Script for either a stop motion or a live action short film


Appetizer: Black screen
Sound of a dog whining, then sound of a woman, grunting restrained.

Text appears: Credits, cast, crew etc. (possibly clarinet music)

Scene 1: INT. bedroom – night. Black.
On the right side of a double bed a nightstand lamp with tassels gets turned on. It casts a shadow on the wall. A man turns over in the bed to find his wife next to him and their dog between them. The wife is strangling the dog (Presumably she is doing it in her sleep, but there is no way of really knowing) The man reacts very slowly. He whimpers while he uselessly, helplessly tries to loosen her hands from the dog’s neck.

Neeeeeej, neeeeeej, neeeeej.

Neeeeej, neeeeej, neeeeeej.

Uuu, uuu, uuu.

Suddenly the woman looks straight ahead. She lets go of the dog and lies down with no extra movements. The man sits for a while motionless. Then looks at the dog. The dog looks at him. Then the man also lies down, turns down the light, and in the darkness the dog sighs.

 Title: On a black background the title of the movie appears. “May you live in interesting times” Music starts playing.


Scene 2: EXT. Frozen lake – close-up.
A swan to the left in the picture is looking affectionately at its own reflexion in the frozen lake. The swans neck, together with the reflected neck in the ice, creates a heart shape. The swan winks at itself.

 Scene 2b: EXT. day. Total – a frozen lake inside a city – tall buildings around – a foot path to the right, a bridge over the lake in the background – sound of traffic contrasting the otherwise idyllic scenario – There is a sign forbidding feeding of the swans and a sign with an Asian-looking person hugging a swan with a red bar across.

 A group of people standing on the path on the lake shore is looking at the swan with worry. They are worried. The swan is stuck in the ice. Someone has to do something, so they keep looking at their phones and the road and at the swan and at each other. These movements create a weird, staccato, minimalistic choreography. This is the scene. People worrying passively, holding each other in this position, this pattern of behaviour. One man starts taking bottle after bottle out of his bag and drinking demonstratively with a decisive look on his face, and lets them drop to the floor.

 Scene 3: INT. Bar – seen from the door into the room. To the left there is an empty table. To the right four big men are standing around a table drinking big pints. (You can only stand up in this bar.)

A little man in a grey, ill-fitting suit and a hat comes into the bar. He orders a small beer in the bar and looks at the table with the four big men. He then tries to squeeze in between two of them, but they grunt like elephants and move together equally elephant-like. He then tries to squeeze in between two others, but the same happens. He goes to the bar and orders a bigger beer and tries to get it down from the counter. One of the big men looks up and laughs at the little man. The others look up and starts laughing as well, first with malice, but then the big man looks at them, like they have completely misunderstood, even though his laughter also sounded evilish, and was meant to be evil – but now, like a school yard bully, he has gotten a new plan. The others stop laughing. The first big man makes a gesture for the others to make space for the little one at the table. The little man steps over to the table, everything is silent and there is a tense pause where no one, even the bully, knows what to say or do, but then the little man suddenly drinks all of the big beer in one gulp to the cheer and applause of the big men. When he puts down the glass the first big man whistles at the bartender and puts up five fingers. The bar tender looks at the little man for a second, then begins filling a big glass.

 Scene 4: EXT. Afternoon – lake – reddening sun, which has shifted its position in the sky. A group of school children with reflex wests and scooter helmets on pass through the scenario in the background.

The group of on-lookers all have their gaze on one man with his trousers down and penis in his hand half way out where the swan is stuck in the ice. A woman is trying to hold him back. The man’s pants are down around his ankles. She is on her stomach on the ice, hanging on to his pants. Presumably she has been trying to get them up again, but now she is getting dragged really slowly across the ice with every little step he takes.

Neeeej, neeeeej, neeeeej.

It’s his wife.

THE MAN (Possibly just sounds like frustrated sounds)
Someone has to do something.

A beam of yellow pee comes out of the penis and melts the ice like acid (the sound of acid eroding something would be cool here.) It came close to the swan. Maybe it created a circle, so we can see, that the ice is now melted, and understand, that he is trying to help the swan free of the ice. The swan is looking at the man and the ice.

THE GROUP (Gasps in shock and outrage)

 The sound of sirens fades in. Everyone in the group looks relieved. A police car comes driving in high speed, stops and with the blue lights still turning, two officers run through the crowd, dividing them like water, and runs out onto the frozen lake, where they put the exposed man in handcuffs and drag him up to the police car, still with the wife dragging behind him. Before they put the man in the police car, they have a hard time getting the wife to let go of her husband. They finally succeed, get in the car, leaves the woman lying there and drives away. The crowd, who has been watching the scenario passively, turns their gaze to the swan again. The swan yawns.

 Scene 5: INT. Bar – early evening – the reddening sun shines through the large glass windows. The bar is empty apart from the little man and the bartender, whom we don’t see in this scene.

The little man is lying over the table with his upper body, sleeping/passed out though still standing up. He is completely naked. After the camera has observed him for a little while, he lifts his head. His eyes are weird. They have changed colour or become glassy and darker. He turns his head as if he is looking at the street outside. Outside we can see the hotdog stand I mentioned earlier. The owner is closing the stand and is pulling it out onto the street, turns on a little motor and pulls it after him like a big electric pony.[1] The naked man doesn’t react to anything, he looks without looking. He walks out of the door, slowly but not as a drunk person, more like a sleep walker. Once out of the door he looks to the right for an unnatural long time, so you feel like asking him, what he is thinking about, or is he falling asleep again? Then he turns to the left and abruptly walks that way. We observe him from inside the bar through the glass façade from the bartender’s perspective.

 Scene 5b: INT. Bar – seen from outside the door, zooming in on the bartender.

The bartender is not paying attention to the man, who just left his bar. He is absorbed by a little television to his side and is polishing beer glasses. From over the bartender’s shoulder we see what he is watching in the television. There is a reporter standing in front of a red boat house at a lake.

 Scene 5c: Special scene (Made with another technique than the rest of the movie, collage, or black and white, or somehow in old movie style) – Inside the television. EXT. Boat house at the lake.

 The reporter with his microphone is walking over to a handle he can turn, so the big doors of the boat house opens, and in there we see a big, fertile, female-looking pedal boat shaped like a swan with a manic, happy face. Up against it, an actual living male swan is rubbing lovingly against the pedal boat. The camera zooms in on his in-love-face. / There is a loud sound of a glass breaking.

 Scene 5d: INT. Bar – inside the actual bar desk.

 The bartender looks at the glass he just dropped.

THE BARTENDER (maybe just one angry word or a very very long incantation)
May you live in interesting times!!!

He swipes up the broken glass with a dustpan and brush.

 Scene 6: EXT. In the background a big, grey, hopeless block of flats. A winding path leads up to it through a lifeless open space of grass with patches of snow on it. (Maybe a sad snowman.)

 The alpha male of the four big guys from the bar is walking up the path. He is wearing pieces of the little man’s clothes; a tiny jacket, a tiny hat. He is drunk and walking unsteadily, almost a caricature of a drunken man. When he is halfway there, the dog from the first scene appears in the window and starts barking at him excitedly as if he were its owner coming home from a long day’s work. The man seems to play along and starts calling it, ironically, as though it were his dog and his best friend.

Come on, yeah, come on, good boy, yeaaaah, goooood boy.

The dog gets visibly excited by the positive attention. Its whole body is wagging. The man continues amused by the idiocy of the situation.

Come on, yeah, come on then, you stupid animal. Come to papa.

The dog gets really excited. It doesn’t know how to be in its own body. It runs back into the apartment. The man stands there and looks if it will come back, but then he seems to give up on the thought. We detect a little sadness in him, as if he had gotten woken up somehow, but just then the dog reappears with a happy face and jumps directly out of the window with a howl. It lands on the ground and everything is still and silent. The man and the dog are both motionless for a while. Some snow is playing in the wind. Maybe the nose of the snowman falls to the ground. Then the dog starts whining silently and moves its front leg. The man runs to it and kneels. The dog lifts his head and looks lovingly at him. The man takes it in his lap and strokes it.

ALPHA MALE MAN (despairingly)
Nej, nej, nej.

He then looks around frantically. He looks up at the building.

Heeelp. Heeeelp. Halllooo?

The few windows where there is still light on, quickly gets turned off, as if the building was closing its eyes. The man is fumbling around in his pockets to find his mobile phone (a large one with an antenna). He pulls it up and pushes three numbers (beep beep beep) It takes too long where there is just a waiting signal, then a woman with a metallic voice (or we hear it as metallic through the phone’s loudspeaker) picks up. The two have a (to us) incomprehensible conversation. The man is explaining the situation. She doesn’t understand. He tries to repeat. Disbelievingly she repeats one of the words, which probably means dog. He confirms, and she breaks into a laughter. The sound of the laughter fills up the whole soundscape, as if it grew out of the phone like a Genie out of a bottle.[2] Fade or cut to black. Sound of a squeaking wheel links this scene to the next.

 Scene 7: EXT. Lake – Evening.

 The fire fighters have turned up and are rolling out the heavy fire hose (The squeaking sound comes from the hose wheel). They are dragging the hose out over the ice towards the swan. It is a troublesome task. The people watching are very excited. More are joining the group. The fire fighters move in a pattern, which goes: They take a few steps. The ice makes a cracking noise. They stop. They move again. The ice cracks again. When they finally come within a good distance of the swan and raise the hose.


(A sound like ‘hep’ or something while he gestures to another fire fighter standing at the fire truck that he can turn on the water)

The fire fighter at the truck slowly turns a handle and a little bit of water comes out of the hose. The front fire fighter shakes it a bit, turns it to look if more is coming. The swan looks up at them, makes its characteristic hissing sound, stands up and flies away. The camera follows it in the sky for a while.

THE GROUP OF PEOPLE (With variety of feeling: disappointment, joy, amazement)

The sound of water coming out onto the ice.

Scene 8: INT. Small one-person bedroom – morning – Sunrise – birds are visible through the window, they are flying in an uncoordinated formation, like a dog chasing its own tale.

 The camera is a person sneaking around looking at things in a bachelor’s bedroom[3]. The clothes from the little man lie scattered around. It takes a little while to come to the bed, but then we see the alpha man lying in his little bed, and next to him the dog is lying completely stiff with a smile on its face. The man turns in his sleep and puts his arm around the dog.

 Scene 9: EXT. Harbour – early morning – cranes to the right – the water is in the middle – people are gathered around the water. There is a police car with the lights still turning – the fire truck is there – more of the people we have seen throughout the movie are also there, the pizza-hot dog man comes past the harbour dragging the stand with its loud motor.

 The camera takes in the scenario, then flies over it and hovers over the water, where the little naked man from earlier is floating on the water with his back up. After a little while a random man throws a rescue hoop out that just hits the man, but doesn’t help anything.

Nej, nej, nej.

The police officer pushes the random man away. Three firefighters start rolling out the fire hose. The squeaking noise reappears. The camera moves its gaze upwards into the sky, where the birds from the last scene is now filling the sky, tumbling around in their confused formation.


 To the sound of water coming out of the hose and splashing onto the water and the man, the credits come up surrounded by confused birds flying in changing shapes. To the weird dance of the birds a very heavy, eastern European funeral march starts playing.


[1] In Denmark the hotdog stands get pulled through the streets at night, where they are kept somewhere overnight. I love it when I see this and I would love it even more, if the hotdog wagon was shaped like a pizza hotdog. It is always a kind of sad person who works at a hotdog stand. They are usually people who have been rehabilitated somehow and the state then supports them by giving them this job. The owner of this one should be quite a character.

[2] She could also literally come out of the phone as the only truly abstract scene in the movie.

[3] The room can be full of fruit in weird places, like melons on top of the cupboard. I once couch surfed at a Polish man’s place in England, and he had fruit everywhere. It was a very effective visualisation of loneliness somehow.