Three days after a couple’s beloved dog goes missing, a phone call arrives that will change the game. Forever.
Put aside whether you’re a dog person or cat person just for a moment and focus on the incomparable talents of Man’s Best Friend, and why mutts have earned this most eminent title.
Guide dogs, guard dogs, sniffer dogs, therapy dogs, herding, hunting, tracking and cadaver dogs, bomb, drug, and chemical detection dogs; dogs of war, dogs who can sniff out cancer – dogs who rescue their owners from burning buildings and rolling rapids… And that’s just to name a few of their talents. Add to that, unconditional loyalty and love, goopy grins, sloppy kisses and perennially wagging tails, and really – the ‘elegant tramp’, (as one of my friends labels felines), is really not much competition, now is it?
From Rin-Tin-Tin and Lassie to the memorably cute but a lil’ fugly Verdell in As Good As It Gets, it’s no wonder dogs have an illustrious celluloid history, in both leading roles and as sidekicks.
Okay, now picture this:
You’re wandering down the street, minding your own business, and you look up to see MISSING, LOST DOG, or REWARD, stamped across a poster and nailed to a telegraph pole. Typically a photo of said AWOL pooch looks dolefully and adorably into the camera. Aww, so sad, and guaranteed to tug at the ol’ heartstrings.
This is also the opening scene of Steven Clark’s screenplay, Man’s Best Friend.
But hang on now, cause if you’re thinking this is going to be a cute fluffy-dog piece think again. Curt and Cassie, a couple in their thirties (he’s a cop btw) have just received a rather ominous telephone call and discovered there’s a bounty to be paid on Ranger, their missing ‘family member’ – and a rather hefty ransom demand.
We have your dog. …
He’s got nice teeth. But I’ve got
pliers. … $10,000 dollars for the
mutt. Cash. Or I start playing dentist.
Eww! Marathon Dog, anyone?
To say anything further would spoil the fun, the suspense, and the very, very, dark twists and turns of this piece. Suffice to say this tail (sorry, tale) is less for lovers of Marley And Me , and more for fans of teeth baring, and snarling Cujo, and Seven Psychopaths.
Dare I say, if you’ve got a nose for talent you can call off your search right now cause with Man’s Best Friend you’ll definitely be barking up the right tree.
Budget: Low. Just – make sure you do this one right… every beat!
About the writer: Based in upstate, NY, Steven Clark is the writer of over 30 short scripts, several of which are under option, in pre-production, or have already been made into films. On A Clear Night, a family Christmas feature aimed at a Hallmark Channel-type audience, is currently in the works. Steven can be reached at Steamroller138 (a) gmail.
Read Man’s Best Friend (10 pages in PDF format)
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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.
About the reviewer: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.