Welcome to the alternative location for DEAD ARMADILLO FILMS film project, “PAULIE”
There actually is a story between myself and an Armadillo, based on actual events circa 1997 in Folkston, Georgia, but that’s another project. Ask me sometime.
Story takes place at a school that’s been converted into a combination Youth Center/Homeless Shelter in a multi-racial neighborhood in Culver City, California.
The main plot line, and main character is about a two-year-old male Pit Bull named “Paulie” that is adopted by the children AND adults after finding the near-death pathetic looking “Paulie” on the playground.
The heart-warming interaction, and sometimes difficult topics of various sub-stories (like bullying, discrimination, and various other issues like addiction) keep the audience drawn into the film, with anticipation. How “Paulie” fits into the stories and sub-plots is always refreshing for the characters and the audience.
“Paulie” is discovered near a chain-link fence on the far end of the school’s playground. We find out later via a dream (flashback) in the Vet’s office, the how and why “Paulie” was so torn up, bloody, and near death when he is first discovered, at the edge of the school property. See PAULIE FLASHBACK #1.
One of the youth center volunteers, Abby Jackson, a 17 year old girl (perfect role for Paris Jackson), takes a special interest in “Paulie”, and the two of them become best friends, as she shows the children and the adults that “Paulie” is a sweet doggy, not dangerous, who loves everyone in spite of the abuse he suffered under his previous owners when he was younger.
There are flashbacks to show “Paulie’s” cruel upbringing, and how he is left to die, see PAULIE FLASHBACK #1. As a young teenaged volunteer at the youth center, Abby has issues of her own from her childhood (as we see in her own flashbacks), that her relationship with “Paulie” AND Mr. Johnson helps her overcome. The storyline and sub-stories show other children and adults as they deal with, and overcome their own difficulties and situations as well.
The storyline will also develop other main characters, and show the positive effect that “Paulie” has on them as well. Like the janitor, Mr. Johnson, an old retired Vietnam Veteran who suffers from PTSD, and some combat-related physical ailments (amputee, left leg), and a brain injury related condition, (speech impediment).
The hook, at the end of the first episode, is the discovery of the ability for “Paulie” to actually speak, both English, and Spanish, due to an electrical shock accident.
After pulling a child away from an electrical outlet, (little boy, Marcus) who was playing around with the socket with a screwdriver, “Paulie” received the brunt of the “Shock” as he grabbed on to the child’s arm, pulling him away from the socket. Knocking “Paulie” out with the electricity surging through his body, and appearing dead, other children screamed as Abby, the janitor Mr. Johnson, and two other adults ran over to Paulie, and Marcus, who was okay except for a slight burn on his right hand. Mr. Johnson picks “Paulie” up, and with Abby and an adult playground aide Janice (5th Grade Teacher), running along with him, placed Paulie in his Chevy, and sped off to the animal hospital, which was only three blocks north of the elementary school.
PG/Adult version: at the Vets office, the vet is sticking a temperature probe up “Paulie’s” butt. Insert PAULIE FLASHBACK #1). Paulie, has been unconscious and laying on his back. As he awakens and leaves his drug-induced dream-state, and his flashback, he opens his eyes, looks up at the Vet, and says (in perfect Spanish)….. “Do you really have to stick that thing up my ass?”. SHOCK AND AMAZEMENT for everyone, including “Paulie”……. “WTF…….I can speak human!!” By the way Doc, leave my cojones alone!”….
As it turns out, Paulie is okay, except for some slight burns around his mouth, and on the pads of his feet.
All of them in the little operating room are so amazed and perplexed, of course also happy that “Paulie” is going to be okay. Everyone is AMAZED, in shock really, that “Paulie” is actually speaking like a human being.
The doctor asks “Paulie”, “Comprende inglés?” “Well of course I do, I’m pretty sure that I’m am American-Born dude”, Paulie says with perfect English. “Paulie” is somewhat confused, as he stands up (on all fours), shakes his body a little, reaching back with his nose to sniff his butt a little. Looking up at the Mr. Johnson, “Paulie” says in Spanish “I’m glad you didn’t bring me here to cut off my balls”. Mr. Johnson laughs and says, “Sorry, no comphrende espanol”. Paulie says in English, “I’m glad you didn’t bring me here to cut off my balls”. We all laughed.
Paulie, asks for a mirror, although still a Pit Bull (a dog), because of almost being electrocuted, “Paulie” THINKS he is human of course, as he is looking at his reflection says, “Dog-Gone-It! And here I thought I was Brad Pitt, until I started licking my balls”, (everyone laughs).
Abby, still amazed, but concerned, raises the question, “What are we going to do?” After some discussion, everyone in the room agrees that for now, THEY, including “Paulie”, will keep his miraculous ability a secret. A secret from everyone else back at the school. No media press junkets, no guest hosting on SNL, or visits to the Oprah Winfrey Show . “You want me to bark like a dog?” (Paulie barks like a human would bark)…..”We need some tutoring I reckon”, someone says. Everyone laughs again, nervously. Got to fill this scene in with more discussion and amazement. As they are leaving the animal hospital, Paulie says, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse, can we go through the drive-thru at the “In-and-Out” on the way home?
ABBY JACKSON (possibly played by Paris Jackson):
Abby comes from a single-parent home living with her mother a few blocks away from the Alice Jefferson Elementary School/Youth Center (her father was killed in Afghanistan when she was nine). This was the school that Abby attended from 1st to 6th grade, (although the youth center was not established until she was a junior in high school). Present day, she is in her first year of Junior College, studying the basics wanting to be a teacher and social worker (and an astronaut).
Mr. Bernard “Ben” Johnson, Custodial Engineer, (possibly played by Morgan Freeman):
Mr. Johnson, is a 68 year old retired Vietnam Veteran who suffers from PTSD, and some combat-related physical ailments (amputee, left leg), and a brain injury related condition (speech impediment and never stops smiling), with a noticeable dent in his forehead (steel plate). Mr. Johnson has been a janitor ever since he came back from the war.
Mr. Johnson has been a janitor ever since he came back from the war. First as a “Custodial Officer” for five years at a local Veterans Hospital in Westwood, and then forty years or so for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Mr. Johnson was one of the janitors at the school for fifteen years before it closed. After retirement, he continues to supplement his social security retirement benefits by working part-time at the now combined homeless shelter and youth center.
Police Officer George:
“Sweet Home Alabama”
As they are in the vehicle headed back from the Animal Hospital to the Youth Center, the song starts playing on the radio…”Sweet home…” , “Paulie” injects the words, “Culver City”….everyone laughs, and for the rest of the song, they all sing, “Culver City” at the appropriate time, (even the movie audience does). In cities all over the world, audiences are “injecting” their own cities into the song, i.e., “Sweet Home, San Diego”, etcetera’s.
Pretty simple, a plush toy, i.e., stuffed dog that “speaks” in English and Spanish, when a touch-sensitive internal sensor is touched, i.e, like squeezing the stuffed dog in a certain spot. The great thing about this idea is that children and adults will purchase this plush toy before and after they see the movie. Great advertising gimmick to promote the movie itself. Possibly a simple change of a “Chip” for language change? Like a “Japanese” version?…….a “Chinese” version?”. The various “Chips” could be an accessory for separate purchase? (Comes in English or Spanish language, other languages available as an option?) Possibly could be two versions of the “talking” part of the toy, a “G-Rated” version for children, and an adult version for adults and teenagers (13 and older?). Or how about a version that you can record anything you want? Simple technology similar to the recording apparatus in your cell phone.
Although the original dream was of an abused Pit Bull, named “PAULIE”, the type of dog could change, and his name could change. Some of the “sayings”….”Hi, my name is Paulie”….”Don’t touch my Cojones!”…..”Please scratch my belly”. “I love you too!”…..”I’m starving, can we stop at In-And-Out?”…..”Okay…..You want me to bark like a dog? Scratch my balls….Woof woof woof, how’s that?”
Another thought, a toy design that mimics the “smiling” of the movie “PAULIE”, i.e., the toy is manufactured with a permanent smile on it’s face.
SELLING OF A PLUSH TOY
I think we could cut a deal, as an advertising gimmick, with at least three nationwide theatre chains. Each “Paulie” plush toy doggie would be packaged with a “Free Admission” theatre ticket for one (1) child under 18, for the movie “PAULIE”. This would be great advertising, and a promotional boost for the theatre, the toy, and the movie itself. The child holding the free promotional movie pass/ticket can only use the ticket if he/she brings their “Paulie” plush toy with them to the theatre when they attend the movie. What this will do (promoted with TV advertising) will greatly enhance the marketing and sales of the plush toy, and the movie. Possibly an endcap setup in major drug stores and grocery stores, and anywhere else that see the flow of children through their stores. Or an exclusive deal with Walmart?
PAULIE FLASHBACK #1
Flashback while “Paulie” is on the Vet’s table, after suffering from the electrocution experience. The flashback is in three pieces as the interaction by the humans take place.
First piece of the flashback is a scene showing “Paulie” as a six-month-old puppy being abused, showing a close-up shot of a big motorcycle type boot, kicking “Paulie” across the garage floor like a soccer ball. Fades out to the scene in the Vet’s office, as the humans are talking, and the Doctor is giving “Paulie” a shot of some drug. Dialogue like, “I don’t think we can save this guy, he’s really in tough shape”…..Abby tearfully responds to the Doctor, “Please save him”…..Mr. Johnson says, “Do what you can Jim, regardless of the cost, I’ve got this covered”. Someone else says, “Remember how bad off Paulie was last year when he was first found? You saved him then, you can save him now”.
Fade to….The second part of “Paulie’s” dreamlike, fuzzy flashback, as the vet is working on the electrical burns on his left foot and lower leg…..Now a year old, “Paulie” is waiting for his turn to go in to a big ring to fight another dog. Fast forward the dreamlike sequence to the actual fight, two dogs trying to kill each other and a crowd of people watching, and cheering, waving money as the bet collector is still collecting bets.
Fades out to the scene in the Vet’s office (to be continued).
Fade to….The third part of “Paulie’s” dreamlike, fuzzy flashback. Scene: Two-year-old “Paulie” physically ravaged by the abuse at the hands of his handler, is pushed out of a van, and shot by the unknown perpetrator and left for dead. The van drives away.
Fade to youth center game room where Abby is playing ping-pong with one of the children. Also in the large game room, are kids watching a Starwars movie on a big screen television, a couple of kids playing pool, others talking, some on their smartphones.
First thought was a voice similar to Humphrey Bogart (saying, “Play it again, Sam”)…. or John Wayne (using same expressions, like, “Well hello pilgrim”)
Interaction between a somewhat chubby police officer “George”, Abby, and a few other characters in the scene.
After a few minutes of discussion, “Paulie, who is standing a few feet away from the police officer (George, who later becomes a friend) takes a few steps and starts humping the officer for just a second or so. The officer reacts in surprise by reaching down and scratching “Paulie” on the neck. “Paulie” gets off Officer George’s leg. More conversation. Then, as they are walking away, Abby says to “Paulie”, “Was it good for you?”. “Paulie responds, “I’ve never fucked a pig before”…Officer George says, “What was that you said?”, Abby responds, “Sorry officer, just practicing my ventriloquism. Audience laughs. Eventually Officer George finds out that “Paulie” DOES speak and becomes one of his friends and protectors.
Another Sample Scene: “Learning what fear, love & friendship is all about, from a Bully’s perspective”
Jimmy is a 14-year-old white kid, currently living with his mother in the homeless shelter attached to the youth center. He attends a local middle school, as a 7th grader. He should be in 9th grade, but due to the fact that he and his mother have been moving around from place to place over the past few years, he hasn’t been IN school long enough at any given time to move up the grade levels along with his peers.
Jimmy is a bully, at school, and at the youth center. His character somewhat believes that he is the “King” , but he really is nothing but a bully, seemingly without any mercy or understanding of what it means to just be a “normal” teenager.
The youth center staff has a difficult time dealing with him and his antics to the point of finally telling his mother, AND him, that he was no longer welcome at the youth center, or allowed to participate in the outside playground area activities run by the youth center. The only outside activity for Jimmy was hanging outside the homeless shelter’s sort of park-like “green” area. This area was mostly used by adults from the “Shelter” area as there was a slew of “picnic” tables where people gathered during the day, playing chess, reading the paper, one dude was always out there every day at some time or another, playing the blues on an old guitar. It also was the “Official Smoking Area”.
Even though Jimmy was banned from the Youth Center, there still were times when he drifted over to the playground and picked on/bullied the younger kids. There were only a few kids his age that sometimes played outside, and he picked on them as well.
“Paulie” has witnessed several occasions when Jimmy has picked on, bullied kids on the playground. After watching a particular nasty bullying event one afternoon, “Paulie” has finally had it with this bully who sometimes threw empty pop bottles or rocks at him.
As Jimmy was walking behind the buildings, headed back to the backside of the homeless shelter, “Paulie” decides to follow him, from about fifty feet behind him, but slowly getting closer. Just as Jimmy stops to light a cigarette, about twenty feet from the back entrance, he turns around and sees “Paulie” standing there five feet away, smiling at him.
Jimmy has never been this close to “Paulie” before. His bottle and rock throwing was always from a distance, never actually hitting him, the assaults were always ignored. “What the fuck do you want?”, Jimmy says with his meanest “bully” voice as he flicks his cigarette at smiling “Paulie”. They are all alone for a moment just staring, “Paulie” still smiling.
“Don’ t get scared and run, but we need to talk”, “Paulie calmly says with a John Wayne accent. Jimmy is frozen in place. “What the fuck…..you can talk!”….Please don’t hurt me”….”I’ve heard that fearful DON’T HURT ME from some of my friends as you were picking on them…don’t worry, we’re just going to have a little chat”, “Paulie calmly responds. “Let’s go down by the trees so we can have a little privacy”, “Paulie says. “Shit, a talking dog” Jimmy utters with a weak voice, as he reluctantly walks a few steps behind, over to some trees lining the back of the property.
Paulie starts off their little chat saying, “Now…..yes I can talk, I speak Spanish as well if you prefer”, “No, English is fine”, Jimmy says. “Paulie”: “Rule number one, tell ANYONE about our little talk, and the fact that I DO speak like a human, and I Will…..Rip off your face, your dick, your nuts, your hands and your feet and watch you bleed to death. No matter how far away you go, I will find you, and kill you, slowly, is that understood?” Jimmy already pissing his pants, says, “Yes sir”.
“Rule number two, listen to me and follow my instructions and advice to you. If you don’t, the “Rip off you face shit applies”. Jimmy sheepishly asks, “Can I light up a joint?” Paulie nods, and Jimmy lights up a blunt.
“Paulie, noticing Jimmy’s urine-soaked pants, “Sorry I scared you Jimmy. It was necessary to get your completely undivided attention…..I told you I’m not going to hurt you, I promise. I am really a very easy-going guy, kind, polite, patient, and a really loving Dude”. “But you’re a dog, not a human, Jimmy says. “I know, I know…..I LOOK like a dog, but I think I’m really a nice dude trapped in a dog’s body”…..
There is some silence, as Jimmy looks at “Paulie” as “Paulie” smiles back at Jimmy. “So, what do you want from me?”, Jimmy asks. “It’s a long list, but not complicated, let me begin…..
1st thing, stop bullying the other kids, they are friends of mine….
2nd thing, try being kind and helpful with the staff as long as you are here…..
3rd thing, I want you to volunteer to help Mr. Johnson clean up the homeless shelter, on a daily basis….at least two hours a day……
4th thing, do things to help your mother, obey her at all times, and show her love…….She has had a hard time, and I know you love her……
5th thing is LEARN how to be a responsible young man, and you WILL grow into a respectable human being.
Do all this. You have my backing as a friend, and I will have your back. I will always be your friend. There is much more to write for this scene, stay tuned……
More coming soon. If you are interested in participating in this project in ANY capacity, please get in contact with us. We anticipate this being released as a motion picture first, and a series after. Thanks for taking the time to read this. We will be updating this as a “Page” and “Post” quite frequently, so come back often. Enjoy the rest of the writings by Dr. “Tom” as well, I’m sure he will appreciate your interest and patronage.
Strain: Grand-Ma’sBellyButtonLint, harvested October 23rd, 2017
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Peace and Abide,
Link: Official “PAULIE” website
Dr. T. C. “Tom” Saxe, DD
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