Trapped in his old hometown during a snowstorm, a charming con artist must spend Christmas with a dysfunctional family – and unexpectedly finds the family he never had.

    Mentor Posted on November 7, 2019 in Family.
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    5 Review(s)

      Okay…

      Unique hook/twist – he falls for the family!

      The worst thing to happen to him – spending time with this family/trapped in his old hometown.

      Odd couples – charming con artist and wholesome woman.

      Fish out of water.

      Interesting inciting event – trapped in old hometown! Snowstorm!

      The ultimate (blank) from hell – the dysfunctional family.

      Time limit/ticking clock  – (Christmas! Also, it won’t be snowing forever.)

      Dilemma – con artist finds the family he never had and is lying to them.

       

      Mentor Answered on November 7, 2019.
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        I like where this is going! It’s the sort of Christmas film I would watch.

        When you have a con-artist, you need a con. What’s his con that he’s playing on the family? Is he pretending to be a family member in a bid to get food and a bed to sleep in?

        The inciting incident is whatever happened that led him to have to spend Christmas with this family (food and a bed?).

        I would use another characteristic other than charming. Con-artist’s are (probably?) mostly charming… in my head it goes with the territory. Plus, it doesn’t really give him an arc and in this sort of Christmas family film, a strong feel good message is essential.

        Why his hometown? He’s not really a fish out of water if he’s in the place he spent his youth.

        When a blizzard traps him in a small town without any money, a selfish con-artist must convince a dysfunctional family that he is a long lost relative to get food and a bed over the Christmas holidays.

        I’d love it if the climax of the film was the family knowing he wasn’t a relative all along, but since it was Christmas, they took him in.

        Have you seen We’re No Angels? Highly recommend it if not. Similar premise starring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, and Peter Ustinov.

         

         

        Summitry Answered on November 7, 2019.

        Hi Mike.

        Yeah thus far – he’s got a bag of money hidden in a locker out of town. He just needs to get out of there really.

        His macro intention: Get out of town. Get his money.
        However – quite possibly – his intention is to not feel lonely and empty over Christmas.

        (He doesn’t quite realise this until PP2 – when you know, it’s all gone to shit. The family has found out he’s a con artist. The snow storm has stopped, etc.)

        Yeah I wasn’t sure about putting in “charming”.

        Hometown.
        He’s spent years running away from this place. He hates this place.
        In fact, it’s probably the source of his circle-of-being/his ghost.
        It’s here he learnt to hate Christmas and came from a broken home, etc.
        He has a lot of ghosts in this place. A lot of scars.

        I’ll do all that at the start so we have immediate empathy for this charming scumbag ha.

        I’d love it if the climax of the film was the family knowing he wasn’t a relative all along, but since it was Christmas, they took him in.

        Oh no – you misunderstand the logline. He’s not a relative. He’s just seducting the sweet wholesome woman – and in order to spend time with her, he has to spend time with this family.

        Have you seen We’re No Angels? Highly recommend it if not. Similar premise starring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, and Peter Ustinov.

        I know of the Sean Penn. Robert De Niro one.

        My influences are: Groundhog Day. The Family Man. Catch Me If You Can.

        on November 8, 2019.

        Also – I was just thinking…

        Being back in his hometown. And being a scumbag con artist. He’s bound to run into someone who remembers him?

        That’s more conflict.

        on November 8, 2019.
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          I think he needs an objective goal related to his “trade” and character.  Like doing what he does best: the family that befriends him is the mark for his latest con. But then a snowstorm traps him at the scene of his latest crime.  Consequently, there’s more dramatic tension.

          Singularity Answered on November 7, 2019.

          Hi DPG.

          Yeah. Thus far I was thinking he’s macro intention is to get out of this “damn stinkin'” town (his words not mine) and get to a locker with money he’s taken from a rich snobby woman (I’ll have to push down on her character to make her more unlikable and villainous – however, she has abit of a reversal too.)

          I keep thinking his real intention is to not feel lonely and empty over Christmas.

          Anyways – going deeper…

          Trapped in his old home town. Snow storm.

          Not wanting to be lonely over Christmas, he seduces a sweet yet wholesome woman. However – to spend time with her he has to spend time with her dysfunctional family.

          All through this – he is pretending to be someone else. Someone decent, honourable, genuine, etc. Everything he’s not.

          The other thing happening… the rich snobby woman and the cops are looking for this con artist character.

          Midpoint – this guy genuinely and actively commits to loving this woman and her family. However – he has keep up with a web of lies. As you know, one lie leads to another…

          PP2 – he either can’t keep up with the lies, confesses or they find out he’s not who he says he is. He’s disowned by the family. Snow storm finishes. He ends up in a sleazy motel room. Getting drunk. Alone.

          Adding to this – the rich snobby woman is very much on his tail now.

          Crisis Climax –  Con artist uses the money to save the family’s struggling store (or something like that?) I’m still trying to figure out how the heck he’s gonna win them back.

          Anyways Rich Snobby Woman with the cops finally get him. She sees the incredibly charitable thing he’s done and realises how much he’s changed – and decides not to press charges.

          I think she could be like, “It’s not him” (even though she knows it is).

          A Christmas miracle if you will.

          And yeah – by the end he has very much now become the decent, genuine, humble guy he was pretending to be.

          As opposed to the lone wolf with no emotional ties we first meet the start.

          Again – we’re in the rough stages of experimenting and playing around…

          on November 8, 2019.
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            A few more…

            1. 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.

            2. Not wanting to be alone over the holidays, a con artist seduces a sweet wholesome woman, but must first spend time with her family, whom he grows attached to.

            I can’t figure out whether his main goal/macro intention is to get out of there (and thus get to a locker filled with money) or to not be alone over Christmas.

            The Inciting Incident – he’s on his way to locker of money. His car breaks down. Mechanics say two days. Snow storm happens as well. (The cops on his tail was going to happen later.)

            Anyways – not wanting to be alone in a motel room, he seduces our heroine (the sweet wholesome woman).

            And in order to spend time with her, he must spend time with her weird dysfunctional family, whom he grows to love.

            He then spends a good chunk of time pretending to be something he’s not.

            And then the cops are on his tail…

            Mentor Answered on November 8, 2019.
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              Just so you know, there is a very similar Nicholas Cage movie called “Trapped in Paradise”

              I don’t think it will make too much of a difference, and your movie will be able to stand on its own, but you should know it’s out there.

              Singularity Answered on November 8, 2019.

              Yep – I know it. It’s Capraesque, right?

              I’m still exploring the idea anyways. I’m not sure how comedic or dramatic it will be just yet. Not sure how dysfunctional the family will get.

              But yeah – I’m mindful of Trapped in Paradise.

              on November 8, 2019.
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