A poor Texas family loads up their camping gear for a weekend trip, but one of them will not be returning.
When it comes to political controversies, there are few as emotionally volatile as abortion. And that’s not surprising. Where one stands on abortion strikes right at the heart of one’s fundamental values (religious or secular). At what point in fetal growth does personhood and rights begin? And once they do – how to balance the rights of a developing human against those of the woman who must carry it? It’s a diversive issue – driven by deep philosophical and political beliefs.
But when it comes to the actual procedure, the reality is far from abstract. Regardless of one’s decision, the impact of abortion is intensely personal. For the woman – and often her family.
Family Trip focuses on that aspect – following the Heron family as they travel out of town… ostensibly for a camping trip. Going along for the ride are Wendy, Hank and their fifteen year old daughter, Carrie. Despite the camping gear piled on top of the car, it quickly becomes clear that the Herons aren’t heading to the woods. As the appointment and the clinic nears, FT handles a number of potentially inflammatory scenes with remarkable subtlety: discussion of possible protestors. The legal requirement in Texas for the doctor to show Carrie an ultrasound of the fetus. Eschewing overly-dramatic scenes, writer Eric Wall instead uses touches of dialogue and small details to do something far more impressive: create a three dimensional view of a family that clearly loves each other; bonding together during a difficult time in their lives.
Thoughtfully written (and devoid of grandstanding), FT is likely to act as a Rorsach test for its readers – the message differing depending on how one interprets it. But regardless of one’ s personal stance on abortion – this is one script that deserves to be part of the discussion.
About the writer: I’ve been writing screenplays for over ten years. For most of that time I considered it a hobby, but I decided to make a serious go of it a little over a year ago. Since then I’ve written several short scripts and one feature, with another feature nearing completion. Despite occasional inquiries, I have not been optioned, but I’m hoping that changes in 2014.
Budget: Reasonable. There are a variety of settings: the car, the clinic, a diner. Probably best not done on a shoestring… but nothing exorbitant, either. The main requirement: get solid actors that can handle subtle dialog and context.
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