Freedom Is For The Birds

JM Sutherland

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION ADVENTURE FAMILY DRAMA

    Core Theme

    FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, NEVER GIVING UP

    TIME PERIOD

    2000s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    FERNGULLY, LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS, FINDING NEMO

    CHARACTER LIST

    KMAL: JUVENILE RED-TAILED HAWK. LEAD. NAĂŹVE, EMPATHETIC, STUBBORN.

    K’LAR: KMAL’S FATHER. FAMILY CARETAKER.

    D’REE: KMAL’S MOTHER. STRONG AND BRAVE.

    T’NAL: FRIENDLY NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR. AVUNCULAR TYPE.

    KMIN: KMAL’S SISTER. TIMID AND SWEET.

    HECTOR: KMAL’S SIDEKICK DRAGONFLY.

    Logline

    A riveting, heartwarming saga of animal fiction that follows a family of red-tailed hawks, who are unaware they are the key to the fate of their kingdom.

    Genre

    Action,Adventure,Family,Drama

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+,7-12

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Outside - Canadian Rocky Mountains, US dessert and Grande Canyon, and then into Mexico.

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Starting Description

    K'Lar and D'Ree fly along the mountains arriving in Alberta, finishing their spring migration north. The pair, however, find their valley has been destroyed by humans, and they face a future ready to their clutch eggs but with no nesting site or hunting territory.

    Ending Description

    At the Naming Ceremony for the juvenile hawks, K'Lar and D'Ree's male offspring, K'Mal, rallies the entire hawk assembly, against an attack by D'Ral and his gang of misfit hawks. Just before King D'Nar, dies right after the attack, he names K'Mal the next King.

    Group Specific

    wildilfe enthusiast, animal and nature lovers, families

    Pitch Adaptation

    Live Action Animation Feature This riveting, heartwarming saga of animal fiction follows a family of red-tailed hawks, who are unaware they are the key to the fate of their kingdom.

    WGA Number

    The author has not yet written this

    Mature Audience Themes

    The author has not yet written this

    Plot - Other Elements

    Coming of Age,Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: K'Lar and D'Ree - parents

    Age: adult hawks

    Gender: Other

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aggressive,Charming,Confident,Decisive,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Honorable,Leader,Masculine,Modest,Selfless,Outspoken,Skillful

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Kmal and Kmin

    Age: juveniles

    Gender: Other

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aggressive,Clumsy,Confident,Desperate,Engaging,Heroic,Insecure,Naive,Underdog,Modest,Obedient,Selfless

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Genre

    DRAMA, ACTION

    Brief

    A young, red-tailed hawk must find his way back to his family after a life-threatening injury. On his journey to find them in time for their ritual Naming Ceremony, he discovers the dangers of coming into contact with humans and what it means to be a caring friend. Upon finding his family, he learns that he is imbued with special abilities that make him eligible for the throne, only it’s being contested by another family member.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    SCRIPT

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The book profile makes the story seem like it has to do with humans destroying natural habitats, but that concept only plays a marginal role in the plot. To improve, the script profile should be revised to better reflect the entirety of the script.

    Draw of Story

    There is no clear hook from the start, which made it difficult to find something to draw me into the story immediately. It seems to start as a social commentary on environmental degradation, but then quickly becomes a very different story. As soon as the story shifts, it’s unclear what the actual north star of the narrative is, and I got lost.

    Possible Drawbacks

    It is unclear what the writer is trying to say because there is no clear plot that runs through the script. The beginning leads the reader to believe the story will be about how humans are destroying habitats and pushing animals out of their homes. This plotline is quickly dropped for the adventure plot line of a child trying to reconnect with his family. And in the last few pages a completely new plot line is introduced about an evil hawk conspiring to take over the throne of the hawk king, with a metaphysical component. The jumping around of the story made it difficult to keep my attention. To avoid that, it would be helpful for the writer to choose a clearer through line and not introduce and then drop different plot lines.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    There is no clear hook from the start, which made it difficult to find something to draw me into the story immediately. It seems to start as a social commentary on environmental degradation, but then quickly becomes a very different story. As soon as the story shifts, it’s unclear what the actual north star of the narrative is, and I got lost.

    Fanbase Potential

    As written, it is unlikely for the film to have a large fanbase. This is because it is unclear what the script is trying to say and so unsure who it would appeal to. It is also difficult to determine exactly who the audience for this would be. The simple dialogue and premise seem like it is targeted towards young children, however there are a number of traumatic and violent occurrences that do not play to children. However, there are comparable animated films that are beloved and have a large fanbase. With significant changes that tighten the story, if executed well, it could garner loyal fans who like animation and animal stories and care about the environment.

    Awards Potential

    As a relatively simple animated or live action children’s story, as is, it is unlikely to have Awards potential. However, with a relatively small number of animated film contenders every year, if the script is tightened substantially and with much additional work, especially if it has a clear social message, there could be some possibility for the film to have Award potential.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    FERNGULLY, LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS, FINDING NEMO

    What’s New About the Story

    The interplay between the hawks’ perspective and the humans’ perspective is an interesting part of the story. However, this tactic is only used briefly at the beginning, and there isn’t a consistent human character who we come back to or learn anything about. Telling the story of environmental degradation through an interplay of the perspectives of animals and humans throughout the script could make the story more unique.

    Lead Characters

    KMAL, the juvenile male who is the main character of the story, shows a lot of empathy. His care for HECTOR, the dragonfly, models a kindness that is refreshing. We do not get to know the other main characters well enough to identify anything that makes them stand out. However, something that makes the characters stand out negatively is that all the main characters are male.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This script does not offer anything new and has a lot of premise and structural problems. The plot needs to be more focused and decide if it’s a story about hawks and humans as the beginning makes it seem or hawks against other hawks as it ends up in the end. The main character, Kmal, does not have a true character arc, because at the end, he repeats the same action of not listening to the hawk guards and going off on his own as he did at the beginning, of not listening to parents and going hunting on his own, that got him injured in the first place. He doesn’t seem to have learned and grown from his journey. The dialogue is very stiff, expository, and at times awkward, like, for instance, when the parents refer to their children as offspring. And lastly, it’s difficult to tell the audience for this film, because it comes off as very simple and PG, but then has surprising instances of violence that seem out of place for the cadence of the rest of the script. Working on those issues will help to improve the script.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Studio, Film - Streaming, Film - Indie

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    There are a lot of elements of the script that still need to be worked out. Right now, it feels like three different stories rather than three acts of a screenplay. Once the plot is defined, the writer will be able to strengthen the other elements of the script that still need work, like the character development and the dialogue.

    Tips for Improvement

    Whether it’s the story of hawk families displaced from their homes by humans or hawks battling with each other over power over their kingdom, the premise needs to be clearer and we need to understand what it is the writer is trying to say. The characters need to be more nuanced rather than serve mostly as devices, and ideally there would be more substantive female characters that don’t just fall into stereotypical female roles (T’Nal, Griffin, Allen, Hector, the King – none of these need to be male). The dialogue would need to sound more like the way people talk. It should be clear who the audience is for the film. Ultimately, it would need a major rework in order to consider recommending.

    Brief

    A young, red-tailed hawk goes on a journey of a lifetime to reunite with his family after a life-threatening injury leaves his stranded from them. Upon finally finding them, he learns that he is imbued with special abilities that make him eligible for the throne, only it’s being contested by another family member.

    What We Liked

    A sweet children’s tale about family, friendship, and perseverance, Freedom is for the Birds is an adventure story told through the perspective of a family of red-tailed hawks. Pushed out of their home by human encroachment on their land, the red-tailed hawks need to figure out how to adapt to survive. The characters in the story all really care for one another. They value empathy and kindness and exude an ethos of respecting nature and life.

    This story role models some great qualities for young children to be exposed to early in life, not only about respecting the environment and caring about wildlife, but also what it means to be a loyal friend and to never give up. It is also an exciting hero's-journey story, with tension, adventure, and fun.

    Key points: Social commentary on environmental degradation caused by humans and its effects on displacing wildlife; Empathetic lead character that models kindness; Exciting adventure story; Fun story for children and families; Animal animation

    Synopsis

    K’LAR and D’REE, two adult red-tailed hawks return from migration to look for their home and nesting area, only to find that it’s been demolished by human encroachers who are taking over the land. D’ree is expecting and K’lar finds an alternative place to lay their eggs safely. They hatch to reveal a daughter, KMIN, and a son, KMAL.

    The parents are teaching their new offspring to hunt. Unfamiliar with the boundaries between humans and wildlife, Kmal unknowingly chases his prey into oncoming traffic and is nearly killed by a car. He is lucky that ALLEN, who works at the wildlife institute, saw the accident and takes Kmal back to the institute and saves his life.

    In the meantime, Kmal's family needs to make the difficult decision to migrate without him. Kmal is released back into the wild and learns that his family has started their migration. Kmal goes off to find them. In his first attempt to hunt by himself, he dives for a gopher only to be shot at by some men in a duck blind. Shaken up, Kmal sits high in the trees, where he meets HECTOR, a timid dragonfly. Kmal promises he won’t hurt Hector and helps Hector untangle his wings. They realize they are both headed the same way and Kmal offers to fly Hector to where he needs to go. Kmal tries desperately to make it in time for the annual Naming Ceremony but gets caught in a powerful storm that takes him way off course.

    In the meantime, the rest of Kmal’s family makes their way to the annual Naming Ceremony. When they finally arrive, they are met by KING D’NAR. King D’nar has a special ability to sense energy throughout his kingdom, and senses on the outskirts a struggling hawk flying in their direction. He sends a wave of energy in the hawk’s direction to help him maintain his speed. With that energy, Kmal is able to make it just in time for the end of the Naming Ceremony.

    The King notices that Kmal has the same gift of sensing energy that he does and wants to train Kmal to be a powerful healer who may one day be able to take over the throne from him. However, D’RAL, another one of the King’s offspring, has been positioning himself to be ruler through fear and forcefulness. D’Ral is incensed by the news and begins attacking the court, killing and injuring a number of elders. In the commotion, he is able to escape.

    A year goes by as Kmal trains and hones his abilities. At the next Naming Ceremony, D’Ral reappears, trying to take over the throne by force. But Kmal has learned how to harness his powers and with the help of Hector, who has stayed by his side, they are able to defeat D’Ral, who is mauled to death by the other hawks at the ceremony. This all proves to be too much for King D’Nar, who dies. Kmal is able to revive him with his power for just a moment, and the King names Kmal his successor.

    The kingdom accepts this decision and mourns the death of their king.

    About The Author

    JM Sutherland is the author of the novel Freedom is for the Birds, which Sutherland adapted into the screenplay of the same name. The independently published, Canadian author, is a passionate advocate for animal rights.