Project: Warday Property of Perennial Media Entertainment 2007


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Project: Warday

Property of Perennial Media Entertainment 2007
These notes now exist in a reverse-date order where the most recent information is on top. Please be sure to find the last notes you read and continue forward so that you may better understand the later notes.
Possible Events to Occur Within the Overall Story Structure
September 11, 2007

Chris Lyon is present
With the research that has been done over the last week, we have run into several problems which are described in the notes from September 10, 2007 as well as the following notes.
First and foremost, we have started out on a more defined story path. The idea right now is to have a group of people in search of rescue after a nuclear event. Now, this sounds pretty rudimentary and basic- but that's because it is.

We have more elements that make it more original than other survival stories in a post-apocalyptic (herein “PA”) environment. Some of the ideas include encounters with elements of nature, likely events like a Rainout (nuclear fallout brought to the ground via precipitation). This is a particularly dangerous scenario because unlike normal fallout, Rainout can be absorbed more easily by the skin, buries deeper into the ground and (depending on water table depth and other bodies of water) can compromise the availability of drinkable water.

More situations follow. These situations are my own and don't reflect events that have been decided upon for addition into the story. They are simply ideas to get the gears turning.

The Empty Way Station

A possible scenario for the trip back home at the beginning. After returning from his camping trip (or wherever) he could stop at a service station, drive up and attempt to pay with cash. He goes inside and everything is gone. The food, the drink. The place looks ransacked. Shelves are knocked over, doors are open. He figures that the place has been shut down because the lights are off- but he finds it strange that the door was unlocked and that the air inside is still cool as compared to the outside temperature.

Another possibility is that if we do look into this way station scene, that he could find a murdered man dead behind the counter where no one would usually look.

Of course, when there's disaster, there's looting. The question is- when and where. Would it be at his hometown? If the place has been evacuated, who else would be there? Would our main character loot for food to start out on his journey?

Deciding What To Take

When our hero returns to his home, what does he take? Would he take anything?

The Car

Our hero drives a Jeep (because it's cool looking, okay?). A very viable ATV. Why would he leave such an asset behind? Gas stations would be closed down due to electricity- but, more than likely, people who evacuated may have tried to bottle gas for generators by taking the lids off of the gas station tanks and siphoned the gas out by hand. Would there be any left for him? If he didn't take the car, then he would have to decide what not to take right at the beginning- generalizing everything as invaluable. If he could take some things in his car, I'm sure he would have difficulty choosing what to take only later to be forced to leave even his most cherished possessions in the middle of nowhere where anyone can take them.

Commonly refers to the radioactive dust created when a nuclear weapon explodes. This radioactive dust, consisting of hot particles, is a kind of radioactive contamination. It can lead to contamination of the food chain. Fallout can also refer to the dust or debris that results from the nuclear explosion.

Rainout -

In the event of precipitation after a nuclear event, the rain will bring the radioactive dust particles from the air to the ground. In may cases, the fallout will penetrate deeper into the ground than it would have by means of "dry" fallout.

It's plausible, that if the military was responsible for the evacuation of the town, that they would have left the fliers. This would be the first time we would see the fliers. Maybe they are just informational and no rendezvous point has been determined. This way, when we introduce the fliers later, we will be familiar with who they are from.

Depending on the extent of the attack. For weeks and months later, the sun could become blotted out making the world very blue and dark and flat even during the day- devoid of harsh shadows and bright light. The increased darkness could be a scary element to explore. Only during the very morning and very evening would true sunlight reach the ground. This darkness would also complicate growing crops- not to mention a longer period for Fallout to fall in either dry or precipitation form.

Enemy Fliers

If America is being invaded, there is a possibility of the fliers being dropped later in the movie to tell people to meet at a place. This place would be a bad place to be- captured. The enemy fliers would be similar to the friendly fliers seen earlier in the movie and only after remembering that an original flier existed does the hero make the connection that they aren't from the same people.

Natural Barriers

Impassible terrain (natural or nuclear)

Other People

Parent with child/children

Ex-con (overdone)

A girl for main character's interest

Brother and sibling/Sister and sibling


Different races- black, chinese, vietnamese, korean (conflict there?), middle eastern...

- Annoying Black Dude (overdone)

- Clam cool and collected black dude

- Asians who are helpful

- Asians who aren't helpful and seclude themselves from group discussion (overdone)

Overweight people who can't keep up because they are out of shape

Elderly people who can't keep up

Food, water and even the air is contaminated around ground zero. The larger number of bombs, the more likely that this will affect these sources of nourishment.

Acute Radiation Sickness (ARS) -

Symptoms in order of appearance:

Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Weight loss, Loss of appetite, Weakness, Red itchy skin, Sore mouth, Sore throat, Hair

loss, Recurrent infections, Bleeding, Anemia

'Cures' for ARS -

While there are no 'cures' per se, there are ways to reduce the symptoms and thyroid damage. Potassium iodide (KI) has a painfully bad taste and must be administered by ingestion at no less than 130mg every 24 hours to achieve this reduction in damage and symptoms. Apparently, the taste is so painful that many people will not take it at the most crucial time (at the beginning of exposure) even if offered because they don't see the symptoms. Some have described the taking of KI as as excruciating as the symptoms itself.

Coated, tasteless pills are available, but carrying them would be more heavy than a canister of the pure solution that one could add to food or water in a diluted fashion.

Curing of Cancer

A character has cancer and the radiation cures (or begins to) this person's cancer. This is completely plausible with the right amount of radioactive exposure. Quote: Ionizing radiation interferes with cell division. This interference allows for treatment of cancer cells; such cells are among the fastest-dividing in the body, and may be destroyed by a radiation dose that adjacent normal cells are likely to survive.

United States Response

According to the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) doctrine accepted by most who enter the world of owning nuclear arms, any state that initiates a nuclear attack against another state should expect retaliation of equal or greater force. The fact of the matter is that if the US knows who did it, they would retaliate. This, in turn, would cause a second wave from the initiating state if the provisions still existed to do so. Nuclear war is a messy business. It isn't chess. It's an eye for an eye deal- the most primitive and stupid form of warfare. But, then again, that's what we are portraying isn't it?

Concerning Reality vs. Common Knowledge
September 10, 2007

Chris Lyon, Keith Shively and Luke Lee are present

The post-apocalyptic film we are working on has hit a snag or a wall for that matter. The problem I think we are dealing with at this point is believability. People have seen images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and use those images to form their view of the destruction a nuclear weapon can cause.

Unfortunately, that image is grossly smaller than the tiniest of nukes today. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were hit with 13Kt and 25Kt weapons respectively with a plume reaching 14 miles high while the smallest of today's nuclear warheads are somewhere between 2 and 5 hundred Kt. Russia has created (and therefore it's likely the US has too) a 100Mt bomb. During the cold war, Russia tested the Tsar Bomba (King of Bombs) at 57 Megatons (reduced from 100MT for the test) and it's plume reached 40 miles into the sky and 18 miles in diameter. The shock wave could be measured even after circling the globe three times, be seen 620 miles away, incinerated everything within a 3 mile range, and the heat wave could have caused third degree burns to anyone within 100 miles.

So the problem is... with people having only seen Hiroshima and Nagasaki damage to a civilization and the other nuclear events being tests with no land around for perspective on the size of the bomb- how do we make a realistic film about the explosive force available in the world today and still have people believe that it's possible. Because the smallest nukes toay, as I said, are 10 to 20 times the destructive power of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And I'm not talking about showing them on screen, per se, but the extent of the damage would be enormous in comparison. Instead of 70,000 people dead in Hiroshima, it would be near a million for a slightly larger than average bomb. Not to mention that the nuclear powers of the world during the cold war never intended to send just one bomb to a location. They always talked in tens to ensure that duds would not impede the constant bombardment.

Now, with all that said, several papers came out in the 90s with information on the practicality of a 1Gt bomb. This has the explosive power of 1000 Mts, or 1,000,000 Kts (again, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were 13-25Kt bombs). Based on weight, the delivery method would likely be a ship because a plane couldn't carry the weight seeing as how the Tsar Bomba (57Mt) was barely able to be carried by the strongest soviet bomber with everything stripped out of it.

So maybe we don't go Gt bomb since there would likely be no way to get it here. It would be exploded in the ocean to rain Fallout across the US from the pacific most likely. So, depending on the situation, the likelihood of a Gt bomb usage would be next to 0, but there would still be easy access to 10-20 MT bombs with enough foresight.

That brings me again to the question... are we ending human civilization? Even if it's not shown in the film (due to time) is that what we are going for? No nuclear film that I can think of has utterly destroyed humanity. Everyone wants hope, but what is hope when there is none to be had?

If a strike of a few dozen 10-20 mt bombs supplemented with 50-100 200kt-500kt bombs, it would destroy North America for years and years and eventually spread to western Europe and beyond. It doesn't take all out nuclear war to end the world. There are thousands of nukes in the world. And if someone just started the fight, the worse it would get on an exponential scale.

Which brings yet another question. Is it one attack? An attack with American retaliation? An attack with retaliation and a second wave? How bad is this thing?

How close were we really to destruction in the cold war? Very close. Very close indeed. And it's now our job to make people realize that it will never end as long as nukes exist. People are excited about the destruction of nukes in the US and Russia, but with 15,000 known nukes in the world today, this really means nothing. 200-500 bombs could easily end it all.

Latest Logline
September 6, 2007

Chris Lyon and Keith Shively are present


A character finds himself a survivor of an apocalyptic event. An aircraft drops fliers with a map to safety and the character then sets out to find the rendezvous point. Along the way he bands with other survivors, and the further they venture the more they struggle to keep their sanity.

More specific ideas:
- Main character was suicidal before the story begins. We see him back at home after coming back from rehab. Things are tense between him and his family to whom he has brought shame. His best friend takes him camping to escape the heat at home. After finding that they have lost their family and loved ones, the best friend loses his will to live while the main character finds motivation to live in order to set things right with his family. The main character now finds himself with the task keeping his friend becoming suicidal himself.
- Once band of characters reach the rendezvous point, they discover that the caravan has already left (or never made it) and that they are stranded with no hope for rescue.
- Eventually the best friend commits suicide only hours before rescue. Main character has delusions of his friend still being alive.

Ideas From Hunter Carter
September 5, 2007

In an email from Hunter Carter to Chris Lyon
I'm still trying to piece together all my ideas but the main one I should run by you is that the nuclear event happens halfway through the movie -- here's the twist -- the main character is the terrorist who set the whole nuclear event in motion. He was a Jihadist idealist who thought he was doing the right thing... he gets what he wanted, essentially, and has to live with it. That is, until he meets the only other surviving person on the planet -- a fundamentalist Christian.

So a large portion of the movie is him living in the world without humans. He reevaluates his old values as a result. The first act of the movie would be all the "intrigue" leading up to the event, which happens in an overnight blitz as you originally described. This would allow us to inject some suspense into the idea. As it was originally proposed, it sort of lacked "oomph." Yeah, it started us in media res, but I think it cut to the chase a little toooo much, in that we didn't get to see the circumstances by which the event came to occur. This way we can add some suspense, and really FEEL the difference when the world suddenly is empty and destroyed.

I just want to put it out there that I think we should make it interesting first and philosophical second. That means, to me anyway, plotting it like a spy/action/thrill movie that suddenly takes a turn halfway through.
You should read this book called 'The World Without Us." It talks about how delicately we hang in the balance of our institutions. A nuclear winter would finish off our survivors, but only a few major cities need to be hit before our infrastructure would fall apart and we would starve to death/die of starvation/other similar reasons within one year. And so this guy who caused it could've been in some desert country like Iraq such that he would've been nearly isolated for the 1 to 2 years it took for the majority of the world's people to die.
I don't mean literally all but two people die, just that the population drastically shrinks in a quick amount of time and because people are forced to work together to survive, and because they've had a lot of time to reflect on things when they were alone, their religious differences don't mean much anymore.
Script Piece and Useful Links
August 24, 2007

Chris Lyon is present
While writing the script that is attached, I jumped from the beginning to the climax. I couldn't write the beginning because I didn't know what I wanted for the climax and therefore, could not think about where the story should go. So I started to write the climax as I saw it as I wrote it. This is by no means set in stone and it really doesn't have to be like this at all.

Take a read on both this document and the few pages of script.

Some of the best information about the cold war era and facts about nuclear weapons can be located on Wikipedia. Here are some links to check out:

Project Manhattan
Nuclear Warfare
Effects of Nuclear Warfare: A picture of nuclear warfare as it would effect Austin, TX:
Information about the novel Alas, Babylon
Effects of Nuclear War: A handbook published in 1979
Nuclear War PowerPoint Presentations
Important Videos:
About Fallout
Duck and Cover

Initial Project Meeting

August 15, 2007

Chris Lyon and Keith Shively are present
- Feature length?
- Come up with an alternative Conflict outside of what we are deeming “the event” which refers to the nuclear detonation that occurs first in the story.
- A twist may be an option during the story. Not a mind-blowing twist, but one that changes the objective of the story from survival to something else while maintaining a backdrop of “the event” and survival.
- We need to define what question that the audience will want answered so we make sure to answer them (or intentionally not answer them, but give enough information) to achieve a satisfying ending for us and the audience at the same time.
- Different perspectives? Do we follow one character/group of characters or branch off to follow two different groups as they journey. At this point, I'd say no, but it's always a possibility.
- In the script that I have written on (only a few rough pages) the exact moment of “the event” is also known as “Babylon” after the story Alas, Babylon. So the script reads 3 Hours, 36 Minutes to Babylon to give us a sense of when the bomb will explode. This marking will not be maintained when the script is handed out to potential investors or proof readers, but will help us in the core group understand where we are in the process of the story. Conversely, time after “the event” is marked as such: 42 Minutes Post Babylon.

The First Re-examination of the Project with Dylan Nix
August 11, 2007

Chris Lyon and Dylan Nix are present

- Gov't creating a false sense of threat in order to keep the public open to some aspect of society that would not

generally be accepted otherwise.

- The threat is ominous and is will be a government entity.

- Enemy is set up in our minds through mainstream media (television and film) NO INTERNET!
- Promotional Trailer For Project: Warday?

There Will Come Soft Rains
by Sara Teasdale

There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,

And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire

Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one

Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree

If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,

Would scarcely know that we were gone.


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