Veil of Secrecy
DRAMA SUSPENSE/THRILLER ROMANCE
1940s & '50s,1960s & '70s
What happens when a daughter, given up at birth, makes the same tragic mistake as the mother she never knows? In 1950 Julie was deceived in love and had to give up not only the child of that union but her dreams of escaping her small fishing village to become a journalist. Twenty years later, Marina
1950, sixteen-yer-old Julie finds herself now living at The Fold, a place for unwed women. Once ambitious to leave her small fishing village in Newfoundland to follow her dreams of being a journalist. Learns of heartbreak and reckless love. Will her daughter find the mother she never knew?
After twenty years the child given up at birth finds out she had been adopted. She also gave up her child at the fold and began a search for her biological mother and her baby. She found her child had died which led her for psychiatric help. She ends her life after hallucinating her baby in her arms
Twillingate, Newfoundland Canada
Based on a True Story
Plot - Premise
Plot - Other Elements
Mature Audience Themes
Main Character Details
Name: Julie, strong and determined, ambitious.
Age: begins at age 16. in her fifties at end.
Key Traits: Aspiring,Confident,Obedient,Visionary,Romantic,Secretive
Additional Character Details
Age: 16 at beginning. dies about 27 years old
Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Complex,Selfless,Romantic,Secretive
Additional Character Details
Age: beginning age 16
Key Traits: Aspiring,Confident,Empathetic,Leader,Secretive,Outspoken
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Charming,Masculine,Confident,Modest,Religious,Romantic
The journey begins in 1950, with a sixteen-year-old girl named Julie, living in the confines of her small fishing town in Twilingate Canada. An introvert who hides behind her writing becomes involved with the town baker who is already married. She becomes pregnant and surrenders her baby at The Fold located by the sea in Nova Scotia for unwed mothers, naming her Marina which means by the sea, after she leaves she is never found again. Her baby now sixteen who she named Marina, living in New York City becomes pregnant and also sent to The Fold where she also gives up her daughter naming her Seton, but spelled backwards means notes. Marina loves writing poetry and little notes is why she decided to name her Seaton/notes. Years later falls in love with the right man who not knowingly has her daughter as his little sister named Cordelia. She meets the family and feels connected to this little six year old. A sudden death for the little girl eventually reveals the truth to Marina that she was face to face with her own daughter. Marina then undergoes psychiatric care for a couple of years. After awhile stops medication and believes her daughter is in her arms and walks into the sea.
Julie is a small town girl who's heart gets taken advantage of while she's saving to go to college. Her parents convince Julie to give up her daughter for adoption so that she can graduate high school; although Julie is reluctant. Sixteen years later, the child she gave up for adoption goes through the same decision. Eventually all three generations are reunited, but tragedy awaits them.
Authors Writing Style: GOOD
Franchise Potential: GOOD
Accuracy of Book Profile
Yes, the development pitch is particularly representative of the story. However, it is not mentioned how Julie and Maria are reconnected as adults through Marina's manuscript. By showing that everything comes full circle not just Marina and Seton, the inclusion of Julie will be more meaningful as the focus of logline and opening of the short summary.
Draw of Story
The idea of a home for pregnant teenagers that is helpful to unwed mothers rather than a horror genre slant is refreshing. The positive and negative aspects of adoption are shown which add the the tension leading towards the unusual reunions which are what draws the reader to the two women.
Marina's boyfriend's negative reaction to her being adopted seems nonsensical as he has a little sister who is adopted and would have been aware of it as a child because Marina is not that older than him. Either he should not have the connection to the adoption to his sister or he should approve of Marina being adopted because of his sister The emotional intensity of the sudden death of Cordelia undercuts the reveals of Marina killing herself and Julie realizing their connection that are supposed to be the climax. By changing the pacing or leveling the tragedy somehow in drawing out the death of a small child, the other two reveals might retain more impact.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
The hook is that history repeats itself where two teenage mothers are forced to give up their child for adoption only to be given the miracle change to reconnect with their daughter years later.
This could have a medium fan base of fans of historical drama. The original premise and positive aspects of adoption are a draw, but the dark turn and deaths after the reconnections might turn away some viewers.
This could have awards potential due to the dark subject matter and emotional range. The use of mental illness if done correctly has a history of being awards bait, however there is a fine line that could easily be crossed of loosing its emotional impact by having too many dark moments or too contrite an ending.
Similar Films/TV Series
GIRL, INTERRUPTED; MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, LION, THE HOURS, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, JUNO, MONA LISA SMILE, THE SECRET LIFE OF AN AMERICAN TEENAGER
What’s New About the Story
What is original about the story is that is shows both the positive and negative aspects about adoption. Instead of going to horror route, the story takes an emotionally dark turn involving death and guilt. Either having a dark tone throughout that will slowly build the tension or reducing the tragedy could tonally make the adoptions and reconnections more cohesive.
The lead characters of Julie and Marina stand out in that they as teenage mothers must make difficult decisions in giving up their daughters in order for the three of them to have wholly fulfilling lives in the future. Their ambition and unselfishness is admirable and their regret is relatable.
Uniqueness of Story
Some of the logic within the adoptions could be adjusted as Marina coming from a rich background is unclear why she can't keep her child with the help of her supportive parents, while Julie's decision is more justifiable. The tone is also very dark at the end and the shift could perhaps be more gradual to retain its impact.
Film - Streaming, Film - Indie, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series
WORK IN PROGRESS
While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.
Tips for Improvement
Cordelia’s perception of herself before her death seems quite precocious for six years olds. Perhaps portraying her more like a child would increase her authenticity as a character. While the male characters are needed to create the conflict of needing an adoption thus should retain their outdated views, adding consistency to their lack of moral character would make their negativity to the baby news seem more naturalistic to their character. The third act and tonal shift regarding the climax at the death of Cordelia rather than the climax where the death of Marina and revelation of her connection to Julie could be adjusted to smooth out the pacing and voice.