Tuesday, 2 August 2016

@Phil Year Three Brainstorming Part Two

  I got into thinking a little more on the scientist. A hurdle that currently exists is that I risk falling int stereotypes: A monster that represents a line not to be crossed, a scientist who puts results over the significance of the moral or ethical questions, a scientist who puts work above all else. To make a story stick, it is good to be impressionable but not so good the content is practically box-ticking.

  Maybe the scientist was a charming man in his youth with a few achievements under his belt, that are being outshone by the achievements of younger scientists. Maybe he started off missing his family when the company asked him to work late more and more, and obligation became preference. Perhaps this could be a warning to the compulsion of putting work ahead of family - a problem that is hurting modern Japanese culture, where young men are just not bothering with looking for a girlfriend, nor are they interested in raising a family because work demands so much of their time.

The company itself might be an influence. The architecture of the lab will help sell what kind of place it is, as the design needs of a lab dictates what kind of facilities it requires. A biology lab is like a hospital: It needs to be kept sterile to avoid contaminating staff or subjects with unwanted dirt or microbes. A chemistry lab, also a place of cleanliness, does not need to be so squeaky-clean. These considerations stem from what the company wants with the alien. Why are they studying it? What do they hope to get out of it?

The core of the story, as mentioned previously, is that management gets impatient. It is taking too much time to get results and rather than wait further (at a cost), they're pulling the plug. What could they gain form this specimen? An attack animal for the military? Military applications for its unique biology? Regenerative properties? An exotic pet? Their intent will convey to the viewer who they are (think how Weyland-Yutani wanted to make a weapon out of the Xenomorph, their decision to install Ash on the Nostromo, its "shake-and-bake" approach to colonisation or how many 'failed samples' they went though to get a stable clone of Ripley the Queen. These details tell us what kind of company YT is.)

Working out these motives might also tell us what its field is. Weyland-Yutani appears to deal with pretty much everything. But while it makes sense for a company funding an ambitious alien study, does the story need a provides-everything megacorp? Probably not. There could be a few branches; billionaire Elon Musk, real life's closest equivalent to Tony Stark, is a leading figure behind SpaceX, Tesla and PayPal, all of which he holds a leading position in. Richard Branson's Virgin group offers airlines, train fares, telecoms, and space tours among other things. So while the company the scientist works for could be part of a larger conglomerate, it could be he only receives notices from the executives of his branch. Or maybe it's only a few ventures.

I might stick with the idea this is a branch of a business group, specifically some biotech firm as this sort of science more closely ties with studying a creature as it matures. Still early days but it's good to make progress.

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