Animatic 05

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scanned-Stephen Ryley-20170314161626

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Too Calm, needs to be a whole lot more dramatic and tense!

In a dimly lit house on top of a cliff, dinner table is being prepared. 3 (alpha, wife, cub) wolves are being leisurely, sitting, reading paper/book. Female is putting on make up.

Doorbell rings. Wolf cub excitedly opens front door, there stands ‘wolf’ friend. Pan around him to reveal rabbit ears and tail. He enters the house, door closes behind him. [dramatic sound]. Rabbit rug on floor.

Cub introduces rabbit to parents, who shake his hand. Alpha seems hard to please. Hand on rabbit’s shoulder, rabbit jumps. Offered drink (red wine/blood/cocktail) from tray held by servant.

Takes tour of house. Passes study, hall full of paintings, rabbit mesmerized, deer and rabbit heads on walls. Lingers excitedly in kitchen full of food. Goes to bathroom, takes off mask and looks at himself in mirror. Fear then stern. (Takes drink from hip flask?) Looks out window, sees poor rabbit silhouettes foraging/breeding. Determinedly straps mask back on and goes back out.

Candle flicker (foreshadowing). Takes his seat at dinner table next to alpha, opposite cub friend. Other animals sat at table in masks: deer, peacock, raccoon. Rabbit enjoys his soup a lot, red, starts to relax and feel confident.

Main course is served by chef. Big reveal, cosh removed. Almost dead rabbit served (head still on). Rabbit shocked and slightly worried. Very tense. Alpha carves rabbit, final breath (sound design – breath-like – stop!). Dropped onto rabbit’s plate. Looks around table terrified, trembling, takes deep breathe. Alpha signifies they can all start. Rabbit sees other animals eat meat. Alpha looking at him funnily so he has to eat. Picks up knife. Cuts tiny piece of meat. Pulls up to face slowly. Sniffs meat, gulps. Wolves looking. Quickly puts in his mouth. Cuts to black.

Back in, Tearing meat difficultly with rabbit teeth. Covered in blood. Gets carried away enjoying food.

Everyone’s smiling at dinner table. Dessert is served. Baked Alaska. Chef lights rabbit’s dessert. He smiles up at wolves then leans in to smell the dessert. Suddenly whisker catches fire. Oh no! Tries blowing it out. Wolves look shocked, person next to him tries to help. Starts to panic. Flame reaches mask. Countdown. Awkward. Wife looking awkwardly. Rabbit starting to freak out. Mask catches alight. Rabbit whips off mask to the floor, person next to him throws water on it. Pause. Oh shit. Everyone around the table speechless, shocked. Cub anxious/disappointed. Rabbit annoyed/scared. Alpha angry. Pounces on rabbit. Bloodshed. Wife wipes splash of blood with napkin. Other guests watch silently.

Later alpha sitting (either at desk or by pool overlooking land) with cigar. Dead rabbit remains next to him? Takes off mask to reveal slightly less ideal wolf beneath. (maybe reflection in water).

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

The first fable concerning a wolf that disguises itself in a sheep’s skin is told by the 12th-century Greek rhetorician Nikephoros Basilakis in a work called Progymnasmata (rhetorical exercises). It is prefaced with the comment that ‘You can get into trouble by wearing a disguise’ and is followed by the illustrative story. ‘A wolf once decided to change his nature by changing his appearance, and thus get plenty to eat. He put on a sheepskin and accompanied the flock to the pasture. The shepherd was fooled by the disguise. When night fell, the shepherd shut up the wolf in the fold with the rest of the sheep and as the fence was placed across the entrance, the sheepfold was securely closed off. But when the shepherd wanted a sheep for his supper, he took his knife and killed the wolf.’ 

Woodcut by Francis Barlow, 1687; the end of “The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”

The next version does not appear until three centuries later in the Hecatomythium of the 15th-century Italian professor Laurentius Abstemius. In his telling, ‘A wolf, dressed in a sheep’s skin, blended himself in with the flock of sheep and every day killed one of the sheep. When the shepherd noticed this was happening, he hanged the wolf on a very tall tree. On other shepherds asking him why he had hanged a sheep, the shepherd answered: The skin is that of a sheep, but the activities were those of a wolf.’ Abstemius’ comment on the story follows the Biblical interpretation: ‘people should be judged not by their outward demeanor but by their works, for many in sheep’s clothing do the work of wolves’.

My film, on the surface is the opposite, but may adopt similar themes, especially as to the second version of the fable.