Be Bella (story treatment)

This treatment was written for Monday Challenge 7/6/09. A treatment is a brief synopsis of the idea you want to pitch to a television network. It can be anywhere from 1-5 pages.

Note: The following story treatment is slightly different from what the instructions called for because after a brief research into story treatments, the readers are looking to read about the story itself, not necessarily reading about why it’s a good idea to put this on television.

Enjoy! Comments and feedback are very appreciated.

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Daniela (‘Dani’ for short), is close to graduating from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. You would think she was thrilled to be so close to venturing out into the world and working in her profession as an artist, but in truth, she is absolutely terrified. It’s not that she is a bad artist, by no means. Her latest painting got rave reviews in the university paper and the head of the Art department knew she had a great future…if she left the island.

She loved Puerto Rico and hated the idea of leaving. Loathed it so much she could smell sulfur just thinking about considering it. It was in one of those sulfur filled thoughts, waiting in the hallway for the classroom to empty, that her thoughts were interrupted.

She is bitten on the arm by one of her more unusual friends: Lugo. For some reason everyone called him by his last name. Only Dani and a handful of others know his fist name, but were sworn to secrecy. Lugo had recently graduated that same university with a BS in animal husbandry and had yet to find a job. Apparently he needed a business degree as well because most of the students who graduated with him now had their own business paid for by their rich parents. He dreamt of owning his own little slice of land and raising animals, but so far he had met nothing but rejection. His dream was farther away than Europe.

They talked a little about nothing in particular and then Lugo, with a knowing smile, guesses what she is thinking and suggests a few places in the United States where she could work and not freeze her Caribbean butt off.

Angry that he is right, Dani makes a nasty remark about his still being unemployed. Lugo loses his smile and walks away. For the rest of the day, Dani feels badly about treating him that way.

Nighttime.

Dani is working on a sketch for a new painting. The subject her professor gave them was “the meaning of life”. Talk about abstract! The wastebasket next to her desk is overflowing and surrounded by balled up papers. The one she is working on soon joins them.

The phone rings. It’s her best friend, Cheska, who is also about to graduate from college and the only person Dani feels she can talk to. Cheska is a writer, graduating with a BA in English since they don’t offer a writing BA. Like Dani, she is afraid of what the future holds.

Cheska also loves to come up with get rich quick schemes and is trying to get Dani to become a Be Bella representative (a company like Avon that specializes in selling perfumes and cosmetics for less). Dani is not convinced because she knows there are thousands of them trying to make money and barely making ends meet, especially when they are competing against companies like Avon, but Cheska insists that she at least accompany her to her first meeting. Dani finally agrees, looking at the overflowing wastebasket. She has nothing better to do.

The weekend.

Dani arrives early at the building where the meeting is supposed to take place. It’s pretty old and run down and she wonders if she has the right address. She walks into the building and gets lost inside trying to find the right room.

She hears the voices of people talking and she gratefully approaches them, but then she overhears the two women conspiring to water down the Be Bella products and sell them forward. They would be earning double the money.

Dani hides in a cramped storage closet that has a peculiar smell, but she can’t investigate it for fear of being overheard. When the footsteps of the two women fade, she leaves the closet and finds a light switch to illuminate what’s inside. The peculiar smell was a combination of different boxes of Be Bella perfumes the two women had stored away to be watered down.

Dani thought about how the owners of this merchandise were criminals. On an impulse, Dani grabbed three boxes (as much as she was able to handle) and retraced her steps out of the building. There was now a guard at the entrance, apparently back from a bathroom break, but he barely spared her a glance and she rushed to her beat up Toyota to put the boxes in the trunk of her car. After five more trips her arms and lungs couldn’t take any more.

Hands shaking, her nerves catching up with her, she turns on the car and heads home, to her tiny apartment, where the phone is ringing. It’s Cheska, demanding why Dani had not made it to the meeting. She feels guilty about abandoning her friend and promises to get together with Cheska later that night to explain everything.

A knock on the door makes Dani yelp. It’s Lugo who dropped by to bite her other arm so it would not feel lonely. Dani rolled her eyes and said she did not have time for his lunacy, but he bit her anyway, perhaps a little too hard. After a short conversation, he figured out that something was wrong with her and tickled her into confessing.

With a wide grin Lugo welcomed her to the criminal life. Dani defended herself, explaining that she was merely rescuing the products from being tampered with by those two women.

Lugo didn’t listen because he was making calculations in his head. Each box of perfume, if sold $10 below retail, they would still make $200 a box. Dani had managed to take 15 full boxes from her trip to the closet. He added it up. It was quite a bit of money. More than They both had right now. Lugo explained his plan to sell the perfumes at the weekend flea market. The extra money would certainly make job hunting easier when Dani graduated. She would be able to afford to live without a job for a few months. Suddenly job hunting didn’t seem so bad and neither did selling the stolen merchandise. It was poetic justice…right?

Forgetting about her meeting with Cheska, she and Lugo agreed to go back to the building later that day. In the evening there were still some people there so it wouldn’t be odd for them to go in and come out with more Be Bella boxes, assuming the women didn’t know they were gone yet.

Later that evening…

Dani and Lugo stroll into the building and find the storage closet in no time. The women who had stored them there had not checked their merchandise yet, as Lugo predicted.

They had each completed three trips to the car when they were cornered by Cheska, who had stopped by the main Be Bella office to get her new business cards before meeting with Dani. Dani filled her in on what they were doing and without hesitation Cheska wanted in. She figured with her car they could take all of the merchandise.

After two more trips, however, Dani recognized the voice of one of the women she had overheard earlier that day. They quickly hid in another room, but there was a meeting in there. They were welcomed to the first annual meeting of Future Teachers of Puerto Rico, open to anyone interested in teaching.

After about an hour of nearly falling asleep, they were given a ten minute break, which they used to escape the building.

Unfortunately, their brilliant scheme begins to fall apart when they see Cheska’s car –full of stolen merchandise— being towed for parking in front of a fire hydrant.

End of episode 1

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One Response to Be Bella (story treatment)

  1. MC says:

    What?! She got towed?! She parked in those parking spots next to the library didn’t she? I love that get-rich-quick scam. I’d definitely watch it. Got to know what happens afterward.

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