The film takes place in 1998 in “Any-town” Middle-America. The story opens on our main character, Alan, who has just lost his only daughter. Alan is grieving after her memorial service and we begin to notice that Alan is and always has been an “inside kid.” Glasses, allergies, fumbling lack of coordination and Alan’s timidness have held him back from sharing some of his daughter’s travels.
After the memorial, we see Alan in his day job as an Art Director at a small advertising agency. Alan’s friend, Lawrence, works as his partner and writer at work. Alan and Lawrence are two complementary peas-in-a-pod. Lawrence is a little more plucky and upbeat, while Alan is dry and sharp.
After Alan returns home from work one day, he discovers a package at his doorstep. The package was sent to him by his daughter before she passes. The package contains a pair of hiking boots, several small items as supplies and a few trinkets. Alan denies the call to explore and leaves the package, the boots and the call to explore aside.
Alan tells Lawrence about the package at work and is met with Lawrence’s skepticisms. Most of Lawrence’s protests are about the kind of men they are. They are not great travelers. They fit in a mold of “inside-kids” and “kool-aid-men.” Lawrence is also quick to remind Alan of his allergies and other personal hindrances. Alan expresses interest in completing the trip but Lawrence is skeptical.
Alan returns home to his normalcy, routine, and safety. Before bed that night, Alan reads the card included with his boots. The card had gone unnoticed when he opened the package. The note is his last in a series of postcards from his daughter. Her words inspire him and he makes a change. Alan is ready to take on the journey. He retires to bed and cannot sleep through the night.
The next morning, Alan phones Lawrence to tell him he won’t make their Saturday morning ritual of bowling. Lawrence, still a skeptic, does not believe him but Alan is off for his adventure.
As the story is closing, we see Alan stop at a convenience store and purchase a postcard. We see Alan inscribe it and take his first step into the unknown, complete with items from his daughter’s care package. (Pink earmuffs, nose plugs for allergies, bear whistle, and boots)The film closes as we see Alan take his first step into the wilderness.
MOVEMENT: The camera is an extension of Alan in this film. The viewer will see the world as Alan sees the world. Controlled. Sharp. Intentional. Organized. Cautious. When the film evolves near the turn the camera will also evolve. The only relaxed and loose movement will be once Alan has decided to take his journey. Within this movement, there is still control and organization. If the camera moves, it is intentional and planned. Moves are on a dolly or paned on a tripod. VERY minimal use of handheld camera and almost nothing shaky. In the event we see the characters moving through space it would be ideal to be locked off or following the character, locking them into their location on the frame.
LENSING/FRAMING: Most of the film can be divided into two frames. (1) Observing Alan interact with his environment (2) Dialogue between Lawrence and Alan.
When we observe Alan, the camera should feel present with Alan. Wide angles include Alan and his environment. The camera will only minimally move to accommodate Alan’s movement in frame. A good reference for this type of movement can be found here below (Fincher) Especially the bit about behavior/time. Our story has far less drama but the control and meticulousness of the blocking is intentional and controlled. The framing allows the performance to dictate the emotion and make the viewer feel part of the story.
During dialogue, the camera and view exist between the two characters. The film will include almost no over-the-shoulder. Again, the lensing should be wide to include the character in their environment. Any two shots can be blocked with the quirk and emotion of each character. See the Tennebaum’s reference in the following slides and the Coen Brother's shot reverse shot below.
Color for this film should feel very natural. The overall tone of the movie and be split into two sections. Alan's life before he decided to go on his adventure and after. A bit of The Wizard of Oz but not as drastic. The primary pallet for the first section will feel drab. The second section will be vibrant and mimic the outdoor colors Alan seeks to find on his adventure. below are some pallets to stick to for all wardrobe, set dressing and color correction.
The Color grade should be very subtle and naturalistic. A very slight silvery grey to the blacks would be nice to give it a cinematic touch. The viewer should be wholly unaware of the grade. A naturalistic feel is ideal with some small touches (teal/orange where applicable)
The office/break room should feel drab and fluorescent.. The home should feel warm but monotone. The car will start to introduce some vibrancy. When Alan begins to explore we will have saturated and vivid color.
There are five primary settings for the film. Each of the locations has several sets included as a subset of that location. In addition to these locations, we will also be shooting inside of Alan's vehicle. The vehicle we are aiming for is a 90s Jeep Cherokee.
- Office Building
- Alan's Office
- Residential House
- Living Room
- Gas Station
- Checkout Counter
- Outdoor Hiking Trail
Below are some inspiration photographs for the locations we are currently trying to locate. The office building has already been booked in the 18th & vine District.
Below are references for wardrobe set-dressing and overall styling for the film