Close up on Giovanna’s face…(contemplative, absorbed in thought, looking away from camera – indoors, a city apartment, lived in but not gross.)
She’s young, but life experienced. She’s tough but feminine. Pretty, but weathered by hard truths – a reality of city life for Black girls not rich enough to avoid real life issues.
She has a soft curly afro. Soft curves. She is neither too thin or too athletic. She has never been called perfect, but she has never tried to be anyone other than Giovanna.
Her strength is from within. She has a take it or leave me mentality.
She has not been cosmetically enhanced or surgically altered: she is a strong, natural, and ethnic beauty. She’s resilient.
She says softly and evenly. Smiles slightly.
She sits. Puts on Ballet flats.
Rolls her head around. Then her ankles. She stretches…(her movements are beautiful, artistic, and dramatic)it’s easy to see she is a dancer in her movements.
(The stretching scene above is Giovanna’s chance to introduce herself on screen, and to set the tone and pace for her character: this is all her scene, the director and producer should let the actress be herself here – this is the make it or break it part of the audition.)
Her apartment is small. Cramped. Lived in. Her room contains a bunk bed (the top bed filled with contents), a quality dresser, and boxes…She surveys her life in boxes unfazed by the chaos.
She has a quiet but controlled peace about unknown, chaotic circumstances (she’s self-assured; a realist).
Character Background: Something suspended her career as a dancer, marathon runner, and lawyer…
She smiles (slightly).
For six years, no one can account for where Giovanna has been or what she has been doing (has she been planning or creating something? This is an unknown at this part of the film.
She (Giovanna) leaves you in suspense: all of her movements are artistic, beautiful, and dramatic – it’s a distinct quality about her (you always have questions, you always want more…) She glows…(she always seems to be giving you so much more of her, even while shrouded in mystery)
She rifles through the closet. She pulls out a short dress. And then a long flowing (silver) skirt. (Fashionable, a gown-like skirt.)
She searches the dresser. She emerges with some pieces of jewelry. Her selections are impeccable: high quality, distinct(The mystery deepens: who is Giovanna? Her clothes and jewelry tell of a different life than the one viewers see.)
She opens a draw. She takes out a pair of cinema gloves.
She goes back to the closet. She reaches up. From the shelf she removes a clutch.
She goes to the dresser. She selects a Mardi Gras mask. (She is transforming before our eyes. We thought we knew her, now we are curious, waiting and wanting to learn who she really is.)
She removes her ballet flats.
She dabs her lips with her finger.
She puts her skirt on. She fastens the back clasp (easily, in full command).
Earrings go on. Necklace on.
She puts her gloves on.
She puts her mask on. (She’s transcendent, mysterious, majestic, in control.)
She goes to the window. She grabs a bottle of wine. She opens the bottle and pours a little wine into a glass. She sips the wine. She goes to the window. She looks out. Closes her eyes. Breathes in. Pauses. Then, Breathes out.
She sits on the window’s ledge. She lifts her phone, an alarm sounds. She clicks accept. A dimly lit room. A polished, well-dressed and wealthy crowd, with champagne glasses look back at her.
Then, Giovanna speaks:
Ladies and gentlemen, friends, and (pause) victors:
Good evening to you all.
I am Bella.
For six years, Giovanna has simply disappeared from public life. She has gone unheard from and unseen by those who are closest to her (i.e. those who can identify her). Now, a woman emerges. Giovanna emerges. Who is she, and where has she been? Why has she returned, and what occurred within those six years? Will she be embraced? Loved? Hated? What does Giovanna have in mind?
And, Who is BELLA? What power does this woman hold?
ALTERNATIVE STORY DEVELOPMENTS
Story Alternative 1: She never marries. She is self-fulfilled. She a femme extraordinaire! Desired but too intense to be claimed by another or contained in a box (so she must be all things!). Balanced. Resilient. Artist. Friend. World traveler. Storyteller. Magnificent.
She connects with all people easily. She has collected the best stories, and is now ready to share them with the world.
Story Alternative 2: A tale of feminine strength, grace, resilience, and beauty emerges. Giovanna comes into her own power, a parting gift from Bella (a woman she met, but who has since died, lives abroad, or lived only in the pages of a secret script Giovanna discovered) - the secret woman who helped her rise.
However, Bella cannot die.
Bella simply becomes – or takes over – a new powerful woman: Bella is not really a woman but a persona which must exist and be given life in human form for society to exist.
Thus, the world has never been without BELLA.
Throughout history, Bella has always existed – different women tell (that is, live) her story at different times.
Story Alternative 3: Giovanna is only a shadow of her former self. In six short years, she has become the most powerful woman in the United States. She now emerges as Bella.
Can Giovanna retain control of herself? Does she want to?
(Then, continue with a. b. or c.)
a. Giovanna inadvertently accepted her nomination and election as the new leader of the oldest and most prestigious behind-the-scenes institution of power when she accepted a surprise inheritance from an unlikely source: an elderly white man with whom she had never met, and had no connection to.
Giovanna was unaware of the consequences and strings attached to the acceptance of this inheritance.
b. Giovanna is soon to be named as the CEO of the most prominent company in the world. The male heads of the 10 most powerful companies are set to relinquish ALL power, titles, and inheritances to Giovanna. What does the world look like when a Black woman is the most powerful person in the world?
c. Giovanna is soon to be named as the head of the world’s most powerful criminal organizations. She has a plan to go legitimate, to go head-to-head with the world’s most prominent CEOs.
Black women have been denied a seat at the power player’s table across the globe, but Giovanna will change that. Power by any (legitimate) means necessary is her motto. But can she pull it off? And how did she get here?
Ending Alternative 1: cliff hanger. There are unanswered questions (we never learn who Bella is), and Giovanna doesn’t achieve her goal. The ultimate end: either bring Bella into focus for the first time or introduce an adult-aged daughter - to complete Giovanna’s intended destiny.
Ending Alternative 2: Story Alternative 1 or 2 ends by transitioning into Story Alternative 3: Giovanna becomes this intriguingly complex and intense character (gives the writer room to explore).
Ending Alternative 3: Giovanna exceeds expectations. At the height of her success and power, she willingly yields or gives that power to another - to begin a new adventure. Can two equally powerfully women exist at once? The world has always only had room for one ‘Bella’ – however, Giovanna now seeks to nominate and appoint a second Bella – while she herself still lives! How does the dynamic change when Bella’s live at once?