The cinematic world of Bad Choices, a visual screenplay

  • Bad Choices is a story of survivors of the collapse.
    It explores the dark spaces inside the minds of those who have to make the uneasy decisions that will keep them alive in their post-apocalyptic world—where there's nothing left but bad choices.

  • The darkness clung to Turner like a shirt that hadn’t been washed in weeks.
    Breathe in, breathe out, slow down and wait for the shadows to open before moving. Dropping through a rotten floor in a world without niceties like ambulances and hospitals was a bad idea. She heard the drip-drap of water echo off the walls, and the quiet scratch of a rat working hard at its day job. Turner recognized that musty library smell before she could see the stacks. Her foot slid forward and came down with the particular sound of old crushed bones.
  • The saltwater sprayed in Ilona’s face.
    She registered the echo of the waves bouncing off the rocks, the love song of a pair of seagulls screeching over a mutilated crab. She listened for the tick of metal on rock that would send her running for cover. Gathering her long coat around her she moved forward—following Kelly’s trail. It wasn’t one anyone else would’ve noticed, but sisterhood and survival had given them many different languages. The shape of that pile of rocks, a twist of grass at a game trail—it pulled Ilona onward.
  • Kelly hadn’t really planned on abandoning Bad Choices without her sister
    There’s a precisely balanced mix of exhaustion and fear that can keep you going past the point of no return. She wiped the sooty sweat from her brow as her boots squished into the river bank. The arson and boat theft had been planned long in advance, but she’d always thought Ilona would be here with her. It was no longer just about the two sisters—her baby would grow up, would survive, would thrive. She just needed to make it to Desolation House.
  • The sweat falling down Zeb’s nose rolled downward
    to join the puddle forming inside the cracked, worn and frankly completely fucked hazmat suit. The pit of bad idea that had been expanding for hours now felt like it had taken over his entire gut. The odds on this whole thing going right sucked.
    The odds on it going “Zeb’s Dead” were amazing—somebody at the bar must be running a pool on him. He should’ve bet on himself. He sucked stale recycled air and looked up at the light streaming from the only way out of the basement. He’d have already called this—but… the lights were on. What business did these shitty old fluorescents have being on in this crumpled tin can of a building covered in river mud?
  • Isabel twitched from sleep, her dream remaining like an afterimage.
    That same dream again – rooting in to her mind, and then slapping her awake.
    She clawed the bottle off the nightstand and slugged a mouthful of the gut burning ‘shine they made in this god forsaken town. Remembering this dream was like trying to see yourself in a mirrored reflection of yourself in another mirror, in another mirror, in another mirror… it echoed and bounced, never stopping. She could see the white dress and the burning candles. She could smell the incense, hear the chanting, all at a terrifying intensity. This dream demanded insight from her like a fist gloved in velvet.
  • Meditation amongst the dead.
    The stream buried deep beneath the old power station sent its quiet song upwards to the
    space Annika had set her carpet on. Not many visitors made the trek up here between festival days. Death was maybe too close to most for them to want to spend any extra time among the memories of everyone who’d been taken. Every time there was a culling Annika found herself drawn to this palace of old power, of memories.
    To think. To wonder. To repent.
  • Cho climbed down the rusted ladder hammered into the gorge wall.
    The old piping creaked and complained bitterly. Dropping the last few feet into the stream soaked her boots, but watching the mud and blood washing away in the glacial meltwater had a kind of hypnotic reward. She swayed, catching a gloved hand on the worn rock wall. The gore soaked burlap sack dripped rivulets of red into the clear water. She’d pushed hard on the need for this particular trophy—but Annika had been insistent, with Isabel quietly backing her play. Defending the town from the have-nots who wanted everything Bad Choices had—that’s where her skills were best used, and not appearing at an enemy’s bedside to quietly remove their head. She hated the idea of politics—no matter how terrible the world became there would always be people who wanted “political solutions” like this.
  • When cinematic photographer Andy Batt starts a personal project, he sets his goals high. 

    Introducing the cinematic world of
    Bad Choices,
    a visual screenplay in-progress by dramatic photographer Andy Batt.

    Photographer Andy Batt has created a dystopian world inhabited mainly by strong female characters. This project is called Bad Choices, named after the town that is at the center of this conceptual screenplay.

    The photographer, known for his gritty sports and entertainment comedy portraits, set his goals high. “I was tired of photographing happy people holding happy products and pointing at happy screens. I wanted to challenge myself, get outside of my comfort zone”. 

    He went well beyond any comfort zones. Andy’s photography always tells a story regardless of the assignment. But to create a personal body of work that he could really sink his teeth into, he needed something bigger. His personal tastes and inspirations come from the world of sci-fi, so he decided to start there. The project began as a character study with 12 different actors, and has become a full blown dystopian screenplay with overlapping story lines.

    From each character study, Andy started by painstakingly concepting and creating the key poster art for each character. One by one, the story has slowly revealed itself. He has taken the project through 3 separate artist retreats on Anderson Island— using mind mapping, film research and creative brainstorming, all funneling in to the creation of the conceptual photographic scenes.

    He knew he couldn’t attempt this project by himself, and so he reached out to a crew of talented artists to ask them to contribute to the project. He first reached out to Hair and Makeup Stylist Terri Lodge to help flesh out and design FX driven makeup to represent each of the characters.

    Costume designer Rebecca Therkelsen was then quickly brought on to collaborate with Andy on the costuming, digging into the backstory of each character, to create a unique wardrobe for each of them.

    Art Director and Prop Master Ron Skrasek jumped at the chance to play in a post-apocalyptic world. His ability to transform words into key prop and set pieces have been critical to the visual storytelling.

    Camera Assistant Galvin Collins was brought on as a key resource, contributing to all areas of production.

    Naturally, Andy’s Business Partner and Producer, Therese Gietler was responsible for logistics and project management, with critical help from Producer Assistant Misty Post.

    Designer Adam Murdoch also gave significant guidance to Andy and the project. His combination of graphic design and brand experience gave the project an immense amount of focus. Adam’s unique process created an amazing brand and design for Bad Choices.

    What’s next for Bad Choices? 

    With 7 posters and supporting art already in the can, the artist has 5 more to go, but that’s just for starters. The project grows with every collaborator contributing new ideas. There are talks of filming a cinematic trailer, recording a podcast, and publishing a graphic novel. It has even been suggested on numerous occasions that the artist shop the screenplay as a TV series to a production company. But first, those remaining 5 posters. Stay tuned!
  • Andy worked with a variety of extraordinary performers,  including Tina Kraft, Mandy Bebe, Katie Michels, Jed Arkley, Brandi Seymour, Michele Yurick, and Mahsa Darabi.