I started making a short portraying the activation of a fetal worker from standby and follow his programmed duty to maintain the this autonomous facility of unknown origin. (this would be discovered during a much longer film) After making a repair, this unit noticed something in a reflection.
At this point I have to mention some backstory, most of the feti bred for the facility have had genetic adjustments to eliminate emotion and most other functions. The scientist however enhanced the brain to act as a micro-processor for the machine components to use and make complex decisions. This being the most effective method of the time period, before high end computers were being developed. The idea thought up by the ludicrous scientists put in charge of the program, this facility was in desperate need to be built to accomplish there aims. Each of them however had their own ideas and agendas during construction. But neither disagreed on the sole crucial element; Drone-workers, mindless slaves that can maintain and monitor one of these vast industrial complexes while using a minimal amount of power.
So, normally one of these workers wouldn't notice a reflection or anything close to thought past their protocol, but some feti with genetic defects slip through the screening process and occasionally one develops small independent thoughts and emotions. These are called awakened, they are connected still, but have noticed that they weren't meant for this life, their deeper natural DNA speaks out and they become aware of their surroundings.
They have not escaped yet or freed by others, these are called Strays and they may get a mention later but its not vital to this short.
This main protagonist we follow from being rigged to task now suddenly finds itself staring deeply into a window reflection, slowly feeling what he may have become in a another life. From here the story develops into it finding a smile and not moments after caught out and chased through to its' inevitable demise.
To get some much in a short space, I may adjust certain timing and scenes while keeping the focus on the smile and chase beat to demise. I felt to start with that i could get the quick rig and straight to action with fades to pass time. Though after the opening scene I found my self holding parts for longer to emphasize the emptiness and lack of human interaction. I had made an animatic lasting 4 minutes showing only a fresh fetus being born, having sockets being implanted and woken up right at the end. What i'm trying to convey in roughly a minute could be too much.
After this idea becomes to take hold this animation may have taken on its initial intention in a better way, enhancing the emptiness with drawn out dark scenes with low light. I wasn't sure at this point, so looked for soundtracks, after looking through a few different genres, a sparse piano piece came up that ties into these ideas. Later I may add a more progressive sound track building up with each beat. I have looked into Olafur Arnalds before for inspiration and I love the contrast it provides, juxtaposing a grim unknown existence to a beautiful violin solo for example. Or the build up of an underlying orchestral resonance finally peaking at the moment of hopelessness for our character. This can be too much though, it could be the off beat that brings the animation together. A moment of silence upon being backed into the corner, could bring his situation to life much more.
I still may completely change the sound track though, this works for now until the pre-vis sheds light on other areas.
Full initial idea :
Part one - pre-vis
Once a defective unit is discovered they are quickly captured and eliminated by the controllers and security units. They are then sent to a waste disposal area to leave the facility as detritus. This is sometimes not the end however for a mangled fetus, a more hardy specimen may survive their capture/screening-process to be picked up by a Stray Collector on the outside. Then they can be indoctrinated into the ways of these humble creatures of the outside world. Where the lack of gene therapy and hormonal treatment causes them to grow and form mutated/deformed versions of children. (Slightly resembling the disturbing aftermath of the Chenobyl and some of its deformed residents) Still fairly weak yet supported by mech-suites built form junk, scavenged machine units from the facility and other materials that were discarded.