Alan's own words.
Third Doctor (with Sea Devil set)
Jo and the Brigadier (Three Doctors)
Connor and Stephen(both Primeval) as
Hawthorne(The Beast Below) as the
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
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
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
Final Editing was completed on 9th
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
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.