A Town Called Paradise



Briefly ...

Shannon, an ambitious young marketing executive, seems set to make her biggest career move yet by marrying Grant, a wealthy property developer - until she falls in love with Sean, a charming male stripper.

Love, sex, rock and roll - plus the hottest male dancing you've ever seen - all set on Australia's luscious south-east coastline. This is "Pretty Woman" with role reversal.

Here's what the critics wrote:

"... a box office potential which can, I suspect, be taken for granted. The dialogue is crisp, funny, and the scenes are full of lovely twists and turns ... Significant audience appeal both locally and overseas ..."

Charlie Strachan
Script Assessor for Film Queensland)

"Given a director with style and sensitivity, and cast with incredibly attractive but non-common people ... I feel the work could have a unique and compulsively watchable quality."

Jonathon Hardy
co-author of "Breaker Morant" in a script assessment for Film Queensland)

(Click here to read the first act.)

Your Basic Love Story

Shannon is an intelligent and ambitious young marketing executive living in Sydney. But she's frustrated however by the problem nearly every career woman faces - persuading a male-dominated world to take her seriously.

When she meets Grant, a dull but wealthy property developer, it seems she has found a convenient ladder to success. Then her father, a failed rock'n'roll singer, dies, and with Grant away on business, Shannon drives up to Queensland for the funeral alone.

Breaking down along the way, she accepts a lift from Sean, a male stripper travelling to the Gold Coast to take part in a nationwide stripping competition. Their encounter develops into a love affair that forces Shannon to re-evaluate her antipathy to her father and ultimately to decide between a comfortable life of emotional compromise with Grant, or taking a chance and following her heart. Sean is also forced to choose between his footloose and fancy-free lifestyle and the rewards of a more permanent relationship.

The plot is similar to "Crocodile Dundee" (professional woman chooses working class guy over rich boyfriend) but the characters are closer to "Pretty Woman" - Shannon as the unemotional business person, and Sean as the warm-hearted lover from the wrong side of the tracks. This sort of role reversal is a central feature of a love story aimed mainly at a female audience.

Sex Appeal

Back in the 80s and early 90s, male striptease was a popular, mainstream form of entertainment. Male revues like Australia's Manpower and America's Chippendales drew wildly enthusiastic female audiences around the world because they combined romance with raw, sensual fantasy.

"A Town Called Paradise" exploits that excitement, delivering the powerful visual experience of male stripping, wrapped up in a simple love story, with most of the focus on the lead female character.

Meet the Characters

"A Town Called Paradise" presents characters rarely seen in Australian films - normal, educated, middle-class people with grown-up attitudes about life, love and sex ... people who know a world exists outside Australia: international characters.

  • Shannon Daniels

    An ambitious marketing executive in her late twenties, Shannon is intelligent, articulate, attractive and sexually experienced. But blaming her father for her mother's death, she's grown up cold and hard, determined to get ahead - seemingly at any cost. Kylie or Nicole would be perfect.

  • Sean Connelly

    The name says it all. Sean is masculine without being macho, working class without being an ocker. Tall, late twenties, with short hair and a lean build, he doesn't fit the stereotype of a male stripper. He's travelled, tried his hand at a lot of different things, but still hasn't found what he's looking for. He is left wing in his views, but laid back and sympathetic - a younger version of the character played by Clint Eastwood in "The Bridges of Madison County". Guy Pierce, for example?

Great Music

Being about stripping, this film would inevitably feature some of the raunchiest rock'n'roll music in the world - everything from Tom Jones and T-Rex to Prince and INXS - backed up by the sexiest male dancing ever seen on the big screen.

International Appeal

This story showcases some of the best locations on Australia's east coast: the lush gardens of suburban Sydney, a deserted beach near Byron Bay, the highrises and beaches of Surfers Paradise, an old bullnosed Queenslander in the lush hinterland of the Gold Coast, a rainforest rockpool ... Added to its universal theme, attractive characters, and great soundtrack, "A Town Called Paradise" would have international appeal and major box office potential.

A Unique Look

"A Town Called Paradise" is like a women's magazine story on celluloid - an attractive heroine forced to choose between love and the money. I think this aspect could be exploited to give the film a unique feel and look. By using devices like text headlines that float across the screen at strategic points, or Roy Lichtenstein-like cartoon graphics that come to life as the start of new sequences, the film could achieve an extra dimension. These gimmicks - which mirror techniques used extensively on the Internet and therefore being absorbed into the collective consciousness - would, like the flamboyant stylistics of "Strictly Ballroom", help separate this film from the rest of the herd.


To help finance "A Town Called Paradise" I'd recommend blatant product placement. This would be in line with the film's theme of sex being a commodity, and in harmony with the style suggested above. For instance:

  • When Sean is visiting Shannon at her father's old Queenslander on the Gold Coast hinterland, he goes across to a fridge on which is written 'God's Oil' and opens it up to get a beer - which beer? This scene could be 'sold' to one of Australia's breweries, together with the rights to use it in their marketing campaigns. Similarly, when Shannon realizes she wants to be with Sean and has to fly from Sydney up to the Gold Coast, which airline does she go with? The striptease competition depicted in the film would be shown on a TV network and have sponsors - which network and which sponsors?
  • Another 'feature' of the film which could be sold is the nightclub 'Hell'. The name and design would inevitably be copied and used if the film was made (there's a successful nightclub on the Gold Coast called 'Cocktails and Dreams' which is a direct rip-off of the concept used in "Cocktail"), so why not sell the rights prior to the film's release? My idea would be to market it as an international chain of hi-tech nightclubs, all linked live via the Internet.
  • Australia is a great tourist destination. "A Town Called Paradise" would be a great preview of Sydney, the NSW coastline and the Gold Coast, so maybe a state or national tourist body might be persuaded to kick in some cash.


In the first act we meet Shannon, a marketing consultant in Sydney, and watch as her career and lifestyle improve beyond recognition when she becomes involved with Grant, a dull, but very successful property developer.

We also meet Sean, a landscape gardener who works nights as a male stripper and learn of his rivalry with another stripper.

The first turning point comes when Shannon, driving up to the Gold Coast in Grant's Mercedes for the funeral of her failed rock'n'roll singer father, breaks down. She accepts a lift from Sean who is heading north in his panelvan to compete in Australia's first Male Stripper of the Year contest which has a cash prize of $100,000.

The physical attraction between them is immediate and when they have to spend the night beside the beach, after Sean's panelvan gets bogged in the sand, they learn more about each other's backgrounds, hopes and fears. By morning, following a chance encounter with dolphins, the seeds of love have been planted.

Interrupted (and rescued) on the beach by tourists just as things are getting serious, they continue on to the Gold Coast. After Sean has dropped her off, Shannon begins to reaquaint herself with her father, meeting the people who knew him and going through his belongings out at the rundown old house where he lived, up in the Gold Coast hinterland.

The following evening, Sean cooks dinner for Shannon in the high-rise apartment where he is staying - a sequence of seduction that ends with them making love, an event marking the film's midpoint.

The next day their affair continues. Sean persuades Shannon to ignore her compulsion to work and together they take a joy flight over Surfers Paradise. This is followed by a sexy encounter in the changing rooms of a Pacific Fair clothes store, and later by dinner out at Shannon's father's house. By now it seems obvious that the two of them are falling in love.

The following afternoon however, Shannon gets a call from Sydney, telling her that Grant is flying back early from Japan to be with her for her father's funeral. Reluctantly, but resolutely, Shannon tells Sean to leave.

After her father's funeral, Shannon returns to Sydney with Grant, seemingly prepared to resume her hectic career and social life. It is first when she picks up a parcel sent by her father to her old apartment, that she starts to have second thoughts about embarking on a life with Grant, who has now asked her to marry him.

Sean, in the meantime, who desperately wants to win the competition not just for the prize money, but also for the satisfaction of beating his rival Brent, is missing Shannon and having trouble finding his motivation as a result.

The last act shows Shannon deciding between love and money, climaxing in a race against time to reach Sean before he goes on stage with all the odds against him.

Read the First Act

"A Town Called Paradise" uses Hollywood's standardl 'three act paradigm', (see Syd Field's 'Screenplay' and 'The Screenwriter's Workbook').

Click here to read the first act.

"A Town Called Paradise" (© 1996) is an original manuscript by

Christopher John Arlaud
Møllehavevej 12
3200 Helsinge
PH: + 45 48 71 17 87
E-Mail: writenow@arlaud.dk

This manuscript is registered with the Australian Writers' Guild and has the number: 5529