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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Filthy Animal – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

Filthy Animal
A mysterious control officer shows an abusive dog owner what it’s like to be an animal.

Dogs are known as Man’s Best Friend for good reason.

Rather than just pets, they’re companions, crime solvers, guiders, and protectors. Every so often, they may give us the slightest of grievances – but for caring and amiable people, one glance at those inexpressibly sentimental eyes and all our fears just float away.

Unfortunately Dwight, the lead in Michael Kospiah’s Filthy Animal, isn’t a “caring person” at all. More like a pugnacious, cold-hearted thing. One who sees his long suffering pit bull as a source of exasperation and disobedience. After one smelly misdemeanor too many, Dwight’s had enough. His hound is getting punished. Hard. Chained up and abandoned in a mud puddle, it’s a despondent situation for the pup.

At least until the mysterious Fritzinger arrives on the scene. Though he claims to be an “animal control worker,” Frizinger’s outfit and demeanor are incongruous for his career.

Perhaps the beast he’s been sent to neutralize isn’t the poor pooch, but Dwight himself… in evil ways.

Following a swift and drastic confrontation, Fritzinger turns the tables on the human monster. Soon Dwight’s the one being abused and treated like an animal – with no end in sight!

Chained up in his muddy back yard and crying for help, Dwight soon attracts the attention of a new group of “rescuers”. A group of good Samaritans who supposedly take pity on him and transport him to…

…the animal shelter? What on Earth is happening here?

The shelter workers attempt to find a loving home for their latest “mutt”, but no dice. Soon, they’ll have no choice but to put mongrel Dwight out of his misery. That is, unless he finds a ‘forever home.’ But what sensible family would choose him?

Much like the pit bull, Dwight desperately hopes for a guardian angel…and one does miraculously appear. But, similar to Fritzinger’s shocking arrival, something doesn’t seem quite right.

Is Dwight being led towards redemption as a person? Or some unspeakable fate – one you wouldn’t wish on a beast?

A fast-paced short that hugs its twists close to its chest, Filthy is acutely paradoxical: offering up satisfying moments of justice being served cold (an eye for an eye.) Not to mention a touching and difficult-to-stomach commentary on animal abuse – asking us to walk a few pages through an animal’s life; in the “paws” of an unloved, battered pet.

Needless to say, any potential audience is sure to ride (and love) the roller coaster of emotions with this one; including the surreal flipping of roles. And if you miss out on the chance to direct Filthy Animal, you’ll be thrown in the doghouse yourself!

Pages: 17

Budget: Moderate. Not too expensive – but don’t cheap out on this one!

About the reviewer: Hamish Porter is a writer who, if he was granted one wish, would ask for the skill of being able to write dialogue like Tarantino. Or maybe the ability to teleport. Nah, that’s nothing compared to the former. A lover of philosophy, he’s working on several shorts and a sporting comedy that can only be described as “quintessentially British”. If you want to contact him, he can be emailed: hamishdonaldp “AT” gmail.com. If you’d like to contact him and be subjected to incoherent ramblings, follow him on Twitter @HamishP95.

About the writer: Michael J. Kospiah is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright who began his career as a sports columnist for several newspapers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. With 15 years experience, he has worked as a ghostwriter, script consultant, script doctor and has collaborated with filmmakers from all over the world. His first-produced feature film “The Suicide Theory” had its world premiere at the prestigious TCL Chinese Theaters on Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California in 2014. After winning several awards on the festival circuit (Dances With Films Festival – Grand Jury Prize, Austin Film Festival – Audience Award, Melbourne Underground FF – Special Jury Prize), the film was picked up for distribution in U.S. and Canada via Freestyle Releasing and received a brief run in select theaters while available (and still available) On Demand through most major cable outlets (also on Netflix). The film was listed #5 on theguardian.com’s Top 10 Australian Films list for 2015 and is currently rated 76% on Rotten Tomatoes.

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!

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4 Comments so far

1.

Wes
April 6th, 2016 at 9:47 pm

What concerned me, as a novice screen writer, was the specific camera direction at the opening of the script. Everything I’ve read says you don’t want to do that. I’d be interested in comments and thoughts on that.

After that, the development and the twists were really good. I enjoyed moving from disgust to irritation to sympathy to acceptance of his fate and a feeling that he gets what he deserves.

2.

Michael J. Kospiah
April 6th, 2016 at 11:37 pm

The writer of the script here… I would, by no means, suggest to a novice writer to use OPEN ON. Especially if you’re going to post the script publicly for other screenwriters to see and comment on. Now, I’m not a “pro” writer as I do not live on money I make from writing scripts. But I have had a feature produced (currently available to watch on Netflix). And I have read PLENTY of screenplays that begin with an OPEN ON — OR — without any slugs at all (Sideways, Avatar, Saw, among others). I wanted to open on a specific image. And I wanted to open on that specific image SUDDENLY. I did not want to FADE IN on that image (which, if you take it literally, is fading in on an image). Yes, I could have used FADE IN and then INT. DWIGHT’S LIVING ROOM, but I wanted an IMMEDIATE visual. And with that immediacy, we do not know that we’re in Dwight’s living room (yes, for the director’s sake, he can keep track on settings better if I had used an INT after FADE IN)… but to create a quicker visual, I used OPEN ON. If there is one thing that I “erred” on, it was using a mini slug (END OF A HALLWAY) without having a main slug preceding it. For the sake of consistency, I should have just mentioned “end of the hallway” in the description. It has been done a bunch of times (as I’ve mentioned) but I would not suggest it to a novice writer. To a novice writer, I would suggest keeping it safe and sticking to basics. This also applies to my “floor level 360 view” in the description. However, it was a very specific visual that I felt needed specific description/direction. Again, not something I would suggest to a novice writer.

3.

KP Mackie
April 8th, 2016 at 3:14 pm

Terrific emotion.
The setup tugs at the heartstrings. The unexpected turn in this story is riveting.
Karma…
Well done! 🙂

4.

Wes
April 16th, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for your reply, Michael. Appreciate it.

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