Anomaly - student project

MILESTONE 4 -  First Draft (incomplete)  3.22.2013

Any feedback is appreciated.  Trying to cut it down in few days remaining. Figured a link to a PDF is easier than reading it here.

MILESTONE 3 - 3.22.2013

Much further behind than I would have liked... damn you job and bills! The following is probably more dense than a treatment needs to be, but I lack the savvy to refine it down just yet. 

Names and details have changed as this story evolves in my head. I am probably over complicating things for a short, but hopefully I can crop out what I need from this monster. Thanks in advance for any advice or crit! Here it is:

by Jason Rodriguez

SIMON FIONDAVI (40M), a climate scienitist on the brink of a major research breakthrough in El Niño oscillations, has been married to his career ever since the loss of his wife to a random act of violence some 10 years earlier. The police failed to find the killer and Simon has worked tirelessly since then to keep himself distracted, never fully able to process the trauma.

Having hit a wall in his research with a vital grant deadline looming, Simon takes his old Leica film camera to a nearby park to blow off steam. There, he spots a local young woman, MONA OGILVY (21F), a yoga instructor, walking through the park to her studio. Mona reminds Simon of his late wife and though he'd never say it aloud, he is quite taken with her (albeit physical admiration). He innocently includes her in his candid shots of the park as a means of relaxation and distraction.

While developing photos in his dark room, Simon slowly begins to recognize a pattern of peculiar behavior from another seemingly innocent park goer. This stranger always seems to be meandering in the general vicinity, sneaking glances at Mona. Simon notices as the stranger's park visits begin to synchronize with Mona's. Simon views him as a potential threat when suddenly Mona no longer crosses the park and her studio remains closed for a period of days. 

Simon confides in his long time colleague, DAMON BELLOCK (46M) and upon explaining the scenario is met with doubt and rage. Damon's concerns lie in the completion of their research and securing grant dollars. Damon advises Simon to walk away before the innocent habit drifts into voyeuristic obsession. He pleads with Simon to go to law enforcement or let it go. Simon refuses to seek out the police who have failed him before, he simply cannot ignore the evidence. An enraged Damon walks away in disgust.

Simon works up courage to investigate and notices townspeople and park goers are hesitant to engage him, avoiding questions about Mona. His growing paranoia gets the better of him and he resolves to break into her yoga studio under cover of night to somehow warn her. He finds traces of struggle and what appears to be blood. Simon searches through her files to determine her home address, now absolutely convinced that she is in some sort of trouble. After acquiring her address he goes to her home in hopes of finding her safe and sound. The house appears empty, save for one light and, oddly enough, Simon’s very own car already parked in her driveway. Simon hastily decides to break his way into her home and investigate and is shortly thereafter rushed by police, cuffed and hauled off for booking.

Damon visits Simon in lock-up and offers to bring research files for him to continue their work. Simon is outraged by Damon’s sociopathic detachment. In the heat of the argument Damon reveals his machinations have led to this moment. Damon was the stalker, and began showing up at the park in disguise after he notices Simon’s daliance in the park and growing obsession with Mona. Simon’s abhorrence of law enforcement and refusal to abandon his heroic pursuit lead Damon to kill Mona as she is closing up her Yoga studio; fearful that his meal-ticket colleague would fall in love again and lose sight of completing their work. The erie circumstances feel familar and it suddenly becomes clear to Simon that his wife’s death was Damon's doing as well.

MILESTONE 2 - 3.11.2013

I've decided to develop Anomaly as my short. While the interest generated by the idea was certainly a help in me making this choice, primarily I like the challenge of developing this idea as opposed to the other two options, which I actually had previously developed in some small capacity.

The themes/ideas I hope to explore with this story are obsession, voyeurism, perception vs. reality. 

The main character, currently named Francesco (name subject to change) is immersed in his work and blows off steam by taking photos at a park near his office with an old Leica film camera that belonged to his grandfather.

From his work with climate science, he is used to watching slow patterns develop before his eyes. Fluctuations in temperature over an ocean can lead to a drought in regions of Africa many months later. For him, the passage of time is essential to his work. This relationship with time leads him to appreciate the dark room development process and in spite of his friends insisting on a switch to digital, he adheres to old school methods.

After developing a roll he left in the camera for a few weeks while busy with work, he notices something not quite right with the photos. A figure, presumably a male, seems to be lurking nearby his favorite subject, Felicia, a local yoga instructor who passes through the park everyday to get to her studio. He begins reviewing previously developed rolls in hopes that he can write the lurker off as happenstance, but what he finds is an alarming pattern of stalking of this young woman. 

Unlike climactic events, which cannot be avoided, Francesco decides to break the invisible wall of his voyeurism and intervene in an attempt to possibly prevent something tragic. What develops is not quite what he had bargained for and he discovers that perhaps this anomaly is not as random as it would appear to be.

That's all I've got at moment...


MILESTONE 1 - 3.10.2013

A little behind on the first assignment. Any brief crit that group members can supply is welcomed. Thanks in advance!

All of my story ideas revolve around dark comedic concepts and have a general focus on the human condition and the oddly funny moments that arise out of dire and often uncomfortable situations. My three pitches are as follows:

Forever and a Day

A young woman in her 20s, Desireé, has suffered from a crippling social anxiety. She has always struggled to fit herself into the world around her, including finding her place within her own family ranks.  Opportunity to form a connection with those closest to her is now dwindling as scientific hubris and careless miscalculation have triggered the definitive end to human existence.

In the face of sheer hopelessness Desireé struggles to forge some bond with her neurotic mother, detached and self-involved father and exuberant social-butterfly younger sister, before literally everything is gone.


As a climate scientist, Francesco Fiondella examines and identifies patterns in nature as a force of habit. When his hobby of candid photography at a nearby park begins to reveal odd patterns as well, namely the apparent stalking of his favorite female subject, his innocent hobby turns from routine into obsession.

Francesco, by his nature unable to ignore warning signs, becomes entangled in the lives of his photo subjects yielding potentially life threatening results.

Four Feet

Marc Halfin's severe depression and formidable drug use led to what many friends would have called an inevitable suicide attempt. Marc's lack of attention to detail contributed to its failing.

Upon completion of a mandatory psych eval and rehab stint, Marc is ordered by judge to return home, so long as he remain under court-ordered house arrest with observation by a state approved mental-health guardian. With clever convincing Marc's childhood friend/nemesis (and state social worker), Nicholas Pickering, is named his overseer for the duration of his recovery.

While Mark is immediately horrified by this prospect, what ensues is a lively philosophical negotiation on how Marc can finish the job properly, with Nick's help.

Jason Rodriguez

Graphic Designer