"Bad Animation"

written by Greg Falkingham

'Home Movies' property of Soup2Nuts



Depicted with all the fine detail of black ants as seen from a third story window, several grade school children are running back and forth along the length of the soccer pitch, their offensive and defensive formations exhibiting the fine organization of drunk kittens.


BRENDON SMALL and COACH McGUIRK are seated side by side on the front bleachers. Brendon, in his usual blue jumper, is idly toying with a soccer ball, apparently quite unconcerned about being relegated to bench warmer, even during practice. McGuirk, leaning back with the air of one who is even less concerned about anything to do with soccer, is in the middle of discussing something much more important and prescient.

McGUIRK: You've never heard of Ren and Stimpy? At all?

BRENDON: No, never.

McGUIRK: So, what kind of cartoons do you watch then?

BRENDON: I don't know. Scooby Doo, I guess.

McGUIRK: Scooby Doo? What kind of crap cartoon is that to watch?

BRENDON: I don't usually watch a lot of TV…

McGUIRK: That thing was old back when I was your age. It's pathetic. Why don't you watch South Park?

BRENDON: South Park? What's that?

McGUIRK: Have you been living under a rock? C'mon, you know, South Park; with the cardboard cut outs and crappy animation and the swearing.

BRENDON (baffled): Huh? Swearing? How can there be swearing in a cartoon? Won't children pick up on…

McGUIRK: Because it's not for children. Cartoons aren't for kids anymore, Brendon. They're for adults, and snooty little kids who like to think they're adults. That's why I assumed you'd seen it before.


McGUIRK: Cartoons are different these days. It's all about satire and irony. You know what irony is, Brendon?

BRENDON (lying): Uh, yeah, I do.

McGUIRK: Oh… Really? Well then, you're one up on me. I just like it when the kids swear. That's funny, Brendon. Foul mouth children are hilarious.

BRENDON (pausing for thought): Yeah, I guess I can see that. Unless they're swearing at me. That's less fun.

McGUIRK: Don't be an asshole, Brendon.



We briefly cut to the children on the soccer field, who are not swearing up a storm, or indeed, doing much of anything. Their energy exhausted, many are now left lying prone on the pitch, waiting for the interminable session to end.


Our three amateur filmmakers are seated together around a low card table; Brendon to the left, JASON to the right, and MELISSA in the center. Each has a pad of yellow lined paper in front of them and a small collection of crayons. Jason is busy scribbling away while Melissa actively pays attention as Brendon presides over this brainstorming session.

BRENDON: I think, for our next film, we should try an animated feature.

MELISSA: That sounds pretty hard. There's a lot of work that goes into animation, and none of us can really draw that well.

JASON: I can.

Briefly cutting to the page Jason is coloring, one can only guess if the image is meant to be a mutated palm tree, several flamingos wrapped around each other's necks, or his mother.

BRENDON: But, we don't have to be able to draw. A lot of the animation done now looks like children drew them anyway.

MELISSA: I guess that is sort of true. The PowerPuff Girls are kind of simple and round; I could even draw them.

BRENDON: Yeah, exactly. Plus, you can swear.

JASON: I like SpongeBob SquarePants.

BRENDON: Oh, yeah, that's…

JASON: He's, like, my hero.


JASON: I even have a SpongeBob action figure.

Reaching into his yellow jumper, Jason pulls out a small yellow cleaning pad. With clumsy fingers, he tries with futility to get it to stand up on end on the tabletop.

MELISSA: I'm pretty sure that's just a regular sponge, Jason.

BRENDON: Yeah, that's not…

JASON: No, it's an action figure. My dad gave it to me.

BRENDON: Then why doesn't he have any pants?

JASON (with slow deliberate thought): He's, um, misplaced them. He's all naked. It's a dirty action figure.

BRENDON: I think that's enough of…

JASON: You can learn a lot from that show, you know. Like, sponges live in the ocean. I never knew that.

BRENDON: That's true.

JASON: And squirrels live in the ocean.

BRENDON: No, that's…

JASON: Yes, squirrels live in the ocean! It's in the cartoon, so it must be true!

MELISSA: We have to come up with an original idea. We can't do SpongeBob. We have to think of something on our own.

BRENDON: We could adapt 'StarBoy', maybe? Do a cartoon spin-off and call it, 'StarBoy: The Drone Wars'.

MELISSA: That could work. What do you think, Jason?

JASON: I, um, want to be naked, just like SpongeBob…

MELISSA: OK, I'm leaving now!

Without pause, Melissa hops down from her chair and runs away from the scene as fast as her little legs can take her.


The front of the school in center frame, the end of day bell rings. Doors immediately opening, children pour out in a seemingly endless stream, like a parade of circus clowns emerging from a tiny car.


With some trepidation, Brendon approaches the desk of his teacher, MR. LYNCH. Consumed with organizing his papers, he doesn't immediately notice Brendon until he clears his throat and raises his hand.

BRENDON: Uh, Mr Lynch?

LYNCH: Yes, Brendon.

BRENDON: I was wondering if I could ask your help with something?

LYNCH: Is it about your history grade?

BRENDON: What? Oh, no, no…

LYNCH: You're sure about that?

BRENDON: Hey, c'mon, class is over. We can just talk about stuff, right? You're off the clock. Don't let your job define you!

LYNCH (warily): All right, Brendon, what did you want?

BRENDON: Um, I was wondering if you knew anything about how animation gets made. I figure you're a smart guy, you must know something about how to actually get drawings onto film, right?

LYNCH: Hmm. I'm afraid you're talking about something they don't teach until college.

BRENDON: Oh. Hmm. That's kind of outside my project's timeframe. Is there any chance of sneaking in a few lessons, like, say, instead of all that boring history crap?

LYNCH: If you're that anxious, you might think of joining the computer club. They might help you put together something using Flash.

BRENDON: Flash? Er, that doesn't sound all that great. I mean, won't people get really annoyed by the constant strobing? Sounds like it would be hard on the eyes.

LYNCH: No, Brendon. Flash is the name of program –it doesn't literally flash.

BRENDON (lying): Oh, right, yeah. I knew that.


BRENDON: Yeah, um, hmm.

A moment of awkward silence as Brendon drums his fingers on Mr. Lynch's desk, desperately trying to think of a way to bail on this conversation.

LYNCH: I didn't just hear you say the word 'crap', did I?

BRENDON: Animation is a bad influence.


Jason is sitting on his bedroom floor, busily coloring among a chaotic mess of yellow lined paper. Various drawings that he's completed pass across the screen: StarBoy's rocket ship flying through starry space, StarBoy and The Captain Of Outer Space pointing with excitement and fear to something off-screen, a little two story house with flowers and a dinosaur looming over its roof, the amorphous palm tree/flamingos/mom drawing, The Captain Of Outer Space shaking hands with SpongeBob SquarePants.


With some dozen or so computers set up on desks, several students are taking the chance to use the school's technical resources in order to advance their studies in Unreal Tournament. Panning across, we come to Brendon And THURMAN THACKERY.

From the computer monitor's POV, Brendon is staring forward, completely absorbed on what he's doing on-screen, the sound of a mouse clicking nearly constant. Standing just behind him, Thurman's tortured facial expression is the kind one often sees on those who are very familiar with computers trying to instruct someone who's barely ever touched them.

THURMAN: This is your standard Flash environment. You'll see the toolbar to the left…

BRENDON: Oh, hey, wow, I drew a line.

THURMAN: …and the timeline is at the top. When you…

BRENDON: Cool, I can draw a circle. Look at that.

THRUMAN: Do you want me to help you or not? I thought you wanted me to show you how to use this.

BRENDON: Of course I do. So, what's the thing you click on to make a spaceship come on screen and blow up?

THURMAN: There isn't anything like that on there!

BRENDON: Really? Huh. I bet George Lucas does on his computer.

THRUMAN: Well, you aren't any George Lucas.

BRENDON: Yeah, 'cause I can write dialogue. Wow, hey, that was weird. What does it mean when everything stops moving? Should I click on the mouse a bunch more times?

THURMAN: Damn it, Small!


Wearing the unmistakable mask of defeat, Brendon is sitting in the middle of his sandbox, letting the grains slip through his fingers in painfully obvious symbolism. Melissa, seated nearby on the grass, is flipping through a sheaf of drawings Jason turned in.

BRENDON: I don't think this animation project thing is going to get off the ground.

MELISSA: It was pretty ambitious.

BRENDON (depressed): Yeah, I guess so.

MELISSA: My dad says if you want something animated, you have to send it to Korea.

BRENDON: Why is that?

MELISSA: I don't know.

BRENDON (sighing): We should have researched this ahead of time.

MELISSA: Why did you want to make an animated film so badly?

BRENDON: I just thought it would be a really cool thing to do.

MELISSA: What do you think we should do with Jason's drawings?

Brendon glances over to look at the papers. Cut to Jason's drawing of a naked SpongeBob crowing triumphant over a prone and trampled StarBoy.

BRENDON: I'd suggest burning them and never speaking of this whole thing ever again.

MELISSA: Agreed.