IRTC Topic for April 2007: Space Settlements

General discussion about JPatch

Postby dcuny » Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:20 am

I think the term in use these days is Trekkers. :P

The link to the Borg is blocked, too.

It would be a bit sad to see the clerk lost to the Borg, so early in his cinematic career... ;)

If you wanted to be topical, you could have some aliens demanding the clerk "Take us to your leader..." Of course, the clerk would have no idea where the IRTC leader would be.

If you could give the Borg some motivation - for example, making them Renderman vs. POV-Ray or some such, it might add a bit more conflict. As it is, they sort of come out of nowhere.

Besides which, imagine if the Borg did try to assimilate Earth. They'd gunk up their technology with DRM'ed software, and have an army of patent lawyers after them in a second. They'd beat a hasty retreat!

Mostly, I think the story has the problem that it's a bit too tangential to the topic.
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Postby pndragon » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:12 pm

Perhaps the Bored Clerk can be hacking on his computer (ala War Games):

Computer: "Do you want to play a game?"

Bored Clerk reads list of old games: "Asteroids, Pong... Man these are ancient! Space Invaders, I guess." He clicks the mouse. And instantly the Borg materialize in front of his desk.

Borg: "Resistance is futile"

Bored Clerk hits the trap door and sends the Borg into the Trap.

Bored Clerk: "I'm glad I didn't pick Asteroids."

It really doesn't have much to do with the topic but I like the idea of using the Clerk again

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But we haven't done a bloody thing all day."
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Postby sascha » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:48 pm

I think the term in use these days is Trekkers.

This time I did a lookup on Wikipedia!
The link to the Borg is blocked, too

Works fine here. I took it from Googles image search, so I don't know what else might be on this server to make it appear on some blacklists :?
Besides which, imagine if the Borg did try to assimilate Earth. They'd gunk up their technology with DRM'ed software, and have an army of patent lawyers after them in a second. They'd beat a hasty retreat!

Hehe - DRM infected Borg. It's almost a pity that there was no DRM around when they shot the nextgen series, I bet they'd written a story like this (IIRC they've used computer viruses at some point).
Bored Clerk reads list of old games: "Asteroids, Pong... Man these are ancient! Space Invaders, I guess." He clicks the mouse. And instantly the Borg materialize in front of his desk.

That's a nice idea, I like it. When he selects "Space Invaders", there could be a "Loading, please wait..." screen. We cut to the space scene where the borg ship passes the moon and heads for earth. Back at the desk we see them beamed down right behind his desk.

Bored Clerk: "I'm glad I didn't pick Asteroids."

LOL.

Mostly, I think the story has the problem that it's a bit too tangential to the topic

Well, it's the Borg who want to build there "settlement". It's not quite fair, but I've seen entries with even less reference to the topic accepted without complaints. Honestly, I think that as long as there is some reference to space, it is OK. But perhaps we can develop it further to take that "settlement" into account.
If the story uses the clerk and the IRTC museum again (I like that idea too), the hardest part is already finished (modeling the clerk, the hall and all the props on the table). I have a finished human head model too, it would also be easy to transform it into a Borg.
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Postby dcuny » Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:06 am

I think the idea is sound, I just wish there was more of a payoff at the end of the story. Nothing especially clever is coming to mind, though. :?

When in doubt, you can always parody the IRTC itself:
    Borg: Nothing can stop us now...
    Looks at computer screen, becomes angry.
    Borg: What does this mean... "Low technical difficulty?" This scene didn't render itself, you know!
    Continues to read comments on screen
    Borg: "Doesn't see how it relates to topic?" We're Borg, for crying out loud! We're building a settlement on Earth!.
    Clerk: The topic was "SPACE Settlement".
    Borg: But we're FROM OUTER SPACE! That's it... Beam me off this rock!
    [i]Clerk hits the button, sending the Borg down the chute.
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Postby sascha » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:59 am

I like pndragons punchline ("I'm glad I didn't pick Asteroids").
Alternatively he could select Asteroids and we see a "Deep Impact" like scene at the end.
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Postby dcuny » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:37 pm

sascha wrote:Alternatively he could select Asteroids and we see a "Deep Impact" like scene at the end.
I like it. :D
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Postby sascha » Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:05 pm

I try to summerize the script:

Shot 1: IRTC museum, full shot of Clerk (the same shot like the beginning of "The Impostor".
Shot 2: OTS, some computer game (Mahjongg again?) runs on the display. Suddenly the screen goes black.
Shot 3: Closeup of surprised/annoyed clerk.
Shot 4: Closeup of the computer screen, the face of the Clerk is visible as a reflection. The letters "Would you like to play a game?" appear on the screen. Sound of key being pressed, a "y" appears on the screen, followed by a list of computer games all starting with "A..." (including Asteroids).
Shot 5: Medium shot of Clerk from (OTS), we see the screen and the keyboard. He presses the page-down key and we see the list scrolling down on the screen.
Shot 6: Extreme closeup on the screen (we can even see the RGB pixels). "Space Settlements" is highlighted. We here the sound of a keypress, camera pans upwards and now "Space Invaders" is highlighted.
Shot 7: Clerk, front view, saying "I haven't played one of these for years!".
Shot 8: Extreme closeup of monitor, "Space Invaders" still selected. Keyboard click, than "Loading..." and a slowly growing status bar is displayed.
Shot 9: "Meanwhile..." - outer space scene, lots of stars. A tiny ship appears and gets larger as it approaches. Camera turns to follow the ship, moon scrolls by, finally the earth appears and the ship disappears in its direction. (This is actually stolen from the internet movie project and one of the few finished shots of their "Earth invaded?" project)
Shot 10: IRTC museum hall, Borg materialize with a typical "beam" effect. They slowly walk towards the desk.
Shot 11: Clerk OTS, we see the faces of the Borg (like the Terminator shot in "The Impostor"). "You will deliver our IRTC animation award".
Shot 12: Clerk: "What the...?"
Shot 13: Bord: "You must comply. Resistance is futile!"
Shot 14: Closeup of panic button, being pressed. We hear the trapdoor open, screams, followed by a crashing sound.
Shot 15: Clerk, perhaps with his sunglasses again "I'm glad I didn't pick Asteroids!" Fade out
Shot 16: Credits roll. But we can hear the following dialog (without subtitles!):
Borg: "What do you mean... no award?"
Clerk: "The judges found that this wasn't germane to the topic."
Borg: "It's us who want to build their settlement. Here!"
Clerk: "It was space settlements."
Borg: "But we are from outer space!"
Clerk: "Well, I can't help it. It's the decision of the judges, sorry guys."
PAUSE
Borg: "Their IP addresses are stored in this ... primitive device?"
Clerk: "Erm... yes."
Borg: "Excellent!" - some high-tech sounds, finally the sound of "beaming".
Clerk: "Intriguing!"

END


What do you think?[/u]
Last edited by sascha on Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby pndragon » Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:58 pm

What do you think?
I like it.

Also, submitted for your consideration:
An alternative idea for this round - "Trading Spaces, the Interstellar Edition" where aliens remodel the Earth against our will (and vice-versa) for cash and prizes....

--- Jim
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But we haven't done a bloody thing all day."
--- Paul McCartney
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Postby dcuny » Sat Feb 24, 2007 7:34 am

I don't quite understand the bit about the IP address at the end.

For the "Would you like to play a game?", you've got to have a synthesized voice to accompany it, along with the clerk saying "Y...E...S..." as he types in the answer. ;)

I'm not sure what the rule is for using scenes that aren't rendered during the round. It raises and interesting question of pre-rendering scenes and slapping together an IRTC submission from bits and pieces.

If the Earth is being invaded, why are the Borg asking for an IRTC award? Perhaps there's a way to tie it in with the invasion? This submission gives me an idea:
    Inside the Borg vessel...
    Borg 1: "We shall demonstrate our superiority by winning Earth's highest technological award!
    Borg 2: (Rubbing hands gleefully) "Excellent!"
    In the IRTC Hall of Awards...
    Borg 1: "You will deliver our IRTC animation award."
    Borg 2: "Resistance is futile."
    Clerk: "I'm sorry, the rules clearly state the submissions must be in MPEG-1 format."
    Borg 1: "But MPEG-2 is clearly a superior format!"
    Borg 2: "It has been successfully tested a dozen viewers!"
    Clerk: (Reaching for the 'panic' button) "Dudes, I'm going to have to reject your entry."
    (Borg are dropped down the trap door).
    Clerk: (Looking at the computer monitor) "Oh, cool... Global Thermonuclear War!"
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Postby sascha » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:59 am

I don't quite understand the bit about the IP address at the end.

The Borg are half human, half machine, so they could easily connect to the Clerks computer, search for the IP Addresses of the judges, hack their ISP to get their real address and make a visit.

If the Earth is being invaded, why are the Borg asking for an IRTC award?

I don't know. It's just a sequel to the Rusty-impostor. Maybe we can use some other aliens (like those in Mars Attacks) - they wouldn't ask for an award, but say something like
"Take us to your leader, ape descendant!"
"I'm sorry but the IRTC is on hiatus, you'll have to come back in a month or two"
"AARRRGGGHHH"
-trapdoor-

The behaviour of the aliens isn't very Borg-like, so going with some other kind of aliens seems to be a good idea.

Disposing everyone in the trapdoor isn't really inventive, so I like pndragons idea ("I'm glad I didn't pick asteroids"), it adds a nice punchline.

We can still use the dialog at the end. If you don't like the IP address idea, it could be changed to something like "Ok, let's see who these judges are and make a visit." The fact that they didn't ask for an award isn't a problem - the dialog at the end is more like these shots from production where something goes wrong (you often see those during the credits, how is it called?).
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Postby dcuny » Sat Feb 24, 2007 7:36 pm

sascha wrote:
The Borg are half human, half machine, so they could easily connect to the Clerks computer, search for the IP Addresses of the judges, hack their ISP to get their real address and make a visit.
I gathered that, but the Clerk's comment at the end didn't seem to support that - wouldn't he not want the Borg to visit the judges?

I don't know. It's just a sequel to the Rusty-impostor. Maybe we can use some other aliens
(like those in Mars Attacks) - they wouldn't ask for an award, but say something like...
Heh. I like it. :)

The behaviour of the aliens isn't very Borg-like, so going with some other kind of aliens seems to be a good idea.
I agree. Although the Borg are instantly identifiable, so are "little green men" and so on.

Disposing everyone in the trapdoor isn't really inventive, so I like pndragons idea ("I'm glad I didn't pick asteroids"), it adds a nice punchline.
I agreed.

...the dialog at the end is more like these shots from production where something goes wrong (you often see those during the credits, how is it called?).
It's called a "blooper reel". Pixar made it popular for CGI films when the started including a fake one at the end of their films. It wasn't shown in the initial run of the film, so it was an added incentive for people to come back and see it again.
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Postby sascha » Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:45 pm

Heh. I like it.

Ok, I'll try to model something like this:
Image

Instead of bemaing down they could enter through the front door, say five of them. I have a shot in mind like the NASA astronauts (full shot, extreme tele lense, slow-motion, astronauts enter through a giant door and slowly walk towards the camera. I don't know where I've seen it, but I think its quite famous - but perhaps it's just from Apollo 13. It's been parodied quite often though).

Another idea is that they could be small (say 2 or 3 feet tall) - so the clerk must stand up to actually see them behind his desk. It could be a surprise - they could be filmed from a low camera angle, until they stand infront of a huge desk. Then the camera switches to a normal perspective and we see how small they are.
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Postby dcuny » Sat Feb 24, 2007 9:20 pm

We used to have these toys when I was a kid:
Image
The "Alpha 7" character pretty much nailed the "little green men" look. You've got to have antenna on a Martian!).

The Mars Attacks! design is cool, but it's got Tim Burton's signature all over it.

I like the idea of the clerk having to look over for the aliens - it gives some room to get some personality into the animation. You could have the aliens jumping up and down, or waving at him, trying to get his attention.

You could have them "zap" his computer while he's playing on it, leaving nothing but a black splotch. That would get his attention, and he'd finally peer over and see them.

You could even play with the height angle as you suggested by initially showing the aliens from a low-angle shot, coming through the massive doors. They would stomp up to the desk, and demand the attention of the clerk. He'd be oblivious, and the viewer would be wondering why he's ignoring them. One of the aliens would whip out his blaster and vaporize the computer. At that point, the puzzled clerk could lean over, and the true size of the aliens would be revealed.

You've never really established what the outside of the IRTC hall looks like. You could have a final shot pulling away from the hall, revealing that it's in some futuristic city with flying UFOs and such. That would give an option for working in an explanation as to why the IRTC admin is missing - his internet connection is temporarily destroyed.

You could even add his comment (on the final shot) that "No one on Earth will be able to find me now.". That would tie it back to the missing IRTC admin.
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Postby dcuny » Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:11 pm

I ran across this image of Matthew Looney (from the moon):
Image
It's more nostalgia than anything else, but I love the character design - especially the tennis shoes. I'm not sure how the hair would translate into 3D, though. :?
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Postby dcuny » Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:00 am

I've been kicking around an idea where people rush around from one planet to the next, in search of the "perfect" location. When they reach a new world, they bring all their problems with them (overcrowding, pollution), and then they're off to the next world. A few stragglers remain, and they discover that over time, the cities crumble, and they're back in the paradise they were searching for.

A variation on the same theme has exploratory robots being sent out to find planets capable of sustaining life. A robot is sent to a distant galaxy, and finds a planet, but is befriended by a local. Thinking of how civilization would destroy the planet (and it's not idylic life), the robot decides to report that the planet is not habitable.

Finally, a slightly different take, where a flying saucer comes down on a deserted lot, and ferocious aliens construct a dwelling, intent on eating the neighborhood residents (and their pets). A near-sighted old lady takes them in and introduces them to home cooking. The aliens decide not to eat up the people (although they can't resist occasionally snacking on irritating poodles).

All the ideas are much too ambitious to pull off in the time allotted, and I haven't even developed them into full stories. I ran across a link to John K's blog where he discusses using extremely limited animation in a commercial. He cites the show Roger Ramjet as a perfect example of this. This method would probably work well on the last story. :?
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