It's About Us

Sylvia Villasenor

Book Cover

GENRE

BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR FAMILY

    Core Theme

    PERSEVERANCE

    TIME PERIOD

    1960s & '70s,1980s & '90s,1940s & '50s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    MI FAMILIA, UNDER THE SAME MOON

    CHARACTER LIST

    SYLVIA VILLASENOR: LEAD, DETERMINED, OUTGOING

    MANUEL VILLASENOR: HARD-WORKING, STRICT, SYLVIA’S FATHER

    LUPE: SWEET, FRIENDLY, SYLVIA’S SISTER

    TONY: QUIET, SYLVIA’S ONLY BROTHER

    MAGDA MEYER: SUCCESSFUL, CARING, ENCOURAGING, SYLVIA’S MENTOR

    LILIA: HELPFUL, WEALTHY, SYLVIA’S COUSIN

    Logline

    An immigrant widowed father left with seven children after the unexpected death of his wife, ages ranging from twelve years of age to four months. Detailing the chain of events that occurred to get him through the first five years after his my mother's death.

    Genre

    Biographical,Memoir,Family

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Los Angeles, Ca. and Guadalajara, Mexico

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Starting Description

    Life has a way of rearranging lives at the blink of an eye. Drastic events can occur at a time in our lives when we cannot afford a change, but who are we to question the will of God? Mom and Dad grew up in a small town in the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico.

    Ending Description

    When I look back at my life, I do nothing but count my blessings. God has held me by the hand from the day I was born. This is his way for those who love him. For now I leave you with the most current image of the seven of us, which is a little outdated. We have been blessed with more years.

    Group Specific

    The author has not yet written this

    Pitch Adaptation

    There are so many stories about immigrant families that are left unsaid. Immigrants from every place and corner of the earth. This is our story. As the youngest of seven children, I witness the chain of events that occurred to my father as he went through life as a single father of seven, living in Los Angeles trying to make ends meet. I witness the distress, aggravation as well as the triumph and glories we lived. All of us struggled with him but it motivated us to move forward with our school and part time jobs to make it better for the family at a young age. At first we had a strong will to succeed to make ends meet, then to make a better life for us as individuals. As the youngest child I witness my older sister leaving home at a young age to get married and take the responsibility of their own home. It was hard for me to be left behind alone with Dad at the end, but it also allowed us to bond like we never did before. It was my time with Dad. Also the role models that I worked with during my high school and college years that motivated me to continue a college education that would open up a career which lead to better life. It was an amazing journey that made me the women I am today. Looking back, I would not trade my life for anything in the world. We all made it more than just OK.

    WGA Number

    The author has not yet written this

    Mature Audience Themes

    The author has not yet written this

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message

    Plot - Premise

    Other

    Main Character Details

    Name: myself and my six other siblings

    Age: newborn to age 35

    Gender: Female

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Engaging,Aspiring,Visionary

    Additional Character Details

    Name: My older siblings took on the strength to move forward after my mother's death.

    Age: 12,10,8,5,4,18 months

    Gender: Female

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Modest,Obedient,Religious,Engaging,Faithful,Funny,Visionary,Gracious,Flexible

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Genre

    ROMANCE

    Brief

    Woman recalls journey of a Mexican family. As her father struggles to settle in the US as a single dad with seven children, Sylvia narrates the tragedy of losing her mom at only four months old.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: EXCELLENT

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The book profile reflects the book accurately.

    Draw of Story

    The stories of Mexican families moving to the US in the 50's and 60's are stories that should be more portrayed. It's a different approach to important decades that's been highly overlooked.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The book is short and stories of characters are a bit plain. A good way to avoid that would be to go into more detail about life developments, description of settings and outside happenings.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The big thing about this story is the saga and struggles of a Mexican family of a single father of seven children immigrating to the US in such crucial decades. It's a different approach to the "american dream". The child's gaze to the event of her mom's death also brings a lighter approach to a tragic event. A house of seven children, six girls and one boy, should also be fun to know a little bit more about

    Fanbase Potential

    It could have a large fanbase if adapted because affectionate family stories can also be very engaging.

    Awards Potential

    This adaptation could have awards potential as it creates room for great acting and the settings in the 50's, 60's and 70's require great art direction.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    THIS IS US, MY FAMILY

    What’s New About the Story

    The most original thing about this story is living in Los Angeles in the 50's, 60's and 70's through the eyes of a Mexican family immigrating. The characters and passages, though, should be better developed so they are deep enough to allow for good stories and dramatization.

    Lead Characters

    Sylvia, the narrator and protagonist, has a lighthearted way of approaching her mom's death - which happened when she was only 4 months old. Even though she went through hard times along with her family, the general tone is of affection and gratitude. Manuel, her dad, a widowed father of seven children, was a strict and depressed man who always seemed to be on the edge, but at the same time, he was brave and affectionate enough to bring his children back to the US as soon as he could, even though he could have left them in Mexico with his mother and other family members.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This story could be improved going into more details about the character's personalities, their relationships as well as historical happenings that affected the family, such as Vietnam war.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Studio, Film - Streaming, TV Series - Streaming, TV Series - Network, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Cable

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    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

    Surely there are more details about family members, their personalities, their relationship with one another, as well as more tender memories between all of them - and of course, conflicts and secrets. These could be told as well and would enrich the narrative in a way that would make it more engaging for the audience.

    Brief

    The youngest daughter of an immigrant family details the traumas and triumphs endured after her father is left to raise seven children on his own following the sudden death of his wife.

    What We Liked

    It tells a positive story of a hard working immigrant family. It is relatable for many people and fosters a positive message about hard work and determination.

    Film: If this were developed into a compelling dramatization of story of the immigrant family, it could conceivably be adapted into a feature.

    TV: The story of Sylvia and her family could be part of a documentary about immigrants who work hard to achieve the American dream.

    Key points: Based on a real family; Portrayal of strong, productive immigrant family; Strong female lead; Generational relevance; Positive message

    Synopsis

    Manuel and Esperanza “Espe” Villasenor lived in Guadalajara, Mexico. Their growing family consisted of four daughters, Epse, Jeannie, Ruth, and Chila and a son named Tony. When Manuel’s music career dried up, he had the opportunity to move to the United States. He got established in Los Angeles and the entire family soon joined him.

    Hoping for more sons, they quickly tried for more children. A daughter named Lupe was soon born and a daughter called Sylvia followed soon after. When Sylvia was four months old, her mother got a serious infection after a routine surgery and tragically died.

    Devastated by the loss of his wife, Manuel was left to raise all seven kids on his own. He did get much needed help from his mom, Grandma Ruth, and Espe’s sister, Nina. Though the older siblings bore the brunt of raising the younger kids, Sylvia was often taken care of and even lived with extended family from time to time.

    Though the family suffered hard times, Manuel was able to work hard to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads even though they did move houses a few times. They even moved back to Guadalajara for a bit, but soon came back to Los Angeles. With married siblings and extended relatives still in Mexico, one of the highlights of Sylvia’s childhood was spending summers with them in Guadalajara.

    Things improved financially when Manuel got a steady job at a nearby car dealership. With most of the siblings out of the house, Sylvia got to spend more time with Manuel. He bought her a car and she learned to trust him as she grew up.

    Sylvia got a job working a Bullocks Department Store while still high school. She loved the job and was mentored by Magda Meyer, a buyer at the store. She planned to become a buyer as well. Taking her career seriously, she was able to pay her way through fashion school and college. During this time, Sylvia started to attend a church with Jewish Christ believers and became much more religious.

    While still working at Bullocks, Sylvia noticed how much money her cousin, Lilia, was able to spend on extra material things. Lilia shared with Sylvia that she had a lucrative career as a loan officer for a mortgage company. This intrigued Sylvia, especially since becoming a buyer would be reduction from the salary she enjoyed as a salesperson. Sylvia decided to change her career and began working towards learning about real estate. Once she passed her real estate tests, she began working with Lilia at the mortgage company.

    Sylvia ultimately got married and had three children of her own. She now lives a happy life and is grateful for the hardships that shaped her life.

    About The Author

    “Life as it occurred to my father as a single parent of seven children after the unexpected death of our mother in the late 1950's. Ages of the children raging from twelve years of age to four months me being the youngest. We grew up in the city of Los Angeles, CA as an immigrant family with all the challenges. Enjoy this sweet journey that is so dear to my heart because it is about us.”