The Warbler

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A warbler bird who can't fly finds the love of his life but almost loses her. A script for an animated short based on The Gambler by fun.

Submitted: February 25, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 25, 2011



Here are links to the songs in the soundtrack. It's recommended that you listen to these songs when the time comes in my script to get the feeling I'm trying to convey in the story. And by recommended, I mean necessary. I will list them in order.


Steel Train – Bullet:


Ida Maria – Keep Me Warm:


fun. - The Gambler:


The Warbler


Opening: The screen is black.


Voice-over: You never know what to expect when you finally leave home for the first time.


Cut to: A brown, male warbler falling from a tree. The camera stays fixed from where the bird fell from looking, dramatizing the fall. The bird is flapping its wings frantically, desperate to fly but without the ability needed. The camera angle changes to be level with the thick grass at the edge of the tree. The bird lands with a thud, made louder with extra bass. It bounces then is still. The camera closes up on its face. Eyes are closed, breathing is shallow.


Voice-over: The situation is made worse when you have no way of going back. A bird who can't fly. What kind of sick joke is that? Barely an adult but still flightless. The poor sap on the ground is me by the way. Name's Nathan. I'm not dead or anything. This isn't a voice-over from heaven. This just happens to be the disaster that eventually turned into the best thing that ever happened to me.


Nathan's eyes don't open for a second. The screen goes black, turning to Nathan's point of view. He slowly opens his eyes. The screen effect is shell-shocked, a mess of blurred, shaky colour. As he comes to focus, the colours turn from blue and a mess of red and yellow to a vivid green. When he comes to his senses, he finds himself looking at a very bright warbler, much more beautiful than any he's seen before.


Female Warbler: Are you well? Do you have brain damage?


The camera shifts to a body level view of the birds from the side and Nathan all of a sudden finds a burst of energy, rising immediately to his feet.


Nathan: Um.. yeah I'm totally... I'm totally fine. Great actually. I actually meant to.. I planned that fall. It was a stunt. I'm a daredevil warbler. We're rare.


Female Warbler: Oh for sure. The spastic flapping of your wings was just for effect, right? No bird worth anything would just fall. You're brave. You're a hero! [chuckles]


Nathan VO: Her voice was beautiful. It reminded me of fresh spring days where the cherry blossoms were just sprouting and I could feel life moving all around me, shifting through the tree of my childhood and throughout the ground. I was invigorated by every syllable.


Female Warbler: My name is Mindy. And you?


Nathan: Um..... Nathan! That's right. I'm Nathan.


The camera goes to an over-the-shoulder view from Nathan, focusing on Mindy.


Mindy: Nathan...... I think I like that name. You're lucky! I may keep you. Besides, I need a new muse for my latest song. It must be my best if I ever have a hope of finding a mate. 'Diving Warbler in the Autumn Sky' sounds like it has all the makings of a hit!


The camera goes to an over-the-shoulder of Mindy.


Nathan: You don't look like you'd have to much trouble finding someone. I mean.. I mean I think you're pretty cool already.


Mindy walks up to Nathan. She leans in to whisper something to Nathan. The camera moves so it focuses on her face as she speaks.


Mindy: I know this comes as a shock to you, but I'm not necessarily known as the coolest warbler in the tree. People actually find me a bit.... weird. Notice my wings?


Mindy fans her wings out and for the first time brilliant patches of blue and yellow can be noticed in her wings, a trait that warblers don't have.


Nathan: [breathless] It's beautiful. Your wings I mean. I don't find them weird at all.


Mindy is dumbstruck. From her facial expression, it's apparent that nobody has said that to her in her life. She regains composure and the look on her face becomes very thoughtful.


Mindy: You should fly with me. Talk with me. Unless of course, that isn't cool with you daredevil types.


Nathan looks embarrassed and then shifts his gaze to his feet.


Nathan: I can't. Talking is fine but... I can't fly.


Mindy doesn't miss a beat. She gazes into his eyes and her voice turns from playful to affectionate.


Mindy: Well, we're just going to have to change that. Follow me.


The camera pans out to capture a larger piece of the park that the birds inhabit, its green ground coated with layers of Autumn leaves fresh off of the tree. Mindy hops off and Nathan sheepishly follows him.


Nathan VO: That's how I met the love of my life.



MUSIC: Bullet by Steel Train


a) It's early morning. Mindy is instructing Nathan how to flap his wings. She is forceful and smooth in her execution but Nathan is haphazard and goofy. Mindy laughs until she falls over.


b) Nathan is hopping up a bush until he reaches the top. He then takes a leap in an attempt to fly. Though he flaps his wings, he is not successful. He panics as he dives right into Mindy. They're stunned for a second but regain consciousness quickly and are embarrassed to find themselves on top of each other. They quickly split but both look happy.


c) It's getting colder but Nathan has not progressed. He runs off to the top of a hill, ashamed. Mindy finds Nathan and embraces him in her wings. The camera pans farther. The birds and hill are silhouettes in the sunset.

d) Nathan is being helped into the nest by the other birds. They struggle but finally he is moved into his new home. The camera zooms out a bit and we find out that Mindy is with him in the nest.


e) All the other birds are flying away for winter but Nathan and Mindy are staying. They say goodbye to their parents and family and the camera cuts to a behind view of them watching from their nest as the rest soon disappear into the clouds for the winter.




CUT TO: The camera is overlooking the entire park, every inch of it. It is now Winter. The snow-covered park sparkles brilliantly in the noon sun as if the world was made of diamonds. The camera focuses on one certain tree. It cuts closer and closer to it and lowers to a side view where a nest can be seen lying on the highest branch. It's fortified heavily with mud, sticks and leaves, the result looking much like a beehive rather than a birds nest. There is a hole just the right size for a bird in the middle and a small, green head is poking out of it.


CUT TO: The inside of the nest. Nathan and Mindy inhabit it, the nest itself with enough room for them to live comfortably together without fear of cramping.


Nathan VO: We were madly in love. So in love I couldn't even thinking of living one day without her. And then one fateful day, I nearly lost her.


Mindy: [bringing her head back into the nest] The sky is clear. I should go out for food before the wind picks up.


Nathan: Are you crazy? [The camera shifts outside, focusing on the ominous clouds in the distance] Do you not see those clouds? It could start snowing any minute! You could die!


The camera goes back into the nest.


Mindy: Well if I don't go out to get food, I'll die anyways and so will you.


Nathan: Let me go then.


Mindy: You can't and you know that. Why are you being so irrational? This isn't like you.


Nathan: I just... I just don't want you to get hurt okay! If I lose you I'll have nothing!


Mindy moves so close to Nathan that their beaks are nearly touching. The camera goes over Nathan's shoulder.


Mindy: I'm a big girl. I can handle myself.


Before Nathan can get another word in, Mindy hops back and jumps out of the nest hole.

Nathan rushes to the hole and just catches Mindy flying off into the distance. The camera goes outside of the nest and focuses on it. Nathan has his head peaked out. It goes in for a close-up of his face. He's scared. The camera goes back inside the nest. Nathan paces back and forth for a bit but decides to get some sleep. The camera does a medium shot on him as he curls up in the center of nest nest and soon is out.


CUT TO: Night time. The camera is in the exact same places as it was when Nathan fell asleep. A coyote can be heard howling in the distance. This wakes Nathan up. He sluggishly rises and opens his eyes. Immediately he's alert. The camera reverse-zooms and it can be seen that Mindy is still not back from food hunting. Nathan starts jumping around and panicking.


Nathan: Mindy? Mindy?! MINDY?!?!?!


 The camera follows him as he rushes to the hole and looks out. The wind is whipping snow in a frenzy. There is little chance that Mindy is alive. Besides, Nathan doesn't have the ability to fly and find her. The camera does a close up on Nathan's face. His look is etched in determination.


Nathan VO: Everything looked hopeless but I couldn't just accept that there was no way of saving her. I had to try.


Nathan dives out of the hole. The camera reverse-zooms from his face as he falls, showing his whole body. He flaps with all of his might and at the last second before impact with the ground, he becomes level with the ground and starts rising. The camera goes behind his back as he scopes the scene. The wind and snow are beating against him brutally but he presses on. With strings and horns swelling dramatically in the background, he's thrown to the side by a sudden gust. It doesn't faze him. The camera goes to a very high angle shot, giving a sense of how small Nathan is in the blinding blizzard. The camera cuts quickly to show a patch of yellow, blue and green jutting out of the snow. Nathan notices and banks downward.


Nathan: MINDY!!!! MINDY!!!!


His voice is barely audible in the wind. Nathan lands and the camera moves to a two-shot so you can see him and the snow pile as he brushes Mindy off. The pile is successfully removed and Mindy can be fully seen, completely stiff. The camera closes up on Nathan's feet as he grabs her with them and lifts her up into the sky.


CUT TO: The inside of the nest. Mindy is pushed in and Nathan is quick behind her.


BACKGROUND MUSIC: 'Keep Me Warm' by Ida Maria


Nathan rushes to Mindy's side. He checks her chest for a heart beat and breathing. Her breaths are shallow and she's in bad condition but she's alive. The  heart beats are emphasized with an extra loud BOOM BOOM as Nathan's head is leaned against her chest. He starts sobbing.


Nathan: Don't leave me here. It isn't your time. You never quit anything all your life. Now's not the time to start. You're the love of my life and I'll never leave your side.


He curls up with Mindy and cries until he falls asleep. The camera goes into a high angle shot and slowly zooms out as this is happening. The screen fades to black and the music stops.


CUT TO: A month later, inside the nest. The camera only shows Mindy's body lying in the center of the nest. Nothing else. The camera zooms slowly into Mindy until it's an extreme close-up on her eye. The sound of birds singing can be heard in the distance. All of a sudden, the eye that's focused on opens. The camera zooms out and follows her as she gets up and looks around. Roses line the interior of the nest.


Mindy: Nathan? Are you there?


Nathan immediately pops his head into the nest. He's overjoyed and quickly rushes in to embrace Mindy.


Mindy: Wow, what a greeting! You're acting like I died.


Nathan: I thought you did.


Mindy: What?


They separate.


Nathan: You mean you don't remember? You left to get food but you didn't return and I found you in a snow drift during a huge storm.


Mindy: I remember leaving for food but the rest is black.


Nathan: Well I found you and lifted you back to the nest. I've barely left the nest since. Only to get food. I had to feed you myself while you were in that coma.


Mindy: Wait, what? You lifted me back? How did you do that?


Nathan: Well, I don't mean to make this sound like a big deal but.... I flew. I finally flew.


Mindy: [ecstatic] What?! This is definitely a big deal! Why aren't you bragging more?


Nathan: I guess I forgot to [laughs]. OW!!


Mindy: What's wrong?


Nathan motions to the fresh roses that coat the walls.


Nathan: As you can tell, spring came extremely early. While I was out finding food, I found this rose bush. I thought it would be nice to grab one, so when you woke up you'd have something beautiful to look at. One wasn't enough though. I had to get you the whole rose bush. That way, even when I was one, you'd never be lonely. Unfortunately, rose bushes happen to be very prickly. I know it sounds stupid but..


Mindy hugs Nathan before he can finish speaking


Mindy: It's not stupid. It's perfect!


Nathan beams.


Mindy: Why are we standing here talking though? You can fly right? Let's put your new found prowess to the test.


Nathan: I wouldn't say I have prowess. I will however partake in a flight with you madame.


Mindy: Sounds like a plan.


Nathan looks thoughtful for a moment.


Nathan: Say, do you remember that mating song you said you were writing?


Mindy: 'Diving Warbler in the Autumn Sky'? Why yes I do.


Nathan: Did you ever finish it?


Mindy: Yes I did. I changed the named though. It's now called 'The Warbler'.


Nathan: I'd love to hear it.


Mindy: Well you're in luck. But only if you follow me.


Nathan: Will do.


Mindy bolts out of the nest and Nathan follows in haste. The camera twists and turns with them as they perform air acrobatics with each other. Mindy starts singing the tune to 'The Gambler' by fun. and Nathan joins in. The camera watches from behind as they fly off into the distance. The bird version is replaced by the real version of 'The Gambler'.


Nathan VO: That was just the beginning of the story.



MUSIC: 'The Gambler' by fun.


a) The nest is warm with mirth. Nathan and Mindy are fluttering around with young hatchlings who look very similar to them. One is a girl though she has plain features like Nathan. The other is a boy and looks just like Mindy with her colourful plumage.


Nathan VO: Soon after we had children of our own, Jack and Ida. Jack is like his mother, hopeful of life and love with a creative mind and wicked sense of humour. Ida is  a little bit restrained like her old man with matching blue eyes. She is the rock when things get insane, a cheerful reminder that life is good and should not be wasted. They both know how to fly.


b) It is getting close to winter. The family wastes no time leaving ASAP. The camera goes to an overhead angle as they fly across the land. The ground transitions from park to plains to red rocks and desert.


Nathan VO: When the fields started freezing over, we decided to fly south to Arizona. Of course, by the time spring came around, we decided we rather liked the warmth so we stayed.


c) Nathan and Mindy are arranging sticks in a tree. The camera goes into a first person view of Jack who, trying to do some insane acrobatic flying, crashes into the nest which destroys everything. The camera goes back to a medium shot of Nathan and Mindy who, instead of getting mad, just laugh.


d) Ida and Jack are leaving. With many tears, Mindy and Nathan finally let them go. The camera goes to a behind-the-back view of them in their nest (a more traditional one than the hive-like one in the park) as they watch their kids fly away.


Nathan VO: Of course kids, like buds, bloom into roses and must find their way in life. It was hard to let go but we knew they'd be just fine.


e) The sun is setting. It's been a year since Jack and Ida have left. Mindy is sitting in the nest, silhouetted against the sunlight with the camera view behind her back. In the distance you can see two birds flying towards the nest. Nathan comes in, silhouetted as well from the same angle. He's holding a rose in his mouth that he hands to Mindy.


Nathan VO: We've still got many years to live. Many years to cherish each other's presence. Many more years of fresh spring roses. I once said I'll never leave her side and I meant it. We'll live together until we die. However, my time with you is coming to an end; the kids are coming home and I must make them the full focus of my attention.


The screen fades out as the last notes of the song are played.




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