Yesterday I mentioned a screenplay idea that I have, one that would require use of a very specific location that I’m not sure I could get on the cheap. What I also had was a totally separate concept that I wanted to do more with, but didn’t have any ideas, storylines, or characters to put toward it. Yesterday afternoon I made some progress on that front rather than the feature-length screenplay.
In college, I discovered this series of “webisodes” that I absolutely loved. It was like “The Office,” except it’s God’s office, and you are there at his will. And if you steal his lunch from the communal fridge in the break room, then God help you. Except he won’t.
I flipped for it. The six parts were so simple in technique, setting and premise, but they were witty, original. Existential. I really felt that, technically, I could make something like it, if only I could come up with such good ideas and dialogue. I was joking with a former co-worker last week about how I wished I, too, could film a sitcom on a shoestring budget and convince Danny DeVito to star in it, ala “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and then I’d be set. “It’s Always Sunny” is a FX show with unusual origins; the pilot was shot on a digital camcorder for no more than the cost of the tapes it was filmed on, and its creators/producers/actors shopped it around town. FX picked it up for one season after seeing the pilot. DeVito saw it and wanted in on season two.
The episodes are not quite formulaic, but they do tend to have two or three of the characters pitted against the other two or three in some sort of competition, challenge, belief, etc. There is shameless side-swapping, gambling, betting, and betrayal in the mix, but I can’t say the endings are predictable. The theme music is a hilarious juxtaposition to each episode’s title, playing classical music over titles on black reading, “Dennis and Dee go on Welfare,” “The Gang Exploits a Miracle,” and “Charlie goes America all over Everybody’s Asses.”
That said, my admiration for both “God, Inc.” and “It’s Always Sunny” has led me to my new summer project. Once my movie is out the door, I will begin casting for my six-part web series, tentatively called “Paper Cuts” (Brandon’s good suggestion). It will center around a reporter who gets laid off and the various jobs she does in between careers to stay afloat. I already wrote a draft of the pilot last night, and I wrote it in less than an hour (it’s only six pages). I have a basic premise for five of the six stories, one of which will center around a job fair gone very wrong, inspired by the real-life experience Joe and Jessie had when they first moved to Columbus.
So that’s what’s been getting turned around in my mind this week. I’m already really excited about the idea. My hope is to film each episode in one day, maybe every couple weeks or so. We’ll see how it goes.