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The Dowser

The Dowser

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Published by Andrew Yakovlev
Short film script, a western gothic with a surprise ending
Short film script, a western gothic with a surprise ending

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Published by: Andrew Yakovlev on Jan 06, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE DOWSERbyAndrew YakovlevMay 30th, 2006Andrew YakovlevA.Yakovlev@mac.com (646)415-2245
EXT. DESERT - DAYWe fade in on a barren desert, a landscape shaped by gypsum dunes, punctuated by solitary boulders and scattered trees. A sequence of wide shots ends in an undulating, heat distortedcomposition with two distant figures moving in a lineparallel to the horizon. The mirage materializes, and indeed,it is two human beings - BARTEL THE DOWSER and his son,BARTEL JUNIOR. The kid is toting a shovel and BARTEL SR hastwo dowsing rods in his hands. They are looking for water.The slow procession seems timeless and generational.Two dowsing rods, held by old withered hands, intersect overa spot no different then any other. BARTEL stops, takes theshovel and plants it firmly in the ground. The boy comes uppulls the shovel out and starts digging.The title comes up “THE DOWSER”FADE OUTEXT. DESERT - DAY (TEN YEARS LATER)BARTEL JR, now a young man, climbs out of a circular wellpit. His clothes are wet and he is holding a shovel smeared with mud. BARTEL SR, an old man, is resting in the shade of atree. BARTEL JR walks over, shakes him. His father doesn’trespond, the spirit has passed on.FADE OUTEXT. DESERT - DAYBARTEL JR is putting the last stones around the well. Henotices a shadow and turns around. Before him is a broad manin a sheriff’s uniform, TOM SHERRY, an imposing presence ofauthority. SHERRY stares the young man down.TOM SHERRYYou the dowser?BARTEL motions to a burial mound of small boulders a fewyards away.BARTELI’m his son...The sheriff walks over to the grave. There’s a small board, with BARTEL PRITCHARD SR carved in, hanging on a shovel - theimprovised headstone.
TOM SHERRYThat’s a shame.BARTEL drops a bucket into the well. It makes an echoingSPLASH. When the bucket fully drowns in the dark water hepulls up and out of the abyss.BARTELThirsty?The sheriff drinks, then the kid drinks.TOM SHERRYI'm the sheriff from over in Aden, we're dry as a bone and I camelooking for your old man.We cut to a long shot of the landscape, the well, the two men, the burial mound. We hold as the two figures stand stillas if waiting, then move off. The camera takes off revealingthe expansive landscape of arid sand.EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY - DAYThe Sheriff’s Plymouth glides down a one lane highway. InsideSHERRY and BARTEL. BARTEL is gazing out the rolled down window. SHERRY about to say something stops short, then comesup with -TOM SHERRYThis is it.The car turns off the highway and onto a barely paved road.EXT. ADEN - DAYAden is a rundown, withered settlement ruled by dust. Rustedand dilapidated buildings represent a gas station, a generalstore, diner, police station, etc. Sand is flowing out of abroken pump, it’s picked up by the wind and scattered acrossthe stretch of the main road. In the distance we see theapproach of the Sheriff’s vehicle.Gradually, the town begins to awaken. We hear some SIGNS oflife: a creaking DOOR, a handheld RADIO playing an oldie, theBARK of a dog. A raggedy CHILD runs across the main road from one building to another. A slovenly WOMAN opens the windowsand looks out.2.

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