Created by Chris Read, The Pitch 2024

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An expectant couple sit in a nondescript waiting room. Apprehensive smiles at the other pregnant couples also waiting. They're called into a small office, where a broad-smiling sales rep asks how much they know about what the service 'Betr' provides. Nothing really, they answer - they were referred by friends - so the unflappable rep turns his screen around and presses play on a shiny, over-the-top introductory video. 'Betr' stands for Bespoke Trauma - hand-crafted traumatic experiences to give your child the best chance at growing character and thriving in life. Near-death experiences, emotional abuse, drug addictions - anything a young human might need to shake them out of the comfortable life the world will be encouraging them into. Aghast, the couple challenge the sales rep, who is confused. What's so great about an easy life? He pulls out a brochure of success stories - leaders of thought, business and culture whose character had been built by suffering. Another brochure - a list of 'Betr' services with success likelihoods. The Dad-to-be is semi-interested but the expectant mother is outraged, and leads them both out the room. At the last minute, the Dad nips back in and grabs the brochure

Biblical Connection

James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-5 are the main references for this idea - the encouragement to find joy in suffering and the claim that suffering will eventually produce character and hope. On a wider point I find this fantastically counter-cultural right now, in a world where comfort and protection from suffering seems to be the ideal; and on a personal level I found the verses very helpful when dealing with trauma and difficult experiences in my own life, both historical and present-day. Finding hope, and reaching a place of gratitude for these hard, formative moments, led me to imagine a fictional company that offered near-death experiences, with the rationale of producing character and hope in their clients. The company would essentially be founded on the idea that suffering (trauma) is helpful - even essential - to form character, and recently becoming a parent led me to imagine that company catering for parents who want their children to experience exactly the right amount of trauma to form character, but not too much as to throw them off course for life. Hence, Bespoke Trauma, shortened to Betr