If you have not seen the film The Truman Show, this will not make much sense.
Christof does not keep a journal.
The audio and video record of him, with more deliberate planning or editing might characterise a journal, but 'data' is an accurate description of its current form. Knowing the amount of time he spends in direct operational control of the Programme (all control inputs and stage directions, voice or otherwise, are recorded), he is almost as well-surveiled as his charge. A further programme could be created from these records, the irony of which is likely not lost on him. Still little is known about him, and a record of his thoughts during the events documented here would be fascinating.
Christof was appointed Executive Director of what is now the most-watched television show in history, after consistent successes directing and producing in several media fields. With his guidance and vision, the Programme grew from a small and promising concept into a global brand representing American prosperity and traditional values, precipitating technological advancements in miniaturisation, weather control, set design and personnel flow management.
The Programme contained the potential of a lifetime of soap operas and the near-infinite recyclability of the same. When Truman eventually died or became too infirm to continue starring, the Programme could simply 'reset' with a new star but this time would have a fully-developed world, which would not suffer the security and continuity problems that dogged the early years of Cycle One.
The small initial scale of the production fitted perfectly with the restricted environment imposed by the slow construction of set Charlie (widely known as the Omni-Cam Ecosphere). Special precautions had to be taken to ensure that the young Truman not observe areas of Seahaven under construction, though some corners were cut in this regard. Despite admonishment from senior management (selected internal memorandums #237/03/1962, #123/01/1967 and #215/05/1968 refer) certain supervisors and crew chiefs neglected to enforce the obfuscation and noise suppression protocols.
In several incidents the young Truman briefly observed, or came close to observing, the construction and terraforming work proceeding behind the blocking structures. Further, over time a small number of employees experienced personality fluctuations that resulted in deliberate attempts by them to subvert the Programme and reveal its existence to Truman. These incidents tended to occur during his youth when security and countermeasure procedures were less developed. As, fortuitously, was his sense and understanding of environment. Nevertheless the effect on the young Truman is still not fully understood by Programme controllers, much less those responsible (who dismissed their significance, citing the incomprehension of his youth).
Christof made sure the individuals responsible for these protocol breaches were fired, but stated in subsequent boards of enquiry that the damage had been done. He further cited several of these incidents as causal factors in the events that resulted in the unscheduled termination of Cycle One of the Programme on June 5, 1998 after almost thirty years of uninterrupted coverage.
Although the departure of Truman would be catastrophic in the immediate term, the security branch of staging annex twenty-four was stood down (internal memorandum #541/06/1998 refers) allowing him to exit. Truman subsequently left set Charlie and is now believed to be resident somewhere in the Sierra Mountains after his sudden disappearance, following several weeks of persistent tracking by print journalists. It is strongly suspected that Truman had third party assistance in his flight from media and public attention; there are several individuals and activist groups considered to have sufficient capabilities and motivation for such an action.
The cessation of transmission that followed the departure of Truman belied any subsequent activity; however, contingency and continuity plans approximately twenty years old were activated the moment Truman stepped through exit door 78. The first of these was the immediate disowning of Truman Burbank by Omnicom Corporation. Any subsequent legal action - though not anticipated - would be buffered by the continued profits from the sale of merchandise from the Truman Catalogue, which were always predicted to increase dramatically (though temporarily) after such an event.
Second, the contracts of the entire cast of the Programme were terminated. Many of the supporting characters of the Programme had been present from Truman's childhood and their inclusion in subsequent cycles was judged a disruptive influence on continuity. The same concerns were levelled at more minor characters but further, they were considered easily replaceable for Cycle Two considering their main functions of catalysing the principal character and generating advertising revenue.
Third, set Charlie, which if continuing to operate under such circumstances would quickly become four dead engines to Omnicom's Jumbo Jet, was placed into a state of hibernation. All personnel were quickly evacuated, all entrances and exits were closed and sealed and the interior blanketed with thick snow. The environmental control systems continued to operate at low power to maintain appropriate conditions but all other grid connections were severed, leaving the interiors in complete darkness. The last employee left set Charlie at 14:35 on June 8, 1998.
Fourth, an search for a new star quickly began. Requests were filed with adoption agencies in all adjacent states for a newborn to be available for a specified broadcast date. Cycle Two would begin from a new location within Seahaven, as the comparative freedom of the completed set now permitted. The start date was planned such that it allowed sufficient time for internal audits of conduct and security to be conducted. This was Step Five.
It was always expected that one of three classes of event would end a cycle of the Programme. A Class 1 event was the death of the principal character; either through fatal injury, disease, illness or natural causes. A Class 2 event was the principal character reaching such age or infirmity as to no longer constitute a sufficiently active screen presence to be fit for continued starring. If the principal character somehow broke continuity (either because of third party interference or internal misjudgement) and for that reason ceased to be fit for continued starring, that was a Class 3 event.
In the event of a Class 3 event ending a cycle of the Programme, it was expected that extensive review of internal procedure would be necessary to uncover the cause and effect chain, given the scale of investment that could potentially have been made in the cycle by the time such an event occurred. Per the plan, these audits were scheduled to begin immediately.
They lasted several weeks and consisted of extended hearings in which members of the supervisory and senior controlling staff of set Charlie (including Christof himself) were questioned on their roles and actions during the incidents deemed to have caused the premature end of Cycle One. The following is an excerpt from testimony given by Christof to a five-member panel which included Station Head Paul Shearer and Omnicom Assistant Director Adam Harris:
Transcript of audio recording; 29/06/1998
Paul Shearer: You still maintain your handling of Truman's attempt to leave Seahaven
Adam Harris: If he had died you would not be in front of this panel now; you would
be on trial for murder.
C: He didn't die.
AH: You had no concerns for his safety?
C: He had demonstrated his resourcefulness by that point.
PS: So you considered it a worthwhile risk to jeopardise his life to keep him
C: Hypocrisy is difficult to stomach from the man who signs off the continuation
of the show every six months.
PS: How dare—
C: (interrupting) We all knew what we were doing when we started this. You-
knew what we were doing. People are in jeopardy every day; Truman was
far safer than any of them.
AH: We never agreed, nor did we give you the authority, to endanger a man's life
for the sake of the Programme. You know there are contingency plans for the
loss of the principal character for any reason.
AH: So why would you take such a risk when you knew that even if Truman managed
to escape, plans were in place?
C: He was too big an investment - financially and personally - to simply permit
him to leave without opposition.
PS: You had plenty of benign methods at your disposal to prevent his escape:
methods which, I might add, you employed with little reservation in the days
preceding Truman's escape. Continuity was broken long before he succeeded
AH: There has to be somewhere to draw the line. I have here a transcript from
your recent interview for the programme 'Trutalk', in which you said, quote:
"He can leave at any time. If his was more than just a vague ambition, if he
was absolutely determined to discover the truth, there's no way we could
PS: How do you reconcile that with what you are telling us here today?
C: I never said we shouldn't try. I never said that. He had to be convinced to
turn back of his own free will. He was worth the risk and I would take that
risk again without question.
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Heated exchanges continued along this line in a protracted process which involved several other members of controlling staff of set Charlie. After several weeks the hearings concluded that although poor environmental management was partially to blame for the premature end of Cycle One and endangering the life of the principal character, Christof could not be held wholly responsible. He and the supervisory staff were deemed to have acted within their authority and were allowed to retain their positions, albeit with closer oversight and with a review of continuity maintenance procedures.
Some weeks of casting, set redressing and reseeding, and re-merchandising continued in parallel with the hearings in preparation for the delivery of the new principal character. The month preceding his arrival was spent entirely on personnel positioning and tracking trials, improvisation testing on cast members and surveillance training for tertiary characters and equipment operators by several security consultancies.
Finally, over four months after the cessation of Cycle One, preparations were complete. Personnel Traffic Controllers were at their monitors. Surveillance systems were standing by. Environmental control systems maintained a balmy 78°F on the surface. The interior of set Charlie was silent, save for a whispered breeze. Seahaven's populace were frozen at first positions like mannequins. Similarly in the lunar room on floor 221, Christof and staff stood sentinel at Control as they waited for the Go, again seeing through the eyes of the world as they watched the view screen.
At 2100hrs EDT on October 12, 1998, a ceremony attended by hundreds of celebrities and broadcast to an international audience reached its climax. The airtime day counter was reset to zero and the show clock started by the President of The U.S. Senate, and a fanfare by the Russian Federal Orchestra announced the opening of Cycle Two.
To rapturous applause, The Truman Show began again.