Here’s some more concept work done by the fabulous Chad Bierdeman.
Just a couple light studies of the lighthouse and its environment.
This week we’ll do Lighthouse for a theme. Basically, this is a chance to research and design a lighthouse. Try to keep in mind not only the lighthouse design but how it interacts with the terrain it’s in, how old it is, whether it’s been kept up or not, etc. Look at Joel’s last drawer geeklies for a good example. Basically, just try and imagine a story behind it and then put some thought into what it would look like as a result.
This is where I grew up. (Current day: Lighthouse in forest, with a man standing there looking at it. Flashback to shots of him as a child living there by the sea)
As child my father and I would stay up all night during the winter storms to protect the ships from the rocks. Even though it has been years, I can remember it like it was yesterday. (scenes of father and son working in the pounding rain or winter blizzards trying to keep the lighthouse lit).
This is where I grew up. (Current day: Lighthouse again, and as the camera moves around it we notice a chunk missing from the railing at the top.)
It’s funny how sometimes the things in your life that you thought you’d have forever can be the first things to change. (Shot of the father on a ladder working on lighthouse, trying to fix the railing. Mother is on the ground washing laundry while the is playing nearby. Suddenly something breaks where the father is working and a huge chunk of the railing falls hurtling to the ground. The camera zooms in from above on the mother as she looks up in surprise before the camera “hits” her and the screen goes black).
My father hated that lighthouse by the sea. (Boy and father at a small funeral for the mother. Shots of the father neglecting stacks of papers, drinking, looking disheveled. We see the lighthouse sitting dark at night when it should be on, and hear the sound of a nearby ship’s foghorn. Shot of someone coming to their door one day, giving them a notice that says the inlet is going to be closed because the father has stopped taking care of the lighthouse. Through all this the boy is silently watching in the background, looking both scared and unsure what to do; he has lost all joy in his life as he watches his father’s life spiral downwards.
I always wondered if one day I would miss smelling the salty air, miss hearing the pounding surf against the rocks. I knew my father would not. (We see the boy and his father packing thier stuff and moving away from the lighthouse to a new home, as small trees and shrubs have begun to spring up in the newly created valley.
I never asked for things to change. But time did not listen. And time always has its way. (Current day: Shot of the man and lighthouse, him standing there looking at it, while it just sits there, seemingly staring back. Taunting? Beckoning? Apologetic? We see his face as he looks up at it, a mixture of sorrow and tiredness in his expression. Suddenly a boy’s laugh is heard, and we see a young woman and small boy come up behind him. The boy runs up and hugs his leg. The man looks down at the boy, picks him up and hugs him. We see the man’s face and the tears in his eyes, as he looks at the lighthouse one last time).
This is where I grew up. (Man, his wife, and their boy all walk away from the old lighthouse as the camera slowly pulls out. Fade to black.)
We’ll meet any time you can be on starting at 8 ET / 5 PST. Bring any story ideas, however small or short they may be (“what if we did a film about mean homeschoolers?”), and we’ll work on developing them together. Joel will be providing the popcorn.
Opening, present day:
- Figure arrives on bike at an old but well kept lighthouse. You don’t see their face. They look up at the tall lighthouse.
- Same lighthouse, on a stormy night. Man standing in doorway of lighthouse, looking in at his wife who’s holding their young son. He looks torn, scared, but determined to leave in search of a new life, a new adventure other than the life he has always had of taking care of the lighthouse. Her face pleads with him to stay, but at last he turns and walks out. A Sound of boat, bell, as it departs into the night.
- Figure is seen from a long distance off, setting their bike against a stone wall and walking up to the door of the lighthouse. Shot from inside as the figure opens the door, and you just see the sillhouette of their jacket and hat.
- Same doorway. A young boy plays happily with a toy boat. His mother sits nearby, watching. More scenes of them growing older together, enjoying life, slowly moving on with life after the father’s departure.
- Figure walks through the dark lighthouse, and mounts the winding stairs to the top, shafts of sunlight breaking through holes in the wall and small windows.
- Scenes of teenage boy and mother, still happy together, but the boy starts to look restless. He holds his father’s picture, wanting to leave home for his own adventure in life. Shot of him sitting on the rocks, looking out into the sea (like Pete’s Night Time drawer geeklies). His mother doesn’t want him to go. She doesn’t want to lose her son in the same way as her husband. But as she stands in the doorway looking at him, she realizes that he can’t stay at the lighthouse forever. If she doesn’t let him go and live his own life she can’t truly love him. Shot of the boy, sailing away on a ship, waving to his mother. She stands atop the lighthouse, tears running down her face but finally at peace about letting her son go.
- The mysterious figure reaches the top of the stairs, and opens the door to the highest room in the lighthouse. Back of their head as they walk in quietly, looking at an old chair facing the open window and the sea beyond. A tired, older woman is sitting in a chair, looking out the window while clutching a letter to her chest, and as the figure moves a little closer we realize she’s crying softly. The figure makes a small noise, and the woman looks up suddenly. We can see her red face and the tears in her tired eyes as she looks up, at first with surprise but soon changing to disbelief and then relief. We finally see a frontal shot of the figure as he takes his hat off, holding it to his chest and raising his bowed head. It’s the woman’s husband, finally returned from his quest for adventure.. The two look at each other for what seems an eternity. At last the woman throws down her letter onto the table beside her and runs to her husband, embracing him. We finally see the contents of the letter, an official looking document addressed to the woman. Something along the lines of:
“Mrs. Smith; It is with our deepest condolonces that we must inform you about the death of your son, lost at sea in a violent storm.”
The camera moves slowly away from the letter, and we suddenly see dozens and dozens more sitting by the woman’s chair. The camera pulls out the window as a gust of wind picks up several of the letters and sends them swirling in the air, the man and woman still embracing in the background. One letter lands on the railing outside the lighthouse, and balances pricariously for a few seconds, long enough for us to read what’s inside it, before being picked up by a gust and flying out into the open sea air.
I’m sorry it has been more than a month since my last letter. Time seems to pass by so quickly at sea.
Today was a fine day.”