A delphinidae researcher finds a new way to communicate with dolphins, but finds his funders want to use his research to develop military tools, forcing him to hide his research to protect those around him.
Open in Norway, the ‘Land of Midnight Sun’, where extreme weather is part of life. Trondheim is near the bulge of the country and contains the majority of the population. But that’s not where our story takes place. Kristiansund, a city comprise of a few small islands just off the coast from Trondheim, holds the heart of the tale. At one point in history, this area was the world’s leading supplier of ‘salt cod’, but is no more. Kristiansund has been humbled and strives to regain its position of power. In Norse mythology, Ragnarok represents one final battle that destroys the world.
Chapter One (The Birth of a Story):
Professor Jens Elfesen, Ph.D. walks across the Trondheim University campus from his apartment to his office, enjoying the last few of the day’s sun rays after just eating lunch. He imagines the surrounding trees as warriors. A greeting from a couple of graduate students pulls him out of his trance. Jens is embarrassed that his students caught him lost in a daydream. But, the young women’s giggles had more to do with their attraction to him than his distractedness.
At the lab, Jens finds Egil Stein, his office mate and roommate. They joke with one another. Jens says he can’t handle being so successful. Egil makes fun of their surroundings as a representation of Jens’s success – a morgue where we cannot determine if it’s night or day. Egil offers to take Jens’s new position. The two head to the faculty club for beers. As they walk, Jens talks about the language of dolphins and dogs. At the club, they talk about Jens’s new position and their individual love of science.
The Marine Resource and Technology Institute in Kristiansund does top secret research for NATO. Trygve Bjionstal, Ph.D. hires Jens because he was impressed by Jens’s research on songbird communication. When Jens is offered the job on May 1, 1992, he calls his parents. His mom is not sure it was the best idea to leave his position at the university, but Jens reassures her he needs a change.
Chapter Two (Homeward Bound):
Jens’s farm had been in the family for a few hundred years. Jens’s father, Rolf, worked the family farm before finishing school. He supported his siblings and paid for their education. Even still, they look down on his financial standing. This made Jens work even harder to be successful in life. When he was a child, Jens’s parents hoped he would become a farmer, but his love of animals made him squeamish when it came to working the farm, particularly slaughter.
Jens gives his notice at the university in May and tells his new employer he will start in September. First, he wants to take a trip to a place his father took him as a child. In June, he moves back into his family home. His mother greets him with a puppy. Jens and his mom name the dog, without telling his father. They joke about how long it would take for him to notice.
Chapter Three (Starting the New Job):
Jens wakes at an early hour to make sure that he arrives at his new job on time. He wears a sweater, newly knitted by his mother. At the guard gate, a guard informs him that he will have to get a permanent ID card. At reception, his new boss greets him. Trygve introduces him around the office and shows him to his own private office. Once they get to work, Trygve and Jens’s work complements each other well. Trygve knows the dolphins. Jens knows the computers. During a break, Jens tells the other researchers that he is frustrated that they have not detected advanced tones for language within the dolphins, especially considering their brain size.
At the Institute, they have a variety of dolphins to study. Jens is most excited about the white beaked dolphins as they thrive in the cold climate like that of Norway and could be useful to the Norwegian Navy. However, they discovered that these dolphins did not survive in captivity. Trygve developed a policy of notifying the press whenever he released study animals into the wild. Since released animals are not tracked, this kept the animal rights organizations off of his back. Additionally, the Institute received money from the government for rehabilitating animals.
A few weeks after Jens started work at the Institute, they received a report that a bottle-nosed dolphin was on the beach and injured. Trygve orders their marine medical vessel to the island to help. Upon seeing the mammal, the veterinarian Dr. Ode thinks the best thing to do is to put the animal down. However, Captain Grey convinces him to keep it alive until they get back to the Institute. At the Institute, the team puts the dolphin into a small tank. One of the assistants gets into the tank to help keep its head above water so that it might breathe, but the dolphin wanted nothing to do with humans and writhed away. Trygve called for the animal to be put down, but Jens intervened. He got into the tank himself. The dolphin swatted Jens away, knocking the breath out of him. But Jens did not give up and approached the dolphin again, singing a lullaby. The dolphin lets him stay. Jens stays in the tank as much as possible the next few days and the dolphin recovers. Realizing that the small medical tank is not big enough for the animal, the team decides to put him with the other bottle-nosed dolphins. Much to everyone’s surprise, the other dolphins accepts the rescue and even allows him to be in a leadership position. The team names him ‘Kong.’
At the farm, Jens parents worry that Jens won’t find a wife and consequently, they won’t have someone to continue with the farm. Feeling pressure from his parents, Jens decides to move out. Jens builds a house near his parents with a dock so that he can boat to work. He studies diligently to learn all he can about dolphins, winning the respect of his colleagues. At a conference in the Caribbean, Jens meets a Delphinidae researcher from the United States Jeffrey Madelone, Ph.D. Their interests overlapping and with much to discuss, they spend most of the conference together. Additionally, they both took vacations from work, rented a boat, and traveled the islands enjoying the life of well-employed, attractive single men. After the conference, they each traveled to the other’s country to view their respective research.
Chapter Four (The Breakthrough):
Upon returning from the states, Jens wonders if dolphin communication in the wild might be different than dolphin communication while in captivity. Trygve’s boss, Kalv, tells Trygve that the US Navy will no longer support their research. Meanwhile, Jens deduces that dolphin communication might be more mathematical in nature. Jens sets to work on a rudimentary language to use to communicate with the bottlenose dolphins. Because the rescued dolphin Kong proved to problematic, he stays in a tank by himself. Jens decides to start with him. Jens plays a series of sounds through a speaker in the water and Kong thrashes against the walls, so much so that he starts to drown. Jens jumps in and helps Kong. The two beings connect telepathically. Jens tells Trygve of his breakthrough. Trygve realizes that this discovery may save the Institute. However, Trygve still releases Kong into the wild. As Jens takes his boat home, he notices that Kong swims next to him. From that day on, Kong takes up residence outside Jens home and follows Jens back and forth to work. Jens realizes that he must try to talk to the dolphin again.
Chapter Five (A Strange New World Order Develops):
Jens calls his colleague Egil to get his help in voice activating his computer so that he can speak more readily with Kong. Once he received the computer, Jens modified the machine to work for his specifications. Knowing the state of the Institutes funding and the probability that this test could fall apart, Jens calls Trygve to tell him what he’s up to and to request the Institute’s vessel be at the ready. Jens sets his computer to work and Kong comes to the dock in response. The computer translates what Kong says. Hello. Hello. Then the Institute’s boat approaches and Kong says ‘danger’ and disappears. Jens tells Trygve about his discovery. Trygve wants to attempt the experiment on other dolphins, but Jens says he will only work with Kong. Later, Jens lies on the doc wondering out loud if Kong will return. And he does!
Trygve informs his boss that they have made a breakthrough and requests additional funding. His boss agrees, but demands that Trygve provide results soon. Trygve promises he will deliver. Meanwhile, Jens continued his research. He discovered that the dolphin language was much more complicated and complex than English, so he decides to teach Kong to speak English. Actually, Kong learns the mathematical language that Jens came up with and the computer translates that to English. Kong learns quite quickly, but Jens’s progress is slow. Trygve wants Jens to move his research back to the Institute, but Kong refuses to go. Kong likes the computer translator that Jens created so much that he forgets to eat sometimes. He’s addicted. Jens takes it away so that he will eat. Through their communication, Kong reveals that the dolphins were in fact misleading the humans with their communication. Additionally, Kong admits that he avoids other sea mammals, other dolphins, because it is difficult to hide his dishonesty. Kong and Jens develop an understanding of one another’s language and converse about religion and spirituality. They determine that both dolphins and Norwegians are fatalists. Jens teaches Kong to read English.
Chapter Six (Strained Relationships):
Due in part to the financial stress on the Institute, Trygve’s relationship with Tove contains more hostility than ever. They decide to split. Tove eyes some of the other men at the Institute. Jens hosts a house warming party at his new home and Tove stays longer than the others. She and Jens have sex, but both feel guilty after. After that, Tove and Jens avoid one another. Jens talks with Kong about love and what it means to love as a human and what it means to love as a dolphin. One morning at the Institute, Trygve and Tove fight. Trygve is so cruel that Tove runs to Jens for comfort. He consoles her and their passion for one another is reignited. They go to Jens home and make love. After, Jens goes to Trygve to tell him that he and Tove plan to move in together. Trygve offers his blessing and asks Jens to stay at the Institute. Tove does not believe Trygve’s sudden kindness.
Meanwhile, Jens watches as Kong’s grasp of the English language grows. He articulates some words, but cannot slow his pacing enough to be understood. Jens discovers the best way to communicate is for him to speak and for Kong to respond with the computer. Because of this method, Jens does much of the talking. And much of the talking is about Tove. However, Kong is more curious about Jens’s American buddy Jeff, as Jens dictates messages for Kong to send to his American counterpart. Jens decides to set up an email address for Kong.
Kong tells Jens that he wants to tell him more about the history of the dolphin culture, but he makes Jens swear that he won’t tell anyone. As Jens reveals some of their communication to Tove, Kong becomes upset. Growing in understanding, Jens worries that Kong does not want him to reveal anything about what he has learned. Kong tells him that the dolphins distract humans by throwing in extra syllables or saying words backward. He says that the dolphins learn this from their elders – and that echolocation is much more complicated than it seems. Jens thinks that the dolphins are in a state of arrested development since they have not developed tools. Kong says that dolphins are not interested in material things and that their existence, culture, religion are all a part of who they are. He says that their god is the earth itself – and that cetaceans are god’s favorite creatures, so he gave them the biggest brains. Millions of years later, Kong says, god created man in the image of dolphins and placed him on earth to destroy it so that it may be renewed. Jens realizes this is the same as the Nordic idea of Ragnarok.
After a break, Kong continues. The bottlenose dolphins and sperm whales are the most intelligent in the ocean. Sperm whales create a balance between the intelligence of the bottlenose dolphins and the physicality of the orcas. Kong tells Jens that the bull sperm whales are bullies. Bottlenose dolphins are impatient. Sperm whales live longer, so have more time to accumulate knowledge. Cetaceans seek them out to learn, but often grow impatient with their slow pace and rambling discussions. Kong explains the sexual behaviors of the dolphins, of why they are not monogamous and why they form pods.
At the Institute Trygve was growing more frustrated due to the lack of funding prospects and Jens’s being so secretive about his research. Trygve used what little he knew of Jens discoveries to convince his boss Dr. Knudsen to keep funding the Institute. Upon hearing this news, the representative from the US Navy, Admiral Rickert became so excited that he offers to try to find more funding.
Chapter Seven (Treachery):
After the meeting, Trygve realizes that he will have to close the Institute soon as he doesn’t believe the US Navy will actually bring funding. Trygve thinks he will focus on his personal life, since Jens destroyed what personal life Trygve had. US Navy Admiral Rickert works on a plan to get funding for the Institute. He told Trygve’s boss to play the US government against the Russian government. The scheme works and Rickert gets full and indefinite funding for the Institute. Trygve decided to keep the news of the funding from Jens. However, he kept an eye on Jens’s work, even though Jens became much more secretive.
Trygve sets up a meeting with Dr. Knudsen, Admiral Ricker, himself, and Jens. Upon seeing the meeting members, Jens realizes that Trygve disclosed his research efforts. He grows furious. Jens leaves the Institute and heads home. Kong hears his boat and goes toward him. Feeling guilty, Jens ignores Kong. Admiral Rickert reveals a plan to Trygve and Dr. Knudsen to take over Jens’s research. Trygve calls the police. At home, Jens works to destroy his research. Police arrest Jens. Jens’s parents hear the ruckus and come to check on him. Trygve tells them that he will take care of Jens. Rolf noticed Admiral Rickert and Trygve go inside of Jens’s home. Inside the home, Rickert and Trygve find that Jens has destroyed his research.
Jens’s parents visit him in prison. He tells them to check on Kong and tells them to have Tove and Tove only check the messages on the computer where he receives messages from Kong. Rolf, Jens’s dad, asks the police why they arrested Jens. No one provides an answer. The Chief tells him that he can be held for seven days without a charge. At the Institute, the Admiral tells Trygve and Knudsen of a plan to force Jens to go to the US to continue his research. However, he says that the tactic is not on the up and up, so no one should be at the office when they present it to him. Trygve calls the Chief and tells him to release Jens as they are dropping charges. Jens’s mom Sigrud comforts Tove while he is away.
Tove finds an attorney, Jon, to help with Jens case. Jon checks with the police regarding Jens status and they reveal that he has just been released. Jon calls Tove to let her know that Jens should be coming home. At the Institute, Kong kept an eye on the activity. Jens arrives at the Institute and goes to Trygve’s office. There, Admiral Rickert tells him that they are moving his research to the States. Jens tries to leave, but a couple of naval soldiers keep him inside the office. Jens wants to escape, but determines that the best place to do that would be at the dock.
As they are about to board the Institute’s vessel, Jens jumps in the water. Kong notices and goes to him. Jens tells Kong to go to the rocky shore and to get a message to Jeff in the US to let him know what’s going on. The Admiral instructs the soldiers to shoot at Kong, but Jens tells them that they will have to kill him too. So, they put him in a cage in the bottom of the boat. Additionally, they take Jens clothes and dump them in the sea with Jens overturned boat to make it look like Jens drowned. Tove calls Trygve to see if he knows where Jens is. Trygve feigns ignorance and calls the police.
Chapter Eight (The Hostage):
Tove, Rolf and Sigrud give in to the reality that Jens is dead. Trygve helps them with funeral and other necessary arrangements. Tove continues to stay at Jens home and she notices that there is a strange box attached to Jens computer. Tove reaches out to Jens old work colleague, Egil, who says Jens was working on something with the computer and that he mentioned he had a breakthrough. At sea, Kong continues to follow the boat that took Jens hostage as he contemplates his next move. Since the Admiral was in no hurry to get back to the states, the boat took its time. This made it possible for Kong to keep pace.
Onboard the ship, Jens spent most of his time below deck, but the Admiral brought him up for meals. Jens was able to deduce their direction based on the sun. After 19 days at sea, they finally arrived at the Newport Naval Marine Mammal Research Institute in Rhode Island. Kong had to recover from the journey while avoiding the other dolphins, so he hid in between the ships hulls. Rickert convinces one of his colleagues, Admiral Stith to keep Jens on his base, out of the sight of others. Luckily for Rickert, there was an empty home next to the facility with no one nearby. Rickert fortifies the property, further isolating Jens from the outside world. Kong swims back and forth looking for clues as to Jens’s whereabouts. After some thought, Kong realizes the best way to save his friend is to go back to Norway to send a message through the computer. Kong makes his way back.
When Kong returns, he finds Tove still living in Jens’s home. Still working at the Institute, she spent her evenings on Jens’s pier looking out over the water. When Kong sees her, he gets so excited he does a somersault in the water. Tove is shocked, but realizes that this could be Jens’s dolphin friend Kong. Tove runs to Jens’s parents’ home to let Sigrud know Kong was near the dock. The next day, after Tove leaves for work, Kong goes on the computer and sends a message to Jeff. While online, Kong also discovers a website for Jens research.
Chapter Nine (Making Contact):
Kong sends messages to Jeff that are a bit cryptic. Jeff notices the Norwegian extension on the email. On the second message, Kong tells Jeff about Jens research. Jeff doesn’t fully grasp Kong’s message and even though he is intrigued, he is impatient with Kong’s caginess. Kong tells Jeff that if he wants to full story, he needs to make a commitment to their communication. Kong gives Jeff the name of the research project and tells him to look it up. Kong tells him that he will reveal more later. Jeff calls the authorities, but they say that the messenger has done nothing wrong. Jeff searches for the name of the research project and finds that it exists, but that he doesn’t have access. Jeff calls his mistress Marion, and she says that she can come over before her husband returns home.
The next day, Jeff continues his communications with Kong. However, he still doesn’t know if he should trust him. Kong tells him that Jens is still alive, but kidnapped. Kong doesn’t trust him enough to reveal his identity. Instead, Kong decides to reach out to Tove. Kong revealed to Tove that he could talk and what the box attached to the computer is. Tove checks her email and receives a message from Jeff. Jeff tells her about the messages he received from Kong. Tove does not see Kong’s message.
Chapter Ten (An Alliance is Formed):
Tove notices that there is another email in her inbox. She wonders who it could be from. She wondered if Jens asking his mother to keep an eye on the dolphin had anything to do with the email she received. Jens did say that he had a breakthrough. Jeff calls Tove and they talk about the messages. Jeff is concerned for Tove. He thinks that some lunatic could be stalking her. He tells her to go to the police. Instead, Tove decides to go out on the dock. Kong talks to her, but he’s much too nervous and speaks much too quickly. Tove turns to go. Kong calms himself and his words become clear. Tove faints. After some moments, Tove comes to. She asks Kong if Jens is alive. Kong says as slowly and clearly as he can, ‘yes.’ Tove goes back to Jeff on the phone and tells him that it’s true. Kong can talk. Jeff says that he will come up with a plan and hangs up. Tove continues to talk with Kong via the computer. In order for their communication to continue, Kong makes Tove promise that she cannot tell anyone that Kong or other dolphins are capable of this type of communication.
Tove tells Jens parents that he may still be alive. Sigrud weeps uncontrollably. Rolf, a normally subdued WWII hero, rages against Trygve. Sigrud goes to the dock and asks Kong to share everything he knows about Jens through the computer. Sigrud and the others go back inside. Kong does not disappoint. In the States, Jens attempts to make his own escape plan. However, the security that Admiral Rickert implements has not weaknesses. Jens may have one ally in Dr. Strom as his colleague did not understand why Rickert keeps Jens in captivity.
Chapter Eleven (Hatching a Plan):
Tove, Rolf, Sigrud and Jeff come up with a plan to rescue Jens. Jeff decides he should be the one to determine Jens location. Jeff asked that Kong be returned to the US so that he could help locate Jens. The team wonders how Kong will communicate without the computer. They don’t know how to dismantle and reassemble the computer. They decide to enlist Egil’s help – if he is willing to swear secrecy. Rolf volunteers to be the one to propose the plan to Egil. Egil agrees to help. He investigates the changes that Jens made to his computer and creates detailed instructions for Jeff on how to rebuild it. Jeff uses his vacation money to buy a computer.
In captivity, Jens realizes how much he misses and loves Tove. Concerned about the legality of working with an imprisoned scientist, Dr. Strom distances himself from Jens. In Norway, Rolf organizes the team. He says that Tove will go to the States with Jeff to help with the computer. Egil will stay to help Sigrud with the computer in Norway. Rolf says they also need someone inside the Marine Resource and Technology Institute in Kristiansund on their side. He thinks that Captain Grey is the right person. Jeff and Kong agreed upon a day and time to meet. Rolf worries that if Jens is not cooperating with his captors that they might decide to dispose of him. Rolf’s fears were not unjustified, as Admiral Rickert often thought of calling quits to the program.
Captain Grey gave Rolf insight as to the comings and goings of Trygve. Rolf encourages Jeff to try to get into the Newport Marine Mammal Research Center. Jeff contacts Dr. Strom, saying that he is unhappy with his current employment and is looking for a change. Excited about the possibility of hiring Jeff, Dr. Strom invites him to the center for a visit. Jeff lets Rolf know. Rolf reaches out to Trygve to try to shake him up a bit. He asks questions about Jens body not being recovered and says that the insurance company will not certify his death. Trygve wants to know why they are questioning his death. Rolf gives him an elaborate story the includes no blood and no teeth marks. Rolf tells him that the attorney would like to speak to him. Rolf ends the call and heads out to see Balder. He remembers when Balder and Kong would play and he hopes that Kong is doing well on his journey.
In Rhode Island, Jens notices a change in Admiral Rickert. He overhears Admiral Stith chewing out Admiral Rickert for keeping Jens in captivity for an extended period. After getting off the phone with Rolf, Trygve calls Admiral Rickert to let him know that things are getting complicated in Norway. When Admiral Rickert visits Jens in his cell, Jens decides to try to seem cooperative while complicating things. He says that he is willing to continue his research, but that he has heard that Dr. Strom is not so kind to the dolphins. He would like to find another research facility. Meanwhile, lawyer Jon Anders requests to meet with the Chief of Police to ask about why Jens was held in the prison shortly before his death. The Chief reveals that Trygve was thinking of firing Jens before his death, because a woman had come between Jens and Trygve. The Institute’s vessel Captain Grey calls Rolf, revealing that Trygve is behaving strangely.
The Police Chief Knute calls the captain and detective into his office to let them know that they are reopening Jens’s case. After they leave, Knute calls Trygve to let him know that they are reopening the case and that Knute is off of it.
Chapter Twelve (On Location):
Jeff visits Dr. Strom at the facility. There, he runs into a buddy of his from college, Bob. Jeff and Bob decide to go out for drinks later that evening. Dr. Strom takes Jeff around and shows him the lay of the land. Jeff asks if he could borrow a computer the next day – Saturday – and Dr. Strom agrees. Dr. Strom has a colleague take Jeff around. However, the colleague soon grows bored of showing Jeff around and leaves him to his own devices. Jeff realizes that he shouldn’t push his luck in trying to go where he is not supposed to. Instead, he meets with other people working in the research facility and talks with them about their experiences. Several mention a foreigner who works in one of the remote buildings and tell Jeff not to approach this man as it is strictly forbidden.
Jeff calls back to Norway to update Jens’s family. Rolf is enthusiastic about Jeff’s discoveries. Rolf calls attorney Jon and tells him that it is time to ask questions of Trygve’s boss, Dr. Knudsen. In Rhode Island, Admiral Rickert tells Dr. Strom that Jens doesn’t want to work with him and has requested to be moved. On Saturday, Jeff arrives early and asks the guard to borrow a map. He studies the map and finds a structure in which he believes houses Jens. A high-ranking official comes by and asks Jeff what he’s doing and he says he’s just enjoying the view, while watching the structure. Jeff notes when the guard stations change hands. He goes back to his hotel and calls Norway. Rolf gathers the information and tells Tove to head to the States. Tove and Jeff will be working on the rescue with Kong until Jens returns.
Detective Tore goes to the Institute to question everyone there about the day Jens’s boat capsized. Growing nervous about Detective Tove’s investigation, Trygve calls Admiral Rickert. Admiral Rickert reassures Trygve, but the Admiral’s fuse is short as he bickers with Admiral Stith as soon as he is off the phone. Admiral Rickert goes to Jens and tells him that they will be kinder to the animals as long as Jens cooperates. Jens notices that there is a finality in Rickert’s tone and he decides to be more cooperative than usual. Lawyer Jon meets with Dr. Knudsen, who has his lawyer present. Jon realizes that Knudsen is scared. He decides to let Knudsen sit in his fear for a bit. He says he has to leave. Knudsen’s lawyer knows something is up.
Jeff picks Tove up at the airport in Boston and thinks that Jens is a lucky guy. Tove and Jeff go back to his place and set up the computer. There is a problem with the microphone. Tove has to call Egil to figure it out. They do. Just in time as Kong should arrive the next morning. They review the plan. Jeff is going to wear a wet suit and approach from the sea, with Kong’s help.
Chapter Thirteen (Near Disaster at Sea):
As Kong approaches the Narragansett Bay, he realizes that he is being tracked by echolocation. He determined that a pack of false killer whales were following him, deciding if Kong should become their meal for the day. The males were taking turns turning up the pace in the hopes of tiring Kong out. At noon, Tove and Jeff saw no sign of Kong. Kong himself was having to zig zag away from the predators chasing him. As the larger beings close in on him, and feeling he had no other options, Kong decides to go on the offensive with the weaker members of their pod. Luckily for Kong, his plan worked. The next morning, Tove and Jeff head to the rendezvous site. The two see something in the water heading toward the meeting point. Jeff pulls over and Tove runs out to the water. She sees Kong and notices that he has injuries. Jeff encourages Tove to have Kong meet them at their arranged spot so that they can communicate with the computer. Tove reluctantly leaves Kong. Through the computer, Kong tells them a brief account of his journey and that he needs to rest and eat to regain his strength. Tove suggests that they stop for the day to let Kong rest. They will meet the next day to execute their plan.
The next day while Tove calls Norway to update Rolf, Jeff tells Kong that he plans to sacrifice himself during the rescue of Jens. He doesn’t want Kong to tell anyone, as they will surely stop him and weaken their attempt. Kong agrees with him. When Tove returns, they decide that night they will rescue Jens.
Chapter Fourteen (The Rescue):
That night, Jeff puts on a wet suit and Kong pulls him to the place where Jens is being held. Jeff gets out of the water and pulls the things he needs out of his back pack. Jeff sees the building guard run out with a .22 caliber rifle. The guard shoots at two small animals who scurry away. Jeff breathes a sigh of relief. Jeff has his plan. When the guards change, Jeff makes a noise in the garbage cans, pretending to be the raccoons. When the guard goes to investigate, Jeff puts tranquilizer in the guard’s coffee. He hides in the closet and waits for the guard to pass out. When he does, Jeff takes his keys and goes looking for Jens. He finds a man sleeping in a dark room. He’s not sure if it is Jens, so he wakes the man to be sure. Jeff tells Jens to put on his wetsuit and head out to Kong. He shows Jens where to put the guard’s keys. Jeff puts on Jens clothes and takes his place in the room. Jens tries to stop him, but Jeff is adamant. Jens leaves and heads to the water with Kong. Kong pulls Jens back to Tove. Tove is so overcome with emotion when she sees Jens that she loses control of her muscles. Jens has to carry her back to shore. Kong informs them of the changes that Jeff made to the plan. He tells them to go about getting Jens to safety and that he will see them in Norway. Tove erases the software from the computer and packs it in the car. Jens changes clothes. Tove tells him that they are going to a friend of her brother’s place to stay for a bit.
In the morning, when Rickert and Strom find Jeff in Jens stead, they panic. Jeff tells them that Jens is already away and that they need to work with him to resolve the situation. Jeff tells them that he knows that Rickert is the mastermind behind the kidnapping and that if they help, he will not reveal their part in the plot. They agree to work with him and lock up Rickert.
Chapter Fifteen (Freedom, Beckons Me):
Jens calls his parents and tells his mom that Tove wants a big wedding and to reach out to Tove’s family to start the planning. Jens tells Rolf about Jeff’s changes to the plan. Once off the phone, Rolf reaches out to Jon to tell him that Jens has been found. Jon calls the attorney for Knudsen and reveals that Jens has been found. Knudsen’s attorney says that he will talk with his client and get back to him in a couple of days. Jon says they have until the next morning before his clients will go to the police. The attorney agrees that they will be there in the morning. Jon calls Trygve’s office. Trygve’s assistant tries to keep him at bay, but Jon insists that they talk right away. Trygve gets on the phone and Jon tells him that he wants to know what his involvement in Jens’s kidnapping was. Trygve feigns ignorance. Jon says that he will have to go to the authorities. He also reveals to Trygve that Jens is still alive and that he is now free. Jon hangs up the phone. Trygve calls him back. Rolf calls Trygve and says that he wants to see him. Olga, Trygve’s assistant, says that he just had her type up his resignation. Rolf has her call the Institute’s attorney and to keep an eye on Trygve. Trygve goes into his office and tells Olga to hold his calls. Olga decides to follow Trygve into his office. She hears a bang and then she faints.
The next morning, Jon and Rolf meet with Knudsen and his attorney. They discuss Trygve’s suicide. Trygve left a note, which Jon shares with Knudsen. Jon says that if Knudsen helps in bringing Jens back, Rolf and his family will not press charges. Knudsen’s attorney offers to have Knudsen pay for Rolf’s attorney as a measure of good will. Knudsen agrees. In Boston, Tove asks Jens what made him think that the dolphins were misleading humans in the first place. Jens reveals that something she said got him thinking about the arrogance of humans. And he realized that humans’ sense of superiority may have kept them closed off from fully understanding dolphins.
Chapter Sixteen (The Journey’s End):
On his way back to Norway, Kong experimented to see if other bottlenose dolphins could sense his betrayal, could sense that he had communicated with a human. Jens and Tove arrive back in Norway and embrace Jens’s parents. Once Jens and Tove get settled back at home, the rescue team meets to go over any outstanding issues. Jens says that he would like to continue his work at the Institute, but to change its focus. Rather than military implications, the Institute could serve to educate people about the creatures of the sea. With Kong’s help, he knows he can make it a first-rate institution. With his own personal research, Kong learns that he can keep his communications with the humans a secret as long as he did not get emotionally charged. Kong and Jens are now both relieved as there will be no Ragnarok. Jens receives news that he has been selected as the new director of the Institute.
Beyond Ragnarok reads really well. The characters are engaging. The action moves. This novel has the potential to be a solid dramatic motion picture that moves audiences. However, if considering a potential movie adaptation — which this analysis will explore in depth as well as commenting on the novel’s story — while the situation is clear, the narrative lacks sufficient dramatic tension to be adapted as-is. Some work would need to be done to intensify the conflict and the transformational arc for the major players. For this reader, this involves letting some of the setup go and getting straight to the relationship with Kong and Jens.
Next, the core conflict in the story is between Jens and his funders, but for most of the plot they avoid one another, or Jens is in captivity. While this can be truthful to a lived experience, it doesn’t make for the best drama, be it on screen or paper. In order to heighten this, place them into direct conflict more often and make Jens more active in his own demise. For the film version, the script would need a solid point of attack, which this reader discusses below.
While the major dramatic question is present in this story, it does not stand out and major beats are not completely centered around that question. To summarize, intensify the conflict and focus on unifying plot events with the protagonist’s emotional arc in order to fulfill the promise of the setup. Additionally, while there are thematic ideas that can be parsed, the story does not integrate them into the narrative just yet. Once the plot and transformational arc are fully realized into a script, then this reader recommends completing a pass for theme. Doing so would elevate this material to another level – an emotionally engaging and moving motion picture.
Let’s outline some suggestions to make a potential screenplay adaptation, as well as the source material, really stand out.
Potential ‘Point of Attack’ for film adaptation:
One thing to consider when writing the script is the focus for the story known as ‘the spine.’ Because there are so many relationships and actions resulting from those relationships, the film version could have many different directions. Jens relationship with Trygve and the Institute is one. Jens relationship with Tove is another. Jens relationship with Jeff is another option. For this reader, the most compelling is Jens relationship with Kong. For that reason, the suggestions for the film will use that point of attack as its reference. In case that is not what the writer intends for the film adaptation, this reader will also give insight as to what each script element should contain so that other throughlines could be considered.
The spine of the story should arc on the major beats, which are the twists that occur around every 15 pages of the story. While other plot lines can exist in the narrative, in order for the audience to understand the focus of the story, the spine is key.
Major Dramatic Question:
One thing to think about before structuring the story is the Major Dramatic Question (MDQ). The MDQ is a question that is raised at the inciting incident that will be answered at the end of the film story. The question raised should come with the call to action. As mentioned above, the center for the story is Jens’s relationship with Kong. Because of this, this reader believes the Inciting Incident should be when Kong and Jens meet. This event would raise the question: Will Jens improve the world by showing that dolphins can communicate with humans?
In order to heighten the drama of this question, this reader believes the narrative should play more with Jens’s desire to create a bridge between humans and dolphins. If Jens is motivated to create that understanding even more – to the point where he does not consider Kong or the other dolphins – then he would be a more active player in his own troubles in the script. The novel lets him off the hook a bit by making him a bit of a martyr and a lot of a victim. In order for Jens’s emotional arc to have some weight to it, this reader suggests allowing Jens to be responsible for some of the trouble that he finds himself in. While this is suggested in the novel, it is not exploited for all of its dramatic potential.
The world of the story is fantastic. The characters feel authentic and natural. The story promises an emotionally moving, dramatic plot. When approaching the film version of this story, keep in mind that visual action (behavior), plot, and emotion need to work together to create a compelling story. In order to do this, some work will need to be done to define Jens and his transformational arc. We will go into that in more detail in the character section. For now, let’s go through the structure to see some ways in which this can be achieved. (It may be helpful to read through notes on Jens’s character before reading the structure sections below.)
The first part of the First Act of the script takes us from a visual open that promises something to the audience to the inciting incident which is the call to action for the protagonist. The visual open can be a metaphor or thematic element and typically lasts from 1/2 to 3 pages. Shortly thereafter, the plot of the film is set in motion. For this reader, we should have an idea of that plot within the first five pages. After that, we should get a deeper sense of who the protagonist is, revealing the flaw and need. The plot does not catch up to the hero until the inciting incident, which occurs in the middle of Act One, typically around page 15 of the script. The call to action at the inciting incident should raise a question that will be answered at the end of the story.
Visual Open: One possible place to start the story is with Jens starting work at the Institute. Much of what comes before this event is backstory to the forward moving relationship with Kong. In film stories, we can get a sense of relationship history between characters based on the way in which they behave with one another. The characters that come before the job starts – Egil and Jens’s parents – could have their histories with Jens revealed as the plot (the relationship with Kong) moves forward. Also, this reader also thinks that having Egil geographically closer, maybe even as a researcher at the Institute or a primary school teacher who does this type of research as a hobby, would benefit the story. He becomes an integral part later on, so having less distance between him and Jens’s work would help with the film narrative.
In this sequence, this reader also suggest setting up Jens’s attraction to Tove. Early on, there could be a ‘matching of wits’ or understanding of the same joke or finishing one another’s sentences. This could occur in Jens’s tour of the Institute when he first starts work.
Inciting Incident: The call to action in this plot line would be Jens finding or meeting Kong. While the actual finding of Kong is a dramatic event, we want to make sure that Jens meeting him feels like an inciting incident. There should be some sort of connection between Jens and Kong. The tank ‘locking eyes’ event can be that. (The locking eyes could also be the event at the end of the act that forces Jens to engage in the research.) In order for us to fully understand the meaning of the event, it could be originated from some sort of directive given by Trygve. As mentioned above, this reader feels that the Major Dramatic Question raised by the Inciting Incident should be something like: Will Jens improve the world by showing that dolphins can communicate with humans? If this is the case, then the call to action at the Inciting Incident should be focused in this way. Trygve is one who could give that suggestion early on in the sequence, even in the opening pages of the script. Then at the inciting incident, Trygve could bring it into focus.
The second part of the First Act is typically a series of refusals or denials of the call to action as the forward momentum of the plot pushes the hero into a corner and he has no choice but to engage. In fact, the hero often does everything he can to avoid engaging.
The reasons why Jens does not engage at the inciting incident could also be clarified at the top of Sequence 2. Maybe Trygve pushes more strongly for a military application and Jens is not interested in that. The conference could be a way to give him some time to think over the direction of his research. Whatever the reasons may be for the writer, the refusal of the call should have some emotional motivation.
From the novel, there are several things that could be a refusal of the call. One could be the conference where he meets Jeff and they have a good time together. The journeys that they each make to one another’s facilities does not seem to be appropriate for this part of the film version. But the conference and the boating around the Caribbean could be a solid sequence. In the novel, Jens mentions that Trygve and Tove say something that leads him to think about the dolphins outsmarting humans. This is nice. It could also be set up that he doesn’t realize the significance of the statement until he is traveling with Jeff. Whatever it is, there should be a ‘lightbulb’ moment at the end of this act that allows him to see what the call to action is and to see his way into it. The event at the end of this sequence should be strong enough that the hero now fully engages in the plot line. For this reader, this means that Jens has the idea to go back to work with Kong.
At the top of Act Two, the first part of the first half of the act takes us to a new world with new rules and new teams. The hero has crossed a threshold and even if he is in the same geographical location, his role in it has changed. He must figure out how to exist and succeed in this new reality. Often, the first efforts feel a bit unschooled and the hero receives some bumps and bruises along the way. However, at the end of the sequence, the hero has some success that allows him to relax a bit and have more fun in the fourth sequence.
For this reader, Jens crosses the threshold when he actively starts working with Kong at the Institute. In this sequence in the novel, he can’t quite figure out how to communicate with Kong. He makes some attempts and they fail. This is perfect for a beginning of Act Two. That he is not having success and Trygve wants to release Kong as a result is also perfect for this point in the story. In order to amplify the dramatic tension, this reader recommends Jens have some uncontrolled ambition – or an ego that makes him think he could trick the Institute into not using his research for military purposes. While there is some hint of this in the novel, it is not presented in a way that makes it a dramatic question. Allow for Jens to be flawed in his reasoning. Allow him to be responsible for his own troubles. Allow him to be responsible for the danger that Kong is in. This is a part of drama, allowing for characters to be less than ideal in order for them to transform emotionally at the end of the script.
In order to add some tension, it would help to have Tove take an interest in Jens’s research. This could fuel the reason why Trygve wants to send Kong back to the sea, to undermine what Jens is doing so that Tove becomes less interested.
For the turning point at the end of this sequence, this reader suggests that remembering Egil’s computer and moving Kong to his house would make for a solid end of third sequence. In fact, for this reader, the first successful communication would be an engaging moment here.
Still in the first part of Act Two, during the second part of the first half of the act, the hero has figured out how to exist in this new reality across the threshold. He has more success. He is able to enjoy the fruits of his labor with the allies and let his guard down a little. At the midpoint, the hero is typically vulnerable in some way, revealing his inner need or questioning the path he has chosen. The midpoint of the script is typically a crisis moment for the hero. It is where the superficial WANT comes into conflict with the hero’s emotional void or NEED.
This is the perfect time in the narrative for Jens conversations with Kong. Their understanding of one another’s culture is great. As Jens learns more, he could develop a change of heart with what he wants to do with the research. Since Tove is great with computers, Jens could involve her to help with the computer without revealing his discoveries. This would also allow for the development of their relationship and Trygve’s growing jealousy.
As mentioned above, the midpoint is often a crisis of some sort where the hero’s want and need come into conflict. Going along with what this reader has outlined thus far, a potential WANT could be proving that he can communicate with dolphins. A potential emotional void or NEED could be recognizing that humans ego has caused them for accepting that some animals may be smarter than humans. These elements are present in the novel, but Jens comes to a realization of the need too soon in the story. If he were to save this realization until after Kong rescues him, it would have greater impact on the narrative.
For this reader, the event that would work best for midpoint is Jens’s arrest. The destruction of his research is solid. He has to give up his achievements. With this, the novel doesn’t give much of his emotional response. This is something the writer should explore in the script. How does it change Jens’s perspective about his research? That Jens knows that dolphins are smarter than humans at this point in the story is a bit too soon. For the film version, this reader recommends holding off on the realization until the end of the plot.
In the second part of Act Two, the first part of the second half of the act, the hero typically suffers through some sort of slam from his allies while the antagonist ramps up his efforts against the hero. At the end of the sequence, there is usually a well-intentioned betrayal or misstep by one of the hero’s allies.
The part of the novel that would fit here, would be Jens in captivity. However, in this part of the novel, we don’t have much of Jens’s experience. For the film version, this reader recommends that this part be intensified. This could be that we see more of the efforts that Admiral Rickert makes to get Jens to cooperate. It could be more of a development of a relationship with Al. Maybe Jens is more active in observing Al’s research and is not so supportive of his methods. Whatever it may be, this part of the story should be developed so that Jens can stay active in the plot.
Kong’s efforts to communicate with Jeff and with Tove are great. This portion of the novel would be perfect for this point of the script. If the writer likes this, then Kong letting everyone know that Jens is still alive would be an ideal twist at the end of this sequence.
In the final part of Act Two, the hero ventures through a dark night of the soul where everything that was going right for the protagonist now goes wrong. All of the allies typically abandon the hero and at the lowest point in the story – the very end of Act Two, he must fight his demons and the antagonist with nothing.
The plan to get to Jens would fit nicely in this sequence. In order for it to feel more like a dark night of the soul sequence, this reader recommends making the threat to Jens’s life be a bit stronger. If the Admiral were to have a timeline in which he is willing to give Jens a chance to come to his senses, that would add additional pressure for Jens and the team.
Kong’s journey to the rescue is great. He has a solid challenge. This fits perfectly into the sequence 6.
The turning point at the end of this sequence is typically:
As the character enters Act Three, he takes a step back in the first part of the act. He returns to a place of comfort and processes the journey of Act Two. In doing so, he has a catharsis which leads to an epiphany of how he can get to the resolution. The epiphany can also come in the form of an asset that will allow him/her to finally get what he needs.
This is the perfect place for the rescue in this reader’s opinion.
The last part of Act Three is a push to the resolution. With the emotional journey complete, the hero can finally reach the conclusion of his story. At this point, any plants that have not yet paid off should do so here. Any loose ends should wrap up. And the final moments should give us a visual close to the journey.
At this point in the story, it would be prudent to have the answer to the MDQ if we haven’t reached that in the previous pages.
The journey’s end would fit perfectly here – wrapping up what happens to Tove and Jens, Jens becoming director, and what the reality will be in continuing a relationship with Kong. A visual of Jens and Kong at the end of the film would tie things up nicely.
In thinking of round characters, we want to be able to identify key traits about them: their want or what they pursue during the course of the story, an external goal; their need or emotional void, what will ultimately be accomplished in the course of the journey; their fear, or what failure means for them; and flaw, the behavior pattern developed to prevent the character from facing the fear. Let’s examine a few key players.
Professor Jens Elfesen, Ph.D. – We meet him lost in thought and walking across campus. For visual media, this is not the strongest visual choice for character introduction. Would like to see him more active in the opening in a way that defines who he is. Want: To see if he can learn to talk with dolphins Need: Not clear what his emotional arc is in the course of this story Fear: Not clear what his fear is. Flaw: He is a loner, not particularly loyal to the Institute
Egil Stein – This reader would like to see more of him in the film version, especially since h becomes integral at the end of the film. Some ways to make him more present would be to give him a job that is local to the Institute – either in the Institute or a teacher at a nearby school.
Trygve Bjionstal, Ph.D. – He is a fantastic character in that he becomes so close to Jens and then turns on him. In developing his character, it would be nice to spend some more time with his emotional motivations. Is Tove the core of his emotional state? If so, would like to see more of their relationship together in the film version. This reader recommends considering all of the aspects of a round character – want, need, fear, and flaw.
Jon Rasmussen – Do not think he will be a necessary character for the film version. If he is to be included as some sort of comedic relief, some work would need to be done to develop his character and flesh him out.
Rolf Elfesen – He is a great character. This reader would like to see more of his military mind early on in his introduction. Doing so would help smooth out his sudden planning abilities in the rescue.
Sigrud/Sigrid Elfesen – She is a wonderful character. Both parents are a must keep in the film story. Since she is set up as an animal lover, this reader would like to see her have a scene with Kong. Maybe even we can see her communication with Kong, an understanding that goes beyond the computer.
Jon Brun – His character does not impact the story, other than selling land to Jens on which he could build his home.
Anna Brun – She does not really impact the story in any major way. Do not think she should be a part of the film story. Balder can come to the home as a stray. He does not have to be given by Anna.
Else Borg – Bob Grey’s wife – Introduced, but we don’t meet her in the story. May not be necessary in the film version.
Morton Ode – Not in the story very long. Not a major player. If he is in the film story, he could be someone that Jens could come to for advice.
Jeffrey Madelone, Ph.D. – Want: Does not have a clearly defined want in the story. Need: Currently does not have an identifiable need. Fear and Flaw could also use some definition to flesh this character out further.
Tove Oldsen – Jens associate at the Marine Resource and Technology Institute. Beautiful. Often mesmerizing for Jens. Trygve’s fiancé. Relationship with Trygve is volatile. Falls for Jens and moves in with him. Stays in Jens’s home after he goes missing. She is good with computers.
Dr. Kalv Knudsen – Lacks conviction of purpose. He gets lost in the process a bit. In order to understand his part in the plot, we should get a sense of what his motivations are. Why is the Institute so important to him? What options does he have if the Institute does not exist or does not have the funding? Because film is a visual medium, we should understand what this means in visual terms.
US Navy Admiral Rickert – It is not exactly clear what Admiral Rickert’s goals are. For the film version of the story, it would be beneficial to understand what he wants in visual terms. He wants Jens to continue his research, but to what end? Does he want dolphins to eavesdrop on his enemies? Does he want to command a troop of dolphins? Whatever it may be, for a film story we need to see either a portion of this plan or the plan in its entirety. At some point, he would have to pitch to those who are allocating funds for his efforts. This could be a good opportunity for the audience to understand more specifically what he is up to.
Additionally, since he seems to be the main antagonist, his story should be developed more. We could know more about his personal life or lack thereof. We should get a sense of what motivates him, why he does what he does. We should have a good sense of his back story, his psychology, what makes him tick. We should also get a sense of what failure means to him, which would help us to understand why he is willing to go to such lengths in order to achieve success.
Let’s look at my favorite recent bad guy as an example — Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk in season one of Netflix’s DAREDEVIL. This is a staggeringly well-drawn and dimensional bad guy. We find out so much about this character — what his childhood was like, his habits, tics, taste in music, pet peeves, and on and on. Doing so creates an incredibly rich character who really is the “star” in his version of the story. He truly believes that the evil he is doing is in the best interest of the city he loves. He is approaching the same problem as Daredevil — the destruction of Hell’s Kitchen — from a completely different, and evil, angle. But in his mind it is all justified, and we SEE why that is so. Granted, this is a TV series, so they have much more time to flesh out a character than in a screenplay, but there is more time to do this in a novel as well. In any event, take the time to develop your character and show us the human side, not just the nefarious side, especially if considering a feature screenplay version of this material.
Jon Anders -. He plays a nice role in the latter part of the script. This reader believes that all of his efforts should be included in the film version of the story.
US Navy Admiral Stith – This reader likes this character and that he has such a strong contrast to Rickert. Would like to see them engaged in active conflict throughout the latter part of Act Two.
Dr. Al Strom – This reader would like to see his research and thus treatment of the animals, so that we understand why Jens does not like him. Since he comes about in the latter part of act two, this would be a time to put Jens in an environment that is antithetical to who he is.
Captain Hovem – He is lost somewhat in the narrative of the novel. Would like to see him be a bit more active in the film version. They could add some tension for Trygve, especially if his friend is questioning him.
Detective Tore – He gets lost in the novel. Would like to see him be a bit more active by actively investigating in the film version.
Robert Shannon – Not sure that this character is needed in the film version as he does not impact the story.
The dialogue present within the novel flows. In order to make it feel more like film dialogue, some development should be done. Right now, the characters often sound similar. For the film version, each character should have a unique way of speaking, a particular word choice, so that if we were to close our eyes and not see them, we would know who was speaking just by their usage.
Dialogue consists of the words the characters say in the context of the film. Dialogue should never be wasted. The words the characters should say shape their character as well as the direction of the story. Throughout the script, the dialogue should reveal character, reflect the speaker’s emotions, reveal or hide motivations, foreshadow what’s to come, and have an emotional impact. For this reader, the best dialogue is motivated by the scene goal for the character, shaped by the tactics he/she is using to get what he/she wants. When a character gets flustered or distracted, more of their interior monologue is revealed.
In order to find character voice, this reader has some recommendations. One way to go would be to pre-cast the movie in the writer’s mind, channel the character with that actor in mind, and write each line to service that actor. Another would be to base the characters on people the writer knows. For minor characters, this reader recommends spending time in public locations, listening to people talk and observing their behavior patterns. Pay special attention to what makes each person unique. Some techniques to show individuality would be to contrast emotional tempo between characters, give some characters a favorite expression or verbal tic, allow for consistent fragmented sentences or switching of words, use of jargon or slang, and allow characters to stay stuck on their own thoughts without really hearing others.
When writing the script, avoid the following whenever possible: stilted or too formal dialogue, heavy dialects, characters who talk too much, exposition-heavy speech, on the nose phrases (where characters say what they mean or say what we have already seen). If some of the exposition must be revealed in dialogue, try surrounding it with conflict so it is not so apparent. Also, keep exposition in as small of portions as possible.
The best dialogue is dripping with subtext, so try to work that in as well. Subtext is the best solution when the dialogue is on the nose. Some ways to do that would be to allow for double meanings, or to imply instead of conclude, or to use metaphors (especially when things are too emotionally difficult to say), or to question a question.
On-the-nose dialogue is actually acceptable when it is emotionally safe for the character to reveal, like talking to a best friend, talking to an animal, or when it has been earned (typically when one comes to the end of the emotional arc – in Act Three – but some can be peppered in after the midpoint).
Here’s a great article on subtext, which is one of those things we all think we get, but few of us do well. It is deceptively difficult. Try revisiting any chapters which feature two characters having a discussion, and ask yourself, how can this discussion be better informed by subtext? Can we use body language instead of words to reflect what the participants are really feeling?
When writing the script, make sure to keep the action in the present tense. Additionally, the action description should be visual and active.
The timeline laid out in the novel is a bit confusing. Chapter One defines the year as 1997, but later on there are many references to 1992. This reader went with the assumption that the date in Chapter One is a typo, as no other logic appeared to work. There are several typos in the novel that add to this confusion.
Dramatic tension lacks in the early chapters, so those are not the strongest to include in the film version of this story. If some of these events can happen, like the conference with Jeff, after Jens has met Kong, then the dramatic tension will be strong enough with Kong to carry through the conference.
Theme is based on what a writer believes and believes in. This is the writer’s unique voice, distinctive point of view and above all what is personally valued. Therefore, personal beliefs form the backbone of a theme, and it is from the theme that the writer can come to understand the true intention of his or her story. What is the story about at heart and what is the writer trying to say about the human experience? Typically, the protagonist is the writer’s point of view, the positive theme. The protagonist voices what the writer believes about the given subject matter of the plot. The antagonist represents the writer’s anti-theme. Since the antagonist is typically stronger and smarter and more well-equipped than the hero, when the protagonist is victorious in the resolution the audience is moved by theme. Random choices will lead to random results, intentional choices will lead to intentional results. Even if script is not meant to be deep, it is still necessary to give it a point of view that encompasses the writer’s vision.
Visual Representation of Thematic Ideas:
This reader thought that Kong and the ocean world could represent some of the visual representation of theme. For reference, this reader thought of a film titled WHALE RIDER. Worth checking out.
The big suggestions here are related to structure, character, and theme. Focus the story beats on the protagonist’s emotional arc and continue to develop character motivations. Character and story should intersect so that we have action (plot) and emotional reaction (character) at each major beat. Outlined above are just some ideas, but they should be help as an approach to structure and character, while also heightening the dramatic tension and emotion of the story.
If the writer is indeed interested in adapting this book into a screenplay, we strongly recommend the book “The Writer’s Journey,” available for free at most libraries, or in the USA at bn.com:
This excellent book lays out a solid structural template for screenplays based on Joseph Campbell’s teachings on mythological storytelling. This structure is the foundation for many films. No need to reinvent the wheel – just follow the guidelines in this book. There will likely be many areas that must be excised in the adaptation process, and new material created in order to satisfy the needs of the format, which is very different than novel-writing. “The Writer’s Journey” would be an invaluable guide.
This was a good read, best of luck with the adaptation and keep writing!