Ruby (98 pages in PDF format) by Dena McKinnon
When a cantankerous woman is given only months to live, the town scrambles to see who will write her Eulogy – and inherit her vast fortune.
The Eulogy surrounds its readers in a rich tapestry of characters, which envelop you like a warm blanket.
The main protagonist is Ruby Mae Morgan: wealthy spinster, and owner of Morgan Textiles factory. An isolated figure, she lives out the remainder of her years behind the perpetually locked gates of her lonely Southern mansion. Despite her riches, she has no friends. Only employees (lots of them), who test the limits of her patience daily. Ruby’s miserable personality hints at some trauma in her past… but she isn’t interested in reminiscing or telling tales. Business takes priority over the personal. Always. Even when Ruby discovers she’s… dying. But rather than give up, she goes into high gear, determined to wrap up loose ends. Especially regarding who will get her factory and take the reins. Within days of her diagnosis, the old woman announces a contest: whoever writes the best eulogy for her (while she’s still alive and able to judge) will get her full estate… and company.
Needless to say – game on! As soon as the proclamation’s made, all the factory workers scramble to life, each determined to win the prize.
Among the contenders: Violet (24). Though young, she’s already had a hard knock life. Estranged from her husband (sleazy factory manager Sherman), Violet’s been abused, kicked out of her home, and forced to live with five year old daughter Abbey in their beat-up car.
Then there’s Catfish – Miss Ruby’s gardener – who readily admits he’s in over his head. Not only is he not a writer, he’s got more pressing issues on his plate. Like watching over two grown drug-addicted daughters, and caring for seven year old granddaughter, “Tadpole”. But still, a man can dream. Especially when his precocious granddaughter’s future is at stake.
Then there’s Miss Ruby’s greedy son Brent – a man who has had little to do with his mother his entire life. At least, until he hears about her eminent demise. After which point, Brent arrives with attorney in tow: clearly not interested in reunion. But hell-bent on inheritance.
Then there’s the rest of the colorful, quirky town – all desperate to grab for the brass ring that Ruby’s dangled before their eyes. Even if they have to brown-nose, cheat and lie.
Of all the characters that march across Eulogy’s page, it’s young “Tadpole” that stands heads and tails above the rest. “Seven going on Twenty Three”, Tadpole is perhaps the only one who truly feels sorry for Miss Ruby, and sees redeeming qualities in her. As Tadpole herself states: “Miss Ruby could be right mean. But I just figure she must be feeling really bad inside. Maybe she was scared about dying. She was like one of them suckers with the hard candy on the outside and the delicious bubble gum on the inside.” Ahhh, out of the mouths of babes.
Take our word for it. Tadpole will steal your heart…
As Miss Ruby’s illness accelerates, the contest reaches crisis point. Everyone’s needy – but who will win? And will Miss Ruby find peace of mind – or take decade long secrets to her grave?
You’ll care about the characters in The Eulogy. A lot. Honest, organic portrayals, this odd assortment of personalities will capture your attention, and hold it hostage to the end. This feature length will tug at your heartstrings, and win big at the festivals. And drama doesn’t get much better than that. J
Budget: The Talent. Get the best actors money can buy. Then let the script work it’s magic!
About the Writer: Dena McKinnon has had four shorts produced. One of her shorts, The Box, directed by Sascha Zimmermann, has racked up numerous awards and was screened at Comic-Con in San Diego. Dena has optioned one feature, Doggone, a buddy script cowritten with Kevin Lenihan. Currently, Dena has one feature in production, The Last Call, with Leo-PR, and is writing on assignment for an undisclosed TV producer. Dena just finished directing her script Kill Your Demon. Check out Dena’s IMDB credits and website at DenaMcKinnon.com/.
About the Reviewer: California über reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working on a historical feature.
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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.