A con artist with an attachment-free lifestyle, seduces a sweet wholesome woman by pretending to be someone else, but must first spend Christmas with her family, whom he grows to love.

    Mentor Posted on November 8, 2019 in Family.

    At 30 words I need to shave something off this…

    “with an attachment-free lifestyle” and “sweet wholesome woman” are my main culprits.

    What can I do instead of “sweet, wholesome”? Perhaps I don’t need it?

     

    on November 8, 2019.
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      I’ve never seen this paradigm before. Whose is it?

      Anyways – I’ll give this a crack.

      Setup – We meet this con artist.

      He’s just stolen a lot of money from a rich snobby woman (I’ll have to push down on her villainous qualities – not unlike Bill Murray’s brother in Christmas Vacation ha.)

      Anyways, he’s been lying low for a few weeks and plans to head to a locker, miles away, filled with the money. He shaves his beard, dyes his hair, etc. Heads off.

      The problem – trapped in his old hometown, miles from locker filled with money. car breaks down. mechanics say a few days.

      The solution – not wanting to be alone during (we’ll say the 23rd, 24th and 25th), he seduces the sweet wholesome woman. (I’m including the “sweet, wholesome” so you know she’s far too good for him).

      The goal – In order to spend time with this woman, he has to spend time with her family (who are either weird, dysfunctional or very individualistic – one of them. We’ll see).

      Some of the conflict here would be how they encourage him to be himself and or see through his charm. They are also far too good and nice for this sleazy pathetic and soulless guy.

      Also – spending time with the family also means Christmas parties and events where he has to show his face. A face which is steadily being shown on the news/TV. (He’s a wanted man.)

      The hook – He falls for family. The family fall for him. even the whole community like this guy. This guy has actually found the place he belongs. This is his home now.

      But it’s also a fantasy. He’ll have to go back to reality sooner or later.

      I think there’s a few townies who remember him as a kid. And perhaps a love rival/cop next door who is onto him. (Cliche I know.)

      The conflict – Snow has cleared up. Car is fixed. Family finds out who he is.

      The rich snobby woman is on his tail. With cops.

      Disowned, the con artist gets out of town.

      He ends up in sleazy motel room. Alone and drinking. This is exactly how he did not want to spend Christmas eve.

      He now has the money – and does not feel complete.

      The conclusion – Con artist uses the money to save the family’s struggling business (yay!). Then the rich snobby woman (who knows it was on him) doesn’t press charges – another Christmas miracle.

      And then all is forgiven somehow and this guy has finally turned into the decent, honourable guy he was pretending to be.

      That’s basically it. What do you think?

      Mentor Answered on November 9, 2019.
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        I think this might be it guys and girls.

        To make it leaner – I need a single word to encapsulates “attachment free lifestyle”. I toyed around with “misanthropic” but it’s the wrong word. We’re thinking of Clooney in “Up in the Air” – this guys is always moving, running, hiding, pretending.

        This is the first time he stays put and he likes it.

        I wanted to put:

        “Desperate not to be alone over Christmas, a con artist seduces a sweet, wholesome woman by pretending to be someone else, but must first spend time with her family, whom he grows to love.”

        – but I don’t think he knows he’s lonely just yet or is living a lonely lifestyle.

        The other logline I toyed with:

        “Trapped in his old hometown during a snowstorm, a con artist swindles a family into spending Christmas with him, whilst cops are on his tail.”

        – this includes the secondary obstacles and complications, but I don’ t think they are the main ones.

        The snow storm is the Inciting Incident.

        He is essentially growing to love the woman and the family so it’s condensed together.

        Er – the cops on his tail is a complication later on. (More plot point 2 material).

        Once he grows to love this family and they love him – that’s when his real identity is all over the news, TV, etc, and his masquerade can no longer go on.

        What do you think?

        I don’t think I can start an outline until this logline is as strong as oak.

        Mentor Answered on November 8, 2019.
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          Perhaps this one is better/leaner?

          A lone wolf con artist seduces a woman by pretending to be someone else, but must first spend Christmas with her family, whom he grows to love.

          By chopping the “trapped by snowstorm”, this logline suggests the I.I. is seducing the woman.

          By chopping the “Not wanting to be alone over the holidays”, his motivation is less clear. We think he’s doing it for money.

          By chopping “cops on his tail” we’re getting rid of the stakes.

          However – I’m very sure this is the main conflict.

          A loner who spends his life pretending – stops, smells the roses, learns how to love, finds the family he never had – but has been deceiving them the whole time.

          There’s conflict and drama there.

          Mentor Answered on November 8, 2019.
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            What does the con artist want?

            What does this sweet innocent woman have that the conman is willing to trick her into getting for himself?

            In other words, what is the lead character goal at the beginning of the movie? This would be what sets the story in motion.

            Seducing the innocent young girl is his method of getting it.

            Falling in love would be the story’s obstacle.

            The hook is the Christmas angle.

            (A conman doesn’t con, in order to con; a conman, cons in order to attain something someone else has)

            Singularity Answered on November 9, 2019.
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              Let me give you a hypothetical brief outline:

              Set-up: The con artist has a mentor. The mentor is dying and tells the con artist, don’t be like me, living for the con but dying alone. Get out while you can

              The problem: His mentor owed some very bad men/women some money. The men tell the con artist, Since you are his friend, you now are on the hook for the money

              The solution: The con artist discovers that a local family has (Something really valuable, let’s say a collection) some very valuable paintings

              The Goal: The con artist will seduce the youngest daughter in order to go to the house and steal the paintings and pay off the bad men/women

              The hook: When he is invited over, a storm hits and he cannot leave with the paintings right away, he must stay until the storm is over

              The Conflict: The family are the Nicest People Ever, and on top of that he begins falling in love with the daughter and feels guilty about his plan.

              The conclusion: The men who want the money shows up and he must defend the family against them.

              Singularity Answered on November 9, 2019.
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                Hi Richiev,

                What does the con artist want?

                He wants to get out of the town and get to his money.

                (And perhaps the real intention… he doesn’t want to be alone over the holidays). – which I don’t think is a strong enough “want”. I think it needs to be more positive and driving. Like the one above.

                If for example, Mark Zuckerberg’s “macro intention” is to “fit in and have a social life” and he does so by creating an artificial one, etc. Basically – I couldn’t help but think my guy’s real want/intention should be more universal.

                We can all tap into the loneliness thing. That’s a very human need.

                What does this sweet innocent woman have that the conman is willing to trick her into getting for himself?

                The only thing he’s done wrong thus far is pretend to be someone else. It might seem like he wants to sleep with her at first or perhaps he wants her money (certainly it looks like that in PP2 when he’s discovered) – but his very human need is to not be alone over Christmas.

                In other words, what is the lead character goal at the beginning of the movie? This would be what sets the story in motion.

                At the start, he’s trapped in his old hometown. He was passing through so he could get to a locker filled with the money he believes will “complete” him and make him feel full.

                Seducing the innocent young girl is his method of getting it.

                She’s not young. I imagined her to be early 40s. She’s got a 12 year old perhaps.

                Falling in love would be the story’s obstacle.

                That’s correct.

                The hook is the Christmas angle.

                Nope.

                The hook is the twist at the end – he is steadily falling for the family.

                What started out as temporarily (he makes up a fake name and identity, etc) – by the end he wishes was real. When Christmas is over, he’ll have to go back to being the sleazy, pathetic lone wolf con artist. Or will he?

                The part in “Catch Me if You Can” when Leonardo DiCaprio stays at Amy Adam’s parent’s house, you know, with Martin Sheen – is definitely an influence. I also thought of Wedding Crashers ha.

                The thing those two didn’t do – was lean in on piling lie upon lie upon lie.

                I think my protag has to keep up with a cobweb of lies – all whilst walking around the hometown he grew up in.

                (In other words, he’s surrounded by faces from the past/the reality/truth. It’s the last place to be pretending to be someone else. I kept thinking he’d walk past his old house and break character in a Don Draper-esque way.)

                I need to lean on the empathy part with the main character pretty quickly – so I think we should discover he’s from a broken home, why he hates Christmas, etc. That’s the opening hook.

                You know where this is going. However – I do want to do something surprising and unpredictable here.

                I kept thinking as a subplot – the woman’s son is a shy obese boy who is bullied and secretly gay. The con artist by the end – convinces the boy it’s okay to be himself.

                (The con artist has spent a life time pretending to be other people and he’s sick of it. By living a lie, he has become spiritually empty. No attachments. No emotional ties. Well… that’s how we meet him at the start.)

                Interestingly – I imagined the “dysfunctional” family to be very individualistic. (Apart from the kid.)

                Not quite “Little Miss Sunshine” levels of dysfunctional but we’ll see.

                Anyways – thanks for your thoughts.

                (A conman doesn’t con, in order to con; a conman, cons in order to attain something someone else has)

                I mean apart from maybe a part at the beginning, he’s not conning anyone (for money).

                He’s pretending to be somebody else because that’s all he knows. I mean – he could never be with this woman if he told her the cold, hard truth – that he’s a pathetic lone wolf con artist.

                We’ll see one con at the start so he’s credible – and that’s about it.

                But yeah – what are your thoughts?

                I honestly can’t move forward with this until I get more feedback and know I’ve carved it down properly.

                Mentor Answered on November 9, 2019.
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