The Heart Of A Trophy

GENRE: Romantic Drama.

STATUS: Script written.

LOGLINE: A woman must choose between two men who say they worship her but who still do not know her, largely because she is discovering who she is herself.

COMPANY NOTES: This story promises to be a challenging but exciting movie production given its locations will involve separate shoots in San Francisco, California and Honolulu, Hawaii, where the story takes place.

Director Larry Cortez


The Heart Of A Trophy is based on an original story concept by frequent YBS collaborator Larry Cortez (pictured above and reel below) who has assisted with LegacyVision Films such as, Juniper Lane, Tiramisu On The Beach, World Buffet, Before The After, The Landline Detective, Closing Costs, and The Curse Of Witness Protection, as a director of photography, camera operator, sound mixer, and editor. The screenplay is co-written by Larry and Eric Nemoto. Heart will also be Larry’s sojourn into more facets of filmmaking, as he is slated to direct the movie.

Larry Cortez Creative Reel

Script Treatment

The Heart Of A Trophy opens on our heroine, Tiffany Marsden, facing a group of family and friends to make a major announcement. In the living room of her apartment is Tiffany’s divorced parents – her mother, Mallory Marsden, and her father, Jim Marsden – a gay married couple – Dylan Palmer and Anthony Archer – and two men who we will come to know are the loves of her life, Bay Area filmmaker, Mario Sanchez, and Hawaii surfboard maker, Willie Kahana. From this initial scene we flashback to how we got to this point.

We begin by following Tiffany, a very successful realtor in San Francisco, on a typical work day as she rushes from open house to open house and communicates on the phone with Dylan, her personal assistant, who reminds her of her doctor’s appointment. Tiffany then has lunch with her boyfriend, Mario, whose looks could land him on the cover of GQ magazine. Mario tells her of a film shoot he got hired for which will be in Australia. Mario laments about his director of photography, obnoxious Jorge Fernandez, who Tiffany says is a cancer who Mario should fire. While Mario will leave soon he promises that he won’t miss Tiffany’s birthday party happening the next night. They part by agreeing that they will go out to dinner. Later, we then see Mario looking at the storefront sign of a jewelry store before walking in.

At her doctor’s appointment we meet wacky Wang Fui, a gynecologist prone to off the wall insensitive humor. Wang examines Tiffany and tells her she’s a healthy woman who has plenty of time to have a baby. But this does not allay the concerns of Tiffany who worries that she will one day be the woman at the high school graduation who others think is her child’s grandmother. At night Tiffany and Mario have a romantic dinner where he shares how his first marriage was terrible and how he never wants their relationship to ever evolve into. They get to talking about Tiffany’s birthday and she asks him what present did he get for her? Mario smiles and tells her that she’ll know at her party.

The next day Dylan and Tiffany get their nails done (Dylan’s birthday present to her) and they talk. Dylan asks about Wang, and Tiffany tells him that he’s, well, “eccentric,” and we learn that Dylan and Anthony are looking to have a child as well and that Wang is actually a leader in the field of in vitro fertilization. Tiffany also lets out her suspicions that at her birthday party that night Mario is going to pop the question. Dylan excitedly wants to hear more and asks why does she think this. Tiffany explains that when she got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, she also picked up their clothes from the floor (the result of their passionate lovemaking after Tiffany says Mario’s soul bearing turned her on) and what dropped out from Mario’s shirt was a card to the high end jewelry store, Nob Hill Estate. Dylan rejoices in Tiffany’s optimism and tells the salon staff that Tiffany is getting engaged. Tiffany smiles and confirms, “I’m getting engaged!”

But that night, at a bar where the party is held, Tiffany and her friends wait around. There, we meet Angela, Tiffany’s best friend, who, having been also told of what is expected, observes that everyone has sang “Happy Birthday” and have had some cake, so when is Mario going to make the big announcement? Tiffany goes to find Mario talking on his cell outside and he reluctantly tells her that the Australia people want him to come immediately since there is a brewing hurricane in the pacific that may impede his travel. Tiffany sighs her disappointment but asks about her surprise, to which Mario smiles. Later, as everyone watches, Mario takes out a crystal brooch to commemorate he and Tiffany’s fourth year of being together and says, “Happy Birthday!” It’s all Tiffany can do to hide her disappointment.

Later, with the party wrapped and Mario on a plane, Tiffany is sleeping at the bar after drowning her sorrow in drink, and Dylan and Anthony talk about the night. Dylan tells Anthony to go home while he drives Tiffany back to her place and will take an Uber back. As Dylan struggles to walk the half unconscious Tiffany into her apartment and into bed, Tiffany giggles and flirts with him, thinking he is Mario.

The next morning, Tiffany has a hangover, and she and Angela, share a booth with Jim, in his bar, where Tiffany laments the fact that she is no closer to getting married or having a child. But through the ensuing discussion, Jim offers that maybe Tiffany should do what her Grandpa Shirley did, which was to get Papa Ben drunk, engage him in passionate lovemaking, get subsequently pregnant, and thereby force him into a shotgun marriage. This is news to Tiffany and through further discussion she also learns that she too was conceived out of wedlock and Jim was forced to marry Mallory. However, as Jim mentions, it was a good decision as they’re union produced Tiffany and Jim and Mallory are amicable friends. Hearing the discussion and realizing that the practice has worked before, Tiffany makes the decision that she will stop taking her birth control pills in order to get pregnant by Mario which will ultimately lead to their marriage. 

We cut to a convention center in Australia, where while setting up for their shoot, Jorge is belligerent with the convention staff. This draws the ire of Mario. He pulls Jorge aside and they argue, and Jorge stomps away. Mario sighs his frustration. We return to Tiffany as she meets with her mother Mallory in Sacramento and finds out that her father’s stories are all true. While Mallory questions her daughter’s thinking, she also asks her if Mario is the “one,” and upon Tiffany’s confirmation, subsequently endorses her plan to get pregnant and force a marriage. Through their discussion we learn that Tiffany’s grandparents had a marriage that was lifelong until their 90’s, and that her parents couldn’t live together but have remained good friends who actually continue monthly conjugal dates. Going further Mallory surprises Tiffany by telling her she’ll pay for her way (her birthday present) to actually meet Mario in Australia. Tiffany happily accepts and notices a trophy on an entertainment center. She and Mallory talk about it and we discover that it was first given to her grandmother Shirley by her grandfather Ben to recognize her as the “World’s Greatest Mother.” Further, that below Shirley’s name is listed Mallory’s.

Dylan and Anthony meet with Wang to learn about how they could participate in his in vitro fertilization program and is subjected to bizarre head-turning humor. Angela drops Tiffany off at the airport and goes through the checklist of things Tiffany should have with her and jokes that birth control pills are not one of them. On the plane, Tiffany calls Mario and they talk, and Mario tells her that when she arrives in Sydney he’ll arrange a shuttle to pick her up. The flight is not smooth and Tiffany and the other passengers are both relieved and frustrated to hear the pilot say that they are being diverted to Honolulu as there is a hurricane in the path to Australia.

In Honolulu, Tiffany finds out there’s no immediate other flights that she can take, so she accepts a hotel voucher from the airlines. But when she gets there she finds the hotel is overbooked. The manager there, Lani Kahana, gives her another voucher for a drink at the beach bar while she tries to see if there are other hotels with rooms available. But while being distracted by her drink and also leaving to dip her toes in the surf, a thief steals Tiffany’s purse and luggage. Helpless, she is assisted by Lani, who takes her into her house, which is also the home of her brother, Willie, who has a sadness about him that is apparent that Lani wishes for him to jettison somehow. As Tiffany takes a shower, Lani asks Willie if he could take her with him to the nightclub where he sings. Willie is reluctant but then meets Tiffany and is stunned by her radiance and beauty, while Tiffany in turn notices his good looks, as Willie could be one of the pin up months in a fireman’s calendar.

Willie takes Tiffany to the nightclub where he moonlights as a singer and orders a local drink, “Larry’s Lava Flow,” to help her relax as he takes the stage with his guitar. Tiffany has a good time and overindulges in drinks again to the extent that the next time we see her she is waking up in the morning to the sound of roosters crowing. She rises in a bedroom back in Lani’s and Willie’s house, a quaint place situated on the beach. She goes to the kitchen and finds Lani and has coffee with her and they talk. Lani tells her that she thinks she’ll be able to fly out given the hurricane has been downgraded and people have checked out of her hotel. She tells Tiffany that Willie will be able to take her to get her a new cell phone and then take her to the airport, and advises her that she can give Lani’s credit card information to purchase a new phone. Tiffany is overwhelmed by Lani’s hospitality and says the offer is amazing and that she can later have Mario pay for the phone and Lani can get reimbursed. Tiffany then asks about Willie. Lani tells her that Willie is still in grief over the loss of his wife, Amy, who died two years earlier in an automobile accident.

At the mall, Tiffany, with her new cell phone, calls Mario in Australia to tell him she’s ready to go and get another flight out to him. But Mario tells her that his shoot has already wrapped and so he’ll be flying out. Tiffany sighs disappointment and conveys to Mario everything that had happened. Mario brightens her spirits by telling her that he can change his flight and meet her in Hawaii for a few days since his next shoot back in San Fransisco doesn’t happen until the following week. Tiffany happily agrees and tells him where she’ll stay so he can use his credit card to pay for it. Tiffany tells Willie the news and he takes her back to the hotel Lani works at to get a room. Tiffany in fact secures a room and tells Willie that when Mario gets in they would like to take him and Lani to somewhere special to thank them. Willie responds it’s not necessary and starts his Jeep. Tiffany curiously watches Willie leave and wonders how to get through to him.

As Tiffany gets back to the room she checks on a phone message. It’s from Mario, who tells her that there are absolutely no flights out of Sydney and so he’ll have to fly standby and is not sure when he can get out, but he’ll try to get to Honolulu as soon as he can. Tiffany sighs her disappointment. Later, as Willie gets home, Lani tells her that Tiffany wants to take them out to the hotel luau. Willie declines, thinking Lani’s boyfriend Mario has already arrived. But Lani tells him it’s just Tiffany and succeeds in twisting his arm to go with her.

At the luau, Tiffany and Lani have a great time, and quiet Willie relishes his food. When Lani is called away by some of her staff for a work emergency, Lani and Willie take a walk across the hotel grounds. Among the things they talk about, Willie explains that Amy was actually his “common law” wife and that after a long time he finally agreed that they would get married, but just before the wedding she was killed in the car crash. From this Tiffany realizes the deep down sadness that inhabits him and it strikes a chord inside of her. Willie walks Tiffany back to the hotel and in their parting, Tiffany asks, “What would make you smile?” Willie responds, “Been to the beach yet?”

The next day Tiffany meets Willie at the beach in Waikiki while donning a newly bought bikini. Willie is affected by her sexual presence. They go on to have a great day together. Later, Willie gets home and starts to get ready for a night out as Lani tells him that dinner will be ready soon. When she sees Willie leaving dressed in a nice pair of blue jeans and Aloha shirt, she follows him and asks him what’s up? Willie tells her that he and “Tiff” are going to dinner. Lani picks up on Willie’s slightly upbeat demeanor. She smiles and tells him, “It’s okay to be happy.” Willie and Tiffany have dinner and later walk on the beach. They get to know each other more and when an oncoming wave forces Tiffany into Willie’s arms, a brief connection is made, and their abrupt release of each other has confirmed their unrequited attraction. In the lobby of the hotel where they are readying to say their goodbyes, Tiffany asks Willie if he wants to come up. As they get into the darkened hotel room they both know where the moment will lead. However, Tiffany notices suitcases in the room and it is apparent that Mario is there. Willie leaves and Tiffany is left conflicted. She goes into the bedroom to find Mario sleeping. He awakens and she asks him how come he didn’t call. Mario says he did and Tiffany realizes that she had turned off her cell phone during her dinner with Willie. Mario surprises Tiffany by showing her a ring and proposes to her. Tiffany accepts. Back on the hotel lawn, Willie sees the light to Tiffany’s room cut out.

In the morning, we find Willie sitting at the grave of Amy, spending some idle time contemplating, when he gets a call from “Tiff” but refuses to answer. He arrives back home and sees a rent-a-car parked in the driveway. Entering the house, Willie finds Lani entertaining Tiffany and Mario. Mario steps over and introduces himself as Tiffany’s fiance and thanks Willie for all he did to help her. Willie looks to Tiffany and she instinctively looks away. Lani tells Willie that Mario and Tiffany wanted to take both her and Willie out, but Lani says she promised their cousin, Hoku, that they’d go shopping before both were to attend a wedding that night. She suggests that Willie go with them, and even drive since Mario is still suffering from jet lag.

Surprisingly, Willie agrees and he takes Tiffany and Mario around the island to visit all of Oahu’s iconic tourist sites. The trio stop at a beach park in order that Mario can use the public restroom. Alone in the car, there is an awkward moment, until Willie mentions that Mario seems like a good guy. Tiffany confirms. Willie notices three local punks watch Mario go into the restroom and start to head in that direction. Willie tells Tiffany he’ll be back. In the restroom Mario is confronted by the punks who want to take his wallet. Mario decks one of them and gets ready for the other two. Willie intercedes by knocking out the second thug and intimidating the last one into inaction as he and Mario leave. As they walk back to the car, each holds a sense of admiration for the other.

Arriving back at the hotel at the end of the long day, Mario decides to turn in to get some needed sleep but tells Tiffany to take Willie out to dinner. As they drive off both Willie and Tiffany can feel the sexual tension and they end up back at Willie’s house. Later, Lani and cousin, Hokulani “Hoku” Stern, return early, the result of the wedding not happening as the bride refused to show. In their want to tell Willie about what has happened, Hoku goes into the bedroom and starts telling Willie, only to realize that he is not alone. Embarrassed, she leaves, and later, when Willie and Tiffany join them in the kitchen, Lani is aghast. As Tiffany excuses herself, Lani joins her outside to ask what’s going on and to tell her that she either chooses Willie or never see him again. Willie later comes outside and drives Tiffany away. They stop on a side street and while Willie is adamant that he loves Tiffany, she cannot believe that a man she didn’t know existed a few days prior could possibly be someone she loves. Her inability to confirm her love hurts Willie.

Tiffany gets back into the hotel room and Mario awakes and asks her how did their night go. Tiffany says it was okay and avoids further discussion by taking a shower. Back at the house, Willie returns and meets up with an apologetic Lani who tells him she overreacted. She asks him directly, “Do you love her?” He responds he does and Lani reminds him that Tiffany is engaged and that he doesn’t know her that well. Willie nods his growing understanding of this. The next day Tiffany and Mario return to the mainland. On the plane, Mario praises Willie for all he did but finds Tiffany deflecting talk of Willie to Lani, and Mario senses something that he can’t quite pinpoint at the time. When she’s back in San Francisco, Tiffany has lunch with Angela, who she confides in about her one night affair with Willie. While Angela finds all this is incredulous, she points out something very possible. “If you didn’t take your birth control pills,” she starts telling Tiffany, who knows what the ending of that sentence means.

The next day Tiffany is throwing up regularly. She takes a pregnancy test and finds it’s positive. She later tells Mario who is upset when he finds out her initial motivation, but then Tiffany advises, “… there’s more.” Back in Honolulu, Lani has taken a call from Tiffany on the phone and learns that Willie has not answered any calls from her. Lani then visits Willie at his surfboard making shop and talks to him. Willie tells her that he’s avoided her because as Lani told him, Tiffany is engaged. Lani responds, “Not anymore.” Next we see Mario and Willie, two men now questioning their futures, spending their nights contemplating in front of the iconic symbols of their respective cities, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Diamond Head in Honolulu.

In the morning Lani drops Willie off at the airport and reminds him of things he needs. Willie jokes that the last time anybody paid as much attention to what he needed to do it was when their mother was dropping Willie off on his first day in elementary school. Lani gets emotional and says, “We’re the only family we got, Willie.” Landing in San Francisco, Willie is surprised to see that it is Mario who greets him. Mario takes Willie to Pier 39, and noticing that Willie doesn’t have a decent jacket, lets him wear one of his that he has in his trunk. The men walk and talk, ultimately expressing their love for Tiffany by explaining that they’d be willing to let her go if that is what would make her happy. Mario tells Willie that he has moved out from Tiffany’s place to take an apartment above her and that they got Willie an apartment on the floor below. Willie, not quite knowing how to respond to the honest Mario, tells him, “I could use a beer.” Mario smiles, “Thought you’d never ask.”

Back at Tiffany’s apartment, Tiffany and Angela talk. Angela is surprised to hear that Mario had picked up Willie. But Tiffany paces around, telling Angela that the boys should have been back by then. Just then Tiffany gets a text from Mario, reads it, and tells Angela, “They’re having a drink together.” At a restaurant, Mario and Willie enjoy a dinner of crab and beer. Though obvious rivals they nonetheless find that each are decent guys. Through their discussion we learn that they’ll both partake in a paternity test which then raises the question as to whether being the father of Tiffany’s child also means being her husband. The men look at each other and wonder. Later, Mario brings Willie up to meet Tiffany. Angela introduces herself, gives Tiffany a look (“he’s hot”) and leaves with Mario. Willie tells Tiffany that he isn’t sure what he’s doing coming all the way to the mainland. Tiffany asks that he just bear with her as she tries to figure all this out.

The next day, Tiffany, Mario, and Willie meet with Wang who explains that a blood sample will be taken from Tiffany, while cheek swabs would be given to Mario and Willie, and from the analysis they would know who the father is. Later, Tiffany, Mario, and Willie are at a picnic in Golden State Park. As Tiffany takes out food items the men stare at her incredulously and ask about what they’re all doing (… are they auditioning for “The Bachelorette?”). Tiffany puts it back to them, asking each their thoughts on marriage and having children, and through Tiffany’s ensuing narration we learn that both men, while truly being in love with her, are not especially desirous of marriage or parenting.

The next day Tiffany again meets with Angela in a coffee shop. Angela learns from Tiffany that being short a crew member, Mario has taken Willie with him for a film shoot, and so she jokingly wonders aloud if both of Tiffany’s guys are trying to “out mature” each other or are they both gay? But knowing it’s not the latter, Angela shakes her head and remarks incredulously, “How the hell do you get in a position where you have two HUNKS fawn over you?” “I know,” Tiffany responds, “I don’t deserve it.”

On that film shoot Willie shows his expertise at being a boom operator (from working “Hawaii Five-O” shoots he says later) and Jorge goes on another abusive rant by humiliating a dolly grip. Willie looks to Mario and confirms the obvious, which leads to Mario getting in the face of Jorge and firing him. Willie looks on and his admiration for Mario grows. Later that night while Tiffany continues to think of her future in her apartment, Mario and Willie both have the same idea and each take a six pack up to the roof to take in the San Francisco night.

The next day Tiffany, Mario, and Willie are back at Wang’s office and they find out that the father of Tiffany’s expected child is neither Mario or Willie. In the next shot, Dylan opens the door to his apartment and is met with a punch to his jaw by Tiffany. “You had sex with me while I was unconscious!” As Dylan explains himself inside the apartment, Mario and Willie, waiting inside the car on the street, decide to find a bar. They get out and walk downhill. Back inside, as Anthony places a bag of ice onto Dylan’s eye, Tiffany and Dylan talk. Dylan is deeply apologetic and explains that he began as a heterosexual before – as Anthony puts it – “He saw the light and came over from the dark side!” So given Tiffany’s drunken passes to him on the night that he took her home from her birthday party, it somehow awakened a brief passion and he went with the flow. After a bit more of ranting and sighing, both Tiffany and Dylan understand.

At the bar, Mario and Willie enjoy many rounds and confide to each other that neither of them was looking forward to being the father. Back at Dylan’s and Anthony’s apartment, Dylan calms Anthony’s concerns by saying that all of this will turn out perfect. “What?” Anthony anguishes. Dylan explains to Tiffany that he and Anthony want a child. Mario or Willie, though both are in love with Tiffany dearly, neither care to have a child, moreover, they don’t necessarily believe they have to be married in order to maintain a loving relationship. Dylan also tells Tiffany that she doesn’t really want to sacrifice her exciting realtor role to be a full time mom. So the answer? Dylan and Anthony would share parenting duties with Tiffany, while she lives with either Mario or Willie, whoever she ultimately picks. Tiffany contemplates the plan. However implausible, it begins to make sense. Later, walking downhill to find the men in her life, Tiffany sees Mario and Willie holding each other up as they drunkenly walk uphill, laughing and talking. She tilts her head in thought at what somehow may possibly be.

We return to the present and in the group meeting, Tiffany explains that she cannot choose either Mario or Willie. She loves them both and if she can’t have both, then she won’t have either. We close with the implausible becoming real as Tiffany, Mario, Willie, Dylan, Anthony, and cute three-year-old Bethany, have a picnic in the park. As Tiffany narrates, this unique “family” has happily existed for three years, spending some time in Hawaii and most of the year in San Francisco with Mario and Willie taking turns living with Tiffany. Tiffany concludes by saying that what is most important about love and life is not the prize, but what is the “essence” of the prize, in other words, the “heart” of the trophy. And while her grandparents raised her mother successfully while being married forever, and her parents succeeded in raising her even though they were divorced, Tiffany’s unique family would serve the same purpose, which is to raise little Bethany in a world of love. We close with a closeup of the family trophy. Under Grandma Shirley’s and Mom Mallory’s names is the name of “Tiffany Sanchez-Kahana.”

For information on other movies in development by Yellow Brick Studio / LegacyVision Films click HERE.


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