Stories ideas/scripts for film-makers

Below are a mix of scripts and stories that the authors would be happy to be adapted for a film or series as appropriate. This section of the green stories website is to help writers and film-maker connect and share ideas so great work can be made that helps save our planet. We don’t have legal expertise so it would be up to film-makers and writers to come to their own terms based on what is important to them. But typically we would expect that film-makers pay the author a percentage of any prize money/earnings and acknowledge the author in credits. Advice is available from https://writersguild.org.uk/  Agreements can be informal e.g. by email agreement, and a more formal agreement can be drawn up if it looks like it may generate any further funds. Realistically substantial money is unlikely to be made, but it’s a great way to get your work out there, your name known and share potential solutions to our sustainability challenges via stories.

Short Film Scripts

Title: ‘Fuddy Duddy’ Grinch style 15 minutes film script

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Precis: Heart-warming Christmas family drama / comedy, invoking festivity through community and frugality. (15 mins)

This is a story about intergenerational relationships, resourcefulness and the true spirit of giving at Christmas. It is set in a rural place (could be anywhere) where a small rural (modern) community is dependant upon electricity to power their homes.

A ‘Grandfather’ figure lives in an older home in the woods on the outside edge of the community. He has kept up the values and skills handed down to him by his family. His planning and craftsmanship enable him safe passage through any winter/ weather eventuality. Even when the community find him strange and ‘backward’, for preferring to preserve old ways and old technologies, when a storm takes out the power, the central character ‘Fuddy Fit-It” uses his kind heart, heated home and ample larder to bring Christmas cheer.

EXTRACT:

INT.  – NIGHT – The children’s home

The children are in their comfy clothes, playing with bright plastic and electrical toys. Their parents are watching television – there are adverts for sales and holidays, and they are barely paying attention to the children.

                                                                                                MOTHER

                                                                                    I’d love a new carpet…

                                                                                                CHILD TWO

                                                                        We went to the woods today and-

                                                                                                CHILD ONE

                                                                        It was just a walk, saw that old guy…

                                                                                                MOTHER

                                    I knew beige was a bad idea… can’t ignore sixty percent discount.

                                                                                                CHILD THREE

                                    And you should see his house, like a museum it is, and that axe…

                                                                                                            FATHER

                                                            Hmm, oh him, he’s ancient, best leave him alone.

                                                                                                           MOTHER

                                                                                                Yeah, off grid…

                                                                                                           CHILD ONE

                                                                                    Off his rocker more like!

The children share knowing looks and nod earnestly.

                                                                                                NARRATOR (V.O.)

                                                                                                    (Mocking)

                                                            “We’ve nothing in common, he’s stuck in the past.

                                                             Doesn’t he know things are not meant to last.”

On the wall of the sitting room a grandfather clock no longer works, they use it as a coat stand.

Contact: email greenstories@soton.ac.uk to express interest.  

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Short stories that could be adapted as short films

Title: ‘Last Worshipper at the Shrine’ – a mysterious Buddha statue appears and attracts offerings and goodwill.

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Precis: Short story of 2500 words. Peter can’t be bothered with recycling, until a Buddha statue on the village green gives him other ideas. This could be a short film of around 15 minutes

Extract: Gill and Peter didn’t really know what to do with the Buddha statue, so, almost as a joke, they installed it on the village green, in a nook between two trees. Gill planted some bulbs around its base to make sure it didn’t look like it had been dumped there.
A few days later, Gill found a whole bunch of bananas when she went out to weed between the bulbs.
‘Where’d you get those, love?’ Peter asked as she came back in.
‘They were next to our Buddha.’
‘You’re joking? Someone must’ve chucked them out the car window. But they don’t look bruised,’ he said, taking them and turning them over.
‘No, I think someone left them as a spiritual offering or something.’
‘Like on a shrine?’
‘Yes. There is a Buddha there, after all.’
‘How funny – must have been those Buddhist cold callers we got the other day.’
‘Now you come to mention it there were some people making a racket out there yesterday. I thought they were just having a laugh, but maybe they were praying: chanting, with bells, you know?’
‘Maybe,’ Peter said, tugging one of the bananas off the bunch and peeling it. ‘But I hope they don’t leave too much fruit, you don’t even like bananas.’

Just before midnight, Peter went out wearing a fluorescent yellow vest – people don’t question you when you’re wearing reflective gear – and gathered up all but a handful of items, leaving a pair of t-shirts, a studded belt, three plates with matching cups, a chunky steel chain and a set of colourful wooden combs. He arranged them neatly and straightened the incense burners, which had become a permanent installation next to the Buddha himself. The rest he put into a cardboard box, to be packed into his panniers in the morning.
As he hefted the box up from the ground a light came on at number 4, across the green. He put his head down, and made every effort to walk calmly and slowly back towards the house so as not to look like he was stealing from the shrine.

Contact details: Film-makers/producers can contact the author as follows: fiction(at)alicelittle(dot)co(dot)uk

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 Title: ‘One Green Bottle’ – a teacher struggles to engage pupils with green issues

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Precis: This could be a short film of around 10 minutes, needs cast of teenagers

Extract

“Does anyone enjoy films where aliens invade the Earth and destroy civilisation?”

“They’re cool,” Aidan said.

“Yeah,” Mandy agreed.

“What do you like about them?” Paul said.

“Splattering the aliens,” Aidan said, making a fist with his right hand and using it to strike the open palm of his left.

“Saving the Earth,” Mandy said.

Bingo. Paul seized upon the comment.  “Who saves the Earth?”  He listened as the class reeled off a predictable array of Hollywood A-Listers.  “How do they do it?”

“Guns.” Aidan said.

“Yeah, guns. Sometimes they’ve got to nuke ‘em,” Mandy added.

“So when the Earth needs saving, a bloke with a gun is the one for the job. That right?”

“Yeah,” a general murmur of assent.

“How’s the bloke with a gun going to save the Earth from climate change?”

Silence.

“That’s destroying it faster than any alien.”

Contact details

Film-makers/producers can contact the author as follows: Bridget Scrannage bridget(dot)scrannage(at)gmail(dot)com. I would be happy to discuss with interested film-makers who would be best placed to adapt as a script.

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Title: ‘The Return’: A world reset to previous historic time periods, in the hopes of rewriting the human trajectory.

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Precis: After the world has propelled itself into severe environmental catastrophe, the UN makes a landmark decision to use groundbreaking science to geo-terraform the earth, sending various parts of it back to different geological time periods. The hope is that given the opportunity to rewrite human history, with the current knowledge of how humans destroyed their home, that the trajectory of human kind can be transformed to live sustainably and organically with the planet. We follow the story of one girl, flashing between the time periods before and after the Return. 

Extract: “Round and round went the argument: we didn’t know what we were doing, and now we want to go back. Except there was no ‘back’ to go back to. Nothing remained. The Return had been complete. Each country’s metaphorical time clock set backward, the land terra-formed to a pre-determined era, the re-do we thought we wanted. Sometimes I wondered how the other eras were doing; I think I felt the most sympathy for those returned to the Pleistocene, the last ice age. My own return, to the end of the Pliocene, had felt like happy circumstance. The loss of large reptiles, warm temperatures, and forest life. How poetic, right? This is the moment before a human-like species separated from the monkeys—this is THE moment. Well, it turns out THE moment is less like paradise than we thought.”

Contact the author Meg Smith megsmith353(at)gmail(dot)com

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Title: ‘I Remember the Pennies’: While working a skyscraper garden, a former homeless man overhears a past heckler.

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Expansion: Roebuck ended up homeless because of bad luck and bad decisions—but GreenWall, the company that plants gardens on the walls of skyscrapers, gave him a second chance. Now a high-rise rappel gardener with shelter and income, Roebuck thinks his past is behind him—until the day he overhears a man who mistreated him when he was homeless. But the man’s story—of unwanted change, and of loss—sounds all too familiar to Roebuck. Clinging to a wall of vegetables, Roebuck considers whether to forgive or to forget… or to use his new position to do something else entirely.

Contact: Mica Scotti Kole micaskole(at)gmail(dot)com

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Film Screenplays/TV Series

Title: ‘Fidel Castro: My New Boyfriend’ Rom com – film/tv series

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Precis: This is three stories woven together: the story of the Cuban revolution, the true (ish) story of the making of the musical ‘Fidel’, but mainly the story of 21st century life seen both through the eye of Fidel Castro (magically present as a 40 something revolutionary in 21st century UK) and through the eyes of a woman: mother, colleague, sister and also single woman thrust as an innocent into the bizarre world of online dating.

Extract:

Camera pans round a supermarket as people shop. Coming from another aisle we hear a conversation that is being carried on at normal talking volume – which is louder than what one expects in a supermarket. We don’t yet see who is talking, but he has a Spanish accent.

FIDEL (O.S.): There is so much here, it is heaven. Hey look at these stacks of sugar, now that’s something we do have. Back-breaking work cutting sugar. Do you know in Cuba we drink it straight from the cane. Lovely but too much sugar isn’t good, we are educating people to cut back.

GG: (O.S.)  Sssh, can you talk a bit quieter. Look we need some milk.

FIDEL: But it’s three for the price of two, we only want one.

GG: Well er, get three.

FIDEL: But we’ll never drink it, before it all goes off.

GG: Then get one.

FIDEL: But then it costs more. This is intolerable, first with the picky little money off coupons that I had to get my glasses out to read, and you know we didn’t even want those pizzas and now all this milk. 

Fidel wheels into shot following GG as she pushes a supermarket trolley. He is big, bearded, in his 40s/50s, dressed in full combat gear with his peak cap and gun by his side. He is working himself up into a major tantrum.

GG: (looks round helplessly) Shhh, people are staring.

FIDEL: (voice rising) Don’t you have a wastage problem? I saw it on the news. Don’t cows emit gasses that cause global warming and you want to pour their milk down the drain?

GG: (pleadingly) Fidel!  Please I shop here, don’t make a scene.

FIDEL:  (shouting) I don’t want two, I don’t want three, I want one. There’s not even room for it in your fridge, I just want one but they’re trying to make me buy three.

Fidel throws a milk carton back onto the shelf and it drops and milk spreads everywhere. Security guards turn up and firmly escort Fidel out while he is struggling and uttering protests and expletives.  GG is protests it was an accident and then follows behind with her head down looking embarrassed.

Contact: Please contact Denise Baden at dab(at)soton(dot)ac(dot)uk for more details

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Title: ‘Knickers’ 100-minute screenplay, dark comedy.

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Precis: This story takes place as we enter the final decade of the last century. The all-out pursuit of money in the Thatcher years had created its own under-class. It was declared that there was no such thing as society, and those left behind in the mass pursuit of wealth were despised. Among
the under-class were the most despised group of all, the single mothers. Single mothers scrounging off the dole were held responsible for rising crime, for the drug problem, the balance of payments deficit, for cutbacks, and for wasps.
Mobile phones were the size of bricks and owned by yuppies, who shouted into them on street corners, the internet was just coming into being, ‘Girl power’ had not yet been invented and sex shops cringed in the back streets of Soho populated purely by men in dirty macs.
This is a story of three women who changed all that.

Extract:

Int. Theresa and Simon’s kitchen – day.

Simon puts the kettle on and starts preparing to make a cup of tea. He has his back to the door. Theresa walks in.

Theresa: Simon?

Simon: (not turning around) Yes Love?

Theresa: Look Simon. I know.

Simon: Know? Know what?

Theresa: I know all about it. The knickers…

Simon cowers as if the ceiling is about to fall on his head. Nothing happens. He stays like that for a moment.

Theresa: Simon. Turn round Simon.

Simon turns around slowly with his arms up in a martial arts defensive position. His arms come down hesitantly as he sees Theresa standing passively.

Simon: How did you find out?

Theresa starts to walk towards him. Simon reacts nervously.

Theresa: Calm down. I saw you take them.

Simon: Oh my God!

Theresa : Simon. I’ve been trying to understand. I’ve got a book out on transvestism and I…

Simon: Transvestism?

Theresa:

Well maybe it’s more a fetish?

Simon looks slightly puzzled then makes a connection.

Simon: I don’t know what they call it. Anyway you’re OK about it? You’re not… angry?

Theresa: No. Not angry. I was upset, but I’ve realised that the most important thing is honesty.

Theresa moves closer to Simon and takes his hand.

Theresa (cont): I’ll try and understand. Tell me Simon. How did it all come about? Tell me everything.

Simon: Well, Ann and Carol had this…

Theresa bristles at the sound of Ann’s name.

Theresa: I should have known she had something to do with it.

Simon: Honestly Theresa. I didn’t want to go along with it, she threatened to tell… oh shit!

Theresa tries to inject more empathy into her voice.

Theresa (cont): Look. I’ve read these things often go back to childhood.

Simon: Yeah, maybe it does in a way, being a kid brother…

Theresa: I suppose they put make-up on you. Got you to dress up in their clothes, that sort of thing.

Simon looks blank. Then catches up slightly.

Simon: Eh? Well yes they did actually.

Simon chuckles nervously as he remembers.

Simon (cont): God, it was embarrassing. But the point is I learnt that submission was the only viable option. Just let them do what they had to do and…

Theresa nods wisely. Simon suddenly hugs Theresa with pure joy.

Simon (cont): Ooh it’s such a relief you know. I’ve been under such pressure. I never dreamed you’d be so understanding.

Theresa’s face registers serene compassion over his shoulder as she hugs him close.

Simon (cont): You’re wonderful. So, so wonderful. I thought you’d go ballistic if you knew they were flogging your knickers.

Theresa eyes open wide in utter horror. Then her eyes narrow in pure, unadulterated fury.

Theresa: You what?

Simon’s face changes from utter joyous relief to pure agony as Theresa knees him in the groin – hard.

Contact Denise on dab(at)soton(dot)ac(dot)uk for details

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