The Picnic Area
(The script of a major Hollywood movie, with written commentary from the writer)
1. Int. Research station control room. Morning. A handful of old dirty computers flicker to life; illuminating the drinks cans and general litter strewn about the room.
Three researchers enter the room; RUGGED RESEARCHER (tanned, square jawed, tall), CUTE ASSISTANT RESEARCHER (dreadlocks, slight Jamaican accent) and NERDY ASSISTANT RESEARCHER (greasy hair, glasses, pale skin). CUTE ASSISTANT taps a still flickering monitor.
CUTE ASSISTANT: Can't we get new stuff? You know; things that actually work.
NERDY ASSISTANT: We are the bottom of the pile Cute Assistant; nobody cares about the Department of Badger and Large Rabbit Tracking.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: This equipment isn't too bad.
He thumps the nearest computer, the monitor image stabilises.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: It just needs a little encouragement.
NERDY ASSISTANT: This is odd.
They gather around NERDY ASSISTANT RESEARCHERS computer
RUGGED RESEARCHER: If this is correct then there is going to be trouble.
CUTE ASSISTANT: We have to warn everyone.
2. Ext. Outside Picnic Managers hut. Mid-morning. The three researchers are gathered around a door ladled 'Managers office'.
((Note: This scene was supposed to take place in the manager's office, but we couldn't afford the extra set. The previous research lab scene was filmed in the back of the camera van))
RUGGED RESEARCHER: Open up manager.
Door opens to reveal GREEDY MANAGER (wearing a suit and tie, despite the heat)
MANAGER: What is it? The picnic area doesn't open for half an hour.
NERDY ASSISTANT: You can't open the picnic area today. Everyone is in danger.
MANAGER: What? What is this nonsense?
RUGGED RESEARCHER: A number of unusually aggressive badgers are heading this way. You have to close the picnic area.
MANAGER: Nonsense. It is almost Saturday lunchtime, the busiest and most profitable time for the picnic area, we can't close now.
CUTE ASSISTANT: But all those people will be in danger.
MANAGER: Nonsense. We have our own scientist and he says everything will be fine.
From a second door BAD SCIENTIST (smartly dressed, far too young) appears.
BAD SCIENTIST: I've carried out all the tests recommended by the badger tracking counsel; there are no badgers in this area.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: You can't rely on those tests alone, these are unusual badgers!
MANAGER: I'm sorry I have to agree with the guy who says I can keep this place open. Now get out of here before I call security.
3. Ext. Picnic area. Mid-morning. Shot starts on hills and woods, pan down to reveal an open area with a handful of tables and chairs. The three researchers are walking away from a small hut on the edge of the picnic area.
CUTE ASSISTANT: There has to be something we can do.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: There is one chance, but it'll be risky.
HOT REPORTER: (VO) Excuse me.
From behind the hut HOT REPORTER appears (blonde, short skirt, note pad or something)
((Note: I had been talking to the studio about this scene, and they thought the hot reporter is too subtle. I suggested shortening her skirt more or something. The studio were still not happy))
HOT REPORTER: I'm writing an article on the popularity of the picnic area, did I hear you say there was badger danger?
RUGGED RESEARCHER: I'm sorry we can't talk now; we have to try and save these people. There are badger diverting signs out in the woods. We have to get to them before the badgers do.
NERDY ASSISTANT: But those signs haven't been used in years, they won't be ready.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: I know, but we have to try. Cute Assistant, Nerdy Assistant go to the sign in that part of the woods. I'll go to the one on this side.
HOT REPORTER: I'm coming with you; this could be my big break in journalism.
4. Ext. Woods Left Side. Mid-morning. Lots of trees.
CUTE ASSISTANT: We have about an hour before the badgers reach the signs, do you think we can make it?
NERDY ASSISTANT: We have too… Have I shown you the picture of my loving wife and children?
Shows CUTE ASSISTANT photo of wife and children
NERDY ASSISTANT: You know what I really enjoy; playing video games with my kids, that is so much fun. I don't know what I'd do if I lost my thumbs somehow. That would be terrible.
CUTE ASSISTANT: Yes, Yes it would.
NERDY ASSISTANT: Do you have a husband and children Cute Assistant?
CUTE ASSISTANT: No. I just haven't found the right man. It would be great if I found someone soon, maybe during this badger problem.
NERDY ASSISTANT: That would be nice… Do you want to do more foreshadowing?
CUTE SCIENTIST: Nah; let's be quiet now.
((Note: I never intended the last two lines to be in the finished film, unfortunately I was in the toilet during the five minuets they shot this scene and everyone else was too stupid to realise the lines were a joke.))
5. Ext. Woods Right Side. Late-morning. Lots more trees.
HOT REPORTER: It sure is hot today
RUGGED RESEARCHER: Yes, it is a bit warm. We have to hurry.
HOT REPORTER: Can you tell me why you became a scientist
RUGGED RESEARCHER: Yes, it is a tragic story. You see, when I was a child my best friend was injured by a falling beam, in a terrible tree house building accident. If only I had known more about the science of leavers I could have prevented that accident.
The HOT REPORTER undoes a few shirt buttons
((Note: I had seen her audition tape and the actress playing HOT REPORTER was terrible beyond all possible reason! I told the director to just keep the camera pointed at her cleavage and hope for the best))
RUGGED RESEARCHER: That is when I decided to become a scientist.
HOT REPORTER: Wouldn't it make more sense to become an engineer?
RUGGED RESEARCHER: No. Ah, here is the badger diverting sign.
They look down at the short wooden sign; the writing has been obscured with dirt.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: We have to clean off this dirt if we are to have any chance of diverting the unusually aggressive badgers.
6. Montage. Woods. Both signs being cleaned.
7. Ext. Woods Right Side. Late-morning. Lots more trees, again.
HOT REPORTER: Looks like we finished in time.
Short wooden sign is now clean, revealing the words "badgers turn back, please"
RUGGED RESEARCHER: Yes, I hope the others were as successful-
Out of shot we hear Terrified Screaming.
CUTE ASSISTANT: (VO on walkie-talkie) RUGGED RESEARCHER; Nerdy Assistant has been viciously bitten!
RUGGED RESEARCHER: (Into walkie-talkie) What!?
CUTE ASSISTANT: (VO on walkie-talkie) Yes, his thumbs have been bitten off!
RUGGED RESEARCHER: (Into walkie-talkie) This is terrible, did you at least get the sign clean?
CUTE ASSISTANT: (VO on walkie-talkie) No, they were just too quick for us.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: (Into walkie-talkie) Ok, get Nerdy Assistant to a doctor and meet us back at the picnic area. We have to warn everyone. Those badgers are unstoppable now.
7. Ext. Picnic area. Lunch time. Same as before, but there are a number of families and couples eating picnics and having fun.
RUGGED RESEARCHER, HOT REPORTER and CUTE ASSISTANT appear out of woods.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: (shouts) Run, everyone run! You are in great danger!
MANAGER: Stop that! Stop worrying my customers.
CUTE ASSISTANT: The badgers are coming! You have to believe us!
HOT REPORTER: It's true Evil Manager. I have seen them myself!
((Note: You'll notice HOT REPORTER now has dirt on her top that wasn't in the previous scene; this wasn't the fault of our continuity person, rather the actress who felt the need to hump half the three GRIPS in the woods just before this scene))
MANAGER: I don't believe you; you are all trying to sabotage the picnic area. Security Guard; take them away!
The SECURITY GUARD (lantern jawed, tall [not as tall as RUGGED RESEARCHER of course] wearing a tan uniform) appears beside the EVIL MANAGER.
SECURITY GUARD: Ok you lot, come with me.
8. Ext. Picnic Area Exit. Lunch time. A dirt track leads out of the picnic area, SECURITY GUARD leads RUGGED RESEARCHER, CUTE ASSISTANT and HOT REPORTER towards a gateway.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: You have to let us go.
SECURTIY GUARD: I have to do what the manager says
RUGGED RESEARCHER: If you listen to the manager you are going to get dozens of people badly nibbled.
SECURITY GUARD: oh alright; I'll let you go. But this could cost me my job.
CUTE ASSISTANT: Thank you Security Guard.
9. Ext. Picnic area. Lunch time. Same as before, families and couples eating picnics and having fun, small children playing football etc. SECURITY GUARD, RUGGED RESEARCHER, CUTE ASSISTANT and HOT REPORTER arrive along the dirt track.
HOT REPORTER: oh no! It looks like we are too late!
On the far side of the picnic area the EVIL MANAGER and BAD SCIENTIST suddenly fall down, badgers swarm over them. Picnickers start panicking.
((Note: All the key badgers are glove puppets, costing over five dollars each to make))
SECURITY GUARD: Is there nothing we can do?
CUTE ASSISTANT: If we had access to some sort of public address system we could bombard the badgers with noise until they go away.
SECURITY GUARD: That is a great idea Cute Assistant, There is an old public address system in the picnic area. But it's all the way over the other side and there must be five badgers over there. Who is going to do it?
RUGGED RESEARCHER: I'll do it. The rest of you try and get these people evacuated as fast as you can.
10. Ext. Half way across picnic area. Lunch time. Picnickers are panicking and rushing back and forth. Two badgers can be seen in the distance.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: What are you doing here?
HOT REPORTER: You'll need someone who can operate a public address system.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: Alright.
11. Ext. Picnic area. Lunch time. Picnickers are panicking and rushing back and forth. CUTE ASSISTANT and SECURITY GUARD are helping some towards the exit.
SECURITY GUARD: Everyone move calmly towards the exit.
CUTE ASSISTANT: Don't panic, everything is under control.
12. Ext. All the way across the picnic area. Lunch time. Five Badgers are milling around in the clearing RUGGED RESEARCHER and HOT REPORTER are outside a hut on the edge of the woods.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: We have to get in before the badgers spot us.
After trying the door HOT REPORTER removes her shirt, wraps it around her fist and knocks out the hut window.
((Note: I apologise for nothing!))
HOT REPORTER: It just needs a little encouragement.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: Good thinking. Quickly put this tape on over the public address system. I'll try and hold back the badgers.
13. Int. Public address hut. Lunch time. A dusty old hut, audio equipment sits in the corner. Light streams in through the broken window.
The HOT REPORTER climbs through the window and starts fiddling with the audio equipment.
14. Ext. Outside Public address hut. Lunch time.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: Hurry up; they are attacking.
15. Int. Public address hut. Lunch time.
The HOT REPORTER pushes a button and electro music begins to play over the public address system.
((Note: HOT REPORTER is jiggling about much more than necessary for operating a public address system, No one on the crew knew how to use it so we just told the actress to try her best. They probably should have done a second take of this scene))
16. Ext. Outside Public address hut. Lunch time. The RUGGED RESEARCHER is fighting off three badgers which are attacking his ankles.
(( Note: RUGGED RESEARCHER is now topless, it would have been a good idea during auditions to find out that he had an offensive tattoo across his chest that makeup couldn't cover))
RUGGED RESEARCHER: It's working!
The three badgers waddle off.
HOT REPORTER: What was that?
RUGGED RESEARCHER: Electro music. It is well known that badgers can't stand the use of synthesized snare sounds.
17. Ext. Picnic area. Just after lunch time. The picnic area is empty, all the picnickers have been evacuated and the badgers have fled. The CUTE ASSISTANT and SECURITY GUARD are standing beside the gate.
SECURITY GUARD: Looks like it worked.
CUTE ASSISTANT: Yes. Thanks for your help.
SECURITY GUARD: No problem, you were great.
Romantic music. He kisses her.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: (VO) I'm glad you two are ok.
The RUGGED RESEARCHER and HOT REPORTER approach across the picnic area.
RUGGED RESEARCHER: Is this story good enough for you Hot Reporter?
HOT REPORTER: I don't think I'm cut out to be a reporter. I want to try something less dangerous; like lion training.
Fade out on RUGGED RESEARCHER, HOT REPORTER, SECURITY GUARD and CUTE ASSISTANT laughing heartily.
((Note: Thank you for taking the time to read this script with 'written commentary'))