This was a short film idea I pitched earlier this year. Thought I should get it up whilst it’s percolating. Been dreaming about this lately. I could see the whole thing clearly before now I see it in wide-screen.
If you know what I mean.
I think it’s Love, Death and Robots that’s reignited my desire to get this made. Maybe in unreal engine? Time to get studying.
A pitch for a single take short film
The Dark forest. Night. Full Moon.
In the small glade along the path from one place to another, a camp fire burns. Hunched over sat on a log sits a scruffy looking tramp of a man. Hood pulled over his head. Matted beard illuminated in the shimmering golden fire of the flames. His eyes all but hidden.
He watches the water boils in a tin pot nestled at the edge of the fire. Next to it another with a well done stew. Watching the flame lick around the pot adrift in thought. Occasionally stirring the pot. Behind him a sheet forms an upturned hull protecting his meagre belonging from the rain that always comes. The tramp sniffs the air all to aware of the danger of camping alongside a forest path but a man has to eat.
and the water is about done.
At his feet he unfolds a linen cloth from the bundle and he smiles at the large speckled goose egg and at the memory of how he came to posses it.
He reaches to take the pot off the fire ready for the egg but stops.
The forest moves unnaturally as if holding it’s breath, in a way it wasn’t moving a moment before.
He moves his hand over to the stew and gives it a stir all the while scanning the edges of the glade with his eyes, barely moving his head.
A bush moves.
The forest dead now. Silent. Waiting.
With one hand the tramp tastes the stew with the other unseen to the thing in the bushes, he readies his knife.
The thing is getting closer.
The bushes part and there stands a young girl tattered and bruised.
She doesn’t move any further forward. Her eyes asking for help. The tramp just stares back.
After a moment she edges forward into the camp’s firelight allowing the tramp to see her more clearly. A runaway. The clamp around her neck the mark of property.
With her eyes She begs for help. The smell of the stew, the fire, shelter – Just for a moment she seems to say but no words are spoken.
The Tramp stares back and his grip tightens on the pommel of his knife, still hidden from the girls view.
She steps forward again and the Tramp flinches.
The girl shocked.
The Tramp’s harsh stare telling her that she’s not welcome.
One last look at the fire at the bread and the food she is so hungry and cold but she gets the message and decides to move on as marking a wide route around the encampment and the tramp and on into the forest.
She looks back with those eyes that would guilt another man but not the Tramp. He all but pushes her down the road with that stare and then she is gone, disappearing further into the dark forest.
The Tramp thinks about the encounter for a moment, the sound of boiling water rattling telling him that the water has all but boiled away.
He curses to himself and pours more water from a bladder. Not much water left. He curses again.
The forest returns to it’s natural state the distant howls of wolves and the rustle of trees and leaves and night beasts – a welcome song the man’s old ears.
He goes back to his egg and thinks again about the girl. Hoping that what comes next doesn’t come next.
The water now ready and the man again unwraps the large egg and rolls it in his hands. It was a large goose. Or something larger. The spots on the egg a strange shimmer. He gently places the egg in the boiling water and begins to count to himself in silence.
He gets to almost 60 when he hears the loud clanking of armour and heavy footsteps.
The egg is still boiling when the bushes explode open by two dirty angry looking soldiers standing exactly where the girl was standing not that long before.
It’s not the tramp’s stew they’re after.
The short one runs off around the camp searching the tramps belongings and the bushes around the camp.
The taller, the one in charge stares back at the tramp with the same eyes the tramp has, each recognising the look of war in the other. Neither backing down but the leader still gripping his crossbow just in case.
The short one is angry. Fresh scratch marks down his face. He kicks over the tramp’s belongings spewing the contents all over the ground.
The tramp visably getting angry. The leader daring him to do something about it.
The egg is nearly done and the stew is burning. The Tramp reaches out but fails to rescue the stew as it is kicked off the fire along with the egg that rolls out in front of the leader.
The leader contemplates the egg. Then the Tramp. The Tramp’s eyes fire.
But the Tramp knows his place – Knows that he is a much property as the girl in this land and it’s a long way to the border.
The short soldier holds out his sword to the Tramp’s throat lifting the man’s chin up to face the angry young man.
The leader clicks his fingers and points to the path, to the path the girl took.
The short soldier hesistates but withdraws his sword taking one last look at the dirty tramp before disappearing in pursuit of the girl. His torch flickering a path deep into the forest.
The leader looks to the tramp and to the egg gently kicking it back to the Tramp. Then leaves.
The camp is a mess and for a moment the tramp does nothing. He looks around turning his attention to the giant egg.
It’s still hot and he softly taps it. Hard boiled.
The stew cold and matted with the leaves and shit on the forest floor.
He takes the egg, brushing off leaves and mud before lovingly rewraps it and hiding it under his log.
Under the log the tramp pulls out a heavy looking sword and and stands up. He’s tall as tall as the lead soldier and wide to match. He shrugs off his cloak and strides off after the soldiers with the purpose of a man who’s done this all too often.
Long before we see the yellow/orange glimmer of torch light the tramp hears the soldiers close in on the girl.
The tramp breaks off from the path and dispears into darkness as the path brightens up under the fire of the torch lights.
The forest echos the telltale sound of a cross bow being fired and then the girl screams.
With a bolt in the leg she falls to the ground the young soldier whopping with joy that he’s got the bitch. She scrambles to get away but the pain is immense and she’s been running for so long that there’s nothing left in her.
The young soldier grabs her by the bolt and twists it making the girl scream out. She kicks out breaking his nose and sending him reeling back onto the ground. The leader drops the cross bow and unsheathing his sword in one hand approaching the girl, sword pointed straight at her chest. He then punches her in the face knocking her out. From behind out of the darkness the Tramp’s blade slices the captain’s thoat nearly severing his neck, blood spurting out in a crimson fan. The Captain falls and the Tramp turns to the young buck now attacking.
The tramp blocks the attack and pushes the soldier back and the two face each other. The soldier’s blood is still riding high but his skill is newly formed and not seasoned, so it doesn’t take long for the tramp to dispense of the soldier.
The tramp wipes the blood of his own face as the girl awakens and sees the carnage.
She tries to get up but the bolt is buried deep in her leg. She looks to the tramp but he dispassionately looks back at her. She meaning no more to him than those soldiers and that really scares her. There’s a deadness in his eyes. The look of man who has killed and thinks nothing of it.
She tries to back off, somehow finding the strength to move like a damaged crab that’s looking for a way back into the ocean.
But the tramp doesn’t care. He checks the bodies of the fallen finding some gold, a nice dagger and a pouch of spices on the dead captain.
He sniffs them and for we see his version of a smile. It’s slight but it’s there.
He looks back at the girl for a moment and she stops her whimpering. He rips off a length of material from the captains tunic and throws it at the feet of the girl. He points at his leg at the same place as the bolt and taps it twice, circles his hand a couple of times.
The girl doesn’t understand for a moment. The man doesn’t repeat himself. He ever so slightly sighs and turns back into darkness and as he recedes she realises what the man meant and starts to wrap her wounded leg.
He pushes back through the forest back the way he came this time sticking to the path. It doesn’t take long for him to return to his camp only to find it surrounded by more soldiers. Some on horse back. Half a dozen or so with more exiting the forest into the clearing.
The girl must be worth something.
They look at him covered in blood, sword in hand massive body rippling in the moonlight.
One of the soldiers is holding the goose egg – the tramp’s egg.
And he sighs as if to says how long will this take, raises his sword and advances.