The Guardian: Damian Carrington: Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

On the one hand this makes me very sad, and scared, and angry. We have the worst kind of self serving politicians trying to isolate us from Europe under the guise of trade with, who know? What they should be doing is finding ways to integrate, and partner with other countries to do something about this. On the other hand I look at this story and think there’s a great film in their somewhere. What happens when nature collapses?


The New York Times: David Wolpe: The Japanese Man Who Saved 6,000 Jews With His Handwriting

There’s an interesting idea for a film in this article. I can see the obvious parallel to Schindler’s List. Although Chiune Sugihara’s story doesn’t have a list to focus the narrative. Sugihara doesn’t change in the way Schindler does. Sugihara remains steadfast despite the pressure to conform. The question to be answered is what are the stakes, what does Sugihara want? Something to think about.

The Atlantic: David Kohn: When Gut Bacteria Change Brain Function

There’s a premise for a screenplay in here somewhere. It could be a “House MD” style medical detective story. A patient’s behaviour suddenly changes, presenting with what looks like autism, but they’re fifty. Test upon test leave the team stumped, until they discover a recent trip abroad introduced an unfamiliar bacteria to the patients gut. The happy ending version of this story has the team introducing healthy bacteria, restoring the patient to full health. There’s also a “Lorenzo’s Oil” type story in there. Parents struggle to raise their child with severe behavioural problems. Setting out on a mission to help their child, they take on experts, challenge orthodoxy, and discover an imbalance of bacteria in their child is causing the problem. I could also see this premise being more sinister. A pandemic story. Our germaphobic heroine starts to see the people around her change, congregating like bees in a hive, as the bacteria spreads. Our heroine hooks up with a small group trying to evade this new “normal”, and find a way to fight back. I envision something more akin to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” than “28 Days Later”. It has the potential to explore issues of power and control and normalisation.

Vice: Allison Tierney: There’s a Spike of Sextortion Incidents

There is germ of a screenplay idea here somewhere. The most obvious is a “you messed with the wrong guy” scenario. Teen gets s-extorted. Shammed, the teen kills himself. Teen’s dad, a gangster gone straight, returns to his old life determined to avenge his son. There’s a relatively pedestrian “police procedural” in there.  Victim of s-extortion reports it to the police. They chase down the perpetrators. A recent Channel 4 documentary Celebrity Sextortion walked a very similar path. In it Dan Lobb tried and failed to tack down his s-extorters. The issue for me seems to be in the tension between public and private behaviour, shame, privacy, greed, and morality. The only way anyone can be s-exploited is if they are caught doing something they are ashamed of. The first scenario asserts the morality of the current power structures. The second explores the technology of the exploitation. The more interesting story is overcoming the shame imposed on them by the attempted s-extorsion. Someone is targeted. They refuse to pay the ransom. Their video is released. What do they do? How does the experience change their relationships? Where does it take them? This scenario puts me in mind of the #metoo movement. The person finds strength knowing they are not alone. Their example starts a revolution that changes the world.