Valerie Miller Treatment Project 1 T206
“The Last Dance” Twelve years ago, MAXX was at the annual Father-Daughter Dance at the age of eight dancing with her FATHER. The room is full of her best friends and their fathers, they are all spinning around having a joyous time. Time seems to slow down as Maxx feels her father’s grip on her loosen, and he falls to the ground. Everyone rushes around the two trying to see what has happened. Maxx is clutching her father’s shirt and trying to shake him awake. A TEACHER calls 911 and shortly MEDICS arrive. They take Maxx’s father away, and he is pronounced dead. Two years ago, Maxx refuses to go to her high school prom, because she doesn’t want to be reminded of the sadness of the last dance she went to with her father. Her friends all try to get her to go, but she ends up staying at home reading Harry Potter novels. Maxx likes Harry Potter because he has to deal with having no parents, and even though Maxx has a mother, she still feels like she can relate. In present day, Maxx is a junior in college at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is a pre-med student and is minoring in fine arts. She has been dating her current boyfriend for two years now, and they are talking about getting engaged. She is still close to her mother, and goes to visit her every weekend. Her friends call her crazy for going to visit so often, because she is too old to be so homesick. While Maxx is home one weekend, her MOTHER comes up and tells her that she has breast cancer, and will be getting surgery as soon as possible to try and delay the effects. Maxx is completely heartbroken and heads back to school. When she gets to school, she immediately calls her best friend LIANA. Liana knows all about Maxx’s family situation and a look of despair appears on her face. Liana tells Maxx that everything will all work out, and that she will be there for her no matter what. She tells Maxx about a party that will be happening later that night, and it will cheer her up if she goes. Maxx sits in her bedroom alone for a while and contemplates going to the party. She is nervous to go because of the large amount of people
getting caught drinking recently, but she wants to go and have some fun. She calls her boyfriend , GENE and invites him to the party, but he is unable to go due to studies. Maxx calls Liana and she comes over to get dressed with Maxx. At the first scene of the party, there are four people sitting in the middle of the floor, playing a game that looks like spin the bottle. Maxx is confused, because she hasn’t seen this sort of thing since high school. She looks to Liana and Liana pulls her away to another room. She tells her that that is the room the cops would see if they were to look inside. In the next room, there is a bar set up, and Maxx gets a Cosmo. She is about to pay for the alcohol, when JAQUE tells her that girls don’t pay. Maxx is appreciative and goes to sit down with Liana to drink their drinks. She sends a text to her boyfriend saying that everything is okay. A little while later, Maxx realizes that Liana is acting strange: she seems unresponsive . She lays her down on the couch, and looks in her eyes. She realizes that someone must have put something in Liana’s drink. She leaves the room to go find some help, and when she gets back, Liana is missing. Maxx runs around the house trying to find Liana, to make sure she is safe, but she cannot find her. Jaque notices Maxx scurrying around, and asks her the problem. Maxx tells him the situation and he runs around with her searching the house and the backyard for Liana. When they don’t find her, Maxx runs out of the house, yelling down the street for Liana. A cop hears Maxx’s yell, Maxx tells the cop about back to her apartment to accepts the ride because the drinks.
and the see she
comes over to see what is the matter. situation, and the cop offers her a ride if her friend is there. Maxx gladly is feeling a little bit lightheaded from
After a while, Maxx notices that she is in the woods, not downtown Seattle where her apartment is. She looks at the cop, and asks what is going on. The cop stops the car, and tells Maxx that he must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. By now, the alcohol is fully in Maxx’s system and though she is a bit hesitant, believes him. She falls asleep in her seat, and the car drives onward. The next morning, the sun is shining on Maxx’s face. She looks around her and realizes she is in a cabin in the middle of the woods. She can
see Mount. Rainier in the background, and hopes that she isn’t too far from home. Out of the corner of her eye, she notices a girl, and realizes it is Liana. Liana is asleep on a couch in the corner of the room. Maxx shakes Liana awake and asks her what is going on. Liana shrugs and tries to fall asleep but Maxx sits her upright. As they become aware of their surroundings, Maxx notices that the door is unlocked. She grabs Liana and they run out the door. After about ten minutes of running, they stop to see where they are. They notice a man in the shadows hiding behind a tree. As they look closer, they see it is Jaque. They ask him what is going on and Jaque tells them that he followed them after the party the night before, and had seen them get taken away. Liana and Maxx are told that they are in Snohomish county, which is less than an hour from Seattle. Maxx calms down, and then wonders why Jaque was following them. Jaque offers them a ride back to Seattle, and Liana instantly runs off with Jaque to hop in the car. Maxx knows it’s a bad idea but she doesn’t want to get separated from Liana again. She reaches for her cell phone to call her boyfriend, but realizes that it is missing. Liana, Maxx and Jaque hop in the car and start heading back to Seattle. Jaque drops them off at campus, and they walk back to their apartment complex. Maxx is completely engulfed in confusion. She finds her cellphone laying on top of her bed with a text message from an unknown number saying “You will be mine”.
The Last Dance By Valerie Miller
INT.ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GYM- DAY
Twelve Father-Daughter couples are dancing in the gym. We focus in on YOUNG MAXX and her FATHER who are smiling. Father is spinning Young Maxx around in circles. FATHER Maxi-bear, thank you for inviting me here tonight. Father winks at Young Maxx. Young Maxx curtsys. FATHER You are such a beautiful dancer. Young Maxx spins around in another circle. We ZOOM IN on her smile. MAXX Daddy can we go get ice cream after this? I want a giant superman ice cream cone! FATHER Sure Maxi-bear. I’ll get you the biggest ice cream cone they have! But I bet you won’t be able to finish it all! MAXX I bet you a quarter that I will be able to! FATHER It’s on Father stops talking. We ZOOM IN on Father’s hand around Young Maxx’s shoulder. The hand loosens its grip and in SLOW MOTION Father falls to the ground. Young Maxx tries to shake Father awake with no response. TEACHERS 1 AND 2 rush over to the scene. TEACHER 1 Is he breathing? TEACHER 2 Checks Father for pulse TEACHER 2 I don’t think so. Call 911! MEDIC Arrives on scene and check Father for pulse.
MEDIC He is dead. Shot fades as we see Young Maxx clutching her father. INT. MAXX’S BEDROOM- NIGHT
Ten years later we see that Maxx has grown into a beautiful young woman. She is sitting on top of her bed talking on the phone to LAURA and MACK. LAURA Maxi are you sure you don’t wanna come? MAXX Yea. I don’t do too well at dances. MACK Maxi you have to come! I just like can’t imagine going without you! Maxx I don’t even have a dress guys. MACK (cont’d) Ohmygosh I totally have one you can wear! MAXX Really guys I’d rather stay home. LAURA But what about boys! MACK Ohmygosh yea! I know Leon didn’t ask anyone else to the dance after you turned him down! I’m sure he would still go with you! He was telling me that he thinks your eyes are like starlight. Apparently he likes you. Maxx sprawls out on bed. LAURA Yea! I know Chandni tried to ask him to prom and he totally refused her. You could totally have like the perfect prom experience! Like I (MORE) (CONTINUED)
LAURA (cont’d) know he would treat you the best! Come on sweetie. These are the last two weeks of your senior year in high school and you won’t even go to your only senior prom! How often do you get to go downtown Seattle and grind people at the EMP? Shit girl why don’t you just go? MAXX The last dance I went to was picturesque too. My dad died, remember? LAURA Hey girl, we didn’t mean to remind you of that. You know we love you and we just wanna take you out to have some fun. MAXX I know guys, I’m gonna stay in though. Have fun and take a lotta pictures kay? Maxx hangs up the phone and walks over to her bookshelf. She grabs the fifth Harry Potter book and lays down on her bed. MAXX Harry how do you always deal with things so well? Maybe it’s because you didn’t know your father. Scene ends as we watch Maxx read her novel. EXT.UW SEATTLE PARKING LOT
Two years later we see Maxx as a student a the University of Washington. Maxx is siting on a bench reading a book. Her boyfriend, GENE runs up to Maxx. GENE Baby? MAXX Hmmmmmmm? GENE Baby?
MAXX Yes? Maxx puts down book. GENE Baby? MAXX What? GENE Can we fuck the sun? MAXX What? GENE I decided that the sun is annoying. It has been shining for a week, which is completely unheard of. So if we go and screw it, maybe it will be so happy that it will want to go to sleep for a while and not come out and bother me. MAXX Are you serious? GENE No. Gene Laughs GENE (cont’d) What I meant to say was Happy Anniversary. Gene pulls out a large bouquet of flowers from behind his back. MAXX Thanks love. Gene and Maxx share a tender kiss. GENE Well I’m gonna head to class so I’ll see you later baby. Gene exits the scene. Maxx starts walking to her car and is yelled at by two girls, HENRIETTA and JASARA.
HENRIETTA Maxx! JASARA Where are you headin? Your mom’s house? MAXX Maybe. JASARA You are always there! HENRIETTA Darling, you are too old to be visiting your mom this often. She’s gonna become a leech and expect you to take care of you when she’s older! MAXX Well I mean, I would want my kids to take care of me when I get old. HENRIETTA But, your mom is taking our social security away! By the time you are retired, there won’t be any to go around so it won’t be important. MAXX Anyway... JASARA Okay girl, just be safe getting home okay? Tell your mom hi for me. And bring back some cookies! MAXX Will do! Maxx gets into her car and drives off. INT. MAXX’S LIVING ROOM
Maxx and MOTHER are sitting in the living room, drinking coffee and eating a slice of cake. MOTHER Maxx?
MAXX Yea, Mom? MOTHER I need to tell you something. MAXX What is it? MOTHER Well I went to the doctor about a month ago for my annual exam, and they found something. Mother sets down coffee cup. MAXX What? MOTHER Sweetie, I have breast cancer. Maxx spills her coffee in her lap. Mother rushes to clean it up with a napkin. MOTHER Oh dear, please be careful. MAXX Well are you going to get them removed? Do you need to do some kind of chemotherapy? Anything? MOTHER I am going to try and get surgery as soon as possible, but I want you to finish your schooling so that you can make a good future for yourself. MAXX Mom, I can find a way to get the money to go to school. You have to go get treated. I can’t lose both my parents. I just can’t. Scene fades as we watch Maxx and Mother hold each other, crying.
Valerie Miller Postmortem Project 1 T206
After writing the treatment for “The Last Dance” I found extremely difficult to write the script. I had assumed the script would go smoothly after finally figuring out a story, but that really wasn’t how it happened. I did end up using a plot from the previous weekly assignment, and incorporated it into a story that had already been formed in my head. I feel like the story I did would make more sense as a television show, and less as a movie or short film. After going over the script, I realized that I based the characters on people that I know. I hadn’t intended it to be that way, but writing the dialogue formed the characters into people that I see in my everyday life. I had this vision in my head of who the people would be and what they would look like, but as soon as a started writing dialogue they seemed to change. I don’t really know if that is a common occurrence, or if I should have changed the dialogue to suit the character I had in my head. This for me, was a very hard assignment. I love to write, but writing in the perspective of someone watching the entire thing was a bit strange. I’ve written smaller pieces from this perspective, but with project this large, I had to go back and check make sure I was writing from the correct point of view. I feel like this is something you can get better with from practice, this was just a first for me. I was telling my mom about the plot for my story, and she told me that she thought it was a little dramatic. I intentionally wrote it
that way , and some of the word choice is corny for a reason. If I were to put this mini-series on any channel, it would be on Lifetime. My grandma loves to watch lifetime movies, and I feel like this is something she would enjoy, along with anybody who likes that sort of thing. Further along in the treatment, past the point of my script, I feel like the demographic could possibly shift to a younger age group, due to the content. Overall, this project was a challenge, but I learned from it, which makes it all worthwhile.