“Porcelain Unicorn” Genre: Memoir/True Story/Drama 3-Minute Short Film
Script-O-Meter rating: 9
Genre: Drama/Historical Epic
This is a brilliant short film that won many awards. I’ll break the script down into its Story Beats. In just 3 minutes, all of the Story Beats are there!
Premise: When a young Nazi boy discovers a young Jewish girl in hiding, he rebels to fend off her capture.
Designing Principle: A boy’s courage when he goes against the norm can overcome oppression.
Theme: Repression cannot stifle human courage.
The Hero’s Psychological Weakness: Repressed and beaten down. We are shown this when the adult Nazi smacks the boy across the face and knocks him down and then
smashes the unicorn with his boot.
Moral Weakness: None. His Nazi friends run when they hear a noise, most likely to inform the adult Nazi that a Jew might be hiding. He stays to investigate.
Need: Freedom from tyranny
Inciting Incident: A noise comes from what appears to be an abandoned room.
Desire: He wants to save the Jewish girl.
Plan:, He hands the Nazi the porcelain unicorn in his hand and shamefacedly says he’s sorry, as if he stole this from the room. He does this to deflect from the Nazi suspecting
Opponent: The Nazi commandant
Climax/Battle: The elderly German (Hero) in the present time hands the elderly Jewish woman (little girl) a box. She opens it and it’s a porcelain unicorn.
Self-Revelation: The two of them sit together and smile, both of them liberated and free from repression.
New Equilibrium: None needed.
Open with Story World and use the technique of the Memoir/True Story, where we start with the Battle/Climax and then do a Time Jump into the past. The present time or
Ordinary World: greenery, blue skies, well-kept lawns; comfort. Segue way through a window to Time Jump: Germany, 1943. Abandoned room.
Young German boys, Nazi regime, in a room that has been abandoned – cigarettes in ashtrays, dishes. Most likely the people inside were hauled off by the Nazis.
0-24: Present time. This is right before the Climax/Battle scene. An elderly German approaches with trepidation the outside door of a well-tended, if not quaint, home. He
hesitates, looks at the doorbell. He looks at the curtained window.
24 – 2:27: With the window as a segue way, Time Jump to Germany, 1943 screen overlay.
The following lines of dialogue are spoken:
Hero: What is that?
Jewish girl: It’s a unicorn.
Hero: (looking at the Jewish girl’s yellow star on her sleeve) Never seen one up close
Jewish girl: (touching the Jewish star) Beautiful.
Hero: (hearing the Nazis coming) Get away!
Hero: (after the Jewish girl hesitates) Get away!
Important note: The Jewish girl is shocked that the young Nazi boy would actually be attempting to save her, so she hesitates to move.
Hero: (to the Nazi Commandant) I’m sorry.
2:27 – end: Time Jump to present time, back to the Climax/Battle scene: As the German man is losing courage to ring the doorbell, the Jewish woman slowly opens the door.
The next scene is inside her house. She opens the box and it is a shiny porcelain unicorn.