Imagine if Agent Kimball Cho from The Mentalist was funny, charismatic and aspiring to be a lawyer to please his parents, but he really can’t stand the job. What if the arrogant, justice driven, but loveable mentalist, Patrick Jane, wasn’t a mind reader, but he could interpret dreams. And dreams had this incredible power to foretell the future, understand the present or unlock secrets from the past.
I see the characters of Graham & Joseph starting out just like that, but other than your average crime/drama, it’s full of strange metaphors, as Joseph’s fractured dream world awakens and brings order to reality to solve crimes and mysteries. To make this idea appeal to a platform usually saturated with vlogs about real people and their daily lives, I want to shoot it as though it was a documentary, with fluid camera work, handheld and tracking, with perspective shots and dutch angles.
Shooting on a Panasonic GH4, a high quality DSLR camera, it will make the audience feel like they are living the events and filming them on their own video recorder. In the original pilot episode, you see hints of this, but it’s all too dark and broody for YouTube. This is why I plan to reshoot from scratch this summer, filling Project J with sarcastic, lighthearted humour and a sometimes playful soundtrack, while still sticking to the strong themes of forgiveness, dreams, purpose and betrayal. Many TV Crime Dramas, such as the previously quoted Mentalist, Bones or CSI, incorporate this humour to entertain while telling a meaningful story. I aim to bring this tone and storytelling style to an N.Z. Web Series for the first time.
To also make it immersive, I’d like each episode to start with Joseph speaking straight to the camera as though he’s making a Vlog about his life. He could say ‘My name is Joseph, and this is why I left home’ or ‘My name is Joseph, and here’s why I’m in jail.’ This breaks the barrier and makes him real to the audience. Also, other cast members might make a 2 min vlog about the current story events as though they were the characters. These vlogs would be shot on an iPhone or similar, to make them feel real. The actual series, however, will be top quality production standard.
Each episode will have two separate worlds: one that is blurred and blue, much like the opening sequence of the pilot episode. This represents the dream world. Then there will be the saturated and highly contrasting world, which represents reality.
This will distinguish the two to prevent it from becoming
confusing, as the edit will flash backwards and forwards between the two as the story unfolds and elements of the dream seem to mimick reality.
All in all, I want Project J: Awakening to entertain and also speak into the target audiences lives, inspiring them to live their own dreams and make the good ones a reality. It will do this through clever digital story telling, meaty dialogue and character, with a witty sense of humour.