Ms. Janos’ impressive screenplay is a marvel of subtlety as the terror builds, introducing us to a Charlie Manson few of us have ever met—up close, charming and ultimately terrifying in his attractiveness to a duet of innocent rural schoolgirls. Brilliant.
About the Project
A 9 hour limited dramatic series told from the point of view of two young women, one who ends up becoming a member of the Manson Family, and the other who is trying to help her escape.
Prettyface lives halfway between fact and fiction, blending factual details about the day-to-day existence of the Manson family in the time around the infamous murders with the fictional coming of age story of a damaged, crass, but ultimately loving, teenage heroine.
Jenna: Abandoned by her deadbeat mom, Jenna knows the ugliness of the world firsthand.
An artist and musician, she’s too smart and has too much self respect to let anyone else control her. To many this makes her a rebel, but she’s just trying to figure out life on her own terms.
Marlena: Sweet, innocent and naive, Marlena grew up with a loving but strict family, where she often felt bored and ignored. Because of this she is easily seduced by the offer of love, peace and freedom the Manson family has to offer.
Neighbors and best friends, a secret jealousy has always existed between Jenna and Marlena. Jenna longs for a loving family while Marlena envied Jenna’s strength.
The Manson Family
Episode 1: Chatsworth, CA – Summer of 1969.
Jenna Butler, a rebellious sixteen-year old girl runs away on a horse named Prettyface. Not wanting to be left behind, her best friend Marlena Penny follows her. When Prettyface is spooked and throws Jenna, the two girls stumble across a family living on an abandoned movie ranch.
Episode 2: The Family
While at Spahn Ranch, street-smart Jenna is not fooled by the family’s talk of peace, love and living free, but the naive and very square Marlena is gradually seduced. The situation gets dangerous – this isn’t just any family. It’s the Manson family.
The girls escape and return home, and everything seems okay until…
Marlena runs away.
Episode 3: Spahn Ranch
Marlena returns to Spahn Ranch as the family is in the midst of a drug deal gone bad. A group of bikers are threatening to kill Bobby if they don’t get their money back for some bad LSD Bobby had bought from Gary Hinman and sold to them.
Meanwhile the Penny family is completely panicked looking for Marlena. While Jenna deals with her missing friend’s family, her own mother returns. Having found religion, Jenna’s once deadbeat mom suddenly wants to control Jenna’s life. Jenna grabs her guitar and takes off for Hollywood.
Episode 4: Hollywood
Jenna is crashing at the house of some guy who claims to be a record producer, recording her music and promising her fortune and fame. Once Jenna realizes this guy is full of false promises, she steals her recordings and money from him and heads to San Fransisco.
Marlena goes with Bobby to Gary Hinman’s house. When Gary refuses to pay Bobby the money he owes Charlie, Marlena pushes Bobby to do something about it. Bobby ends up stabbing Gary to death and stealing his cars as payment.
Episode 5: Satanic Mass
When Bobby is arrested for murder, the family wants to help him. Marlena suggests to make Bobby look innocent by creating copycat murders while he’s in jail.
While dancing in an Anton LaVey Satanic Mass, Marlena and family commit the Tate/LaBianca murders. As soon as Jenna finds out about the murders, she leaves San Fransisco and heads to the ranch.
Episode 6: The Raid
The police raid Spahn Ranch, not because of the murders, but because of reports of stolen cars.
Jenna gets to the ranch shortly after the raid to find no one there, but George Spahn who tells her about the raid.
She returns home to find that Marlena is back home with her parents.
Episode 7: Back Home
Jenna and Marlena are finally reunited, but both their families are unrecognizable. Once uptight and disapproving of Jenna, Marlena’s parents are now drunk and apathetic towards her. Mary Penny, Marlena’s mom, has aged ten years in the last few months. Wylie, Marlena’s brother is missing and their once clean home is a wreck. The only person acting seemingly normal is Marlena, playing the victim and almost convincing Jenna that she is back to her innocent sweet self.
At Jenna’s insistence, Marlena goes and talks to the police. Only instead of confessing about the murders, Marlena tells the police Jenna and her mother are dealing drugs.
When the police arrest Jenna and her mom, her mom confesses to everything. The police release Jenna, who returns home to discover Marlena has disappeared again.
Episode 8: Death Valley
The Family is tense and drug rattled. Sexual violence against all genders dominates life in Death Valley. Marlena feels more at home here than she ever did back home with the Penny family.
Jenna takes care of the Penny family while her mom is in jail. She cares for the animals on the ranch including Prettyface.
Meanwhile, Jenna’s mom is in jail with some of the Manson girls arrested during the raid. Sadie brags to her about the Tate murders. Jenna’s mom rats them out immediately.
Wylie returns home and lets Jenna know where Charlie and the Manson Family are now living in Death Valley.
Episode 9: Barker Ranch
Convinced Marlena is there and needs their help, Wylie and Jenna trailer up Prettyface and drive to Death Valley.
Charlie and the Family have now heard the news that they are suspects wanted for the Tate/LaBianca murders. They plan to flee as the police close in on them.
Jenna rides Prettyface into the remote section of the Panamint Valley, arriving just in time to get Marlena out of there before the police show up and arrest everyone for the murders.
The room for more casting lies in the roles of the Penny family: John and Mary Penny and their son Wiley, as well as the character of Jenna’s deadbeat mom which I feel would play in more detail in the series – we could put her in jail with Sadie as her lover when she admits to the murders.
Proof of Concept
To watch the Proof of Concept Video, please contact Jessica.