First-Place Winner, November 2011 - April 2012
Screenplay Contest - Full-Length Series
Written by Heather Kenihan
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A recent graduate of the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting and a founding member of The Exiles Screenwriting Workshop, this is Heather’s first complete script and first win. Because TWP was her first, it’ll always hold a special place in her heart.
Additional Writer Information:
A young girl goes in search of her father and winds up in the dark and surreal world of a hippie commune in the 1960s.
In 1969, the summer of Charles Manson, Woodstock and man walking on the moon, thirteen year old Alice runs away from home to find her father. It seems like she has fallen down the rabbit hole when she ends up in a hippie commune in Laguna Beach. Even though her father fled the commune before she arrived, Alice believes that she has finally found a family where she belongs.
Tired of the hippie commune, the citizens of Laguna try to force them out of town, but they won’t leave. The Vietnam War escalates and the commune’s protests become dangerously radical. In addition, there are fire bombings and drug overdoses. Alice has to struggle to stay alive and not end up a casualty of the 60s.
The Chasing Rabbits screenplay, copyright, and story idea below are owned by Heather Kenihan. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.
EXT. TRACT HOME CUL-DE-SAC, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - NIGHT
SUPER: "Summer of 1969"
Each tract house on the block strives for a personality.
They display unique exterior paint jobs, (approved by the
Association), exotic magnolia or dwarf palm trees and faux
stone paths or miniature waterfalls.
Their kitchen lights shine, illuminate FATHERS, MOTHERS,
CHILDREN eating dinner.
Except for the last house on the dead end street.
Its kitchen is dark.
The standard issued paint job of the house, peels, cries out
for attention. No fancy masonry, waterworks or foreign
foliage. The grass is long and yellow.
A thin sliver of light leeks from between heavy green velvet
curtains. A shadowy face peers out.
It watches and waits.
INT. ALICE’S HOUSE - NIGHT
Alice’s mom, PATRICIA, 28, once a beauty, stares out from
behind the thick drapery.
She takes a sip from a Flintstone’s jelly jar that she
cradles in her hands.
ALICE, 13, tall, bony, with a short, Mia Farrow, boy’s
haircut, sits cross-legged in front of a High Fidelity,
mahogany veneer, console color TV.
She watches the evening news.
Apollo 11 launches. Men on their way to the moon.
Maybe dad’s with them. He couldn’t
tell us because it’s top secret.
Alice’s mom, Patricia GRUNTS.
She takes the last sip from the jelly jar.
You watch too much TV.
Alice scoots near the tube. Studies the faces in the Kennedy
Center Control Room.
And don’t sit so close. You’ll go
Alice's world exists inside the TV. She can't be close
enough. She wants to press her face against the screen.
Patricia lifts a liter of gin from the gold shag carpet.
Tilts it into the jelly jar.
Nothing comes out. She shakes the bottle, holds it up to the
light for examination.
Get me another one. This one's
The weight of the empty bottle is too much.
Patricia drops it on the carpet.
Alice ignores her.
I need more gin.
No trumpets blare. No one rushes to accommodate Patricia.
She stares at the back of Alice's head.
Alison I told you not to sit so
close to the television. Switch it
off and get me another bottle.
Nothing moves but what flickers across the TV screen.
Alice turns abruptly.
That’s the last one.
Alice regrets the words that slip between her lips.
It can’t be.
I told you it was this morning.
Don’t be a smart mouth.
Her mom struggles to stand, leans heavily on her chair.
If I go over and look, there better
not be anything in that liquor
Alice puts her ear near the TV speaker. Strains to hear what
comes out of the television.
She knows not to turn up the volume.
Patricia staggers across the living room, like a man walking
on the moon. She lands the palms of her hands on top of the
liquor cabinet. Stabilizes herself, regroups.
She throws open the cabinet doors. Empty, except for twelve
crystal highball glasses waiting for a party.
Patricia spins around.
You have to get more.
Alice tries to pretend that her mother isn't there.
I'm going to sell that God damn TV.
Alice won't take her eyes from the screen.
I can’t buy alcohol. I'm not old
Believe me. I know how old you
are. I remember every year.
You go get it.
What if your father calls and I’m
not here? What if he comes home
and I’m not waiting for him? He
might leave again.
Alice considers this.
Patricia lurches toward her. Alice afraid of what she'll do,
stands, prepares to protect the TV.
Patricia sways in front of her.
You get me some more gin and I'll
go to bed. Leave you alone to
enjoy your silly moon landing. You
can watch TV until the test pattern
comes on for all I care.
But how do I get gin?
Find somebody to buy it for you.
And how am I supposed to do that?
It's all too much for Patricia. She drops onto the carpet.
Leans against the TV.
You've got no imagination. You
won't have any fun as a teenager.
Patricia pulls her arms inside her blouse. She wriggles
around in her clothing like she's Houdini trying to escape
from a strait jacket.
Her right arm pops back into its sleeve.
A bra dangles from her hand.
Put this on. We’ll stuff it with
Alice glares at the bra. Her mother has asked her to do many
things she didn't want to do, but this could be the worst.
Patricia continues with instructions.
Wait in the liquor store parking
lot. Ask an older man. That’s
alone. We'll put some makeup on
you. The lot’s dark. It won't be
Alice’s mom is pleased with her plan.
It’ll be fun.
I can’t go up and just ask some
Come on. I see you. Across the
street every chance you get.
Hanging out with that old guy you
He’s not old.
I bet he’s almost my age.
Well it doesn’t matter how old he
is. I’m not talking to some
How dare you. I sit here day and
night. Watch for your father and
you won’t get me something to make
the waiting a little easier, the
time pass? Do you want your father
to come home?
Patricia reaches to switch off the TV. Alice's hand blocks
hers. She touches the knob first.
All you do is watch TV. I know
that you take that knob with you
when you go to school, so I can't
do anything with your precious TV
when you're gone. Your father
shouldn't have bought it for you.
That's not why I take the knob.
And I'm not putting on that bra.
Patricia collapses against the console.
I give up. I'll sell everything.
Move to Utah and live with my
sister. I’ve got nothing here.
What about me?
I’ll talk to that Moondoggie
character. See if you can live
with him. I bet you’d like that.
Alice snatches the bra from her mother’s hand.
Get my makeup case. And wear my
espadrilles. The really high ones.
Alice slowly moves toward the bedroom.
You’re pretty Alison. Everything
will be easy for you.
Alice stops and turns toward Patricia.
Alice's face lights up. She smiles at the nicest thing her
mother has ever said to her.
EXT. LIQUOR STORE PARKING LOT - NIGHT
In the shadows of the lot, Alice tugs at the low cut sweater
she wears as she teeters on her mother’s high heels. Her
knees knock. She can't get her legs to stop shaking.
A Chevy Camaro flies into the empty lot, glides to a stop in
the middle of two parking spaces.
RODNEY, 32, slips out of the Camaro. Marvin Gaye’s voice
follows him. Rodney struts bell bottom hip-huggers, a
paisley shirt and a blonde afro toward the liquor store.
He stops, senses Alice lurking in the shadows. He takes a
few steps in her direction, studies the situation.
Baby, what are you doing over there
in the dark?
Alice doesn’t answer. Her entire body trembles.
I’m talking to you.
Nothing. I’m not doing anything.
Well then come out of the darkness
and into the light. It’s creepy
you standing there looking like a
Alice wobbles into a spot almost below the street lamp.
That’s better. Aren’t you a pretty
thing. Why you hiding? Some guy
do something to you? Where is he?
Alice can't get her voice to stop shaking either.
Confused. Come to Rodney. I’ll
make it better.
Rodney opens his arms wide. Alice spins away from him,
lunges into the shrubbery.
He stares at the spot where she stood.
Baby, I’m not going to hurt you.
A voice comes from the oleander bush.
Please. Go away.
I like crazy.
Rodney thinks about it.
I’ll go in the store for a few
minutes. Give you some time to
Rodney walks away.
Alice waits until she’s sure that he's gone.
She moves to the hedge on the opposite side of the lot.
EXT. LIQUOR STORE PARKING LOT - NIGHT
Alice settles in the bushes, hidden.
She watches, mostly men, enter and exit the store.
A normal looking MAN, 35, climbs out of his Ford Fairlane.
Alice rises up from the bushes. The car’s passenger door
swings open. A BOY, 5, hops down.
Alice crouches in the bushes again.
POGO STICK, 28, shirtless and barefoot, a Jesus look-alike,
leads two other Hippies, OUIJA, 30, and CANDYLAND, 16, out of
a field and into the lot.
They dance toward the liquor store.
At the entrance they perform yoga poses. Settle down beside
the building and place their palms on the stucco wall.
The Hippies CHANT.
Rodney exits the store.
Hey man, what are you doing?
Pogo turns toward Rodney, but doesn’t open his eyes.
Levitating the booze.
Groovy. But why?
We're leading the way. Showing the
Man that there's a higher level of
Rodney watches her massage the wall. Most of her left breast
hangs out of her halter dress.
Ouija reaches inside the pocket of her granny gown. Pulls
out a small piece of paper, the size of a postage stamp and
hands it to Rodney.
Rodney studies it.
The new world. Join us.
Fear passes across Rodney’s face. He glances at Candyland's
breast. Puts the paper in his mouth.
Ouija takes him by the hand, leads him to the wall.
Rodney sits close to Candyland.
EXT. LIQUOR STORE PARKING LOT - NIGHT
The Hippies and Rodney CHANT. The street light buzzes.
Alice still in the bushes, dozes off.
A Lincoln Continental pulls into the lot. A NERDY GUY, 30,
with a pocket protector and mechanical pencils, gets out.
Alice sits up.
She needs to get this over with and return home. She springs
from the bushes, rushes toward the Nerdy Guy.
The LIQUOR STORE OWNER, 60, stands in the doorway. He
watches the Hippies.
Enough hocus pocus. Get lost.
The Hippies continue to CHANT.
You’re scaring away customers. Go
spread your peace, love and lice
The Hippies and Rodney CHANT louder.
I’ll call the cops.
The Hippies OINK.
Alice approaches the Nerd. He watches the Hippies and their
commotion at the store entrance.
Excuse me, Sir.
The man doesn’t take his eyes from the Hippies.
Can you help me out?
The Nerd ignores Alice.
LIQUOR STORE ENTRANCE
The Owner attempts to yank Pogo's arm, tries to make him
stand. Pogo goes limp, flops back on to the ground.
OK. The cops will be here soon.
The Hippies OINK again.
Alice touches the Nerd’s arm.
The Nerd recoils, reaches for his wallet, makes sure that
it's still there.
Would you buy me a bottle of gin?
Alice extends a wad of ones clutched in her fist.
The Nerd looks at Alice for the first time.
Why, so you can get drunk and go
off and screw like an epileptic
Alice backs away.
You’re destructive and unsanitary.
He rushes toward Alice.
Ruining America. Destroying
personal hygiene and music,
contaminating the gene pool with
your free love.
A NICE GUY, 50, appears.
He steps in front of the Nerd.
(to the Nerd)
Easy. Can’t you see. She’s just a
The Nerd turns away from Alice.
He hurries off to his Lincoln Continental.
It roars out of the parking lot.
The Nice Guy and Alice watch the car fly down the street.
He was a little tightly wound.
Alice on the verge of tears, so out of place she doesn't know
what to do, can't do anything but nod.
I need a bottle of gin for my mom.
No, problem. What kind?
The man heads for the liquor store.
Alice extends her handful of money to him.
We’ll work it out later. Wait in
my car. It's not safe to be
hanging out in this parking lot.