Winning Under 5min. Short Screenplay – BABY LOUIE, by Mark Richards

Genre: Comedy

In the beginning, Louie’s had a lot going for him. But then he turned one and now, he’s going through an early life crisis.


Narrator: Julian Ford
Louie: Steve Rizzo
Daddy: Dan Cristofori
Mommy: Penelope Corrin

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

Louie’s carefree bliss gives way to a midlife crisis when he turns one year old.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?


Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Lately it seems that younger and younger generations are starting to feel old (despite some of them still being in their twenties). Baby Louie takes that trend to its most extreme level with our hero seeing the effects of aging at age one. The result is pure hilarity.

The script’s power comes from Louie himself. This protagonist’s cynical worldviews pokes fun at the preconceived notion of childhood being the best years of our lives. Many people could relate to Louie whether he’s complaining about his newfound responsibilities of walking or his excruciating teething. This character’s monologues are the stuff comedic actors can only dream of.

As Boss Baby proves, there’s a market for comedies about babies acting like adults. This script is a chance for studios to take advantage of this trend.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Cynical baby.

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

I would say the Kung Fu Panda trilogy. On the surface, it seems like the typical underdog story. While it is, the film still feels surprisingly refreshing, from the beautiful animation to the surprisingly complex characters. I wrote an essay about how this film trilogy changed DreamWorks animation and created higher expectations for them.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

It all started in 2010 when I was watching Toy Story 3. I don’t know about you, but the way the Big Baby Doll entered the scene made it look drunk, especially with only one eye open. Then I imagined it say “Everything’s so wonderful and magical, but then you turn ONE! Then all of a sudden, they (the parents) expect more from you.” From that moment, the idea of Baby Louie was born.

During that time, a lack of opportunities had led my back to college. Sitting with younger classmates made me feel old (despite being 23 at the time). Eventually, I realized how silly this was, so I decided to use Baby Louie to take that mindset to its most extreme level. From there, I took the line “But then you turn ONE…” and wrote a rambling monologue from Louie’s perspective, looking at the downside of every aspect of a baby’s life, from learning to walk to being too big for bottles.

After some rewrites, I eventually tested the monologue out by reading it in open mike nights.

Then, around early 2017, I found out about the 5 page festival. I knew Baby Louie would be perfect for a short screenplay. So I wrote it as a screenplay and it was accepted.

How many stories have you written?

I’ve written a few short scripts and one feature length screenplay. In College, my script The Family Dinner was accepted into the Scripts at Work reading. After that, I wrote a short sketch for this festival Theatre on the Lake, which took Abbott and Costello’s classic “Who’s on First” sketch and applied to the band The Guess Who. In 2015, I’ve completed my first feature length screenplay; a horror comedy called Skullington Tales: The Dream Weaver. Now I’m currently in the process of writing a few screen plays.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

I would say “No Self Control” by Peter Gabriel. After hearing it on an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, I bought the song off. From the opening guitar riff, I was hooked.

Peter Gabriel has always made great music, but this one stands above the rest. You can feel the despair when he screams “I don’t know how to stop! I don’t know how to stop!” People can relate to the feeling of loneliness when he sings “Gotta pick up the phone/I will call any number/I WILL TALK TO ANYONE!” And then there’s the drumbeat that jumpstarts this manic section of the song.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

While writing the monologue, I developed a lot of funny moments. There was just one problem; how do I put them all together to form a coherent story? I had a lot of trouble trying to link them all together. Then I learned of South Park’s rule of “but” and “therefore.” When they write an episode, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone has every plot element begin with either “but” or “therefore.” This happens, therefore this happens. But, this happens, therefore this happens. So I decided to use that to link various moments.

The next obstacle was what should Louie sound like? First I had to give him unique speech pattern. Should I replace the Rs with Ws? Should I replace the THs with Fs? Should I put them all together or just use one type? In the end, I took into consideration how hard it would be to pronounce the dialogue with these impediments. Next, I had to make sure the dialogue was consistent with the speech impediment.

The next challenge was what words should Louie not know? I gave him a limited vocabulary and had him mispronounce lines like “Soothie” (pacifier). I had to be careful to make sure the audience would believe a baby would talk like this.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I often volunteer for various stage productions in Edmonton. Anyone who goes there can find me acting in the Fringe Production of Sound Off and stage managing the musical Prom Night of the Living Dead.

I am also learning about film editing, which has led to the first episode of Random Richards Reviews, a series of video essays.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

After the success of getting The Red Dot accepted into the 1 pg. screenplay contest, I’ve wanted to keep writing short screenplays. First of all, it allows my script to be read, bringing attention to my work. Second of all, you develop a stronger sense of story structure with short scripts, trying to get your point across with the fewest words possible.

In terms of feedback, I was proud to have received praise on the first reading. To me, this was a reward after hours of cutting word after word to keep the script within 5 pages and a reward for re-fixing the script after input from friends and colleagues.

The only criticism for the script was the lack of a central focus for the plot to fall back on. Since it concluded the script, I decided to make Louie’s teething the central focus of the story. It gave the script more focus, but I had to sacrifice a few funny moments. But then again, a real writer is willing to sacrifice the best scene for the greater good of the story.


Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

By under5minutefilmfestival

The quarterly festival that focuses on the greatest under 5 minute short films from around the world. Films get showcased at the FEEDBACK Film Festival and receive an audience moderation video on their short.

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