FRANCIS | Skillshare Projects

Ande Jonas





Francis Vandebilt lives in a future earth society in a totalitarian state. Amongst many other restrictions, the distribution of art and creativity provoking mediums are the most severe offenses against the law of the state. Francis has to deal with the reprocussions of his choice to disobey this law in hopes of inspiring a young boy.  




By Ande Jonas

FRANCIS VANDEBILT (28M) is young, determined and devoted to the process of creating and the pursuit of inspiration. Francis lives in a future Earth society in revolt of a totalitarian State. Amongst many other restrictions, the distribution of art and creativity provoking mediums are the most severe offenses against the law of the State. The State believes that inspiration and creativity incites revolution and disobedience. Many citizens of the State are “Standards”, citizens who have conformed to the totalitarian way of living; those who have rejected the revolt and the things that they stand for.


In Francis’ unmistakable, enthralling 1962 Mercedes Benz Coupe (a rare vessel at the time) he tries to spread inspiration despite the possibility of severe repercussions. He is cruising down a clear freeway with a junked backseat of crumbled old vinyl artwork, CD credits and some half destroyed books from the "Inspired Time" of the 1970s. Francis is in search of a pub to have a cool brew on a scorching day. Standard Radio is playing, Francis likes to listen to it to have something to mock in his head. He scoffs and puts on an old Outkast compact disc, “Aquemini”. Eventually, Francis catches eye onto Potero’s, Bar & Grill. Francis pulls into the lot. He parks and steps out the vivacious mercedes immediately catching the eye of surrounding Standards. He lights a cigarette. Almost as if the sight of a Standards’ existence is an instant stressor to his own.


Francis  notices a young boy, WALTER RIGBY (10M) taking a hypnotic interest in the tabloids posted outside of Potero’s. Francis makes way to introduce himself to young Walter. He goes on to explain the original condition of the State to Walter - before the totalitarian uprising and how it was easy for them to rise to power because of what Walter was doing exactly at that moment. Being so engulfed into other people’s business that didn’t promote or excite the idea of progression, inventiveness and creativity. Francis can see that Walter is scared, no, overwhelmed.  But not of Francis, Walter explains. Walter being so young, he was born into this, this is his normalcy. Francis realizes that he can show him better than he can tell him and goes to his car to retrieve his most prized piece of art. Almost not realizing how much of a heinous crime this is at the time, he disregards it entirely. Francis presents to Walter an original 1982, “The Wall” Poster from the Pink Floyd film. Walter is excited and amazed. He’s never seen something like this in his entire life. Francis feels so proud of himself for this, he subconsciously welcomes any repercussions knowing that what he's done is something bigger than himself.


Francis continues on into the pub for a cold brew. He notices Standards within the pub whispering and staring at him. This is something he’s used to so he pays it no mind. But suddenly, he is approached by a wildly upset mother, MRS. RIGBY (44W). Mrs. Rigby yells and screams, “You have no right! No right to expose my son to this confusion!” Francis is almost saddened at the sight of her, someone born into the previous State, before the totalitarian uprising, completely brain-washed against the idea of creativity. Francis regains his focus and silently pleads, pleads for Mrs. Rigby to keep her voice down. Throughout their confrontation, Francis notices that Mrs. Rigby is bringing a lot of unwanted attention to them. The barkeep reaches for the phone and Francis knows he’s in trouble, half paying attention to Mrs. Rigby’s rant and half paying attention to the reactions of the people around them. They are whispering and beginning to crowd them. As the crowd of people grows, Francis notices State cars pull up to Potero’s. Little Walter tries to pierce through the wall of Standards to get Francis’ attention, but doesn’t manage to get his attention through everything that is going on.


Francis is approached and apprehended by the authorities then immediately dragged away. Once being briefly detained, Francis comes to an encounter with PAULIE (36M). Paulie’s been a recurring detainee in the State’s program, he introduces Francis to two other detainee’s ROB (29M) who constantly talks about how he has to “File these reports” although he’s never in an actual office, and then DONNY (21M) who is so traumatized from the program to the point he is in awe of Francis’ existence, his essence of freedom scares Donny completely. The sight of Paulie, Donny and Rob’s turnout terrifies Francis but he prepares himself for the worst.  Eventually the cell door opens, and shortly after Francis is being forced into the program lead by DR. GAUNT (68M). The program coaxes him into being a “Standard” citizen, where he falls into deep interests of trivial news, tabloids and a purposeless career. In this program, Francis is forced to watch a mesmeric visual compilation used to break down the creative mind. Dr. Gaunt takes a creepy interest in witnessing those with strong mindsets and willpower to fight against the State, break and crumble by the poison that is his program. Francis’ final words as a free minded man, he and Dr. Gaunt exchange words about the future of the State and the history of the totalitarian uprising. Dr. Gaunt explains how it was easy to take control of the masses to create one State with no division under one entire dominating rule. Gaunt says that because people who choose to drown in pointless information draw all the same inspiration and ideas from the internet, as opposed to seeking more diverse ways to create their own ideas. Gaunt says, “it was easy to create a central idea”. Francis in total disappointment fades out, awaking later into the pointless cycle of a Standard.


Years pass, and Francis is seen as a regular standard citizen, happily goes to work, takes interests in entertainment gossip news hugely, enjoys music only played on Standard radio, has no real aspirations and is totally content with it all. As if Francis is a completely new man. He left one important mark before he began to lead this new life. That mark was Walter. Walter took everything that Francis had introduced him to like a sponge, he soaked up all of that inspiration, those ideas. Francis created a cycle and he wasn’t even fully sure that, that was what he was doing in actuality. Walter denounces his mother's beliefs, respectfully. He reaches out to kids just like how Francis did for him, and a kid blossoms. Continuing and everlasting cycle of growth and creativity, in hopes to one day recreate an entire society that praises and embraces progression, inventiveness, idealism, and creativity. Instead of shunning it in fear, or taking it for granted in place of things that don’t promote it.


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