Daniel and William are already sitting down at the table looking at Alex. Alex sits before them, putting down a HD camera onto the table (Keep in mind, Alex is also wearing a dress shirt, and a tie.)
ALEX This. DANIEL Jesus, that a NEW camera? You just buy that? man, did you sleep at all last night? ALEX No I didn't, but this is a good thing. DANIEL Dude, you're putting me in a tight spot here. Megan is already on edge. WILLIAM Well, let him explain it.
Samantha comes by and puts some food on the table.
SAMANTHA Here you go, brace yourselves for the bad idea. ALEX shut up! go go away.. and thank you.(for the sandwich)
Daniel and Will look at Alex each with their own expressions.
ALEX Youtube! DANIEL Oh, I'm so out right now. ALEX If you hear me out, Everything will be coming up Millhouse okay?
“What is this line? What does it mean?” Zac suddenly askes. He’s probably one of the very few people that’s never heard it before.
“What? Coming up Millhouse?” I do my best to explain it, “It’s just like, something good happens. It’s not all that amazing or great, but it good enough to continue on.” Zac gives it a glance over before speaking up again.
“Well, why don’t we just say that?”
“Because ‘Everything’s coming up Millhouse’ is the phrase.” He still doesn’t get it.
“What’s it from though?” He asks, quizzically.
“The Simpsons! You’ve honestly never heard it before?” I thought it was surprising. I mean, ‘The Simpsons’ is practically in reruns 24 hours a day.
“But if I’ve never heard it before what makes you think other people will?” He ignorantly proclaims.
“I don’t expect everyone in the world to get it, because it’s a small thing for a niche crowd.“
This is the kind of thing I found myself doing for a month straight. Arguing over little things. You see, I had an idea for a TV pilot that I really wanted to get off the ground. Knowing full well that I do have the knowledge or resources to do it on my own, I asked for the help of a friend I made during my time at Vancouver Film School.
A Lanky fellow like myself, but with longer flowing hair than me (I’m pretty sure I’m going bald too), Zac is an up and coming filmmaker. Or that’s what I always hope for. See, when I was going to VFS I was having a hard time fitting in and being friendly. By my nature I’m an introvert, So I usually keep to myself. It was also an emotionally damaging experience so I always wanted to go home and hide myself under a pillow till the next day I had to go to class. That makes the number or times I was supposed to go out and network with other students to be ZERO.
So my whole acting career in general is a hit and miss. I actually think I got into more fights if anything. Acting students are terrible people.
Any way, Aside from a dude that’s currently working in New York City. He’s the only other connection I made. So I put all my love, care, enthusiasm etc. into the faith of this one individual because I know he can do it. I know he can, you just gotta kick him in the but. The idea was rather simple:
Alex is a struggling actor. He can’t find a job, he can’t find an agent, his whole life is lost. He finds solace in his sisters sandwich cafe and a couple of his friends but beyond that, Nothing. he’s strapped for cash and ideas. No longer able to make any payments, he’s kicked out of his apartment and couch-surfs at a friends place. It’s there that he gets the idea, that if he was going to do something it would be on it’s own, and he would create short films for Youtube. Able to Jump start his career and his life, things turn around with love, laughter and drama along the way.
Pretty good right? The idea was to integrate online and television in the way that you had to watch both to get the full picture. I’m not sure if it’s already been done before but I liked the idea behind it. There was also going to be episodes that, in order to understand what happened you’d have to jump on to the show’s youtube channel to find out. A lot of the episodes were based off of old skits that we used to do for ‘Socialite’ in the beginning of it all.
Oh yeah, that’s what it was going to be called, Socialite. I go that idea from watching a lot of vlogs over the course of a month. Things that just started out and what people did out of boredom. They gained their popularity, their fan-base, then Youtube started giving them money for it. You can see it at people who never bother leaving their house, all of a sudden feeling entitled to being celebrities. It kind of made me disgusted in a way. It’s to say that a ‘Youtube Celebrity’ is the new socialite. This doesn’t count for everyone mind you, just people that vlog all the time. It takes zero effort to talk about your day, and People like Ray William Johnson take Solace in “reviewing” popular videos, by saying horribly written jokes.
So you can imagine that the idea for making it a TV show would be wonderful, as it’s something that would eventually go to Alex’s head, and make it a hurdle that he would have to over come.
DANIEL I'm letting you into my home. I need to know you're not going to dick around all day on a camera. WILLIAM I don't know.. Take the Numa Numa guy. He's well noticed and got a Money deal, just for lip-syncing into the camera. DANIEL No, He got noticed because he's fat!
William is a little hurt by that.
ALEX I know, I know. On the surface, this sounds like a ridiculous idea. But it's not like we can't put any actual work into this stuff right? WILLIAM Sure, if we put some thought into it, and write something good? ALEX Exactly, This isn't a dog and pony show. Unless we wrote about Dogs and Ponies.
Zac loved the idea, he wanted to do it! That was exciting for me, because now I’m all of a sudden expecting something to come out of it. I actually wanted him on board to help me writing it more than anything, because I know my script writing ability wasn’t all that up to snuff. I don’t exactly have proper education on what makes one great, all I know is that I like to write dialogue. So we would regularly host meetings at his place to see what always needs fixing.
By the fourth or fifth draft, Half the script was pretty much written by him and a lot of my ideas were scrapped in favour of something else. Take a note, that this didn’t really bother me. I just wanted to get the script done. If that meant he rewrites the whole thing, then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Pilot episodes are just something to get the point of the show across (I still actually fight with him to keep the Millhouse line in it though).
I know I’m not exactly the best writer for things like this, But I actually take a lot of inspiration from Aaron Sorkin. I’ve always felt like he was one of the best writers out there. I was probably too young at the time, and too Canadian to enjoy something like ‘The West Wing’ but ‘Studio 60’ was an amazing idea, and ‘The Social Network’ was a well deserved Academy Award for him. The way he writes Episodes is truly an inspiration, and the guy definitely knows his shit.
While the dialogue for Socialite was just as snappy sometimes, it was a lot more down to earth in terms of exciting television. Zac says I have a knack for writing Documentaries, ‘The Dialogue is realistic but a little boring.’ is how he would put it.
Daniel is holding the camera on Alex and william as Alex talks about the scene.
WILLIAM So you want me to high five you? like just here? standing? ALEX No, there will be more to it than that. Run past me as fast as you can and do it.
Alex motions where his hand is going to be.
WILLIAM Run. ALEX yes. WILLIAM Way up there?
Alex nods. WILLIAM okay, You sure, that this whole things is going to make any sense at all? ALEX You doubting me just because you have to move your legs? WILLIAM Well no it's just that...nevermind.
He walks to his spot
WILLIAM (To himself) It's not going to be that hard right? I can do this. It's just one thing.
He stops and turns around.
WILLIAM Okay, Here? ALEX Yeah, just wait for Dano to give you the signal, and lets make it gold.
Alex puts his hand up and looks at the direction of the camera.
Well, I have to admit that it was probably my intention. I actually wanted the pilot to be nothing more than a day in the life, but everything else to go completely beyond that. It was just my way of setting up the world and the characters right off the bat so I can do nothing but play with them. It was also my intention for the show to be made a half an hour long. So there was also not too much of a space to cram it full of as much shit as possible, then it would just be a messy show. I a had mapped out my idea for a full season and the only thing I wanted out of it was for it to hit those beats. I didn’t care how it was going to happen, just that they happened.
This was our problem. I’m not exactly sure how well we were going to be able to work with this. Zac is a lot more ‘zany’ of a writer lets say. I may have been like that too, but that was probably during my school boy years. I’ve since grew out of it, and wanted to go a specific direction with this show that I feel nobody ever really goes down.
He wasn’t going to have any of it.
“It’s gotta be [this] meets [that]! he’d say. People love these kinds of shows now, so that’s what we have to do!” That statement is frustrating for me. But, in a way I guess he’s right? Shows like ‘Parks & Recreation’ and ‘Modern Family’ are working because they’re basically done in the same vain as the office. Hell, ‘Parks & Rec’ pretty much IS the office. These are shows that copy a formula and go with it. I really don’t think it should be the formula so much as the writing though. I especially don’t believe that something has to be be like something else just so it can be good. Why watch a show that’s like it when you can actually watch the show that it is?
That was the biggest hurdle that I probably had to face. You can thank my stubbornness if that’s what halted the production of this pilot. Zac jut had a completely different artistic interpretation of what I wanted. We actually got into a huge fight about it, call it losing my patience. He had a lot of ideas and suggestions and the script was in danger of no longer becoming mine at all.
In danger? What am I talking about. I didn’t care, I just wanted to get it done. While it was already going into the direction of him making the script his own, I gave up on my end and told him.
“Go ahead, write the next draft. Let’s see what you come up with.” I was gritting my teeth at this point.
“No, I don’t want to take this script away from you.” Mind you, he already re-wrote half the script anyway, and I reminded him of that. “Yeah, but this is your thing and I want you to write it.”
“Then let’s just do it!” I almost yelled.
Maybe this is a Vancouver thing… But there seems to be an overall motivation of ‘let’s get an idea together, but never actually finish it.’ From my experience, I’ve been involved in more projects that just fell through from a lack of interest. That always seems to worry me about projects I want to work on (and is the overall point of this book if you think about it). So I always feel that if you want to do something you should just get it done. The script has been through five drafts and we should have already been thinking about actors we want on board of the project and locations we want to shoot at.
Is it fear? Did he never actually want to work on it in the first place? I doubt that! I keep getting told from time to time that it’s a good idea that shouldn’t go to waste, but I’m reluctant to believe him. Who knows what would happen, any good project needs the right motivation, and maybe it just wasn’t the right time for the project, regardless of how amazing the idea was.
So… One nail in the coffin of Acid Clockwerk was born. There would be many more nails to come.