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A Dramatic, Surrealistic, Cognitive Web Series Concept Proposal

By Peter OBrien

If only you could see what Ive seen with your eyes.
Roy Batty, Blade Runner.

Creators Statement: Introduction

This is only a preliminary proposal designed to gain the interest of other creatives. As EYES is a truly vast concept it requires more than one creative mind to successfully orchestrate its premise. As such, while this series bible will present a web series concept; the concept itself will be very broad in its attributes to allow a level of fluidity that, in turn, will enable other creatives to inform the concept with their own points of view. As will be revealed, the shows basic premise is reliant on multiple points of view. Therefore, the more creatives involved in the project, the stronger the overall artistic expression and success of the project. As such, this series bible is a work in progress Also, to explain many of its concepts and ideas this series bible makes frequent reference to the EYES Pilot; the Pilot, my blog and this document form the entirety of the concept proposal, on its own this document is not an absolute! Therefore, it is advised to view the Pilot episode before reading this document and then re-watch the episode after youve finished reading this document.

EYES Pilot:

To further understand my vision for the EYES concept, I would also urge you to take a look at my development blog.

EYES of a Storyteller:

As with the storyline itself, there is really no way to present the overall concept in a truly logical and linear order; therefore, I will just present it and connect it together as best I can.

Premise, Format, Themes, Concepts and Potentials

While there are countless influences for EYES, the most primary influences are: Twin Peaks, Being Human and Blade Runner. These three are perhaps the ones that best illustrate something of what I envision EYES being like. However, while they share similar ideas and themes with EYES, the execution of EYES through the web series medium will be very different. EYES is designed to provide multiple meanings and interpretations. The big over-arching concept within the show is that of telepathy. However, fundamentally, its concept is designed to get the audience thinking about the cognitive conditions of their own lives and the realities they reside in. We now live an age where our identities are becoming much more muddled and integrated thanks to the internet, social networking and diversifications in how we can communicate with other Human beings. To this end, EYES is a reflexive story of the interconnected age we live in and through its apparent illogical presentation, the show will present a narrative rationality of our age. I have designed the Pilot episode to be an audio-visual Rubik cube and while I get the audience 70% of the way there, in terms of understanding its 7 minute story, there is 30% left for the spectator to piece together. This is representative of my vision for the overall series, the series will fully take advantage of the web series medium. Through episodes that must not be longer than 8 minutes (there is no minimum length), EYES will present pieces of a narrative puzzle that the spectator will have to piece together. Therefore, EYES isnt just the presentation of a highly surreal/cognitive representation of a narrative reflection on our current obsession with networking, it taps into those networking concepts and is a web series that requires a participatory relationship with the spectator the spectator is involved in the storytelling. To this end, the storyline would lend itself very well to application through transmedia. However, while transmedia is something that would highly benefit the concept, the application of it is not detailed in this document. Rather, this document is just a kickstarter to get the EYES story-world moving. Certainly, this is why quite a big team of creatives and writers are required, because the series concept needs multiple minds to handle its multiple narrative threads and nonlinear/cognitive presentation. I feel that the EYES web series is a concept that transgresses other web series content and is an example of why the web series format needs to operate with its own rules and not just the conventions of film and television that the medium has largely followed thus far. The rule book for the web series is still being written and for a storytelling mode that is presented through a medium the internet - that is constantly growing, experiencing new innovations and new multimedia devices through which it can be accessed, I believe the web series needs to embrace its inherent fluidity and 4

not be afraid to experiment. We live in the age of the upgrade and the web series is a medium ideally suited to cater for this and to comment on it, as in the EYES concept I am proposing. In addition to this, as it is largely user-generated, I also believe that the web series format is in a position where it can be used to showcase the talents of new creatives. Therefore, the EYES concept is something that I very much want to open up to creatives and allow them to use it as a canvass on which they can showcase their skills. Ultimately, with the EYES web series concept it is my intention to set a new example of how innovative and expansive the web series format can be.

Target Audience
As with the majority of web series content, the primary target audience will be young adult. The primary content of the show: the story of Lianne and Boris trying to get by in the world and deal with its ever increasing telepathic complexities is designed to be targeted at the young adult demographic. The ages of the primary characters match this demographic and the inclusion of two protagonists: Boris and Lianne, one male and one female, means that it will appeal equally to both genders of the young adult demographic. However, I believe it has potential to appeal to a much broader target audience demographic thanks to its telepathic ability to explore multiple points of views and, therefore, a whole range of interpersonal issues relating to people young and old, of both genders and of different backgrounds. The series is heavily influenced by and designed to be appealing to the audiences of the growing trend of brain films/television shows. These forms of content require a great deal of thinking and participation on the audiences part and examples include: Inception, Sherlock, Dexter, Elementary, Trance, Doctor Who, etc. The shows novelty factor of something that seemingly does not make sense and which requires the spectator to piece the puzzle together, to decipher the hidden meanings can also open it up to a wider audience. It is my aim for EYES to become a meme.

Location, Existential Planes and Artistic Style

Bath, UK, present day. The setting of Bath is both a logistical and logical choice in terms of the narrative. Visually, Bath is a location that does not get exploited often and when it does the city is often doubling for another location! Due to its varied architectural style and rich local culture there is something quite anachronistic about Bath. The city has an eccentricity, almost a surreal quality and certainly an idyllic impression that on the surface plays against any negative vibes. However, this is just the point of EYES, through its surreal/cognitive surface presentation it is ultimately a story of the subtext; everything that is beneath the surface. Bath is a city that is strongly associated with water and youll see in the pilot that this is something I have incorporated into the narrative. The theme of water is an integral component to the series, as this offers a physical metaphor for cognition and telepathy: something that is always in a state of flux, always moving, always interconnected and always present. In the pilot when Boris says: you cant step into the same river twice, he is actually referring to the fact that, due to our continual shifting state of consciousness, we are never the same person from one moment to the next. As with his own hidden complexities, It is expressive of the turbulent subtext of EYES, a subtext always seemingly ready to flood over onto the surface. Ultimately, this idea of there being something literally hidden beneath the surface will be explored in the series concept of the under-city. The under-city concept is designed to present storyline potential and to house another larger concept: the world-mind. While there are many possibilities as to what this under-city world-mind concept comprises, nothing too definite will be ventured here as its current ambiguity allows a greater deal of growth to happen in the storyline and will not impose too strict a structure that will restrict the other writers. However, this under-city concept must form a major component of the series final conclusion and will account for why telepathy is hidden from public knowledge. In my mind, on a global scale this will place Bath as a truly significant location in terms of telepathy and this is something that will be connected to Boris and Liannes presences there. Certainly, this is not a new concept as it finds many expressions in counter other works of science fiction, most notably in the works of H.G. Wells. While it should not be seen as anything too definite, as to allow a great deal of fluidity in the intervening storylines: whatever that presence does end up being, it needs to take the storyline of the main characters, the location of Bath, the element of telepathy and connect them on a world wide scale. To this end, the under-city and the world-mind concepts will account for why telepathy is not public knowledge. Ultimately, I figure if you want an unusual and largely unused location for a surreal story, then you cant go wrong with Bath!

In regards to the rules governing Telepathy or parapsychology in the show, the following (as indicated by Wikipedia) are the various types of telepathic manifestations that have already been theorised on: Latent Telepathy, formerly known as "deferred telepathy", is described as being the transfer of information, through Psi, with an observable time-lag between transmission and receipt.

Retrocognitive, Precognitive, and Intuitive Telepathy is described as being the transfer of information, through Psi, about the past, future or present state of an individual's mind to another individual.

Emotive Telepathy, also known as remote influence or emotional transfer, is the process of transferring kinesthetic sensations through altered states.

Superconscious Telepathy, involves tapping into the superconscious to access the collective wisdom of the human species for knowledge.

As I have already noted, I do not want to be too restrictive with the concept and, as such, there is potential for all the different forms of telepathy to be exploited for their storytelling potential in EYES story-world. However, something that must be made clear is a telepathic distinction between Boris and the entirety of Liannes and Henrys biological family. As demonstrated in the pilot, Liannes family definitely have precognition as part of their telepathic skillset. This is something that Boris did not have in his original body, but something he is able to access in Henrys body. However, this is at the risk of re-awakening the Henry consciousness (see Characters). Here is an example of how the different telepathic skills can be used to introduce different telepathic factions and hierarchies, for instance. Another significant factor of the series that needs to be made clear are the existential realms the story-world operates in and their expression through film form. When I refer to film form I am referring to the arrangement of audio-visual storytelling elements. Reality Realm This layer is the every-day world. It bares a fairly close resemblance to our everyday reality. Although, its presentation through the series film form will suggest a slightly surreal presence, to suggest a subtext/other dimensional levels that are, in a sense, trying to bleed through from outside the frame /in the corner our eye, so to speak. One of

the main themes of the series is of the other realms having an active influence on the reality realm.

Mindscape Realm This is a direct representation of the characters cognitive processes (inside their head(s) as they are thinking). Due to the telepathic element, the presentation of this realm is not always indicative of one persons cognitive processes. The distinctive stylistic presentation of this realm, in terms of film form, is halfway between the reality realm and the dreamscape realm. Therefore, variations of film form have much more freedom in this realm, but there should be particular emphasise on fragmentation.

Dreamworld Realm The distinctive stylistic presentation of this realm, in terms of film form, is monochrome black and white. Colour can be used, but only sparingly to highlight significant elements or when something has directly bled through from one of the other realms. As a platform for dream material, black and white is the only absolute/gravity of this realm.

It should also be noted that while all three realms are presented in the Pilot, this will not and should not always be the case. The shorter lengths of web series episodes means that it makes more sense to have a variety of presentations. Therefore, some episodes will be focused solely on the reality realm, some on the dreamworld realm, some on the mindscape realm, other episodes will include mixtures, etc. It will really be reliant on what the story of each episode requires.

The following are short descriptions of the primary characters of the show. I cannot comment on guest or bit part characters that will be utilised by other writers. It is advised to view the pilot episode before reading this section.

Boris (Boris in Henrys body) 27, telepath, protagonist.

At the time of the series events Boris consciousness inhabits Henrys body. The loss of Boris original body (see the Jazzmeister in Characters); as with the Jazzmeister, this Boris is a shadow of his former self. The original Boris was an optimist and lover of life. He lost his original body when Henry set fire to it and it was this traumatic event and his love of life that caused Boris consciousness to migrate into Henrys body. Henrys consciousness is merely suppressed, he is still there trying to claw his way back to the surface. There is something living and dead about Boris (in Henrys body), its as if his consciousness is being slowly rejected by a body that is not compatible with it. Boris (in Henrys body) is nothing short of a contradiction.

Henry 27, telepath, antagonist.

Henry is Liannes cousin, not Boris. Henry and Boris are two completely different people. Regardless of the fact that Boris consciousness inhabits Henrys body in the series, Henry is not dead! As he resides in a suppressed state, Henry is less of a physical antagonistic force and more of a very strong intellectual antagonist force. His growing ability to spill through into the other realms enables him to manipulate people and events in the real world. It is also this strengthening ability that is causing his consciousness to gradually take back its body to the detriment of Boris everyday existence. This is one of the themes the show will establish and explore due to their inherent ability, telepaths are highly intelligent they can develop into geniuses (this is something that is especially true of Henrys family)! Henry was always treated as the jewel of the family, as he was the most intellectually gifted. However, Henry has developed beyond a genius he has become a narcissistic megalomaniac. He is the reason why the rest of the family have vanished; because they had the same genes as him they had the same potential to develop an equal level of intellectual skill as him. As with the rest of the family, Lianne presents a huge threat to Henry she is the only person alive who can stop him. Lianne is Henrys primary target in the show. However, he also has a personal vendetta against Boris. Initially, Henry and Boris were friends. When Henry does make appearances in the dreamworld and mindscape realms, it is in his original appearance. As the revelation that the Henry and Boris are not the same person is not revealed until the conclusion of season 2 (see Story Outline), Henry should come across as the darkside of Boris.


Therefore, throughout seasons 1 and 2, the spectator will believe that Boris has a split personality; not that Henry and Boris are in fact two completely different people.

Lianne 19, telepath, protagonist.

Lianne was hidden from her true family at birth and has spent her life being raised by various foster parents. While she is not completely aware of the existence of telepathy and her own ability to use it, at the time of the pilot she is aware that there is something different about her. This forms a major narrative thread of the first season the revelation of the existence of telepathy to the spectator and to Lianne. Lianne is the shows outsider and the spectators way in; it is through her and her journey through seasons 1 and 2 that the spectator will come to understand the telepathic rules governing this world. Ever the optimist, she has a love for life, but is troubled by what she considers to be insanity her telepathic ability. As with her cousin, Lianne has an ever increasing intelligence and, as such, she feels older than her years. The series will demonstrate what it is like to develop a honed telepathic skill in the show it will be presented as akin to a second puberty, something that is a truly unpleasant process.


Turner 24, non-telepath, supporting character.

Turner was a previous love interest of Boris. At the time of the events of the pilot and the first series she has disappeared. Turner knew Boris before he lost his original body and migrated into that of Henrys; she also knows that Boris in Henrys body is actually Boris. Turner will be largely revealed to the audience via Lianne who will uncover more memories and cognitive information on her as the series progresses. This is one of the reasons a love story will develop between Lianne and Boris because by uncovering aspects of Turner, Lianne will take on attributes of her character and Boris connects with these. There is also the possibility of Turner making a flesh and blood return to further complicate the situation.


The Jazzmeister 27, supporting character.

The Jazzmeister is an echo of Boris as he was in his original body; he is not cognitively connected to the Boris (in Henrys body) during the events of the series. As of the death of Boris original body, the Jazzmeister was created and became a disconnected echo of Boris. The Jazzmeister has an existence of his own and he is only ever seen in the dreamworld. However, as with all dream material, the Jazzmeister is an enigma and this is why he is only an echo of the original Boris. As with the pure surreality of the dreamworld, the Jazzmeister is a storytelling device to be used sparingly. He is a fragmentation and is never wholly answered. Lianne is the character who sees the Jazzmeister the most. In Liannes dreams, the Jazzmeister acts as her guide; as such, Lianne develops a deep connection with him, this is another reason why she falls in love with Boris.

The Family. This is one of the elements of the show that is currently a blank slate and, therefore, something that can be built upon by other writers. I do not believe the family is an important element to the primary situation of the show and I also believe that it is something that should never wholly be revealed. The reason why Henry and Lianne pose great threats and are something that Boris is highly wary of is because, in terms of telepaths, the family have access to a multitude of telepathic skill that are progressively rare. To me, the family is to EYES what the Time War is to Doctor Who a highly 13

ambiguous entity that acts a strong backbone of mystery to the show. The family may not even be dead, but they certainly dont exist in the physical reality realm anymore. I also like the idea that through the world-mind all knowledge of the family has been deleted and, aside from Boris, Lianne and Henry, there is no trace of the family - no one can remember them.

Series Outline
As I have already commented on my vision of a larger creative team taking on EYES and expanding the concept further, what follows is only a very rough outline of the first two seasons as something designed to get the ball rolling. The primary season 1 story arc will be Lianne uncovering the truth about telepathy and, in turn, allowing the spectator to understand it as forming an integral component of the shows premise. As has been established in the Pilot this will be represented through her dreams and precognition; the Jazzmeister and Boris will help her to understand the truth of her condition, if you like. The revelation that telepathy is a gift only possessed by the few and something that is suppressed from public knowledge, by an ambiguous higher intelligence (see the world-mind, in Location, Existential Planes and Artistic Style) will also be established. However, all of this will be explored through the realities of their everyday lives; the template for this can really be demonstrated with the influence of Being Human dealing with the extraordinary in the ordinary circumstances of the characters everyday lives. In addition to this, the first season will detail the growing bond between Lianne and Boris and start to set up the will they or wont storyline. The great thing about this story element is the fact (with Boris in Henrys body) biologically they are related, which creates a great deal of tension for the writers to exploit! Finally, the real Henry will be in the background of the three realms pulling strings, as an antagonistic force in his endeavour to come back to the real world. Season 2 will take the revelation of telepathy and directly explore how it would affect the everyday existence of someone, as Lianne struggles to cope with it and as she begins to use it for the manipulation of other people. The concept of how genius can lead to megalomania will be explored and gradually, through this season, the concept of Henry and Boris being two different people will be established. The revelation of this will form the seasons conclusion; together with Henry being properly introduced as a very real antagonistic threat to both Lianne and Boris. 14

While there is a whole plethora of material and potential ideas to draw from the for the storyline of season 3 onwards, I do not want to get too far ahead of myself or restrict the input of the other creatives. As it stands, the story arcs of seasons 1 and 2 are enough to get the EYES story-world rolling. Going back to the idea of EYES being a puzzle, each season should build towards a huge revelation in its conclusion - every new season is a Rubik cube that gradually gets completed. Each season should provide at least one big definite answer, while also introducing new pieces of the puzzle. EYES will only continue to succeed as a meme, if its participatory element is maintained. As much as the dreamworld and mindscape realms are leaking into the reality realm of the EYES story-world, EYES as a cognitive entity should feel like it is flooding out into the spectators world. This is why transmedia application would serve EYES exceedingly well.


Creators Statement: Final Point

The web series and transmedia applications are highly progressive storytelling modes and EYES is a concept that can develop beyond the web series content that is currently online. What I have presented here is only the starting point of an idea that I believe can be used to showcase the talents of other creative; it is a concept that can tell a unique and highly intricate story. Fundamentally, it is a story that will provide a concurrent reflection on our ways of being.

EYES is very much about opening eyes and expanding minds. We are now are in an age where the spectator can become a part of the storytelling. Above and beyond the basic premise presented here, EYES has the potential to tell a truly vast, participatory and progressive story. To this end, EYES is a story that cannot be told by one person