Tex Avery's iconic 'Howling Wolf' animation, attracting the attention of the FEMALE ROBOT. Shocked and embarrassed, the MALE ROBOT immediately switches the TELEVISION SET off, and reverts back to playing it cool.

The FEMALE ROBOT turns in response to the whistle, seeing the MALE ROBOT stood across from her on the other side of the room. The MALE ROBOT waves, somewhat shyly, greeting the FEMALE ROBOT. Somewhat confused, the FEMALE ROBOT waves back doubtfully. 



The TELEVISION SET picks up on the unease of the situation, and encourages the MALE ROBOT to approach the FEMALE ROBOT, through means of footage of encouragement from various samples of film and television shows.

The MALE ROBOT unfamiliar with this new scenario, hesitates, thumbing through his collection of CASSETTE TAPES in search of an appropriate action. 

He cautiously settles on his 'Waiter' CASSETTE TAPE. He removes it from his collection and inserts in into his TAPE DECK. Immediately, his back straightens and his head tips upwards, as his right arm crosses his chest and his left is outstretched in front of him. A towel ejects from his right forearm, as if it were paper from a fax machine, as the palm of his left hand begins to grind and dispense black pepper.

The FEMALE ROBOT tilts her head in confusion, attempting to make sense of the MALE ROBOT'S intentions. 

Noticing the FEMALE ROBOT'S confusion, the MALE ROBOT shy's away, only to be encouraged further by the TELEVISION SET'S jostling. He decides to make another attempt, this time selecting his 'Chef' CASSETTE TAPE. This time, the MALE ROBOT'S right hand adjusts to take the shape of a spatula, whilst a grill pan slides out from his stomach area. Note: This response is not final, its currently a placeholder for something more developed.

Once again, the FEMALE ROBOT is confused, this time backing away slightly.
The MALE ROBOT, now in somewhat of a panic, begins to rifle through his collection. Swapping from one CASSETTE TAPE to the other, from role to role, in the hopes of finding a role that the FEMALE ROBOT responds positively to.

She remains confused, as the MALE ROBOT begins to give up.
The TELEVISION SET, distressed, switches to another channel, this time suggesting that the MALE ROBOT should make an attempt to talk to her.
The MALE ROBOT reverts back to his default form, and heeding the suggestion of the TELEVISION SET, takes a step towards the FEMALE ROBOT. He attempts to generate some confidence and makes an attempt to speak to her.

Instead of a coherent language, the MALE ROBOT produces a series of unintelligible noises, a grinding and whirring of mechanical components. Similar to that of a TAPE DECK.

Puzzled, the FEMALE ROBOT makes an attempt to respond, only to create a similar collection of miscellaneous noises, this time more digital than analogue. Dial tones, computer alerts and other similar sounds.

Both characters repeatedly make an attempt to communicate, the FEMALE ROBOT getting more frustrated and confused as more and more unintelligible dialogue is exchanged. The noise gets out of hand, resembling some sort of argument. When the volume becomes too much, the TELEVISION SET chimes in, attempting to settle the situation.

The two ROBOTS settle down, although their confusion remains. The TELEVISION SET starts to play something. It is an advertisement for the MALE ROBOT, highlighting his various features, specifically, his ability to use CASSETTE TAPES. This gives the MALE ROBOT an idea. He gestures towards a form of TAPE DECK inset within his chest. A final series of mechanical whirring is heard, as the MALE ROBOT writes a collection of data to a CASSETTE TAPE.

The MALE ROBOT removes the CASSETTE TAPE. With a timid disposition, the MALE ROBOT begins to approach the FEMALE ROBOT once more, gesturing the CASSETTE TAPE towards her in an encouraging manner.

Perplexed once more, the FEMALE ROBOT shrugs, gesturing towards a collection of buttons on her chest. She presses one of the buttons, as a TRAY begins to extrude outwards.

The FEMALE ROBOT removes a COMPACT DISC from the TRAY, displaying it to the MALE ROBOT.

The MALE ROBOT, stunned, begins to recognize the incompatibility between the two of them. Disheartened and disappointed, he turns to walk away, giving up on this opportunity.

As the MALE ROBOT leaves, the TELEVISION SET makes one last attempt to help his friend. He changes channel, showing an advertisement for a 'Greatest Love Songs of the 80's' compilation CASSETTE TAPE. The MALE ROBOT glances at the TELEVISION SET. The advertisement inspires him to try one more thing.

Looking through his collection of CASSETTE TAPES once more, he stumbles upon an irregular CASSETTE TAPE, one which he had never noticed, let alone used before. As if it was never in his possession at all. It is different to the others in appearance, transparent and scrawled in marker pen and faded stickers. Curious and more or less out of options, the MALE ROBOT hesitantly inserts the CASSETTE TAPE, at the suggestion of the TELEVISION SET. He rewinds the CASSETTE TAPE and cautiously presses PLAY.



Music begins to emanate from the MALE ROBOT, much to his surprise. As with the other CASSETTE TAPES, this completely transforms his personality, but instead of shifting shape to serve a purpose, he begins to dance. Disconnecting from his existing inhibitions and releasing his suppressed, hidden desires of free will. 

The MALE ROBOT proceeds to scrub throughout the CASSETTE TAPE, using the snippets of lyrics on the various songs to assemble rudimentary phrases and sentences, much like the TELEVISION SET.

The FEMALE ROBOT begins to understand the MALE ROBOT'S intentions, acknowledging his efforts to communicate and begins to warm up to him. 

The MALE ROBOT, ecstatic that he has finally established some form of a connection, begins to dance along to the music he is producing, gesturing towards the FEMALE ROBOT in an attempt to get her to join in. 

The FEMALE ROBOT, her attitude lifted, begins to move along with him.

The FEMALE ROBOT's dancing slows to a stop, as she begins to notice smoke pouring from the TAPE DECK of the MALE ROBOT.

Distracted by the situation, the MALE ROBOT is oblivious to the smoke pouring out, until the music begins to warp and slow down to a stop. 

The CASSETTE TAPE unspools, pouring from within the TAPE DECK. In a panic, the MALE ROBOT makes an attempt to repair the CASSETTE TAPE, but it is too late, the damage has been done.

The MALE ROBOT collapses to the ground, frantically rummaging through his collection of CASSETTE TAPES in an attempt to find another CASSETTE TAPE containing music, but he only finds his preset CASSETTE TAPES.

Embarrassed and completely disheartened, the MALE ROBOT promptly turns his back to the FEMALE ROBOT, facing the camera.

Out of nowhere, the hand of the FEMALE ROBOT appears upon the shoulder of the MALE ROBOT. 

The MALE ROBOT turns around to see the FEMALE ROBOT holding another COMPACT DISC.

The FEMALE ROBOT inserts the COMPACT DISC and presses PLAY. The same music from before begins to play, continuing where the MALE ROBOT had left off. 

Sensing the newly established connection between the two of them, the ROBOTS begin to dance, having finally determined a common language through music.

The TELEVISION SET, ecstatic that the two ROBOTS have finally established a connection, begins to rhythmically change channels, creating an effect similar to that of a disco.

Other relics of technology begin to join in, with lamps flashing on and off, alarm clocks chiming, hairdryers switching on and off and a wide variety of other bits and bobs, all interacting in beat with the music.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve,

    Yes - this is really beginning to cohere now isn't it? I do have a couple of further suggestions to make however. Right now, the functionality of the cassette tapes is more 'in the stage directions' of the script than available as visual info. My suggestion would be that when the TV first tries to cheer up the robot, he shows the robot a commercial of his own model - when he was popular and top of the range - the Robot's prime! This advert could include the whole functionality of the cassette tapes, as in 'The Serve-U-Bot' - He's 5 Homehelps in 1! Need a Chef? No worries, just insert your 'Cusino-Tape' into the Serve-U-Bot and....' The advert could end with some tagline that somehow sums up the Robot's void, something like 'Serve-U-Bot - He's Got No Mind of His Own' (well, not that obviously, but you know what I mean). The robot could then turn away from this advert in disgust, before opening up his tray of cassettes and we see him looking at them sadly etc - at which point the TV does the slapstick montage etc. When the Female Robot turns up, I was thinking that the TV could flick through lots of shopping channel adverts to find her infomercial; she could even be the 'Serve-U-Bot Mark 15' - "Isn't She Adorable? And so Sophisticated!"

    The sequence when he tries using his functionality to communicate with her - I think you need to think about this a bit more; it sort of feels as if there should be a trio of misfires here - 3 attempts; the waiter, the cook, the cleaner or whatever, with each attempt fucking up - perhaps covering her in cleaning fluid, scaring her as his mincing blades pop out etc. It just seems like an opportunity for the bungling to escalate comically.

    I really like the tv ariel beginning sequence btw.

    Good stuff, Steve - push onwards - just tighten up Act 1 in terms of the visual exposition and think about the 'functionality sequence' a bit more - really commit to the 'slapstick' of this, as I think we could see his doofusness here - and her growing irritation with him.