Shorts Week Continues: Today is the second day of Shorts Week, where I cover 5 short scripts from you guys, the readers. Shorts Week was a newsletter-only opportunity. To sign up and make sure you don’t miss out on future Scriptshadow opportunities, e-mail me at the contact page and opt in for the newsletter (if you’re not signed up already). No, this week’s newsletter still hasn’t gone out yet. Hopefully by tonight!

Genre: Horror/Zombie
Premise: (from writers) A lone survivor in a world besieged by the undead struggles to protect her home: A big cat farm in the middle of Iowa.
About: These two won the very first Scriptshadow Screenplay Contest with their script, “Oh Never, Spectre Leaf!
Writers: C. Ryan Kirkpatrick and Chad Musick
Details: 23 pages


I remember there was a time when shorts were pointless. The only way a short could actually help your career was if it somehow got picked as an Oscar nominee. And who the hell knows how that happens? Win a couple of major festivals? I mean talk about a system that didn’t give you a lot of bang for your buck.

Youtube has changed all that. Shorts are one of the most promising ways to start a career in filmmaking nowadays. I mean, Scriptshadow fave “Mama” started off as a short. Had Guillermo Del Toro not seen that thing and loved it, we would’ve never met that floaty-haired little freakshow in feature form.

And even without the super-success stories of visual-effects whizzes launching their careers via jaw-dropping short films (Neil Blomkamp), shorts on the internet are still a must for any young filmmaker. I mean, when someone tells me he’s a director these days, the first thing I do is look him up on Youtube so I can watch one of his shorts, see what he’s about. If he doesn’t have anything up, I don’t take him seriously. It’s practically a requirement.

So it’s an intriguing transition. Shorts have gone from completely insignificant to the number one calling card for young directors in all of 7 years. Oh, how fast the business changes. However, shorts are still being produced via the wrong approach. They’re typically generated by directors trying to show off their stuff. This is NOT the way you should approach a movie. First and foremost should be the script. The script has to be a story worth telling.

If we could develop a shorts system that marries writers with directors somehow, my guess is that shorts would be a lot better. But the importance of the system has grown faster than the system has been put in place. Of course, writers aren’t really prepared for this either. If the shorts I’ve been reading are any indication, screenwriters aren’t really sure how to tackle this new blossoming medium. There’s still too much boring subject matter and boring storytelling. A short film has to be both emotionally satisfying AND memorable/different in some way. It has to STAND OUT. Which is a perfect segue into today’s offering.

30 year-old Emma Gray hasn’t been having the best week. She’s had to kill her husband after he turned into a zombie, and upon doing so, upset her little boy so much that he ran away. The only thing left in her life is her son’s childhood stuffed animal, Hobbes, who she’s taken to talking to (a la Wilson from Castaway) in order to prevent insanity.

After dusting a few zombies of the 28 Days Later variety (frantic runners), Emma decides to go back to her childhood home, where her family (I believe) owned a veterinary clinic. But not just any veterinary clinic. This clinic took care of big cats – tigers, leopards, cheetahs, that sort of thing. When Emma goes to check on how the animals are doing, she learns they’re not so good. Apparently the zombie virus has crossed into the cat world. And that’s not good news for anybody planning to take a stroll into the cage room.

Once the zombie tigers spot Emma, they go nuts, bursting out of their cages. Emma has to put them down Old Yeller style (by the way, why did they make us read that shit when we were kids? Who wants to read a story where a dog is deliberately killed?). Pretty soon, a few bullets aren’t going to do the trick. There are zombie tigers everywhere, and she’s gotta exit the premises, pronto.

So she grabs Hobbes and away they go, following the directions of a radio transmission that promises safety for survivors. Unfortunately, her car isn’t going to make it on a dwindling tank of gas, so she has to stop at a gas station. After she grabs some supplies, she’s shocked to find the door to her jeep open and Hobbes gone! Hobbes being the only thing keeping her sane, she hops in the car and goes after the thief, a zombie trucking through the forest. She leaps out, shoots him dead, and walks over to grab her stuffed tiger. But when she sees who she’s killed, her entire world falls apart…

As Keanu Reeves would say – whoa. This was one hell of a trip. First thing I wanna mention, though, is the length. Despite the quality of this and Friday’s script (which is also 20+ pages), I don’t think these feel like traditional shorts. They feel like shorts-plus. 20+ pages is more than a casual commitment and therefore Shorts-Plus scripts are going to be harder sells for people. I’m guessing not as many of you are going to read this based on length alone. I don’t want to make some definitive statement or anything. But length clearly matters. It will affect your reads. Lots more people are going to read a 7 page short instead of a 20 pager, regardless of how good it is. You’ve been warned.

As for the story itself, it had some good things going for it and some not-so-good things. Zombie tigers. Wow. That’s a crazy choice. It’s unique, but I’m not sure how many people will suspend their disbelief to buy into a story about zombie-tigers. I suspect some readers are just going to say, “That’s too weird.”

However, it’s also what sets this apart from all the other shorts. I think one of the key things you have to ask yourself when writing a short is, “Is this the kind of thing that people would tell other people about?” Is it the kind of video where people will say, “You gotta see this?” Would they put it in their e-mail? Would they tweet about it? Otherwise, what’s the point? You’ve made a short for you and your buddies. Who cares? Zombie tigers and cheetahs trying to rip humans to pieces? If done well, that’s something I’d wanna see. So “Here There Be Tigers,” passes that crucial test.

Another key element that this short has going for it is the ending. That’s one thing I’ve noticed about shorts. The ones with surprise endings leave more of an impact and are therefore more likely to be shared. (Spoiler) Here, the person who stole Hobbes and is shot dead turns out to be (in case you hadn’t guessed), Emma’s son. Ouch. That’s a killer. It’s a nice twist if a little confusing. I understand it’s dark out, but if it’s bright enough to properly aim at someone’s head, wouldn’t you notice the difference between a 5 year old boy and a full grown adult? I wish that would’ve been more believably handled.

The Castaway effect was also a smart move. By providing this inanimate object (Hobbes), it allowed us to get inside our character’s head via her talking out loud to someone. Yesterday we talked about the power of a silent short (showing and not telling) which is basically what this is except for that little cheat – Hobbes. It was kind of the best of both worlds in that we still got to hear our hero, but only when we absolutely needed to. Overall, we still got that “silent film” feel.

There were a couple of things that threw me about “Tigers” though – the biggest of which was why the hell Emma would deliberately walk into a place with hundreds of wild tigers. Even if they weren’t zombified, that’d still be really dangerous. I got the feeling she went there (where home was) for some reason, but I couldn’t figure out what. Since the entire short is based on this premise, it can’t be an unknown. Her motivation has to be strong. So I’d like to see that strengthened in the next draft.

Also, there seemed to be some connection between her family and the cats, but that was also unclear. Were her family members all veterinarians? That would be my guess but it was still too vague. I wanted to know definitively why she knew the names of all the cats. And also, of course, why the hell she willingly walked into a veterinary clinic full of hungry animals.

In the end, there was definitely enough stuff to recommend Tigers. I just think some things needed to be cleared and tightened up. What did you guys think?

Script link: Here There Be Tigers

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[x] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: If you’re telling a story with a single character, consider creating an object that the character can talk to. Going completely silent for a film can be a real challenge. As we learned yesterday, there are certain things that are difficult to convey solely through images. Getting inside our hero’s head is one of them. If your protagonist has someone to talk to (like a stuffed animal), it’s a cheat that gives us that power.

  • Poe_Serling

    So far a classic week here at SS… time travel? Check. Zombie? Check. Now off to read the script…

    • Mb

      We haven’t had a severed arm yet, but the week is still young…

      • Poe_Serling

        It wouldn’t surprise me that Carson has a ‘severed arm’ script tucked away just for a special week like this. ;-)

      • Citizen M

        Maybe Shorts Week can be followed by Stumps Week: The Severed Limb Compendium.

  • GYAD

    Everyone likes to say that the zombie genre is dead but much like the zombies themselves, it never seems to stay dead long. This script stays pretty close to genre conventions – the ending, for my money, was a little weak because it was so familiar/unsurprising – but shifts things around a bit with a unique relationship (survivor/stuffed toy), a unique zombie foe (undead tigers) and more of a focus on character. The writing is good, the dialogue is especially good and the story really moves. I still find underlining whole sentences in scripts to be kind of distracting (I think mentally I associate it with essay headings) but overall this was a neat, action-packed mini film.

    • bruckey

      ‘Warm Bodies’ just proved that the undead are still alive

      • GYAD

        Exactly. Every time the Zombie genre looks moribund and over-loaded, some new spin on the idea turns up and makes a ton of money. I doubt we’ll see the Zombie film disappear within our lifetimes.

      • Paul Clarke

        Not to mention World War Z coming out soon, and the success of The Walking Dead (despite its sometimes dodgy writing)

  • ThomasBrownen

    Anything that is based on a reference to Calvin and Hobbes gets an initial thumbs up from me. :)

  • A.P.W.


    Carson — You don’t mention in the ending, when she shoots her son, he’s already a zombie. That takes a little of the emotional heft out of it.

    • carsonreeves1

      I was a little confused by that. The way it was phrased I wasn’t completely sure if he was a zombie or not.

    • JakeBarnes12

      Yeah, she’d have to kill him anyway.

      But if he was still human… oh, the irony.

  • grendl

    Ten upward arrows and I’ll tell you what I think.

  • Avishai

    I haven’t read this, but only because of my workload this week. I will read it. I have an obligation to. I wrote and shot a short movie with zombies, and used it to get into college. A zombie short improved my life, so I need to give back.

    Just had to say that. Sorry. Um. I couldn’t resist.

  • Keith Popely

    I don’t think shorts have ever been pointless. They’ve always been the best way to showcase directing ability and/or an artistic vision of how a written story might look on the screen. They’re calling cards and can attract investors to a specific project or get a young director representation or work. Not only can a short film be made for cheap, but it only takes a few minutes to watch; therefore, it’s far easier to ask someone great and powerful to watch it. What’s easier? “Will you read my 120-page script?” or “Will you watch my five-minute short film?”

    From SLINGBLADE to GEORGE LUCAS IN LOVE to 405: THE MOVIE, shorts have always been a great way to break into the business.

  • Shaun Snyder

    For all you Star Wars fans out there, this just in —

  • charliesb

    I liked it and it was pretty easy read. Still I think maybe they were so excited about the “shock” ending that they missed out on something. No mother of a five year old would stop looking for her child unless she had proof positive (or plausible) that the child had been killed. Him going beyond the gate wasn’t enough. What happened after that? Did she look for a way around the gate? Did she go searching for him the next day and find some kind of proof that he was dead, did she look every day for weeks and then give up? Did she crack up immediately?

  • BoxGoblin

    I would be interested to know what else Kirkpatrick and Musick have been doing since their win. Have they had any success in the industry?

    • C. Ryan Kirkpatrick

      Depends on your definition of success. The short version: We’ve had a fair amount of meetings based on a few different scripts (we were with our manager before Spectre Leaf), have been hooked up/hit it off with a couple of producers that has turned out two scripts that we’re still trying to break through that proverbial Hollywood door with; jury’s still out on them, we’ll see what happens. At the end of the day, we’ve got irons in the fire but certainly haven’t been able to quit our jobs. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

      • gazrow

        I’m pretty confident that with your talent, you guys will be able to quit your jobs some day soon!

        • C. Ryan Kirkpatrick

          You are too kind!

  • Will Vega

    I was pretty disappointed with this short. I like the idea of a person trying to keep it together in a world where people are pretty much gone and the only thing keeping her sane is an inanimate object, in this case a toy. But it didn’t work for me. There was nothing for me to believe why she should sustain a conversation with a stuffed toy.

    The only thing I can think of that could’ve worked is if the kid thought the toy could talk and she suspected it to be just imagination before the apocalypse. Then eventually resorts to consolation with it when things get too hot (although since it already screams too much like Calvin and Hobbes, it’d be better to change the doll to something other than a tiger). I wasn’t impressed with the dialogue either nor the ending. Too mundane for my tastes.

    Pretty sure this will attract horror fans and could be made into a nice short, maybe an anthology episode to a series (or a segment like in V/H/S). But it’s not something I would be interested in watching unless it changes some more things around. Just my 2 cents.

  • JNave

    I’m a little worn out on the whole zombie genre, but this is a cool action/horror short. It would be a really tough one to shoot without a significant budget. The action was very well-written, if not always entirely clear. I also wondered why she was there and why she didn’t realize she shot a child (yeah, it was dark, but there’s a pretty big difference in size in the dark or light). It needs a little work, but it was nice for the type of story I usually don’t care for.

  • Zadora

    My very first script I wrote was for a small comp where no dialogue was allowed at all. GREAT exercise! Some people say it was my best so far…I’ve written almost 60 shorts since then.

  • Jaco

    “If we could develop a shorts system that marries writers with directors somehow, my guess is that shorts would be a lot better. “

    The London Screenwriters Festival tried this with their 50 Kisses project last summer and it resulted in some interesting shorts.

    For those that don’t know – 50 winning shorts (truly short – max of two pages) were chosen from a pool of about 1800 scripts. Then, filmmakers from around the world had a chance to choose which scripts to film. Some of the final shorts were really good – some, of course, weren’t really good.

    As one of the people involved in the process – it was pretty cool to see what was written down on the page turned into something visual. Especially since I’m on the West Coast and the filmmaker was in London (no previous connections).

    If you are interested, you can check all the films out here:

    • Poe_Serling

      Hey Jaco-

      Did your short script get filmed?

      • Jaco

        It did. After a little back and forth with the director, a few things were changed from the original script. Really loved the end product.

        • Poe_Serling

          What’s the title? And is it posted on the 50 Kisses film site to watch?

          • Jaco

            “Love”, and yes:


            Watch the first cut first – it’s down the page a little bit.

          • Poe_Serling

            Wow. Quite powerful and moving. The young actress had such a natural sincerity about her.

            Plus, it’s an excellent example of what you can accomplish with a short script/film.

            Well done, sir. Thanks for sharing.

          • Jaco


            I had seen her in another short by a london director (her dad) who had shown a little interest in the script. He ended up not doing it, but I knew she was perfect for the part. It was pure chance that the director who decided to film the script was (a) from London; and (b) knew both the dad and the little girl. Worked out perfectly.

          • Citizen M

            Thanks for sharing that. I enjoyed reading the development process and comments. The lesson seems to be, *simplify*. Get down to the core. Cut out everything else.

            FWIW I agree with leaving out the flashback and the bit about the other guys. And I had to laugh when he’s on a bus through all three versions of the script but gets filmed on the tube. That’s the movie business.

          • Jaco

            Thanks! The location change was part of the development process too – basically done via a quick e-mail conversation between the director and myself. It was a lot cheaper/easier to do it in the tube.

            As others have said on here, if you are looking to attract a filmmaker to do your short, definitely have production costs in mind.

      • Keith Popely

        He pressed the button. They’ve been faced with that situation over and over and went through with it anyway.

        I found it deeply sad more than hopeful because of my belief that he went through with it.

        But great job, Jaco.

        • Jaco

          Thanks. Definitely have heard from plenty of people with that reaction. In the script I make it definitive that he does not – but I think it makes it a “better” (not sure if that’s the right word) piece by leaving it open-ended. Has the ability to illicit both sides of the emotional coin.

          • Keith Popely

            Yeah, I like the film’s ending. I didn’t mean to indicate that I think the film is lacking. On the contrary. I think the ending resulted in a more emotional response. With me, anyway.

            It’s like INCEPTION. Did the thing keep spinning? Or did it waver a fraction? I love that ending.

            No, you did a great job. The only negative I’d say is a bit of overacting on the guy’s part. And with the hood and dark clothing…right from the beginning, I knew what he was up to. But that doesn’t really detract from it too much. It was good writing.

        • Poe_Serling

          Hey Keith-

          Yeah, I totally went with the happy ending version. My thinking? With the subway car receding into the distance, I just assumed the bomb was out of triggering range now… I guess that’s the curse of watching too many movies with that setup/payoff.

          But it is interesting how different people perceive the very same images or, in this particular case, moving images.

          ***Oh yeah, the film site is called 50 kisses… no sad faces allowed. ;-)

          • Keith Popely

            Yo, Poe. Maybe I’m just a dark, pessimistic person and you’re not. But there were kids on the buses in London. There are kids in every crowded marketplace in Iraq. On Israeli kibbutzs, they point guns at children’s faces from two feet away and pull the trigger. I think Reuters is on my side in this debate.

          • Poe_Serling

            You’re right. There is no debate – the real world can be an ugly place sometimes.

            Even more kudos to Jaco for taking the theme of the 50 Kisses contest of setting it on Valentine’s Day/involving a kiss of some kind and giving it a darker spin than most people would expect in a few page script.

          • Keith Popely

            Yeah, look at the spirited debate his two-page script has sparked.

          • Poe_Serling

            I agree. Kinda validates the worthwhileness (1st time ever using that word) of featuring a week’s worth of short scripts here on SS.

          • Jaco


            I kinda had hoped it would get picked for Shorts Week . . .I guess there are still two more days . . . though I think SS may be looking at “longer” shorts.

        • ChinaSplash2

          I don’t think he pressed the button. But the mother and daughter wanted to get his backpack back to him, so they opened it — and that’s when it blew up. Doh!

          Seriously though, that was a great short, Jaco! And I agree that it was a good call by the director to leave the ending open.

          Fwiw I like the second edit too; the editing is a little crisper and the sound is better. Except for the guy’s breathing, which is so weird — we’re being hit with sound coming from two different places: inside the train and inside his head — it’s almost comical. I can see what was intended, but I think it misfires. It might be a good idea to take that out again.

  • gazrow

    Some great writing on display here. These guys certainly know their craft. However, for me, the dialogue was a little weak at times. Also, the ending felt a little off. Not sure what the story’s theme is? Overall, a sterling effort. Well done, guys!

  • ripleyy

    The simple philosophy behind Zombies (according to my theory) is that they eat brains (the still do that, don’t they?) because they are trying to gain intelligence.

    Thus, eating brains causes them to become intelligent because intelligence, in the end of the day, is the only thing that makes someone human, intelligence is in check with emotion.

    So if you find a zombie eating your brains for supper, it’s because he or she simply wants to hold onto what is left of him or her and that is the intelligence to think.

    Though, that’s a theory but that’s how I’ve seen them. Now they eat flesh and bone because they no longer want brains, they want everything but.

    (I’ve been reading the short and so far, very good)

  • gazrow

    Been racking my brain wondering why the ending didn’t resonate with me. I think it has to do with the emotional stakes of the story. They were raised early on when Emma was forced to kill her beloved husband who had become infected. Yet, if anything they were lowered at the end when Emma inadvertently shot her five-year-old zombie son, Jon. Being forced to shoot a loved one is obviously far more difficult on an emotional level than accidentally killing one.

    Just spit-balling here: But what if Jon was infected and Emma has him chained up like a wild animal. He’s dying but doesn’t know it – Emma’s doing her best to comfort him but all he keeps asking for is Hobbes. And Hobbes is in… you guessed it …the tiger compound! A tiger cub has been playing with it after it fell from Jon’s pocket when he first took sick.

    Now, Emma has a choice. Watch Jon die a miserable death before her eyes or go into the Big Cat compound and rescue Hobbes and thus give her beloved son a few moments of comfort before the inevitable.

    No longer would she be a reactive protagonist running from the big cats in a desperate struggle for survival – She would be going in there to kick ass in order to rescue Hobbes. Seeing her going through all that just so she can hand Hobbes to Jon before killing him would I think, make for a more powerful ending.

    • Poe_Serling

      Hey gazrow-

      Looks like you’re the guy to call if they need a rewrite. ;-)

      • gazrow


    • Will Vega

      I really like this alot better. It sounds much more interesting.

  • Jaco

    Cheers – appreciate the kind words.

  • jlugozjr

    Nice job. Great writing, just a few notes on the story. The introduction to the cat farm felt disjointed. I thought the story should open with a scene on the farm that shows all the cats, introduce the human zombies and then return to the farm.

    At the end, her plan is to drive to the capital and find the bunker. Why now? What has she been waiting for? Was she content on living on a cat farm by herself?

    You need to address the coincidence that when she stopped to get gas, her son also was at the gas station AT THAT EXACT MOMENT.

    And making the son still human and NOT a zombie would be an amazing turn of events. A real twist. Maybe have him speak to her right before he dies.

  • C. Ryan Kirkpatrick

    Hi folks! I’d like to thank all of our screenwriting brethren for reading the script and taking the time to post. Your comments, critiques, and suggestions are all very much appreciated (Chad echoes this! If he’d just quit rewatching BIODOME for two minutes, he could tell you himself. Especially since it’s my only copy, the bastard). We were pleasantly surprised to see this sucker pop up today and the fact it’s even being talked about is invaluable. Thank you all so much!

  • ChinaSplash2

    The opening scene was effective, thanks to Darren’s engaging story — poor Rusty! Poor Darren! — but after that, I’m sorry, but this was just one badly written, muddled idiocy after another.

    We belatedly learn in a dream or flashback that five-year-old Jon ran out of a barn or stable or unknown building or warehouse after seeing Emma shoot Darren. So Emma, after carelessly losing her son in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, instead of trying to find him, first does a little shopping and then drives to Tiger Valley(!) to take a shower. Seriously, am I the only person to have a problem with this?

    But what can you expect from a protag who apparently thinks it’s a good idea to drive around zombieworld in a soft top Jeep? FFS.

  • gazrow

    I agree 100% with everything you said. However, whilst, I can’t speak for the writers of this particular script, I suspect some scribes write a big budget short knowing full well that it would probably be too expensive to produce as a short, but instead hope that the ‘powers that be’ see the potential to develop it into a feature.

    I know this is something I did with my own short PSYCHOtherapist. No way would it be made as a short, but the potential to make it into a feature is hopefully there.

    • ElectricDreamer

      Good call, Gazrow.

      There’s so many roads to production, it’s hard to map them all!
      And it’s funny you should mention that…
      I may not be a “powers that be” type, but…
      A big budget short I read recently did catch my eye.

      So, I approached the author and now we’re collaborating on a feature version.

      It also helps I have some places to send my work I know need horror. ;)

      And believe you me, if I saw a short here that gave me that feature vibe…
      I would be doing the same thing again.

      More eggs in the basket to sell, I say!

      • gazrow

        Well said!

  • lanzoweyn

    And if they wanted to change it to a comedy, call it: Zombie Zoo.

  • klmn

    This is another well written script. But to film it in a realistic manner (as a proof of concept for a full length script) would require CGI, which would run up the budget. Maybe it would be good for someone in a digital arts school.


  • Heath Russell

    Did anyone esle see this as sort of the Zombie version of Life of Pi?
    I didn’t see the movie, but in the book it takes a lot of time to set up that Pi grew up at the zoo and understood the various animals. I didn’t get that in Here There Be Tigers. So, it seemed like a lot of dubious decisions by Emma (by the way, I used the name Emma Gray for a character in a novel I wrote a few years ago, excellent choice guys!).
    Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the show don’t tell and lack of dialogue that was discussed with yesterdays script (which I felt was quite cute, but had definite clarity issues) but 25 pages of it? Somewhere around 13-14 I began skimming (major red flag). I wanted to know what was gonna happen, but I really didn’t want to read all the narrative.
    Of course the end was weak (was there anyone who didn’t see that coming?) but I’ll bet this, in the hands of a good director, would be an awesome short film! But for me it wasn’t the best read.
    PS I read the Oh Never SpectreLeaf review when it was first posted and it sounded wonderful, but I wasn’t getting the newsletter then and never got a copy of the script. Anyone out there have it? I’d really love to read it!

  • klmn

    Carson, considering your love for time travel, are you going to review the Mr. Peabody and Sherman script?

  • lanzoweyn
    • Poe_Serling

      I’m glad to see that The Return of the Living Dead made the cut… a true cult classic with its masterful blend of gore and giggles in equal doses. Plus, some great dialogue exchanges:

      Burt Wilson:
      One question, Frank: this guy screaming in here… you’re sure he’s a dead cadaver?

      Let’s open the door and find out!

      Burt Wilson:
      [hesitates] Uh… no, that’s allright Frank, I’ll take your word for that.

      • garrett_h

        RotLD is AWESOME. The Tarman Zombie is one of the best monsters in cinema history!

        • Poe_Serling

          What I always enjoyed about The Return of the Living Dead is all the little clever touches that the writers Dan “Alien” O’Bannon and John “Night of the Living Dead” infused the film with…. For example:

          The famous scene where Linnea Quigley’s character is dancing naked – right next to her is a tombstone with the name Archibald Leach on it. And who is Archibald Leach? It’s Cary Grant’s real name.

          Of course, most viewers are watching the naked woman – not the checking out the names on the gravemarkers… I only caught it after ‘repeated’ viewings.

          • garrett_h

            Suuuuure, “increasing my film knowledge” lmao. I never noticed that. I’m gonna have to watch that scene again… And again… And again…….

            I’ll just tell my wife it’s for “educational” purposes.

          • Poe_Serling


  • Citizen M

    I think a writer’s main job is to create a script a director falls in love with and will push himself or herself to get produced.

    There are too many “indie drama” type shorts out there that have clearly been filmed because they are easy to film rather than because they are a comedy masterpiece or a gripping and emotionally involving story. All they prove is that you can do the same as everybody else.

    You have to stand out from the crowd somehow if you hope to get noticed. And that will mean tackling something technically challenging on a low budget.

    Who’s gonna get the job — the guy who can make a thousand dollar movie for a thousand dollars, or the guy who can make a million dollar movie for a thousand dollars?

    Jaime Lerner re-invented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. “Don’t forget, creativity, it starts when you cut a zero from your budget. If you cut two zeros, it’s much better.”

  • Citizen M

    As a writing sample, this certainly showed a mastery of macho prose. The action scenes were very vividly described.

    I agree with Carson it was too long, and also confusing. After mercy-killing her husband in a barn she shoots flaming zombies at a warehouse. Was there a time jump? If so, I missed it. Then she goes to the family store, then to the family cabin in the tiger park. I don’t understand how she can live in two places. In fact, the whole store sequence could be cut. It adds nothing new.

    The dream sequence repeats a scene, a no-no in a short where time is precious. I’d eliminate it if I could. That leads to how she loses her son and I agree with others here, no mother would let her son wander off without a herculean effort to get him back. I thought maybe she didn’t have the key to the gate that’s why ever after she carried a bandolier of keys so she always had the right key available, but that wasn’t a factor in the script.

    I’m not sure if you were concerned about ease of production, but most of the story takes place at night. Night shooting is exponentially more difficult than day, I believe. It’s hard to get a crew together and lighting is difficult and expensive.

    Finally, the ending was a downer. The moment Hobbes disappeared I knew it was her son. I was hoping she’d be reunited with him.

    • Citizen M

      I don’t mind suggesting minor tweaks like leaving out the store scene, but it’s a bit presumptuous to suggest a whole new storyline. I’ll do it anyway.

      We open with Anna in the jeep returning with supplies to the tiger park. Maybe there were bodies at the store, maybe she sees zombies shot by rednecks along the road, but we know there are zombies about and we hear the radio message. From the driveway we see forms flitting in the bushes. She readies her guns. Arriving, there’s no one in the house. She goes to the barn. There is much carnage plus her husband, terribly injured, and her mangled dead son in his arms. They were feeding the tigers when the zombies attacked. He had no weapons because she had the guns. So he turned the tigers loose to attack the zombies. They did so but one turned on her son. He fought it barehanded but failed to save him, and soon he will turn. She mercy-kills him and salvages Hobbes. The zombies return to attack her. The tigers are now like hunting dogs for the zombies. In a running fight she lures them into the house then sets it on fire and shoots them as they run out. She jumps in the jeep and rides away as the sun sets. Next morning she comes to a gas station and goes to the store. Returning, she sees Hobbes has been ripped apart. Suspecting zombies she’s on high alert. It turns out to be a cute little tiger cub who escaped unzombiefied and sheltered in the jeep. She names it Hobbes and drives off into the sunrise.