A few weeks ago, we were asked to bring to the 160MC workshop magazines and newspapers to rip off pages and pictures. The purpose of the task was to try and come up with a story based on or inspired by an image in a newspaper, or even a group of images. We were first told to pick one image and try and invent a story based on it. I chose a picture of a man in profile and enface, who is wearing a suit and is smiling confidently. I soon found two more pictures – another picture with two younger guys looking almost alike, and two pictures of attractive women. So I invented the story that the two guys are brothers and we see them when they were young and then – older, and the two women being their girlfriends. I found a picture of a house which fitted into the image of successful men, so I said this is the house the men lived in through most of their lives. I also found a picture of a witch so I decided it’s the witch that has been living in the house as well – or at least that’s what the legend says. Soon I was combining even more pictures, and they fitted into the story quite well.
The next task was to pair up with someone from the group and base a new story on both my and their chosen pictures. I paired up with Kartik Ralhan, and we ended up with quite a story – actually two stories; You can read his version here, and here’s my version:
A big organisation is experimenting with cloning people. This is not a government or scientific body – it is a for-profit corporation. So they have successfully cloned animals, and have now started working on humans as well. Their main project involves cloning men from a source man – a very successful car driver. The boys that come out from the first experiment are wearing costumes covering all their bodies including the head and face, because they are still at an unstable state, and since the experiment wasn’t perfect, the scientists still struggle with the chemicals needed for their proper skin reactions. So in order to protect them from daylight, they need to always wear these costumes. There is a lot of potential to them, and the project itself is called Super Human 2.0. At the same time, another project is taking place within the corporation – Super Model 2.0 – they try to come up with and then start cloning the perfect women. It, of course, comes in two versions – a brunette and a blonde one.
The Super Human 2.0 project is expected to have success in markets such as government projects, military operations and organs trading. Some governments and international organisations have already showed interest in the project. Because, this would lead to having disposable humans, which they would be able to use for virtually anything. At the same time, the Super Model 2.0 project is a more commercial one, gaining a lot of public attention already, and this project is hoping to reach a wider market.
The person behind the corporation is of course not publicly known. The face of the company is its CEO, who appears in public and talks to prospective clients. He keeps a very close eye on how the two projects are progressing and makes sure everything goes as planned. He literally lives at the headquarters of the company – an old house where the two main laboratories are located – so he can follow the process closely.
The male clones group has a supervisor, who apart from training the clones in car driving and motorbike riding, cares for them and is like a father to them. He is sometimes allowed to take them outside, and at one of these occasions, he is with them in the farm next to the headquarters. He suddenly realises they have found their way to the horse stables. Some of them escape on horsebacks; others take an experimental new car from the vehicle lab and escape with it.
The CEO is pissed from their escape. He tries to find a way to get them back as soon as possible. One, he can’t afford to lose the results of such an expensive experiment. What is more, if they are not in a controlled environment, God knows how they might behave. And since they haven’t been living in society, they would look quite suspicious and the public would be distressed if they walk around freely. And if they find out the whole story, the company would lose its reputation.
So the CEO hires a detective to look for them, and allocates their supervisor to help the detective – because he knows them best. There is another detective involved – the state police has traced a suspicious group of horses and a futuristic car and is trying to investigate the case as well. On top of it all, there is a female journalist from the local newspaper that is also trying to find what’s going on and to write a story about the corporation’s dangerous business projects. She has worked on a similar story before – when the company had problems with animal experiments and cloning – so she has been following the company’s moves since then. At that time, huge groups of people had organised and protested against the cloning experiments, and their leader is one of the journalist’s main sources of information. He is also the person the company is most afraid of, so the CEO is trying to silence him in every possible way he can think of…
To be honest, I was surprised from what we came up with for such a short period. I think the story’s quite good, and the photos we found led us to ideas to further enrich it. It tells a lot about the human imagination, but also that thanks to media, we have started thinking in a certain way that is almost embedded in our brains. Although the story looks original, there are lots of elements to it which are clichés, and fit within what you might expect from such a film. Even though it is still a rough idea, when reading it you can imagine what the film would look like, how the story would progress etc. It uses a lot of the genre conventions (sci-fi), plus a narrative that is quite common. There are the typical characters and relationships between them, which are interesting though predictable.