No Harm, No Foul by Daniel Broderick | Script Revolution

No Harm, No Foul

After a fine art storage facility's unique machine paints undetectable, exact copies of contemporary paintings, stealing the originals is easy. No victim knows a crime has been committed. Until love interferes.

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106pp

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Is there such a thing as a perfect crime? Certainly not murder, at least not for the victim. An undiscovered theft perhaps. But there's that pesky victim problem again. Unless the perp and the mark both get what they want -- and the crime remains undetected.

We begin our story at the Beverly Hills High Value Storage Facility, where the one percent store their baubles and collectibles in a well-protected establishment. Fine wine? Of course, the facility is humidity and temperature controlled. Other valuables? Guarded by steel bars, 24/7 security, and closed circuit cameras. But fine art, really, in a storage locker? Don't you want to display it in your home rather than stick it where no one can see it, no matter how safe? Ah, but that's what sets this company apart from everyone else. For a mere $10,000 fee, it will not just copy your masterpiece, but re-create it so precisely that even the original artist would be unable to distinguish faux from genuine. Your original is protected. You and your guests enjoy the beautiful canvases as intended. And your insurance premiums virtually disappear.

So where's the crime? It doesn't exist for straight-laced Mario, who simply follows his customer's orders, blissfully ignorant of what his fellow employee Mason is doing. And even for Mason, what's the problem? At the behest of a wealthy art connoisseur, Mason has been using the company's unique machine to copy original works in storage, place the copy in the storage bin, and deliver the original to someone who values art as something to be seen and not secreted away. Mason naturally deserves to be paid handsomely for his assistance in this harmless scheme.

But now, Mason needs an assistant. And when Mario's dream of college collapses for lack of funds, he's an easy target. C'mon, help me out. What's the harm? I guess you're right. No harm, no foul. That's the attitude, at least until Mario meets Heather, the assistant curator of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot convince her that making and displaying copies (even perfect copies) is a crime against the art world. But love conquers all; that is, as long as she remains clueless about her new boyfriend's lucrative other sideline. And, after all, didn't Mario risk his life to help foil a real crime, the attempted theft of two significant paintings headed to the museum's new exhibition?

But unbeknownst to everyone, Mason operates another scheme. He substitutes cheap wine for expensive bottles stored at the facility. This fool proof plan also escapes detection, until Mason picks the wrong victim, sending him to intensive care. When Mario figures out who put him there, Heather insists he call the police. But I can't. Why not? There's a small problem involving the copied paintings. What!? Not only that, but one of the copies I helped make is a center piece in your career-making exhibition at the L.A. County museum. Furious, Heather storms away, only to return for Mario's help when she discovers her father is the rich art thief behind all this.

There has to be a solution that can avoid prison or worse for Mario and her father. Easy. Just take all the stolen originals out of Daddy's estate and replace them with the copies. Without him knowing. Then lift the copy from the county museum and replace it with the original, without getting caught or anyone ever knowing. But how do we do this?

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Finalist, Spring 2021 ISA Virtual Pitch Challenge

Submitted: February 13, 2021
Last Updated: May 12, 2021

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Daniel Broderick's picture

The Writer: Daniel Broderick

California native. Born in Los Angeles after my parents moved there from Chicago, where my father wrote for television after WWII and college. Have lived in San Fernando Valley, Orange County, Palo Alto, Florence (Italy), Washington, D.C., New Haven (Connecticut), West Los Angeles, Germany, and Sacramento. Currently live in Pasadena, California. Stanford undergrad. Played basketball until hurt my sophomore year, Yale Law School. Non-lawyer jobs include assembling board games, gas station attendant, assembling yachts, picking up trash at the beach, washing dorm windows, maintenance at a golf course, painting the take off boards for the long jump and triple jump (jock job, where I was... Go to bio

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