Blog Banter 41: Director’s Cut

BB41: Director’s Cut

The universe of EVE is not without its drama and epic stories, both in and out of game. Imagine a publisher, movie studio or television network asked you to prepare a pitch for a new brand of EVE-flavoured entertainment. This could be your big break, what would be your synopsis to bring New Eden to the wider audience?

Seismic Stan’s Blog Banter this month is interesting and I already read some excellent submissions but I felt not very enthusiastic about writing for it.  Firstly, I do marketing in real life and if I do it for CCP, they should pay me – at least in ISK.  Secondly, I am extremely cynical about pitches and gone very jaded about the bad movies that have been published recently.  If it isn’t vampires, it doesn’t sell.

Oh, there is an idea, vampires in space.  Already immortal (sort of), bound by no earthly law, impressive physique and yet “human” in some ways.  Capsuleers?

Kate Bekinsale - a Capsuleer of New Eden

Ok, ok, I am not serious.  No vampires in EVE, please.  But what attracts us to that genre may attract my target audience to New Eden.  After all, movies are make-believe of our own world.  In good movies, the actors create a vessel for us to decide how we would respond to a situation.  We “become” the character in the movie and for a few hours we are beyond our normal lives, routines and earthly laws.

SciFi, vampire and super hero movies share a common starting point and tension.

Starting Point

These genres set their plot in a universe with altered laws of physics or social behavior.  Mad Max, The Road and The Book of Eli are examples where only the laws of society have changed.  Most SciFi changes laws of the physical world as well and therefore create a new arena (yes, Sandbox) that is distinct but similar to our experience.  Stretch that distance too far and you have a terrible movie.  Make the difference too close and you can either have a weird movie or something awesome which that dates itself very quickly as our reality overtakes the imagination of the movie.

Tension

Generally, tension develops when worlds collide.  The superhero with the normal world, the vampires with the lichen and so on.  In SciFi, there are a few avenues to go and StarTrek did it brilliantly by encountering a new civilization with which to conflict at every turn.  You could also take different cultures and let them go at each other within the confines of a set arena (Babylon 5) , the idea and the effect are the same.

So, back to EVE. We are making a SciFi series or movie and the starting point is set by the canon.  I am not a great fan of canon but lets take it for now.  We have slaves, religious fanatics, racial, sexual tensions and conflicts.  We have domination, lazors, gorgeous babes and handsome-but-oh-so-vulnerable heroes.  Enough plotlines to fill several movies but we dont really have tension yet.

And that’s where I am having a bit of a problem.  EVE capsuleers are immortal.  I mean, really, truly immortal, not like Vampire immortal, no, more like gods.  But if you can’t lose your life, you cant get tension into a plotline.  Superman had Kryptonite, Batman has his internal fears and is – after all – a mortal man.  But what creates the tension in EVE?  The nullsec wars are meaningless in this context.  Sure, dominate my world, blow up my Titan, see if I care.  I just get a new mining frigate and go to highsec, hit on some Veldspar, drink Quafe and ponder the old days.

The capsuleer universe in EVE has painted itself into a corner.  Without real danger, the stakes are too low and in capsuleer context, the conflict is meaningless.

Ok. Lets take that as a start point for the plot. True immortality.  That is the one thing that capsuleers have that we can take from them, the one thing that they value, the one thing that they fear to lose.  Lets make a virus that infects pod goo – disables the ability to clone jump and rebirth.  That weaponized virus will wipe out New Eden as we know it, destroy the industry and therefore present a truly unique and serious threat to our universe.  Sounds familiar?

Or we could go inwards.  We could create tension by the common trick of clashing cultures within our protagonist. (Training Day is a good example but all “coming of age stories do that to some extent) Accompany the journey of a normal, mortal person into the life of a capsuleer and immortality.  What does he gain, what does he give up?  How does his worldview changes now that he can not die?  How will this affect his friendships, love, ethics and behavior? What mission is he on to leave everything behind?  How will it end?  In this plotline, the audience identifies itself with the mortal protagonist.  They see him as peer, as equal, share his angst and rage.  The audience learns what it means to be a capsuleer through his eyes, adjusts their worldview, explores the new found powers are tempted from the chosen path.  Would that not be an amazing story, Mr Producer?

Well, as it happens, I have a script right here.

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3 responses to “Blog Banter 41: Director’s Cut

  1. Great entry to the most difficult blog banter ever.

    There are two aspects of the capsuleer protagonist that I find to be the most interesting:

    1. The situations when they have to leave their ships. When they truly put their life on the line because there is no neural remapping system that will transfer them to their clone. There is the possible tension.

    2. The classical motive of the immortal and invincible hero as you can find it in ancient Greek myths and in some more contemporary fantasy. The psychological effect of it all, the way how that makes them less human than more so. That there is no sense of belonging to a society, no solace to be found in love, no rest for the wicked. Here you have the potential to explore the darkest corners of this “superhero” myth.

    I think you did a pretty good job in your story actually.

    Also, thanks for plugging one of my characters as “handsome-but-vulnerable” hero. Funny enough I never had him cast in that role so much as his commander.

    Finally, an anguished “noooooo” for referring to Prometheus which I would list as one of the stupidest, least coherent and most disappointing sci-fi movies I have ever seen. Damn, sometimes even the StarWars prequels made more sense than Prometheus.

    • Thank you Mme Thalys for your comments, I found this Banter interesting but not quite so hard. After all, story telling is what we do and the environment of EVE is far richer than the vampire business that sells so well these days. It should be easy…

      Wrt Prometheus, my experience was slightly different, I had read some reviews already. I expected a 70s movie with moralizing dialogue, black & white bad and good guys, some goofy and disposable sidekicks and a lone woman surviving. All that with a 2012 CGI package to blow my socks off. This, the movie delivered, together with plotline that had more holes than a shotgun target. So, my rule is, set your expectations really low and you won’t get disappointed…

  2. Pingback: Annnndd….ACTION! « the hydrostatic capsule

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