WIP Week, Dispatch #5: Flip City (Screenplay)

Welcome to the final post of WIP Week, which involves a screenplay that was not written under the NaNoWriMo umbrella; in fact, this work was finished on October 31, 2010, mere hours before I started writing World On A Plate.  It’s a bit of a mess… but what a fine mess it is, now that it’s being polished from rough draft form. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the life and loves of Daly City’s own Julie Bonifacio. 


Title: Flip City 

Abstract (as of this writing): For years, Julie Bonifacio has prided herself on her career as a paralegal in San Francisco, and the way she has used said career to support her family. When she is asked to go on leave by her bosses at her law firm, however, Julie finds herself reconsidering the many roles that she has taken on all her life: the dutiful daughter, the loving caretaker for her grandmother, the virtual role model for her less-than-motivated cousins. Along the way, she reconciles herself with her past mistakes, and even finds herself taking another chance at love.
Revision status: Surprisingly fun! For a moment there I thought I was going to import the original draft wholesale from Word to Celtx, and revise the written scenes later. After rewriting the screenplay, though, I realized that there’s more to these characters than what I’ve had for them in the original draft. There are subtle clues hinting at the darker side of Julie’s life, from her early childhood – “dead mom, gay dad,” as she puts it – to the circumstances surrounding the end of her last relationship. On the plus side, I’ve also added more tension to her relationship with Neil (her possible love interest), taking away a bit of the “telling” to focus on the “showing.” And I want to give a little more attention on her cousins, who could be a lot more interesting with the right elements. Mostly, however, I want to concentrate on the Filipino family dynamic in general, since it isn’t as food-centric as World on a Plate.

What else is going on? I no longer have a problem with writing about a place that I’ve never been to before; Daly City is, basically, my stand-in for Manila. I also have no problems with my original pegs for the story, since I can still see this working with older versions of both Anna Maria Perez de Tagle as Julie and Rafe Spall – with a workable American accent – as Neil.

(Note: Flip City is not to be confused with Domesticity: The Movie, with Anna PdT playing Meimei and either Jensen Ackles or Chris Evans as Potatoface McHotness. I’m keeping those names on the script, BTW. And Peter Sarsgaard can always play himself.)

Do I want to see this published produced? Yes. The actual casting mileage may vary, but I – personally – would love to see this movie happen in this lifetime. This, and Veronica, would be fantastic. 
Does this need a critique? Yes, eventually. I’m halfway finished with the beat sheet, and I’m excited to come up with ways to bring these characters to life in script form. 

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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