The des hume initiative posits itself as a “for profit organization dedicated to exploring utopian social dynamics.” Since it’s inception, the initiative has enjoyed secrecy and free reign to conduct research of unknown intent behind closed doors..until now. Damaged tapes left behind in a former compound give a glimpse into the strange ritualistic practices referred to as “exercises” performed by those devoted to initiative teachings. The mostly silent footage has been compiled and set to a score composed by the unnamed founder.
ACT 1: OPEN on a room with 10-20 people standing in a half-circle configuration as the opening drums from “ego” begin. Individuals from the ends of the circle step forward to the centre, bow to each other, and it appears uncertain what they are doing. Their eyes are closed, and their breathing is fast, approaching hyperventilation. Eyes open, and the individuals silently scream at each other. No noise is emitted, but spit flies from their mouths, veins pop, and faces go red. The group stares. Eventually, one person collapses. They lie panting on the floor as the next person from the end steps forward to challenge the winner. The cycle repeats.
QUICK CUT - a large group of people, all wearing dark pants and white shirts, jump into the ocean.
ACT 2 : Cut to an empty industrial street. The camera follows an older looking Thom in makeup, wearing a rumpled outfit, driving an older Buick (or equivalent) at a crawl. He leans out of the car to talk to people on the street but is ignored. He lights a cigarette and turns down an alley, but a group of figures blocks his path. He flashes his lights at them, and when they don't move he puts the car in reverse. His path is blocked again. From all sides, the group of people close in. Exhaust fumes are lit up in the taillights. The camera pulls back as the car is encircled, and he is removed from the vehicle.
ACT 3 : We cut to a stark white room with a piano. Thom follows a woman (played by Venus in drag, whose face is not initially seen). Eventually she leans against the piano while Thom plays the song. Camera pulls back to show that there is a group of figures observing (same as in other segments).
ACT 4 : Thom stumbles while being half-carried onstage by the same group of figures, against a background of tinsel. He appears unwell, with clammy skin, as if he’s been through something unspeakable. A spotlight shines on him. He takes a microphone and begins to sing (you hear him singing over the track). He's sweating. A hushed crowd watches him. As the song builds he builds up to a fever and eventually collapses. Four people step forward and gently lift him up. He is led away.
Credits play to radio static. A voice announces the TRANSMISSION has ended.
We plan on shooting this on 16mm film. The gorgeous skin tones, rich colour, and pleasing film grain is something that is hard to replicate and we plan to make it authentic by shooting on film. Each act will feel surreal while being beautiful to look at. To achieve this we will spend extensive time on each person's wardrobe and makeup. It should feel like a production rather than a reality. Fashion is important to us and this will read in the way we dress our cast. The location of each act should feel like it was designed for a runway shoot but could also live in an old movie set; well designed but timeless. Performances will be extensively rehearsed prior to shooting, however, on the day we will also allocate time for improvisation in order to let our extremely creative cast's personalities show on camera. Thom is also an incredible performer and in Act 3 and 4 we plan on letting him do his thing.
We're really excited to work on this and appreciate your time and consideration.
-Jordan and Thom