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DECKED

(Family/Animation): In the four kingdoms of Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds, where people are ranked by numbers, a group of lowly "twos" tries desperately to stop the Queen of Spades from overthrowing the other kingdoms. (This screenplay was a "featured"/top-rated script on both TheBlackList.com and SpecScout.com.)

Sixteen year-old Erik lives in the Kingdom of Spades, which exists alongside the kingdoms of Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs in a long-time peaceful co-existence. In all four kingdoms, people are forced to wear numbers on their chests that determine their worth and status: numbers that are impossible to change. Unfortunately, Erik is a two -- as low as you can go without being a criminal.

One day, a pair of traveling jesters (or jokers) come to town. Through a series of mishaps, they accidentally lead Erik into the city's sewers where he meets three other teenagers: Tally, Victor, and Brinn -- all twos, but each from a different kingdom. They lament their collective fates, wishing there was some way to change the status quo, but know it is impossible. At least the four newfound friends can all agree to meet again the next day.

The next day, however, Erik has another encounter with the jesters, where they lead him into the Palace of the Spades. He overhears the evil Queen of Spades and her Captain of the Guards, Marcus Fowler, plotting to use the upcoming Summer Festival to turn the kings and queens of the other three kingdoms against each other. When the three kingdoms go to war, the Kingdom of Spades can sit back and watch while they destroy each other, then swoop in and seize control.

Meeting up with his friends again, Erik has a bold plan: if they can warn the other kings and queens, they can prevent the war and become heroes. The kings and queens will then surely have no choice but raise their numbers to something higher than twos.

But the kings and queens of the other kingdoms won't even see Erik and his friends, not as long as they are mere twos. And when they disguise themselves as higher numbers and try to sneak into the different palaces, those efforts are thwarted too.

Erik and his friends have no choice but to attend the Summer Festival themselves, in disguise, in hopes of directly thwarting the Queen's evil plot. But Fowler is ready for them: they're captured and thrown in the dungeon, where their twos are changed to ones and they're sentenced to death.

Thinking all hope is lost, Erik and his friends despair. But it turns out the jesters occupy the dungeon cell next to them. Erik soon realizes that the jokers set everything in motion, and he asks them why.

"Because that's what jokers do!" they say. "We shake things up!" Inspired by the jokers to shake things up again, Erik and his friends escape the prison and travel to the place where all four kingdoms meet, where a war between three of the kingdoms is just about to begin. By working together, and by appealing directly to the people of the four kingdoms, Erik and his friends prevent the war, depose the royals, and create a new era where everyone determines his or her own worth.

They're also the inspiration for a new playing card -- the "ace" that can have either the lowest value in the whole deck of cards, or be the highest card of all.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Starring Roles For:
Teenage Boy
Teenage Girl
40-Year Old Man
In the Vein Of:
Frozen
Shrek
How to Train Your Dragon
Posted:
05/07/2014
Updated:
02/12/2019
Author Bio:
BRENT HARTINGER has had nine screenplays optioned for film; four of those projects are currently in various stages of development, including PROJECT SWEET LIFE, a teen caper story, now in pre-production.

Brent is also a novelist, and three of his books have been optioned for film. His fourteen novels include THREE TRUTHS AND A LIE (Simon & Schuster, 2016), which was nominated for an Edgar Award; and GEOGRAPHY CLUB (HarperCollins, 2003), which was adapted as a feature film in 2013, co-starring Scott Bakula, and is now being developed as a television series.

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Contest Results:
StoryPros Awards (First Place) [2015]
Creative Screenwriting (Semifinalist, (Final Results Pending)) [2019]
WriteMovies (Finalist) [2015]
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