This was the original script I wrote for my Team Animation project.
|If you would like to view the completed animation of this screenplay, go to the following address:|
“Redheads and Watersheds”
1 EXT- SOUTHERN U.S. MARSHLAND IN WINTER- EARLY AFTERNOON
We pan across beautiful scenery of a marshland, perhaps somewhere in
Canada or Northwestern U.S., as the NARRATOR begins.
(sounding very knowledgeable)
Marshes, a wonder of the natural world. In these secluded
areas, land and water come together in almost perfect
harmony to create the ideal environment for many plants and
animals to call home. But, not every animal that comes to
the marsh lives here year round. Migratory birds often find
these wetlands particularly desirable as resting grounds
during their long exodus across the North American
continent. On their journey south to escape the blistering
cold of winter, waterfowl such as this Redhead Duck use
these marshlands to-
We pan past Roy the Redhead Duck as he grills something (maybe a
small fish or clam) on an outdoor barbecue. In the background is a
1960’s style ranch house with a long driveway and a mailbox with Roy’s
name on it. We pass Roy, and then pause as the Narrator realizes how
out of place the adolescent drake is.
Roy continues on, casually flipping his food on the grill with a spatula,
oblivious that he is now at the center of the Narrator’s attention.
Hey you! What are you doing?!
Roy jumps in surprise and immediately finds a hiding place behind the
barbecue grill. He glances around nervously for the source of the voice
before staring directly at us. He points to himself questioningly as he
slowly creeps from his hiding place, almost holding his spatula
(sternly, but not angry)
Yes, you! What are you doing there?
Roy smiles and scrapes the fish off the grill and flips into onto a plate,
sprinkles with salt, and adds a small garnish of wild celery (also part of
the Redhead diet) before proudly displaying it for us to see.
(trying to regain his composure)
Oh. Well…Redheads, like other pochards, are diving birds
who rely on these marshes for their food supply, which
usually consists of many aquatic plants or the occasional
invertebrate dwelling beneath the water’s surface.
As the narrator drones on, Roy loses interest and eats his lunch. He, like
the other ducks, is preparing for the migration, just not in the same way.
Images or video of the real life ducks appear on screen as a backdrop to
the Narrator’s dialogue.
(getting back into his narrator flow)
During the migration season these ducks can gather in large
flocks called “rafts” far from the shore as they graze. Then,
almost as if they are of one mind, they take flight!
As other ducks in the far distance take flight, Roy grabs the barbecue grill
and prepares to empty the ashes (or other trash) onto the ground next to
the water. It is time to go.
Roy freezes in place, still holding the container of ashes/trash.
I wouldn’t do that if I were you.
Roy shakes his head with a confused look on his face, as if to say “You
No. You could damage the watershed. You do know what
a watershed is, don’t you?
Roy excitedly nods his head. Dropping the trash, he leads us over to an
old shack with “Water Shed” written across the door. He opens it to
display dozens of plastic bottles of, you guessed it, water.
That’s not what a watershed is.
Roy slumps and, with a frown, shakes his head as if to ask, “It’s not?”
(almost amused the duck’s ignorance)
No. A watershed is an area of land that drains or channels
water to lakes, streams, underground reservoirs, or even
wetlands like marshes and swamps. Every piece of land on
Earth acts as a watershed, filtering the water as it flows, and
damaging it can negatively affect our world’s water supply.
Roy is shocked at this information. He points quizzically at what he was
about to dump onto the ground.
Yes, even that little bit there can contribute to the damage
our watersheds are receiving. Small contaminates can
collectively travel with the water as it travels from streams to
rivers and out into the Earth’s oceans, negatively affecting
plants, animals, and even humans on the other side of the
globe! Proper disposal of garbage and other waste products
helps to reduce the number of pollutants entering our water
Roy zips over to a large recycling bin and disposes of his trash.
That’s better. Now, you’d better hurry. The others are
heading off without you.
Roy looks up to the sky and sees the ducks in the distance flapping
away. Pulling out a pocket watch, he realizes that he’s running late and
2 EXT- ROY’S HUMMER
Roy pops into view behind the wheel of an oversized Hummer with an
Airstream trailer in tow. Before the Narrator can say anything to him, he
(muttering blandly to himself)
Not exactly what I had in mind…
From above we see Roy’s Hummer and trailer racing down the highway.
(back in his standard voice)
The Redheads in flight are a wondrous spectacle. Like
other migratory birds, these ducks work together to reach
their destination. Flying in the familiar V-formation is a wise
and energy efficient way to travel long distances. Each bird
in the formation breaks the air resistance for those flying
behind and slightly above, allowing those at the rear to
expend less energy. Whenever the lead duck becomes
exhausted, he simply drops back, allowing another to take
his place at the front.
Roy is at the head of a formation at this point, but drops out to quickly
refuel his Hummer. Before the flock moves on, he is back on the road at
the rear of the formation. Almost in fast forward, we watch as he moves
his way back to the front of the formation, only to drop out again to refuel
and return to the rear.
More than anything, however, the formation helps keep
track of everyone in the flock and ensures that everyone
reaches their destination safely.
3 EXT- HORICON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE—LATE AFTERNOON
Roy pulls into the parking lot and excitedly leaps out, making a bee line
for the water.
At last, after a long, tiresome journey, the ducks have
arrived at the midpoint of their trip: The Horicon National
Wildlife Refuge. Fatigued by their trek across North
America, these stalwart creatures eagerly anticipate a
soothing dip in the cool waters of the marsh.
Running toward the water, Roy pulls out a rubber duck-shaped inner tube
and hops into it. As he jumps out over the water, time seems to stand
still. Puzzled, he hovers unnaturally above the marsh.
But, imagine if you will, what would happen to this beautiful
marshland if the rest of the world neglects to care for the
In a flash, the beautiful scenery vanishes and what replaces it both
shocks and repulses Roy. The once green wetland has mostly dried up.
It is now a grey and brown wasteland. In the area where tall stalks of
cattails once grew, now only piles of unearthed rock dwell. What water
remains is murky and dark with the faint glimpses of a rainbow-like
sheen that usually announces the presence of oil. There is a bit of foam
floating on the surface from soap that had washed in through the
watershed. In the background, new condos or other structures are being
erected in an area once covered in water. The dust being kicked up by
the construction crew turns the sky tan. What is intriguing is the lack of
garbage, or what we would consider litter. Roy is obviously displeased
and squeezes out of his inner tube. Quickly judging the distance, he
leaps onto shore.
Not very pleasant, is it?
Roy shakes his head in disappointed agreement.
No one, single person is responsible for caring for this
delicate ecosystem. It is one of many storage areas for our
world’s water. It flows here from many places, some
hundreds of miles away, picking up any number of
sediments and debris in its path. Some of these are
naturally occurring, but human interaction can cause even
the most mundane of particulates to be dangerous to the
Animal waste products, plant litter, and soil can be
expected in any natural environment, but excess amounts
from farming and gardening combined with fertilizers,
pesticides, and other chemicals can be detrimental to the
world’s wetlands. Unfortunately, these are only a few of the
possible sources for the marshes destruction. Household
cleaners, paints, and even automobiles that leak chemicals
or use too much fuel are also hazards that threaten these
areas through the watershed.
Roy is notably disheartened. He slumps, saddened by his participation in
his home’s annihilation.
Oh, don’t worry, my redheaded friend.
In a flash, the environment is returned to its natural beauty. Roy is happy
That was only a glimpse at what may happen if we all
aren’t wise enough to properly care for our watershed.
Roy nods in agreement.
4 BANK OF MARSHLAND (FLORIDA)—MIDDAY
Some time has passed since we last saw Roy.
Roy, made wiser by recent events, sits in a lawn chair beneath the
awning attached to the back of his Airstream trailer. Hitched to that
trailer is no longer a gas-guzzling Hummer, but a hybrid. With his
laptop in front of him, he surfs the web for information on how to protect
the watershed (gaggle.com).
That’s right. With the right amount of initiative and know-
how, you too can help to protect the world’s wetlands
through watershed conservation.