In Alan's own words.
Third Doctor (with Sea Devil set)
Jo and the Brigadier (Three Doctors)
Connor and Stephen(both Primeval) as the Campers
Hawthorne(The Beast Below) as the Reverend
Faceless Grandma Connolly (The Idiots Lantern) as the Postmistress
Nick Cutter, Helen Cutter and James Lester (Primeval) as the Search Party
and Introducing Elis Helrot (Star Wars Cantina Scene) as ‘the Guard

A ‘UNIT’ Landrover which was customed from the Jayland Collector’s Tin version using the addition of a homemade UNIT sticker symbol.
Having just received the Three Doctors Collector set with Jo and the Brigadier plus Gel Guard, I wanted to do a Third Doctor story as that’s the era I grew up with.

Plus the Star Wars Figure of Elis Helrot fitted nicely with the role of the mysterious ‘Guardian’.

The light creature I knew would be a simple effect and was easily constructed in the initial filming stage with the GIMP Software.
I wanted to do a typical Earth based Third Doctor story in which there was no TARDIS and was set in an idyllic English Village with sinister undertones. These type of stories are more scary as being Earth based you can imaging something coming out of the dark!
My original idea for the story had a creature being discovered buried in a pit and placed there centuries ago by early settlers. The campers moved a stone and were attacked by a light which turned out to be using EMF as its food source, (I Googled body EMF). I wanted it to be the Doctor and Jo investigating and after encountering trouble themselves, the Brigadier arrives to help. Later as the story developed at first the Guardian was using the light to protect himself then later developed that he was in fact transferring a dangerous prisoner to another planet before crashing on Earth.
After joining AFT Storylab, I started writing my script in January 2013 and had completed the final draft by the beginning of February 2013.

Once the final script was completed, filming started at the beginning of February 2013. My ‘sound stage’ consisted of using the top of my Doctor Who display cabinet and lighting consisted of a touch lamp and an overhead lamp in the hallway. In order to shoot scenes where the light creature is attacking people I used the touch lamp at various settings to make something for them to react to. For the UNIT Landrover I used a piece of hardboard for the background and placed a lamp above. This was shot on the floor.

I wanted to emulate the days of CSO filming predominant in the early 70s and used coloured backgrounds of blue, green and yellow. As most of the story was set in woodland or at night most of my ‘sets’ were photographic backgrounds enhanced to tie in with the night events. Only a few sets were made; the entrance to the Post Office, the Brigadier’s Office, the Post Office counter and the Reverend’s lodge was an interior from another project of mine which is in production at the moment.

Although initial filming was completed in May 2013, I found at the Editing stage some shots required remounting due to changes in the script.

I used GIMP software which is a free verison of Photoshop and essentially uses the same tools. With the AFT Storylab page template, I set up where the various panels would go and wrote down instructions as to what was happening in each boxed area. On occasions I made a change to the script in order to combine panels. Some shots were reduced in size to fit the panels. In some cases only a brief close-up of the original shot is seen.

The most difficult of panels to do were the UNIT Landrover ones which took place on an open road due to the angle of the shots. In the end I had to substitute some of these  with a close-up of the Landrover. The only panel which came close to my original intention was the last panel on page 1 where the Doctor and Jo’s are attacked.

One of my favourite panels is the 1st one showing the ship crashing as the campers watch on and the Doctor and Jo in the woods confronting the light creature. I also liked the Post Office one where I had to green screen the glass panels out so I could use a photographic interior for the shop. Finally I love the shot of the Guardian when Jo first meets him standing by his ship as we don’t know if he’s good or bad.

Final Editing was completed on 9th June 2013.

The story doesn’t follow any particular Episode although it closely resembles ‘The Daemons’; being set in a village. At one point the Master appeared in an earlier draft posing as the Reverend but I muted the idea deeming it a bit too similar to The Daemons. Similarly the Reverend may have been the Meddling Monk making a surprise twist entrance, which I may use for a future story.

I enjoyed making the story and learning about the steps involved in producing a strip. I found parts of the story had to be changed slightly during the Editing stage in order to fit in the panels. I’m particularly happy the way things turned out although I’d have loved to make my own crashed ship but timing constraints meant me using a Slitheen one instead. I originally intended for the Guardian to survive and the Doctor help him contact his own race but this wouldn’t have added to the dramatic ending. The Storylab Facebook page was a good sounding board whilst chatting to other story makers and the instructional videos made by Phil a great boon in progressing through the various stages of making a comic strip. Maybe one day the Doctor will re-visit the Guardian and his people in a prequel of sorts.

This story was completed on schedule and was one of the first to appear on the site on the planned date of 14th June 2013.
Everything about this story definitely conveys the feeling of a typical Pertwee era tale from the village/ woodland setting to the 'actually it's us humans that are the real monsters' ending. And Alan's editing is quite astounding especially given how much of it used 'green screen'. That opening image especially, is a thing of beauty. Great job.

 

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