To Be Honest: Lifetime on the Hips by Jennifer Le Roux | Script Revolution

To Be Honest: Lifetime on the Hips

Ex dancer Bex (30s) hides her fashion design talents, gains weight at slimming club, gets TikTok fat shamed, and right-swipes a catfish. While her bestie Joy loses weight and joins a parent street dance crew.

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60pp

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TO BE HONEST / SMALL WORLD
Dance Comedy Drama by Jennifer Le Roux

A single woman and ex dancer in her 30s fails at fat club, online dating and her career in fashion. Until she’s exposed as the real fashion designer behind her bosses catwalk line at Fashion Week and joins a parent hip hop dance crew.

TV Pilot Logline: A single woman and ex dancer in her thirties believes she's a big fat failure, but the "perfect" lives of friends, strangers and slimming club members unravel to reveal they've all got issues and one thing in common, they're love for dance.

A therapeutic writing journey of self-acceptance

I am fat. Not curvy or “just a little bit fat” like Bridget Jones, but fat. And it took writing this story for me to finally say the F word without shuddering. In one of many female Facebook groups, a woman shared an upsetting online dating experience; before they went on their date the guy asked her to send a full body photo, which she did… this girl was slim, and he ghosted her. Not only were the responses from the women so supportive and inspiring, it triggered a blind date memory for me. After bonding over the phone, this guy leaned in as though to be romantic and whispered:

“To be honest, you’re just too big for me.”

BAM! I realised that so far all of my screenplay protagonists were only subtly overweight and curvy or slim with wobbly bits, and the closest I’d seen to addressing this issue in an authentic and compelling way was in TV series “This is Us.” Seeing those group responses, I felt this sudden responsibility to these women, and myself, to address the literal elephant in the room - writing about a woman that is fat, and how that impacts her life in its raw and true form. So, I did and TV Pilot “To be honest” was born with the film adaptation "Small World" still in progress.

Why a parent hip hop dance crew? Why a fat club?

I was a professional dancer from the age of 7 until 17, when I was at an audition and asked to demonstrate “how it was done” for the rest of the dancers and tore my hamstring in splits. The choreographer said: “If it helps, you wouldn’t have got in any way, you’re just too big. But promise me you’ll keep dancing, yeah?” I was 17 and a size 10/12. No one told me that when you move less you eat less, so this was the turning point that led to my weight issues.

I also joined a parent hip hop crew when my marriage was on the rocks, and no I wasn’t a parent, I just felt fat in normal dance classes and less intimidated. So, I became the 10% non-parent allowance for a 10-person parent hip hop dance crew that went on to win a dance competition in Blackpool. I’ve also been a member of a slimming club on and off for most of my adult life. The shared moments between the most unlikely people were always wonderfully honest and packed with so much potential for comedy.

The entire series for To Be Honest is a milkshake of these real memories with an added shot of fashion, but it isn’t a story about weight loss. It’s about the connections we make with strangers that have a common goal or struggle. It’s about self-acceptance, self-love and self-confidence. Ultimately, the story is about a fat woman in a small world, in more ways than one, as a group of distant connections become unlikely friends, lovers and connect through their love for dance.

Step into the mind of our protagonist

YOUNG BEX (17) is a talented dancer who loves making her own clothes. She’s confident and secretly popular with the boys, who mostly make fun of her (idiots). She struggles to make female friends because they’re either jealous of her dancing or her big “assets.” BEX (32) has spent her adult life trying to be slim or connecting with her inner slim self to co-exist in a small world that judges her almost as harshly as she does herself. So busy blaming the outside world for her failures, Bex blocks success in every area of her life.

Dream sequences and flashbacks

Bex’s anxieties are linked to the inciting “audition” incident in her past, so the ANXIOUS SEQUENCES appear in the style of existing musicals and become edgier as the series, and Bex’s dance style, develops. For example, a CELL BLOCK TANGO spotlight line up shares their Bex rejection stories, because “she had it coming” after all. The office sounds build into a STOMP percussive backdrop for the imagined judgemental thoughts of her colleagues. In contrast, the REALITY FLASHBACKS and actions of people around her reveal that Bex’s memories and thoughts are not as deprecating in actuality. They are a version of the truth that serves her subconscious plight to remain small - oh, the irony.

The aspirational friendship between Bex and Joy

Joy is going to be a fan favourite because she makes some unusual decisions with hilarious consequences. YOUNG JOY (17) was in Bex’s shadow, always following her around and aspiring to be like her. Now, JOY (32) is a slim full-time Mum and the best dancer of a bad bunch in a parent hip hop dance crew. Joy is very nurturing and protective of Bex, but also secretly relieved to have the time to shine. When Bex forces Joy to fake being the “mysterious fashion designer” behind her own designs and joins the dance crew, the friendship is tested, but it only makes them stronger in the end. We all need Joy in our life!

The unexpected love stories and connections

Much like the synchronicity of the characters in Love Actually, the main characters introduced in the first fat club scene are seeds
that grow into individual stories of self-acceptance and love. Awkward Larry, lonely and misunderstood, finds love. The fat chav Vicky and her ogling thuggish husband Phil, turn out to be the most in love of all the married couples. And Claire, the annoyingly perfect fat club consultant, overcomes her challenges with body dysmorphia, bulimia and a cheating husband, who’s trying to catfish Bex. As for Joy, her self-worth grows as much as the distance between her and her lazy husband, Dave. Will she stay with him or move on? I’m not sure yet, I haven’t got to that bit!

Who is going to watch TO BE HONEST?

Women of all sizes and shapes in their 20s, 30s and 40s will love this TV pilot, particularly those that love music, dance and fashion. However, the “men at fat club” angle and comedy from the characters Larry and Phil are likely to draw appeal from men. It’s silly, meaningful, empowering and great fun! So, what am I pitching in simple terms?

A fat, old Step Up with the small-time charm of Full Monty and the hilarious uprising and chick flick qualities of Devil Wears Prada, Sweetest Thing and Pitch Perfect.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Screencraft "Recommend" - feedback score 8.90/10 - Aug 2020
Screencraft TV Pilot Competition - Semifinalist 2021
Female Voices Rock Film Festival Finalist 2020
Filmatic TV Pilot Awards 2020 - Semifinalist

Submitted: August 18, 2020
Last Updated: July 10, 2021

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The Writer: Jennifer Le Roux

Screenwriter represented by Alexandra Davies at North Artist Management. Twitter @jenniferthered Instagram @jentheredbrighton. I studied screenwriting in the 90s and mid-noughties, but alas I sold my soul to the corporate underworld as a digital marketer. All was not lost though, in 2016 I escaped employment and thrived as a freelance writer for top brands, elearning companies, escape rooms and tech SaaS brands worldwide. So, while I've been writing professionally as a digital marketer for more than 12 years, I am but a mere mortal at the beginnings of my screenwriting journey. In fact, it was a late diagnosis of ADHD that led me back to the craft of screenwriting in 2019, when I quickly... Go to bio

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