Pet Earthling
Rolo’s life as a pet earthling is easy but routine.
When he runs away from his loving alien owner, he gives up
everything to look for a home he never knew existed: Earth.
SCREENPLAY
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Rolo
Earthling man, Zira’s pet.
Bored being just a pet.
Wants more in life.
Zira
Alien girl, like 10.
Possessive owner of Rolo.
Lonely but chipper.
Quiggles
Rolo’s pet alien animal.
Non-speaking sidekick.
Bold enabler.
Riffa
Sister of Zira, like 16.
Initially sulky and aloof.
Madame Zanana
Museum curator.
Wise and insightful.
Capt. Blarzenhook
Old star captain, pirate accent. Poetic storyteller.
Storyboard
The Ballad of Blarzenhook  (funny!)
Original Song
w/ quirky lyrics
“Fun and inspired, with plenty of heart and spectacle.”
“Definitely unique and original. Their friendship is heartfelt.”
“Quite funny, touching, sweet and absurd, with a lot of personality.”
“Exciting and imaginative. The dramatic end is thoroughly satisfying.”
— The Black List

“With its quirky humor and complex themes, the script stands out easily.”
— The Golden Script

“You have something that is quite special. It’s a beautiful idea, fun,
imaginative, original, and fresh. Your writing is very cinematic; you really do
paint that world and bring it to life. I think it’s going to get people excited.”

— Scott Parisien, Script Reader Pro

By David Hundsness
pet[email protected]
Based on the premise of PetEarthling.com but a wholly different story.
Download Screenplay

Genre
Animated Family Adventure

Setting
Blorx — a world like ours, but alien, and everything is 3× too big for humans. Suburban home, urban city, an earthling park (dog park), wormhole subway, Animal Control Force robot command center, vet office, pet store, museum, tavern, harbor, and boardwalk amusement park.

Themes
Letting go — Zira is like a possessive parent who doesn’t want her child to grow up and leave home.

Growing apart — Riffa is in her adolescent teen phase, no longer interested in her childish sister. Rolo has outgrown Zira’s childish play.

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Meaning of Life — Rolo questions what’s important in life. He wants to do more with his life.

Empathy — Like many kids, Zira plays too rough with her pet and doesn’t sense his discomfort.

Grief — Zira and Riffa grieve the loss of their brother in different ways.


Motifs
Food, Hugs

Humor
Role Reversal — Humans as pets
Role Reversal — Girl as parent, man as child
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Science — Science and natural history spoofs
Stacking — A pet has a pet, the moon has a moon, aliens abducted by aliens
Easter Eggs — Allusions to movies, tv, and books

Characters
Rolo — Pet earthling man, middle-aged, bored, wry. Sacrifices everything to start a new life.
Zira — Alien girl like 10, lonely but chipper, possessive owner of Rolo. Learns to let him go.
Riffa — Alien sister like 16, sulky and aloof. Resents Zira but learns to reconnect with her.
Quiggles — Rolo’s pet alien animal, non-speaking comic sidekick, loyal, bold enabler.
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Smuffins — Man, loyal friend of Rolo, gentle giant, foil to Rolo: Complaisant as a pet.
Zeffro — Man, runaway pet, survivalist. His independence inspires Rolo.
Madame Zanana — Alien museum curator, wise, insightful grandmother figure.
Capt. Blarzenhook — Alien old star captain/pirate, poetic storyteller.

Blorxians are 13-18 feet tall and can pick up a human like a dog. They are very much like us, with full emotions and they love their pets. But they are so much smarter, even a child fully understands quantum physics, and they have computer chip implants. (They don’t need to look so alien, e.g. Naavi, Ewoks, Stitch, Cat-people, etc.)

Earthlings are pets to the Blorxians. They have normal human intelligence, not animal-like. But the aliens underestimate and overprotect them, and earthlings have never known a life of independence, so they conform to the low expectations. All the human characters can be any race. (I can imagine Kumail Nanjiani starring as Rolo, and Craig Robinson as Smuffins.)


Similarities
Lilo & Stitch — kid-alien bond, tense relationship with older sister, grieving girl
E.T. — kid-alien bond, tense relationship with older sibling, leaving for home*
Frozen 2Ralph Breaks the Internet — wanting more in life, and letting go of that person
FrozenOnward — sibling relationships
CarsSoulUpInside Out — villain is more comical than threatening; conflict is more internal
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Home — kid-alien buddy film
Secret Life of Pets — pet’s perspective

Despicable MeIncrediblesSoulUp — middle-aged/old man protagonist
Planet of the Apes (1968) — humans as lesser animals, and Zira’s name
Battlestar Galactica — finding Earth
Inside OutThe Big Bang TheoryThe Good Place — academic/science humor
Avatar — alien allies on alien world

* The final scene is an homage to E.T., but the aliens and humans are reversed, and so is “home”.


Synopsis
On planet Blorx, Rolo is 24, running from a giant alien as they shoot at each other. Then the alien catches him and cuddles him — they’re actually playing. The giant alien is a young girl named Zira, and Rolo is her pet. We see photos of Rolo growing up from age 4 to 44, always in young Zira’s loving care.

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Years later Rolo is home alone, bored, now 44, chubby and balding. Zira comes home with her sulky teen sister Riffa, who refuses to play with her, and they argue. They take Rolo to the vet then the earthling park, along with his pet animal Quiggles. Rolo sees protestors for earthling rights, which sparks his curiosity. He asks Zira where earthlings come from, but that information is mysteriously missing.

At the park, Rolo tells his friends he wants more in life than just being a pet. Two Animal Control bots approach Rolo and try to catch him for being unlicensed, but his friends help him escape into the subway, which is actually a network of wormholes around the planet. The bots chase them, followed by Zira and Riffa. Eventually Rolo and Quiggles lose the bots, but now they are lost in a strange city with no way back.

Rolo feels inspired to find out where earthlings come from, so he goes to a pet store to ask, but all he learns is that earthlings are “alien” to planet Blorx. Nearby, Zira and Riffa are looking for him. When they see him, he runs and hides in a warehouse. Then Rolo is nearly attacked by monster rodents, but a mysterious man rescues him, a street earthling named Zeffro. Rolo is amazed by Zeffro’s independence.

Rolo then walks to a museum to learn more about earthling origins, but he can’t get in. Zira and Riffa and see him again, so Rolo tricks Zira into getting them into the museum. There they run and play, but the old curator Madame Zanana pulls them into her office. She senses Riffa’s tension toward Zira. She takes a liking to Rolo so she tells them about the fabled planet Earth, but to learn more she says they need to find Capt. Blarzenhook.

As they leave the museum, Riffa gets angry when she sees their brother’s model rocket in Zira’s backpack. Zira had taken the model as a memento of their brother who was abducted by other aliens. Later, Rolo tricks Zira to go in the tavern to find Capt. Blarzenhook. There the captain tells the myth of how aliens were part of Earth history and they abducted earthlings as pets.

As they leave the tavern, Rolo realizes he wants to go find Earth and not be just a pet. Zira refuses to let him go, they get in an emotional argument, and he runs away. Zira cries because she’s all alone: Rolo ran away, her brother is gone, and Riffa is mean and aloof. Riffa is surprised that she cares, and she tries to comfort Zira. Meanwhile Rolo realizes he has no plan and nowhere to go, so he reluctantly rejoins them.

All along, Animal Control bots have been monitoring their movements from their high-tech military command center, and their forces closing in.

On their way back home, they pass by a boardwalk amusement park where Zira has nostalgic memories of having fun together as a family, which touches Riffa. Zira runs into the arcade and sings karaoke; Riffa joins her in duet as they sing about their bond.

Then the two Animal Control bots crash in. This leads to an aerial chase around the boardwalk as Rolo and friends ride air-boards, and Riffa saves Zira’s life. They escape into the subway and return to the earthling park, but five huge Animal Control bots are there waiting and capture Rolo and Zira. Rolo’s friends come fight the bots using their pet toys.

Zira, Riffa, Rolo, and Quiggles escape to the woods, safe from the bots. Riffa urges Zira to think about what Rolo really wants, so Zira leads them to the hilltop. She hands Rolo her brother’s model rocket and says he can use it to find Earth. The model expands to a full size rocket. They say goodbye, and Rolo and Quiggles take off into the night sky.

Over time we see Zira and Riffa having fun together and bond. Rolo and Quiggles have fun on their “roadtrip” and finally find Earth.


More Screenplays
I’m working on another screenplay here.
Original concept art by Narisofka. This style not intended for animation.
SCREENPLAY STORYBOARD
© 2021 David Hundsness     pet[email protected]