Short film script

Here’s a script I’m gonna be working on for the next couple of months. The goal is to get it first into the major short film fests like clermont-ferrand, venice etc. Second is to have it preview a feature film in cinema’s. Its a first draft so if there’s anyone out there who thinks they can bulk it up or have suggestions please comment - constructive critism much obliged


                                                                         ‘The Boy Setanta’
                                                                            An Aniamtion

title card:

‘You may put aside your weapons for I can asure you of your safety here. My hound is the most vicious guard dog in all the land. A gang of men could not get passed him without being savaged’.
The smith Chulain


A bare oak looms againt the grey sky as the grass dances and sways.
A sliotar lands in the grass. The noise of footsteps – running, slowing.

A boy enters frame cautiosly - hurling stick in his hand. In the grass a skeleton merges with the grass and ground. A sapling growing from where the gut used to be. There are dints in the decayed scull – bite marks.]

The boy picks up the sliotar with his stick and hits the ball a tremendous whack – he continues running.

                                                                              Voice over

The druid Cathbad saw the death of Setanta in a vision. He knew his life would be brief but he also knew he would be infamous for he would soon be named Cuchulainn – the greatest hero Ireland had ever known.

Setanta is jogging, picking up the sliotar, hitting and following.

                                                                                  Voice over

Even at this tender age Setanta had shown great promise. The King, Conor had even invited him the the fort of the Smith Chulain to show his fighting skills in a display.

An small iron gate is slowly being pulled up by guards on top of the fort. In the blackness inside the gate a low rumbling growl can be heard. Two red eyes get closer as the growling becomes more menacing.

                                                                          Voice over

Forgetting about the boy amidst roasted pig and ham and enjoying the fine meade’s from the cellar, Culain unleased his guard dog for the night. Some say the dog was unnatural – a were beast.

We get a glimpse of the huge head as it exits the fort. Saliva dripping from huge fangs.

                                                                         Voice over

Whatever its origins – whoever came across it never lived to tell the tale!


A stag is grazing. POV in the grass. Setanta is salking the stag
Setanta bursts out from his hiding place with a scream. The stag feints and runs at gallop. Setanta chases after it. Considering the speed of the stag, Setanta seems to be catching up with it. He sprints, the wind tearing through his hair.

A spark forms in his hair as he runs. Static particals begin reacting. There is a determination in the boys face, his breathing controlled. He’s gaining on the stag.
He jumps out of the high gras and crashes on the stags back. They topple to the ground and are hidden in the grass.
A beat as the grass sways from the light wind.

The Stag scrambles up and runs away. Setanta rises from the grass and screams with delight after running down the stag. A spark in his hair.
He stops. There is a woodland to his side – dark and eirely quiet. He scans a thicket.

POV thicket. Something is watching the boy.

setanta again gets out his stick and sliotar. He hits the ball and once again begins following.


In the distance we can see the fort. A great glow dances above the perimeter as the fires of the fort blaze.

A crow is feeding on carrion. The ball bounces into frame scaring the crow that flys off to the side.

                                                                          Voice over

The Morrigan - Goddess of battle, strife, and fertility has a habit of appearing to great hero’s when their life is in danger.

Setanta scoops the ball with the stick.


You again!

the crow caws. Setanta feints to attack. The crow doesn’t move.
Setanta looks to the fort. He then looks to the sky – checking his timing. He nods, happy with his progress. He looks to the crow.


So who’s blood is gonna be spilled tonight??

A thunderous roar is heard as the hound attacks Setanta from a blind side. Instinctiely Setanta rolls avoiding the brunt of the initial attack. His arm bleeds though. He smirks, then gauges his foe

The hound is huge. Blood red eyes focused, fangs dripping saliva from huge lock jaws. Its maine is thick with fur and its claws dig deep into the ground.
It attacks again – Setanta manages to jam a log into its mouth just as it clamps down toward his head. Its claws dig into his torso. He screams as the animal tries to get rid of the log. A shock wave seperates them.

He manages to roll free. He stands, his back to the hound. Sparks begin to pulse through his hair and down his body.

The hound circles. Setanta turns. There seems to be bumps on his head, as if his face has become distorted. We can see his arms grow bigger as one of his eyes expands while the other gets smaller. His muscles bend and stretch all over his body – he’s changing as the particals zap around his body and his hair stands on end.

                                                                   Voice over

The warp spasm.

Setanta has changed, an abomination of the boy. Saliva drools from his mouth as his buckled teeth protrude from his warped mouth. The two now slowly circle each other – then clash as the morrigan looks on.

There is a massive brawl – biting, punching, lacerating, biting, loafing, biting. The hound seems to be getting the better of the boy as he again rolls away
He lands at his hurling stick. He scoops up the ball and prepares. The hound attacks again. This time Setanta fires the ball with such force a trail of smoke follows as it bears toward the oncoming hound. Opening its mouth in its assault the ball jets inside its gob and blasts through the back of the animals skull, killing it immediately. It goes down with a howl – slumping at Setanta’s feet.

Setanta stands unmoved.

]The crow lands on top of the hound, cawing.

The warp spasm begins to reside, the boy taking his original shape again as he falls to his knees. His body is lacerated and bleeding.

A din from the fort as people come running. We boom up above the boy.

                                                                       Voice Over

[Setanta made a pledge to Chulain that night to protect his lands as a dept of honour. He returned to Emhain Macha a hero.


A river runs red with blood. On a pillear in the river is a dead man. He’s strapped to the pillar. A crow lands on his shoulder.

                                                                    Voice over

He died standing soley defending the province of Ulster from the army of Connaught. The boy setanta – Irelands greatest hero – Cuchulainn – The hound of Culain.


Nice, but wordy. Too much tell, not enough show.

suggestion: open at the feast, late afternoon, King Conor tells Chulain he’s invited Setanta to show off his skills for the afternoon’s entertainment.
Cut to Setanta playing hurley in the fields.
back to the feast, evening. King Conor getting peeved that Setanta hasn’t shown up yet.
Cut to Setanta chasing down stag.
Back to the feast, sunset. Chulain orders: close the gate, release the hound.
Back to the Setanta in the field, also sunset. The Morrigan appears, Setanta remembers he’s got a party to get to. Heads off to Chulain’s fort.
Encounters hound. Massive brawl.
Ending scene.

Interesting perspective. The reason I didn’t go into the fort is i don’t want to get into the lip syncing. Thought it might be nice just on Setanta’s travel’s and filling the gaps with the voice over.

You think its too descriptive? Should it be editied?

At this stage, the more visual description the better. I was talking about all the voice overs. Exposition gets boring if there’s too much of it. With all the action you’ve got going on there, I think a little lip sync will be the least of your challenges.

yeh Its just another aspect of blender i haven’t touched yet -considering rigging is doing my head in at the moment. Going over to amsterdam for march to the institue - hopeflly pic up some hands on experience and some pointers from whoever is running the workshops.

I think it would be better keeping it as simple as posible. I’m just going off the short film Ruiari robinson made 50% grey that was nominated for an oscar. Simple yet brilliant:RocknRoll:

Well, you know the style you want a lot better than I do. I’m just suggesting the way I’d present it, take it for what it’s worth. :smiley:

No bother - don’t gets me wrong I apreciate your opinion and will cosider it in the next draft. Putting it in tomorow for this film award

  • fingers crossed. 10 K, you can’t go wrong!!

You can get rid of the “Warp Spasm” voice over completely without touching anything else.

beyond that, I’d say take Orinoco’s advice and see if you can’t cut out all the voice overs and replace them with visuals. Might be hard in a short, but if I had to choose between using a VO or adding an extra minute or two of animation, the extra minute or two would win without contest.

Green with envy…

Good luck then. :smiley: Let us know how it comes out!

This is a good “selling script.” It’s a script that focuses more on the story than on the shot-by-shot showing of that story. It’s good for letting someone “get the idea.”

The next step, though, will be to develop a shooting script, which probably should be accompanied by some kind of storyboard … or if you prefer to do as I often do, a simple set with cones and squares and cylinders (in Blender) where you can fool-around with a virtual camera. But what you need to come up with is, shot by shot and angle by angle, a description of each and every shot.

A stage-design is a good thing to come up with soon after that, or maybe at the same time: where are the actors on the set(s), and where will the cameras be that will be shooting them? At this point those “cones and cylinders” will definitely begin to come in handy … especially if they are sort-of proportional to one another. You can start to “see” it in your mind’s eye, and maybe start to spot flaws in the script, but you really haven’t invested any render-time yet.

Squig - whatt happens there is if i get rid of the voice overs its means modeling the interior of the fort and animating a hundred or so characters in the fort - plu other sequences there. I will also need to show the druids visons - and how setanta shows great promise. All these visula factors means a lot more work. I do understand it will make the film better - but it would be starting to form the basis of a feature lenght project about cuchulainn. I’m aiming at 3 minutes - ya with me? But then again its a first draft so when i look at it again I’ll see if it can be done without VO.

Sun - What happens in this award is the scripts are sent in and considered/chosen on the content of the script, i suppose like most commission houses. They chose up to 10 script for shortlisting and then interview the production team who must bring along their production package - that includes all the stuff in your post. So there’s a bit of work ahead. Like your idea of the previs. Might do something simple like that for the judges to view - get an idea of the pace and rythem of the piece

Quick update

Here’s some concept pieces for the film. Question is should i keep it on a realistic level like final fantasy or go more characture ish style - elephants dream or so?


Wow, that hound is the hound from hell ! You won’t need much explaining about him. That is one :ba: bad :ba: dog.

I’d recommend keeping the character stylized. When Cucullen goes into his berzerker battle mode, in order to see it, it’s got to be exaggerated. I think the exaggeration will be more believable if he starts out somewhat caricatured in the first place, rather than super realistic.

Hey dude - yeh it makes sense. May help with the animation too. Probably get really scrutinised if its too realistic? Wanted to keep the saffron linné traditional and add some plaid for colour and drama - like a cloke, when he twirls etc. Yeh should be fun trying to get my head around the animation - considering the rigging is wrecking the noggin! But will styalise it. Not sure where to start…big eyes… small nose n ears:o

Something like this? I walked into a store today and the incredible’s were on a large TV - forgot how fnatastic the film was - but I was inspired


Looks like he lost some weight, there. I think I’d bulk the arms and legs back up a little. He’s a kid, but he’s a strong and wiry kid. Face looks good, especially those eyes.

I disagree on the ‘shooting script’ idea. The shooting script normally a director’s tasks, as this is where he begins planning the shots. Deliver a properly formatted spec.

Orinoco has given enough suggestions on content, so I hope I’m allowed a couple of formatting suggestions.

  • Character names over dialog blocks normally go in all-caps, as should their first appearance in the script, which most of the time comes along with a brief description of said character. Ex:
SETANTA  (8), bald-headed, slim yet strong, cautiously approaches
the skeleton on the ground...
  • Voiceovers are generally treated as dialog by an unseen character, usually a Narrator, or another character already in the story. The name (which, again, is written in all-caps) is followed by a “(VO)”:
                              NARRATOR (VO)
            The druid Cathbad saw the death of Setanta in a vision...
  • Avoid camera terms (POV, ZOOM) and transitions – if you can. These are, again, the director’s job, and you don’t want him to feel you’re telling him how to do it. Instead, try coming up with action verbs that imply a point of view (“towers over”, “comes”, “flies away”) and do a better job in telling the story.
  • Spellcheck and proofread.Finally, a couple of flow suggestions. If you have to do too many voiceovers, you probably need a separate scene. Show more, tell less.

You might want to portray the passage of time as the conclusion of the story feels disconnected from the rest. Ex: a brief series of (matching) shots that shows him older, taking up the arms and then fighting is one way to accomplish this.

Cub - I understand format - It’s just the site deformatted (if there’s such a word) the script when I tried to paste it in.

Thanks for the suggestions all they do help. Its good to have the constructive criticism - can only make the final draft all the more stronger. Your idea for the ending makes sense too. I’ll play around with it. Suppose I wasn’t confident when writing, on my ability in Blender, but starting to get there so might throw some more scene’s/characters in. Even if its just a simple sequence to show rather than tell.

Yeah, the site seems to have…issues…with white space. I guess that’s why people use the code tag when formatting needs to be preserved. Its that little pound sign thingy next to the quote icon.

         hi there        

any updates??!?