Grounded by Ron Houghton | Script Revolution

Grounded

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11pp

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A struggling luddite navigates the hardships of dating in the digital age.

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

Grounded
A struggling luddite navigates the hardships of dating in the digital age.

On the surface, ‘Grounded’ by Ron Houghton is a snide, satirical story about how today’s culture has become so dependent on the cell phone, that should a professional man -- in his mid-thirties -- choose to remain off the grid, it would be perceived with the same astonishment as an alien spacecraft suddenly emerging from the clouds.

But deeper inside the subtext of this script is an insightful commentary about the influence of societal norms on our morals and how conforming to the former, might make you lose sight of the latter.

Meet Steve… a cautious man in his 30s on a date with Talia, a work colleague he eventually had enough courage to ask out for a dinner and a movie.

TALIA
I have to say I was pretty surprised
when you asked me out.

STEVE
Really, why??

TALIA
I saw you checking me out last week
at Beth’s party. I thought if you
couldn’t muster the chance with a
few drinks inside you then you
never would.

STEVE
I guess I was just waiting for the
right time.

It’s clear from Steve’s initial exchanges with Talia he’s a non-conformist, who totters along to the beat of his own drum. But he’s also self-actualized enough to understand that his actions and beliefs might cause incredulity and outright condemnation in others.

So it comes as no surprise that when Talia asks if he has a phone, Steve is suddenly filled with dread, knowing he’ll have to admit to being an analog man in a digital world.

Talia responds to Steve’s confession in a manner befitting a dinner-date confessing they have a predilection for eating horse feces off the skull of a humpback whale.

Utterly outraged, Talia publicly humiliates Steve to the restaurant staff and patrons for being without a phone. In turn, the scornful onlookers make Steve feel like an uglier version of the Elephant Man.

Made to feel a pitiful outcast, Steve is befuddled and embarrassed when Talia departs. But not before she leaves him with one final, hurtful reproach…

TALIA
Get some help, Steve.

Taking Talia at her word, Steve goes in search of help via a medical professional. Who in turn quickly diagnoses his issue and suggests a remedy.

DOCTOR
But I do suggest you get on a
plan immediately.

STEVE
Immediately?

DOCTOR
You’re way behind the rest of us. I
think the right thing to do is to
treat the condition aggressively.
long term options with punitive
contracts.

Following his hospital visit, Steve makes hay to the closest cell phone store, completely crushed and feeling like a social pariah. But along the way he bumps into a kindred spirit, a woman similar to him in heart and soul. Another ‘grounder’, unashamed and proud of who they are. Making Steve pause and reconsider his rush to heal a wound not of his making.

Ron Houghton’s ‘Grounded’ is a subtle, biting, and irreverent societal parable about what it means to fit in, and what you lose when you don’t maintain the courage of your convictions. Want to produce a quirky movie emulating the spirit of idiosyncratic filmmakers such as Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, and Woody Allen? Then dial up Ron Hougton. Grounded may be the perfect script!

Review by Jeremy Storey

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The Writer: Ron Houghton

An avid cinephile, and former film critic. In recent years I have discovered a passion for screenwriting. In recent years I have been fortunate to have five of my short scripts optioned, with four currently in production. In between work and life,  I am currently working on two ambitious television spec sricpts. One about silent Hollywood and another set after an apocalyptic event.  Please feel free to contact me at - ronhougtonscripts@gmail.com - regarding any comments or inquiries. Go to bio

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