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[PTA] Speed Demons - Conflict issues
Topic: [PTA] Speed Demons - Conflict issues (Read 2600 times)
My name is Jon.
[PTA] Speed Demons - Conflict issues
February 08, 2006, 08:52:55 AM »
With the Pilot episode of Speed Demons successfully run last week (Writup is located at
, we started up with Episode One.
Just a reminder of the people involved:
Kyle - Vladimir "Lug" Luginski - Mechanic of Team Demon
Dave - Zach "Wheels" Wheeler - Driver of Team Demon
Dan - Dr. Task - Promoter of Team Demon
We also had a new player,
Wes - Jill "Led Foot" James - Undercover Cop and rival racer. She has a connection, Jose Ribero, a Narcotics Officer in the police force. Her issue is Vengeance, her father was a street racer and she believes he was murdered in the circuit by another racer. Her personal set is her father's gravesite.
We quickly determined that Jill was the woman that impounded the car in the pilot, and from there her place fit nicely.
Dave switched Zach's second edge from "Sarcastic wit" to "Brawling", as he viewed Zach to be a lot more physical in how he expresses himself. From the rules, any edge or connection can be switched out before Episode One.
With that done, we began. Now, before I go by the blow by blow in terms of what happened, I should like to note that we really struggled for conflict. We'd keep changing the conflict in a scene, each pass over the conflict making it more compact and usually simpler than the last. In some scenes we just couldn't find an effective Stake, and in some cases we just kinda moved forward until we thought about something that worked. One scene often had several locations.
Everyone's Screen presence was 1 this game. The consensus was to focus on the plot as much as possible, that of getting the car back. People didn't want the first episode to be their "Spotlight episode".
The first scene we played with several ideas, but ultimately decide to show a first person view of the last few moments of the pilot's race, from Zach's perspective. The perspective sees a vehicle in the way, signalling a deadly crash, and there is the sounds of crashing and crunching, but it turns out to be Zach waking up from a dream, and knocking over an empty bottle of Jack Daniels and tumbler, shattering it and cutting his hand.
We then cut to the car sitting in an impound yard. The camera shows a woman detailing the vehicle, staring at it in admiration. This is Jill. She is running her hands over the vehicle with a lost and absorbed expression, ignoring the man coming into focus behind her. We see it's Dr. Task, dressed in a nice sensible suit and with a very official looking clipboard and digital camera. He has a Pass, and claims to be an independant appraiser. Jill again barely notices, focused on the vehicle. As Jill opens and sits in the driver's side, Dr. Task is taking photographs of the area around the car.
There's a cut to outside the impound lot, and of Lug, standing on the roof of a single story building, watching with binoculars. He mutters "60 feet of raor wire, 5 armed officers and 2 dogs. I can fix that."
We cut back to Dr. Task and Jill. The doctor starts asking some questions, and I decide to try calling the first conflict. Dan says the doctor is learning about the case, and eventually focuses in to "who they think was in the vehicle". Jill's conflict is finding Zach's belongings and being able to make a connection to his once famous past.
I pour on 3 of my nine budget, and defeat both of them. Jill finds a holstered flask in the glove box with "congrats on the win" monogrammed on it, and a carefully folded news clipping. The clipping contained a headline of "Team Ferrari wins another", but with a sidebar of "Tragedy on the Track." it's suggested that the audience can see Zach's name in that sidebar, and something about a pit crew member getting hurt. Someone mentions that if the video is paused, the hardcore audience members can read at least part of the full story, which involves Zach hitting and killing a member of his pit crew. However, she stares at it, shrugs, and puts it aside.
Dr. Task spends several fruitless minutes quizzing Jill, but doesn't get much more than one or two word answers. However, he has all the visual information he and Lug need to start the heist.
- Scene one thoughts: The conflict didn't seem that good, people were jazzed by the scene, and lots of suggestions flipped around, but the conflict started giving us some grief.
Dave get's the narration, being to my left (we're going clockwise around the table). He focuses on plot, the agenda is planning the rescue of the car, and locations are initially his motel, then the garage, then back to the motel. Again, the location changes in a single scene. I think that's ok, it seems logical, and the agenda really needed to move around from place to place.
Lug hammers on Zach's motel door. Zach comes out with a bandaged hand (the broken glass from last night's dream). Lug offers coffee, almost a peace offering from the argument the two of them had in the pilot.
Zach grumpily says "I wouldn't need the coffee if it wasn't for your bottle of JD last night"
Lug: "Don't blame me for your problems." CLINK! Fan mail tossed from Dave to Kyle for that quip, beginning the fan mail economy.
Zach, Lug, and Dr. Task pore over several photos and video recordings made during Task's sojurn a scene ago, and Lug suggests a plan. He tells Zach that he's been watching the vehicles arriving, and at 5pm Jim's wreckers comes into the impound to collect any excess scrap cars. He thinks they can stop the truck and have Zach attach himself to the undercarriage of the truck, and since the truck's jacked up fairly high, he should be safe.
Lug continues to tell him that he'll need to hide for about 4 hours, which is when a low ebb in personell will allow them to make an escape. He recommends finding a hiding spot. He mentions the dogs, and their scent, and tells him that he might want to hide in the oil drums, one with enough goo in it to cover his body, but not so much that it displaces and overflows.
Lug: "I'm not sure there'll be any long term side effects... just don't smoke." - KLINK! Another fan mail tossed over to Kyle from Wes.
Zach is agreeable to the idea, and heads home to get changed and ready. He's about to leave when I call conflict. Does he take a flask of whiskey with him?
Dave loses this conflict, but wins narration with the high black ace. He describes hsi character grabbing the doorknob, looking back and forth, swearing, and then, after a moment more of hesitation, grabs the flask of whiskey and heads out. KLINK! Fan mail gets tossed his way by Kyle.
Wes has narration, and describes a Supa-Gas station at a turn off to the police impound lot. Lug and Task enact the distraction side of their plan, having Task's car radiator overheat, blow smoke, and die, just in front of Jim's Wreckers Truck. None other than Jim gets out, and being of big heart, helps move the vehicle out of the way.
Jim talks to Task, telling him that urine is the best way to cool down a radiator when nothing else is available, and recommends that he get his prostate checked to make sure "the flow keeps flowing". We burst into in laughter as we imagine a "more you know moment" with Lug's actor saying "Hi, I play Lug in Speed Demons. Ignoring your prostate is a fast track to disease and discomfort. Drive safe." I get a finger wiggle for my humorous aside. Go me!
After a few moments we get back on track. Lug contacts Zach via their radio comms, (headset devices similar to the ones used in the pilot) and Zach runs over and gets himself tied into the undercarriage.
I'm noticing we haven't gotten a conflict yet, so I suggest one. When hitting a speed bump fast just outside of the main gates, Zach's flask falls out of his jacket pocket and onto the ground. He makes an instinctive effort to grab it.
Dave loves it. He plays the cards and loses, and misses the flask as it hits the ground. The truck enters the impound lot.
Now it's Kye's turn to narrate. he starts out in the impound lot. Jill is busy examining the engine of Zach's car, too absorbed to notice much. Wes calls her "theatrically smudged with grease" which KLINK! earns him a fan mail from Kyle.
Dave has Zach sneak over to the barrels, and immediately the conflict is suggested by Kyle, does he make noise?
It's not Dave's night. He loses again! Well, screen presence one does that to you. He gains narration. He slips the lid and it clatters to the ground. He quickly gets into the drum and closes the lid over top. We see Jill startled, scanning the barrels for signs of life. She heads over.
Kyle suggests a great sort of cut from the action, which gets heartily accepted. It goes like this:
She walks up to the oil drum, and pulls off the loose lid. It contains a swirl of black liquid, and then a bunch of white powder drops from the sides of the drum into the black oily goo, mixing in, and after a beat the camera pans back from the oily goo to reveal the scene’s changed, and the black oil with white chips in it is a cup of coffee with whitener being added by Lug. Lug is sitting in a café with Dr. Task.
Lug: “We could be here a while.”
Dr. Task: “Hey, garcon?” He waves a menu at an approaching waitress.
KLINK goes the fan mail, given to Kyle by Dan for the excellent side scene he suggested.
We jump back to Jill looking inside of a barrel, seeing nothing but oil, and then she closes the lid and leaves. A few moments later, Jill closes the barrel and moves away. After a beat, Zach surfaces, face covered in oily goo, gasping for air.
Dan gets narration from here, and he continues the plot. Kyle and Dave both chime in with lots of suggestions, and Wes also gets into the action with some suggestions as well.
Lug is up at the front of the café, paying for the bill, and Dr. Task is sitting at the table, littered with several empty cups of coffee, and a few empty plates. He spots Jill coming in to buy a coffee.
Jill checks her pockets, curses, and tells the cashier that “she forgot her damn keys”. Task overhears this, and says “That might be a problem”.
(Wes’s contribution here, with having Jill come into the same Café and seeing Task realize that “This is the cop he saw earlier!” to this didn’t earn him fan mail, which I thought was too bad)
Lug passes by Task and says “I got to get in position”. He pulls a white metal briefcase out from under the café table, and heads out.
It cuts to Lug at the top of a building, within viewing distance of the gates to the impound lot. He opens his case, and pulls out pieces of a brushed dull silver sniper rifle. He begins to put it together with practiced ease.
(Kyle’s really humming away with his character’s ex-military background. His contributions to this scene are great, and really ratchet up the tension)
Meanwhile, we have a black screen, and a few gasps of breath. A blue glow emanates from a watch, and we see Zach’s face illuminated, covered in black goo and barely recognizable. He mutters “close enough” and carefully pulls himself out.
(Kudos to Dave for this great suggestion of the camera shot of his illuminated face, though again, he doesn’t get the fan mail here)
Jills walks into the impound lot, and sees her keys dropped near the impounded race car. She heads over, kneels down to grab them.
Zach heads to the car, and opens the door just as Jill pops up from the other side of the car. Both are frozen in shock.
(Dan made a great choice here with suggesting that both are on either side of the car, and both are shocked to see one another. It worked great)
We cut outside to see Lug loading his assembled rifle with some hefty looking bullets. These are taken from a box with a hazard symbol on it we see parts of the word “depleted” and “uranium” on the box, enough for the gun geeks to start talking in the audience.
He aims and fires three times in rapid succession. The two hinges and the lock explode off the door and Wes RPs Jill whipping out her gun and whirling towards the sound of the gunshots, while Dave has Zach jump into the vehicle and roar the engine to life.
Jill chases the vehicle as it drives out of the impound, and stops at the gates. She pulls out a radio and says “I need backup.”
Cut to Dr. Task, in his car and listening to a radio (the implication is that it is a police band) says “Uh oh.”
Kyle suggests that there’s a helicopter shot of a maze of darkened city streets, with the car racing along them, and suddenly the blink of one, two, five, eight, a dozen, and more squad car lights come to life in the streets around the moving car, the helicopter shot zooms in to the top of the building with Lug, watching all this
We zoom into the car, where Zach puts on a little headset, similar to the one we see in the pilot
Zach: Am I getting followed?
Lug: Little bit.
What follows is about 10 minutes of furious car chase. We don’t detail it too much, but the idea is that we get the fast cars crowd happy with some Dukes of Hazard style wrecked police cars.
We haven’t found a conflict yet. It wasn’t for lack of trying! We first suggested that Jill may or may not shoot at the car, and we wanted to narrate whether she took the shot. But we agreed it wasn’t exactly important. We thought maybe Lug would get spotted, but it didn’t seem to be important enough. We wanted there to be some sort of consequence, and then we hit upon something.
Wes suggested that the conflict be whether or not Jill takes the surveillance video of the impound lot. Dave suggests that his conflict is that his face wasn’t clear enough (the oily goo in his favor!) to show a clear face).
We draw, and both win.
We decide that it cuts to Jill at the broken gates, where she finds the flask dropped by Zach back a few scenes when he snuck in. Then she turns and looks up, and we see a black and white image of her looking up, and it panning back from a small screen on a security monitoring bank.
We then cut to black, and then we have the “next week, on Speed demons”.
Dave: Wheels and Lug looking at the car, purring like a kitten. “I don’t know what they did to it, but it works great!”
Wes: Jill holding a video tape and talking to a hispanic man. “Jose, I need a favor.”
Kyle: A man in a suit reading a paper that says “Daring Impound escape, chase costs city millions in damages, pursuit called off”. The man begins talking “Commisioner, this embarrasses me, and I don’t like being embarrassed.” We pan back and see an expensive desk, with the nameplate prominently saying “Mayor” in gold leaf lettering.
Dan: Dr. Task on the phone in his motel, saying “10 K on Team Demon”.
Me: Jill in the Police Captain’s office, Captain puts down a phone. “Jill, you’re of the case.”
So there we have it! Everyone had a great time, and the new player got into it immediately and totally “got” the game. It was mighty fun!
We struggled quite a bit with conflict in a few scenes, discussing it again and again until we had a situation where both consequences would be interesting. The whole episode was very plot-centric, due to the decision of low screen presence for everyone.
Do conflicts normally take long to discover in a given scene? Any suggestions on how I can tighten things up a bit?
Hi, my name is Jon.
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