Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday School at The Sherman Foundation: Diapers and Redemtion

There are a few themes you see over and over again in diaper commercials. The first one I refer to as "little man". Infants are dressed in little suits and are shown doing things like getting the paper from the lawn or rolling across the sidewalk on their bigwheel, mom waving from the porch as if he is leaving for work.

The second theme is "redemption". I remember a particular Huggies commercial that I saw years ago. In the spot a little boy is playing catch with someone off camera. He isn't very good. The first ball rolls between his legs, the next toss flys past his mitt. Our little boy is unsuccessful and unhappy, he keeps "messing up". Then, Huggies are introduced. We get the product shots and "sell" on the brand. When we return to the game of catch our boy is transformed and happy. He's all smiles as he fields the ball perfectly.

Drawing upon these themes I've written a treatment for a short film about redemption, diapers and a man's life.

A man arrives home from work. He opens the front door, walks through the foyer and stops at the dinning room table. He sets his keys down and picks up a note. It's from his wife. Holding the letter in one hand and loosening his tie with the other, the man begins to read. He walks to the wet bar at the far end of the dinning room table, picks up a tumbler and a bottle of Dewars and walks to the kitchen. He pauses at the refrigerator door uses the ice dispenser to drop three cubes into the glass.

He enters the family room and sits on the couch. We see the note he is reading from his perspective. It ends with "I've taken our son and I'm leaving". He looks up and scans the room. We see children's toys and pictures of the once happy family on an end table. The man sits and cries and drinks and drinks and drinks.

We dissolve forward. He's removed his clothes and is on the family room floor among his sons toys. He has his drink in one hand and a framed picture of his son in the other. The once nearly full bottle of Dewars is two-thirds empty. He is very drunk.

The man struggles to his feet and walks out of the family room and to the bathroom, the bottle of Dewars and picture frame in hand. He's at the sink staring at himself in the mirror. He places the bottle on the sink and opens the medicine cabinet. He reaches for a bottle of pills and fumbles as he tries to open it with the picture frame under his arm. He knocks the bottle from the sink, glass and whiskey explode across the tile floor. The man, startled, slips on the wet floor, banging his head on the sink as he goes down.

We see the man from above. He is unconscious, naked and sprawled out on the floor. His forehead and feet are bleeding into the pool of whiskey dotted with scattered pills. The picture frame is cracked and lies near a wicker basket that the man kicked over as he fell. A diaper, dislodged from the basket, is lying in the blood and liquor.

The camera continues to rise, pulling slowly from the mess on the bathroom floor. As it does we can see the bloody liquor being drawn into the diaper and we fade to black.

We hold on a black screen for 15 seconds then the bathroom ceiling appears on screen. The screen flickers as the man blinks. He gets to his feet. There is no blood, no pills, no glass and no liquor. Everything is fine.

He puts on his bathrobe and looks at himself in the mirror. It's morning. The sun is coming through the window and his wife through the door.



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