Part 1 [7/2/12]
The crowd in the classroom was rowdy. All the students were pushing each other as excitement reached its peak. The usual bags were replaced with suitcases packed with clothes.
This was a college holiday, a week at a proper film industry.
This industry has the best reviews, and as it is out in the open countryside, no proper filming regulations exist that do in the city.
“OK! Everyone! Be quiet!” Tom Hughs shouts. “We need to be sure that everyone is here.”
“Everyone in groups of ten,” the other teacher, Lee Johnson commands.
The students push each other more as they get into the specified group numbers. Tom then moves around the students counting all of them.
“OK. Forty five, that’s great,” Tom says. “Now then. This college holiday has been set up so you can get to grips with what it is really like in a film
"We've been going to this place year after year, and it's never failed in terms of enjoyment and experience," Lee adds. "So then, let's go. The coaches should be here by now to take us to the train station."
"Err Lee." One of the students enquires, "Why do we have to go there by train?"
"Good question," Lee says. "And the answer is that the people at Plutes [Plu-tes] wanted a quiet environment, so they chose somewhere no cars could access, and then built a train line which runs to the Central Station."
"But that's a long way from here," the same student says. "Surely it would be a lot easier to have a shorter line instead."
"Don't question the logic," Tom says. "Anyway, let's go now."
All the students then pick up their suitcases, and still pushing, file out of the door with Tom leading. Lee trails at the back.
The group walks down a corridor lined with red carpet and cream walls, and out of a blue lined door. Outside, the weather is brisk and slightly windy.
The group then stops by the reception building. Tom enters and two minutes later exits again.
“The coaches are waiting just outside the gates. Remember, one by one get in. No pushing,” Tom says. “Let’s go.”
The group, lead by Tom, walk down a sandy gravel path lined either side with a garden of grass. The black iron gates are already open as the group reaches them. Turning left onto the main road, two coaches wait in the coach bay.
“Split into two groups and choose either coach,” Lee says.
Roughly half get into coach 1, which is blue in colour with red writing. Coach 2, which the others get into, is red in colour with blue writing. The writing is the name of the coach company, and that company is FarSight.
Part 2 [9/2/12]
The student that asked the questions in the classroom is named Max Rushden. Short, black hair covered by a red cap and pale skin, he is quite the curious person. It is due to this curiosity that he has been able to hack the systems of phones and computers to maximize full security within them. He keeps himself to himself and doesn’t reveal secrets about his successes. One of his best creations is a secure data storage stick which can record voice messages and write them onto the storage
space. His security state also carries onto his choice of clothes as well, as he never has a jumper if it doesn’t have at least one inside or hidden pocket. It is one of these pockets, while sat on the coach which is travelling towards its destination, that Max pulls out his self-named Secure-disk Rec and activates it.
Journal entitled ‘College holiday’. Chapter 1.
Finally. This is the holiday we’ve all been waiting for. A real experience of film-making in open country. How many of my class have talked about this for ages. Just going on and on about it. I know I’m excited about it as well, but I’ve never liked tutorials. Even in theory based work, I’m always doing a trial and error based approach so I know I’ve got it right. The other class members laugh at me for doing it, but with script writing, storyboarding, or even photo-taking, I always experiment. Experimentation will get you forward. It’s how I’m recording this now. To go on this holiday, I have had to put a project I’m currently working on out of my mind. But even now, I’m still thinking of ways to approach making it. I’m creative, and it’s those people that use trial and error methods that are most creative. They aren’t let down by a failure. They’ll just save it for another project.
And so, while I am willing to go on this holiday, I’ll probably find it less useful than the other students.
Tom Golden is a TV and Film teacher at the Lower Clifton College of Arts. So is Lee Johnson. While both have peachy skin, the differences end there. Tom is taller than Lee, and two years older. Lee however, has more experience within the film industry. He has worked at various companies including Animation Art, Short Films Inc., and Documentaries and Dramas Net. He even had a short placement at the Entertainment Network Plaxton, working for the country news. It is therefore why Lee likes a more practical approach when teaching. Tom uses theory and practical combined, though sometimes not to the greatest of effects. Both of them decided to book the holiday for the students together, and over the weeks, the students were more interested and more signed up to go. It also helped that the two had experience with the place, since both had been lots of times before.
Part 3 [11/2/12]
The coaches pull up at a car park, which a large building is shadowing.
A train hoots its horn and pulls out of the station.
"Don't worry," Tom says. "Now everyone out. And remember to take everything with you."
Much grumbling and groaning follows this as students try to be the first out so they can stretch their legs. Max just sits and waits for everyone else to move away. Then he picks up his bags and moves out of the coach to, thanking the driver as he passes him.
Outside, the two groups then merge and collect all their suitcases. The group then walks to the station building.
Inside, shops line the walls, selling books, games, food, and nearly everything else. The group isn't led to any of these however, but to a lower floor where a single train waits. The single door lies open.
"Everyone in then," Lee commands.
Everyone starts groaning again as they have to sit down again so soon.
However, there are no seats.
"Tom, if there's no seats, how are we going to survive the next hour or so?" Max asks.
"Well, this is the first part of the adventure," Tom says. "There are no seats so you can get to grips with being adventurous."
"This is to test your stability while on moving objects," Lee adds. "But move away from the door. No-one else can get in."
Max moves deeper into the train, and everyone else then walks in uncertainly. After hearing what was said, the students take stances they hope will stop them falling over. Tom presses a button on the door when all are inside. The train slowly sets off and those unprepared start falling. Those sat on the floor fall sideways.
"Death trap," Max whispers quietly to himself. "We'll be lucky enough to survive the first five minutes."
Journal entitled 'College holiday'. Chapter 2.
This is no way to travel. If I was able to sue this place, I would. There is nothing else worse than to travel this way. I would have rather been on that coach with leg cramp than trying to survive on here. As soon as we first set off, I knew things would be bad. They got worse. Half of the people on the train fell over within the first five minutes of the journey. All the luggage that people let go of to save themselves is now in a pile at the back. I've still got mine. I strapped it to me as soon as I found out that there was no luggage space.
I think I'm the only one that has really survived so far. The two teachers are alright. They moved straight to the back and are leaning against a wall right now, talking. Who knows what about. Even I can't decipher that while everyone's screaming.
Part 4 [13/2/12]
The train starts slowing down. Everything, people and luggage, fall again.
Max, who was able to stay standing, looks out of the window.
The landscape is hilly and green, with a forest of trees near a building made of stone. Some film sets look like they've already been made. A few caravans look like they have obviously been placed by planning.
A rough jolt then brings Max to the floor again. The train halts. The single door then springs open.
"Everyone, collect your things then join us on the station," Tom calls to the students.
The students all get up and start rushing around, trying to find what is theirs. Max, who has his luggage still strapped to him, waits inside for a while, not wanting to be the first out. After a while though, he admits defeat and unstraps his luggage while walking out.
Outside, three others are waiting. All adults, and all with green jumpers and blue trousers. All wear black boots. Behind then, hung up, is a banner with the Plutes logo and the words 'welcome you all'. The sound of grumbling alerts the three to the other students pushing there way out of the door.
"Now. Now," one of the three calls. "No need for that."
When all are on the station, the door of the train closes. One of the three instructors then claps their hands.
"Now then," the instructor says. "Welcome to Plutes, the home of set design and film making. I'm Stanley Upper, and behind me to the left is Ean. Telisa on the right. We are all family, and this is our home."
"Plutes is the best place for budding film enthusiasts," Ean says. "This is becuase you get to build the sets, and also film on them."
"We'll show you where you will be staying over the course of the week, shall we?" Telisa commands.
The three instructors, two teachers and fourty five students walk off the station, down a path, and to the right. Another stone building can be seen.
"This is the residential area," Stanley comments. "We are over in the house you can see behind. Let's get in."
Everyone follows Stanley inside.
"This is the cafe area," Ean comments. "The girls dorms are to the left, boys down the far end."
From the door everyone entered, the boys' dorm door can be seen directly in line with the main door. At a fourty-five degree angle to the left, the girls' dorm door can be seen. In the middle of the space are lots of tables. The walls and floor are cream coloured. Running along the whole of the right wall is a serving counter. To the right of this serving counter, almost in line with the main door, is another door.
"What's behind that door?" Max asks.
"Behind that door?" Stanley says, caught off guard. "Oh, that's kept locked all the time. Access to the kitchen, that door is."
"Anyway," Telisa says, "it's getting dark and we'll be starting early in the morning, so get unpacked, return here for food, and then get back to your rooms and get some sleep."
The three instructors then walk back out of the main doors. The rest of the group seperate.
Part 5 [15/2/12]
Journal entitled ‘College holiday’. Chapter 3.
There isn't something right. I just can't explain it, but something is not right.
Firstly, the station and the dorms are right next to each other. All the dorms are single rooms, but more importantly, that door I asked about cannot lead to the kitchen. It just can't. From the boys' dorms door, you could obviously see the wall, and it was before where that door is. And there was no other door on that wall.
The rooms being single only is something I like, since it gives me privacy. And I have work to be doing. It might seem stupid, doing work on a holiday, but I intend to get this mystery sorted. And first way to do that is set up hidden cameras. If I can.
The activity is rocketing, what with everyone trying to get seats or food. Max, however, does none of these things. Being first into the cafe room, he had collected some food and already ate it. And so he just sits in a seat. No-one bothers him.
A bell then rings announcing closing time of the food. Max makes a slight movement with his hands. The door to the right of the serving counter remains closed however. Only the door on the left of it is ever used. Max then moves his hands away from the table and drops something onto the floor. It takes him quite a while to pick it up.
Then he joins the boys heading back to the dorms.
Journal entitled ‘College holiday’. Chapter 4.
I knew something was up. That door is not connected to the kitchen, no matter what any instructor says. The whole place feels different than it should. That's all I can say. I don't like admitting it, but I should have done something more. What I did do was attatch a camera of my own design to a table. The only thing it needs is a wireless microchip, meaning it can be as small as it needs to be. The recording equipment is right here in this room. Right now though, I feel as though anything I can do is pointless as something always does.
My only prediction is that this whole place is... hiding something. I feel as though I've been here before.
Part 6 [17/2/12]
The alarms go off at 07:00. All around the building, in every room. No-one can stay asleep at the noise. All get up groggily and start getting dressed.
At 07:10, the first students head into the cafe. Max can hear them.
Max doesn’t head out straight away though, but moves to his laptop and activates a secure program to stop access. The he walks out, making sure he has the essential items on him.
In the cafe, two of the instructors wait. Telisa and Ean are sat at a table on their own. Talking. Max moves the serving counter to get food.
By 07:30, everyone has eaten their fill.
“OK. So everyone is now ready to start the week,”Telisa begins. “One problem. You saw yesterday that sets had already been constructed. A storm last night destroyed them. We need to see teamwork from all of you to build them back to how they originally were.”
The students groan. Max in particular, makes a scathing face.
“Now. Now,” Ean says. “Teamwork should get the sets built again, so the quicker you get them built, the faster you get to film. OK?”
The students aren’t happy that they can’t film straight away, but agree that building the sets would be the best option.
And so they set off to the hillside to start building the first set again. This set is a caravan park scene, which only needed a quick clean, but with one hundred caravans on site, it took all morning. Returning for a quick food break, the next set to be
rebuilt was a park scene.
The swings had fallen over and some of the chains needed to be fixed. This required ten people, with an extra two to lift it into position. The gravel needed to be picked up from the area, and new gravel needed to be re-laid. The slide also needed to be lifted into position again. The climbing frame that had been perfect the day before was now all tangled, and some bolts had come out. Finding them in the gravel was a time-staking pain. But it was done by students.
The teachers and instructors were nowhere to be seen; occasionally walking back down the hill to see how much progress had been made.
By 19:00, the set had almost been rebuilt.
“Excellent,” Stanley remarks. “Truly brilliant. Right then. Take this time to refresh for tomorrow. Head back, eat, do whatever else you must, and get to bed. Up at seven in the morning again.”
The students walk back to the dorms. Max, however, rushes up to Stanley, who takes no notice of him and walks in the direction of the house.
“Hey!” Max calls. And when Stanley doesn’t reply,“Hey!”
"Max, stop it,” Tom calls.
“But I wanted to ask a question,” Max dejectedly says.
“Ask tomorrow then,” Lee shouts. “But you heard him. Up at seven again in the morning. Come on.”
And so Max has no choice but to return to the dorms. He has little to eat, and almost immediately after returns to his room. Then he sets about compiling a list of questions that needs answering.
The other students, however, are too sleepy after their food and the hard day working and so return to their rooms and fall asleep almost as soon as their head hits the pillow of their bed.
Part 7 [19/2/12]
The same things happen like the day before. The alarms go off at 07:00 and everyone’s in the café by 07:15. By 07:30, they have all eaten. Stanley walks in at this time and tells everyone to head back to the park set, where the final touches need to be
This took until 10:00, however. Then the students were led up the hill where the teachers and instructors were seen heading down yesterday.
“We need some students to help with this,” Telisa says. “We can’t find any other way.”
Everyone reaches the top of the hill and a massive pool of water with fallen boats await.
“No way!” Max calls out.
“Wait until you hear what you are doing!” Tom calls.
“Yes,” Ean calls back. “Now then, what needs doing here is these ropes need pulling to get the boats back to the edge. Now surely that can’t be too difficult, can it?”
And so the students pull into groups and grab hold of one of the ropes. Then they start hauling the boats in.
Journal entitled ‘College holiday’. Chapter 5.
Until 12:00, we spent the day hauling the boats to the edge of the lake using ropes. But I knew that as soon as I called out, there was more to be done at that lake. And so it is here I stand recording this, taking all the electrical out of my pockets, as I know that I am in for it when we return to the lakeside. When I exclaimed at the water and the teachers and instructors looked at me, I could tell I would be first for whatever lay ahead.
<Faint – “Max? Max where are you?”>
Oh dear. I’d better stop now. But I’ll make an excuse for why I was in here.
Max quickly puts all the electrical items in a bag. The door opens as he turns around.
“What are you doing in here?” Lee says.
“Just putting my wipes back,” Max comments.
“Well come on then. Everyone’s waiting to get back up to that lake.”
Max follows Lee back to the café area. Everyone then walks back to the lake on the hill.
“Right then,” Stanley calls to the group. “We’ve had a look in the boats and found some items missing from them. We need good swimmers to dive down and collect them.”
“You,” Telisa calls to Max. “Why don’t you go first?”
Max silently growls. “Fine.”
Max then walks to the edge and jumps in. Gasps rent the air as the others see him dive straight in and almost instantly back up with two paddles in each hand.
“Well done,” Stanley comments. “Now then. The best swimmers step forward and jump in. Those not confident enough stay at the water’s edge ready to collect the items off the swimmers.”
And so they set to work again, as a team of one.
Part 8 [20/2/12]
The next two days follow the same format as the last two days.
First the alarms blare at 07:00 and everyone wakes up. They all meet in the café area where they all eat their breakfast, and then the bad news spreads as more sets need rebuilding. On the Thursday, the sets were a building lot, a park scene and a car park. On the Friday it was a continuation of the car park followed by a painting of all walls within a storefront.
Each day, a break came as soon as the students finished the first set of that day. Each day, the teachers or instructors never helped at all. Each day finished at 19:00. And each day, Max never got to ask the question he wanted so desperately to ask.
And something was starting to affect the students. They all seemed to start enjoying the holiday.
The last day. Saturday. All the students would be returning back home the next day. And finally, the sets had been completed. Or so they thought.
“Sorry everyone,” Stanley says in the café of the morning. “We need help with one of our sound suites before we can continue, well start, filming. It is entirely soundproofed and no distractions can come from anything happening outside.”
"If you’d like to follow me,” Telisa says.
The students all file out of the café and up a different hill than the ones of previous times. At the top is one building. Inside, only one set of stairs going down is found. The students all head down these stairs.
The sound suites are top class. All the rooms are white and not even one speck of dust can be found. A filtration unit above the door picks up the dust from the students as they walk in.
“Telisa will stay with you and explain what needs to be done. Me and Ean will go get the cameras ready,” Stanley reports, and with that, exits again.
“OK. We need some sound testers and some people to do the tuning of the equipment,” Telisa says. “What we really need is quality sound from each of the microphones. The tuning is off and just us three wouldn’t have been able to get them all done before you had to film.”
“So why didn’t you do it the last couple of days when we were toiling hard on the sets?” Max demands.
“Shut it!” Telisa shouts. “The microphones of all the other suites have been done, but this is the last suite and this is the last day. Get it?”
She then shakes herself. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have lost my temper, but I would have thought it was obvious.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter,” Tom says. “We should really have explained what our part was to the students.”
“Well, now it’s all clear, shall we get started?” Telisa asks.
And so everyone sets to work.
The tuning takes the rest of the day. At 19:00, everyone returns back to the café. But water is on the ground. When they all get to the dorm building however, it is battered.
Stanley walks out and calls “Sorry everyone but another storm struck here. This building is now a danger zone. Well, all except the café. We’ve rescued your things from the rooms so find them and eat then settle down to sleep in the sleeping bags we’ve
The instructions are carried out by all the students. Max, however walks to the door of the boys’ dorms and is about to open the door where water is leaking through when Ean holds him back.
“I wouldn’t do that if I was you,” he says.
So Max has no choice but to return to the middle of the room. Ean is guarding the door when Max looks back. Before he settles down to sleep, he checks that everything is in his suitcase. It is, even his laptop, and so he picks out his Secure-disk Rec and waits until everyone else is snoring.
Part 9 [21/2/12]
Journal entitled ‘College holiday’. Chapter 6.
Everyone else is now asleep. The instructors have gone too. I’m speaking quietly in case I wake anyone. They’ll be wondering what I’m doing. Who else carries a memory stick with a recording device in it? This has been one of the worst holiday’s ever, and I vow to return. This has been one of the worst holidays ever because there is deception at every turn. Something about the feel of this place. It’s getting hit by storms, and they have the money to repair it, but choose not to. Instead they ruin a students’ holiday and get them to do the dirty work. As for the money… I want to find out all I can about this place, as the money is the most important aspect of it. The only way here is by that rotten train, or by air.
And they will notice an air vehicle and I bet they’ve paid for the area to be deleted from the automated routes as well. Still, they can’t keep everyone out.
<Faint – “They should all be asleep now.”>
<Faint – “Let’s get set up then.”>
That doesn’t sound right. I’d better go to sleep fast.
Journal entitled ‘College holiday’. Chapter 7.
Morning. It was a rough day yesterday. Doing filming was great. However, one weird thing happened. We’ve woke up in sleeping bags on the train. Everyone’s too busy talking about the trip to take much notice of me. Another weird thing was that this recorder was left on. I can’t edit the files on the thing itself, so I’ll have to wait until I get back home to do that. Which is hopefully not that long away.
The holiday was a complete success and I enjoyed it to the fullest. Recording film scenes in the open is just the best. Seriously hope we can go again sometime, but since this is my last year at college…
Not like it matters. What matters is I had the best experience.
The train pulls up back at the station, and all the students file out and pair off to get back onto the coaches. When back at the college, everyone then splits up to go home. Max checks he has everything on him then heads on his way.
Back at his home, and inside his room, he activates the download mechanism of the Secure-disk Rec once it is plugged into the computer. Once the download is complete, he then listens to all the recordings made.
When he reaches what was meant to be a complete silence after journal six, however, changes that expression to shock.
Part 10 [22/2/12]
Journal entitled ‘College holiday’. Chapter 6 Extended.
TELISA: <Faint - Everyone asleep yet?>
EAN: <Faint – Hopefully. Now we need to get this serum injected.>
TELISA: <Faint – What is this serum again? I can’t understand it.>
EAN: <Faint – Well since you’re new here, I’ll explain again. Once they wake up in the morning, they will realise that no filming will have been done at all. They’ll complain. They spread the word. We go down in business until we go bust. This serum is to replace the memory of this week with a great experience so the word spreads and we get more money. What do you think we spend the money on?>
TELISA: <Faint – OK. OK. Let’s get to work.>
TELISA: <Faint - That’s done. Now what?>
EAN: No need to talk quiet now. That makes sure they’re asleep.
TELISA: Yes. OK. Now what?
EAN: A special serum for the teachers and we load them all through the door and back onto the train.
<Recording continues with straining of both people and slow, heavy footsteps>
Max stares at the computer screen, unable to comprehend what he’s just heard. Then it slips into place. Instantly his hands fly over the computers keyboard and then he inserts a disk into the driver. The download starts and a voice calls Max. He then leaves his room.
When he returns, the download is done. Max then puts that disk into a protective case, which he then slips into a red, bulky bag.
The room Max calls his own is mostly black, with red stripes, wallpaper. This same design is also carried over to his bed covers. From the door, the bed is opposite, and the computer/work station is directly left of the door. A metal and components box can be seen directly right from the door. The only window is at the right side of the bed. Even this has curtains of black with red stripes. Against the left wall from the door is a widescreen TV. Just standing on its own. Max had worked on this previously so that it could pick up a signal from far away. This allowed him to access all channels from most other regions and in fact all if it was a clear day. A door on the right side wall held the storage for unfinished projects.
Max stares gormlessly out of the window. What he sees is a mystery, but the journey was one to forget. He, however, remembers every little detail.
Click to read Chapter 2 - Truth Convict.