The Pitch Session of Hallmark’s Hit Film, “Lucky Christmas”

How I imagine the pitch meeting went between the movie producer and the screenwriter of the hit Hallmark film, Lucky Christmas.

Movie Producer: So you have a movie idea for me?

Screenwriter: I do. It’s a heartwarming film filled with romance, plot twists, deceit, and above all, holiday cheer.

Movie Producer: I’m intrigued. Go on.

Screenwriter: It takes place in small-town America. The story revolves around a struggling single mom, Holly, and her 12-year-old son Max. She’s down on her luck; you know, working multiple jobs, struggling to pay bills, living in the one-room attic of an old couple she found on Craigslist.

Movie Producer: Is she doing anything else to try to turn her life around?

Screenwriter: Absolutely. She plays the lottery every day.

Movie Producer: That’s all she does to try to better her situation?

Screenwriter: I wasn’t finished. She also kisses the lottery ticket to increase its chances of winning.

Movie Producer: Oh, okay.

Screenwriter: Then she puts it into the glove compartment of her car.

Movie Producer: What kind of car is it?

Screenwriter: A super beat up clunker of a Volvo, just to really drive home the point that she’s struggling with money.

Movie Producer: Oh, that’s a nice touch. And what about the male protagonist?

Screenwriter: Then over here we have the male lead named Mike. He lives with his brother Joe, who’s single, unemployed, and manages to ruin everything.

Movie Producer: So we’re going to need to find an overweight, unattractive actor to play Joe?

Screenwriter: Definitely. Then one evening Holly goes out with her friend to unwind with a glass of wine and little girl talk. But on the way into the bar, she bumps into someone and drops her keys. The bad news is, she doesn’t notice, mostly because she’s so eager for that glass of wine that she probably can’t even afford. Oh, and meanwhile – and here’s the first plot twist – Joe and Mike are at the same bar.

Movie Producer: Whoa!

Screenwriter: But unfortunately, Mike is suffering from a bad cold that’s been particularly debilitating for some reason. He passes out at the bar, and Joe has to take him home. Unfortunately again! Joe’s truck got booted because he keeps forgetting to pay his parking tickets. Remember? He ruins everything. I know you’re wondering how he’s going to get out of this one, and here comes another plot twist: he finds Holly’s keys, and drives her car back to his house.

Movie Producer: I did not see that coming.

Screenwriter: Oh, that is just the beginning. Then the next day, after getting a ride home from her friend because, remember, she couldn’t find her car, Holly discovers that she’s won the million-dollar lottery.

Movie Producer: Oh, that’s great news for her and Max! She’ll be able to open her café and turn their lives around, right?

Screenwriter: But remember where she kept her lottery tickets?

Movie Producer: In her glove compartment! That means Joe has her car and therefore her million-dollar lottery ticket!

Screenwriter: Yup.

Movie Producer: I did not see that coming either.But how on earth would Joe know to look in the glove compartment of the vehicle that he stole?

Screenwriter: Oh, yeah. That took me awhile to figure out, but I think I got it. After Holly realizes that she’s won the lottery but doesn’t have her ticket, she goes down to the lottery office to try to figure out what to do. Then when she leaves, she sees a news crew filming outside. In her sheer rage over the situation, she tells the reporters all about what happened to her. And since this is the most important news story of the day, they air it on TV.

Movie Producer: And I bet Joe and his hot-brother-slash-male-protagonist Mike see it.

Screenwriter: Bingo. Oh and by the way, when Holly goes to try to redeem her lottery ticket, the lottery office tells her that she needs to find it and turn it in…by midnight on Christmas Eve.

Movie Producer: How do you come up with this stuff?

Screenwriter: It takes me like no time at all, either.

Movie Producer: So tell me more about Holly’s son, Max.

Screenwriter: He’s an extremely well-behaved young boy who loves his mom more than anything in the world. Oh, and he still believes in Santa.

Movie Producer: Didn’t you say he’s 12?

Screenwriter: What’s your point?

Movie Producer: It sounds like Holly will need a person in her life to give her love advice when things start heating up. Does she have a one-dimensional black friend to help her out?

Screenwriter: Even better. Her landlords are an elderly, grandparent-like couple who are overly concerned about Holly’s happiness and wellbeing, and have no lives of their own to worry about.

Movie Producer: And who does Mike get advice from when he needs it?

Screenwriter: Well, occasionally his brother Joe will drop some knowledge, but Mike such a strong, independent male figure that he doesn’t really need life guidance.

Movie Producer: Oh, of course. So then, how do Mike and Holly meet?

Screenwriter: Well, Max is really into hockey. During one of his practices, Mike is also there because he too plays hockey.

Movie Producer: And that gives something for Mike and Max to bond over, which I bet Holly loves.

Screenwriter: Exactly. We’re just going to gloss over the part about a grown man being at a kid’s hockey practice and hope no one notices.

Screenwriter: So then the next half hour is filled with scenes of witty banter between Mike and Holly, Mike and Joe fighting about the lottery ticket, and Holly working a lot and having unrealistic daydreams about owning her own café. There’s also some stuff about a father-son pinewood derby that Max has to participate in for Boy Scouts. But I mostly put that in there to show what a deadbeat Max’s dad is, and how naïve Max is for thinking that he’ll ever come back.

Movie Producer: That also makes it a little more realistic that Max still believes in Santa at his age.

Screenwriter: Now for another plot twist. One evening, Mike invites Holly over to cook dinner for her. While she’s there, she stumbles upon a Christmas CD that Max made her, labeled in red and green Sharpie “Max’s Fave Christmas Songs.” Since she had kept that CD in her car, she puts two and two together to realize that of course Mikeknows about her missing car and her lottery ticket – and boy is she mad. She storms out and tells him to stay away from her and her son.

Movie Producer: So then…does the guilt push him to give her the lottery ticket back?

Screenwriter: Absolutely. After a lot of pushback from Joe, Mike does the right thing. He puts the ticket in a small red envelope and puts it in the mail.

Movie Producer: And so she gets it a few days later and cashes it in and opens her café and everyone wins in the end?

Screenwriter: Not quite – it’s time foryet anotherplot twist. Max gets the mail on the day that the lottery ticket arrives, and wouldn’t you know it…he drops it on the ground and it gets stuck on his boot. Naturally, he and Holly can’t find it anywhere. Even the old people landlords try to help, but no one thinks to look on the bottom of Max’s boot.

Movie Producer: Boy, Max sure is dumb.

Screenwriter: Yes, but I’ve added a lot of great one-liners from him so that the audience is charmed by his adorable, boyish appeal.

Movie Producer: So do they ever find the envelope?

Screenwriter: Oh, yeah. They find it – TWO HOURS before midnight on Christmas Eve.

Movie Producer: OH wow, this is getting suspenseful!

Screenwriter: Yeah. I’ve picked some really good music for it, too. Oh, and Holly then forgives Mike and they all head over to the lottery place to redeem the ticket.

Movie Producer: And then Holly cashes it in and opens her café and everyone wins in the end?

Screenwriter: Oh, no. Actually I’ve decided to end the movie as the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, while Mike and Holly kiss. I want to send the message that money isn’t important, even if you are working three jobs and sharing a bedroom with your 12-year-old son.

Movie Producer: I’m tearing up just thinking about this. What did you decide to call it?

Screenwriter: “Lucky Christmas,” which plays on both the luck of Holly winning the lottery and the luck of the people in her life.

Movie Producer: My friend, you’ve got yourself a deal.

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