I am trying my hand at creating a one-hour dramatic television series. Set in a Catholic college seminary, the series focuses on five seminarians and their day-to-day struggles and lives in the seminary.

I recently finished the pilot episode, and a fellow noder suggested that I node it. Rather than do one enormous node – it's 38 pages in Times New Roman 10 Point Font – it will be in five parts: the teaser and each individual act.

Oh, and what are my credentials for writing such a series? I myself graduated from a college seminary in May of 2000. So I know the territory. And for the record: no, I am not a bitter ex-seminarian, out to fling mud. I wanted to write such a series for three reasons:
1. There are many compelling stories to be told in such a context.
2. I want to pay tribute to those I was in the seminary with, and to the Benedictine monks and faculty who trained me.
3. A lot of people have preconceived notions about what seminarians are like: running around in cassock and surplice, burning incense, always silent, and always praying are chief amongst such notions; nothing could be further from the truth.






TEASER

FADE IN:


INT. MARCUS BELLOW’S DORM ROOM. DAY.


MARCUS is unpacking. Boxes are everywhere, there are various objects tossed on the bed, a pile of clothes on the desk — the usual disarray of moving in. His stereo is already set up, and a CD of classical music is playing.

JOEL (OUT OF SHOT)
Welcome to the neighborhood.

MARCUS jumps slightly, startled. He turns around to see JOEL standing in the doorway.

JOEL
Joel Finchworth.

He grabs MARCUS’s hand and pumps it up and down vigorously.

MARCUS
Marcus Bellows.

JOEL comes into the room, and starts going through one of the open boxes. He pulls out a crucifix, a religious icon, and other religious objects, idly setting them down beside the box. As he is doing so, he speaks.

JOEL (to each item)
Hmmm … sacred … sacred … sacred … sacred … sacred …

He looks up at MARCUS.

JOEL
This is a bit disappointing. So much sacred and so little profane.

MARCUS
Excuse me?

JOEL
Granted. You know you really should have something from the secular realm to adorn one of these walls. Perhaps a movie poster, or some such item. We don’t want your room turning into some kitschy shrine of religious paraphernalia.

MARCUS
Excuse me?

JOEL
You should get that fixed.

ALEX appears in the doorway.

ALEX
Out on a meet-and-greet Finchworth?

JOEL
One has to greet the constituents, Rhodes. Shake hands with the babies, a peck on the cheeks of the gentlemen – wait, strike that, reverse it, turn it around.

ALEX
Thank you, Willy Wonka.

JOEL
Not at all.

JOEL (to MARCUS)
In case you were wondering, we fancy ourselves the Hawkeye and Hunnicut of the campus. Although our Mr. Rhodes here is more in the spirit of Oscar Wilde than Alan Alda or Mike Farrell.

ALEX (to JOEL)
Shall we ease on down that old road?

JOEL
We shall. There are many more new faces to descend upon and startle. Mr. Bellows, it was indeed a pleasure to make your acquaintance at the outset of this academic year.

As when he entered, JOEL vigorously shakes MARCUS’ hand. ALEX smiles and gives a nod of the head, then departs the room.

JOEL
And now I bid you adieu, adieu, adieu …

On each “adieu,” JOEL bows profusely and takes a step out of the room. After the last “adieu,” he turns to follow ALEX down the hall. After a quick look at MARCUS, who appears a bit bewildered, we follow JOEL out the door and down the hallway.


INT. HALLWAY. DAY.


ALEX is a few steps ahead of JOEL down the hall.

JOEL
I believe that went well.

ALEX
Quite. Oh, by the by, thank you for the comparison to Oscar Wilde.

JOEL
Don’t mention it. I thought that was one of our better baffle-and-befog sessions. You play the straight manso well.

ALEX
That’s an interesting way of putting it.


INT. STAIRWELL. DAY.


JOEL
You know what I mean.

ALEX
Of course I do. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t tease you about it when given the opportunity.

JOEL
Naughty boy.


EXT. CAMPUS SIDEWALK. DAY.


ALEX
Shall we to the Student Union?

JOEL
We shall.

On their way down the sidewalk, they approach LOUIS Stephenson.

JOEL (to LOUIS, as they approach)
Stephenson, you old bastard, back again for another year?

LOUIS (in plummy British accent)
Wouldn’t miss it for worlds, old boy! (normal voice) How was your summer?

JOEL
The usual business of parish work and social play.

Having now reached LOUIS, JOEL and ALEX stop to chat.

LOUIS
Good to hear. (to ALEX) And how about you? Any excitement in the life of our favorite little queen?
ALEX
Louis, I hail from a town with a population of 200 – tell me how much excitement I could possibly have had over the summer.
LOUIS
My dear boy, there is a plethora of excitement to be had anywhere you go, be there 200 or 200 million people. You’ve got to learn how not to be where you are. Life is a cabaret, old chum.
ALEX
Impressive: two Kander and Ebb quotes from two different Kander and Ebb musicals. Not bad for a breeder.

LOUIS
Not all devotees of musical theatre are drama queens, Rhodes.

ALEX
Granted. Have you caught up with Father Anthony yet?

LOUIS
I was just out looking for him now. Have either of you seen him?

JOEL
Negative. We’ve been out on a meet-and-greet.

LOUIS
Ah, one of the infamous baffle-and-befogs from Finchworth and Rhodes. (beat) You know, I hadn’t thought of it till now, but you two should start a law firm. Two very prestigious names you’re toting around.

JOEL
They may be prestigious, but we’ve pretty well dragged them through the mud.

LOUIS catches sight of Father ANTHONY, who is OUT-OF-SHOT.

LOUIS (to ANTHONY, waving and shouting)
Anthony, old bean, over here!

JOEL (to ALEX)
I believe that’s our cue to continue easing on down that old road. (to LOUIS) Catch ya later, Stephenson.

LOUIS
Certainly, certainly.

LOUIS heads off across the grass, OUT-OF-SHOT. JOEL and ALEX continue down the sidewalk. They pass the ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, and see FRANCIS Martin on his way inside.

JOEL (calling to FRANCIS)
On your way to pay the piper, Martin?

FRANCIS
You got it, Joel.

JOEL
Well good luck, my friend.

FRANCIS
Thank you thank you.

As JOEL and ALEX continue down the sidewalk, we turn and follow FRANCIS inside the ADMINISTRATION BUILDING.


INT. ADMINISTRATION BUILDING. LOBBY. DAY.


We follow FRANCIS to one of the offices just off the lobby. Above the office door is a hanging sign that reads: “HELEN FOSTER. EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT.”


INT. ADMINISTRATION BUILDING. HELEN’S OFFICE. DAY.


HELEN Foster is behind the desk, working at her computer. FRANCIS knocks on the door, which is already open.

FRANCIS
How is the world’s most glamorous and beautiful executive assistant to a seminary rector?

HELEN (not looking up from the computer)
Sounds like you’re still full of shit, Francis Martin. I’m guessing you’re here to see Father Thomas.

FRANCIS
How’d you know?

HELEN (still not looking up)
He told me to keep an eye out for you and send you back to his office when you got here.

FRANCIS
Ah. Well, I’m off to see the Wizard. Catch you later, Helen.

FRANCIS heads out of the office.

HELEN (still not looking up)
Good luck, Francis.

FRANCIS (from the lobby, OUT-OF-SHOT)
Thank you, dear.


INT. ADMINISTRATION BUILDING. LOBBY. DAY.


FRANCIS heads down the hall and into the office at the end. Over this door is a hanging sign that reads: “THOMAS JOHNSON, OSB. DEAN OF STUDENTS.”


INT. ADMINISTRATION BUILDING. FATHER THOMAS JOHNSON’S OFFICE. DAY.


Father THOMAS Johnson is behind the desk, reading over some papers. As at HELEN’s office, FRANCIS knocks on the open door. THOMAS looks up.

THOMAS
Mr. Martin. Come in. Close the door.

FRANCIS does so. He takes a seat in front of the desk.

THOMAS
How was your summer, Francis?

FRANCIS
It was good, Father. Kept busy.

THOMAS
That’s good to hear. I’ll get down to brass tacks, Francis. You know that you’re back this year by the skin of your teeth. Your first year here was — how shall I put it? – eventful. The chaplains and I discussed your future in the seminary very seriously at the end of last year, and it was through the passionate intercession of Father Gabriel that we decided to give you a second chance. He pointed out, and I think rightly, that you have many good qualities that you can bring to the priesthood. You’re energetic, you’re passionate, you have a big heart, and you’re generous. It’s just a shame that you channeled all that into less-than-healthy activities last year. This semester you are on probation, so to speak. If you can get your act together and demonstrate to us that you deserve to continue your seminary studies, we won’t watch you like a hawk next semester. Any questions or comments?

FRANCIS
Just thank you for letting me return. I hope I won’t disappoint you this year.

THOMAS
Don’t disappoint Father Gabriel, either. He believes in you – live up to his expectations, and you won’t disappoint anyone. I’ll be honest, Francis: despite what went on last year, I like you. As I said, I agreed with Father Gabriel’s assessment of your strengths. And I also think that you could make a fine priest of God one day. (He looks back down at the papers in front of him.) Now go finish unpacking, if you haven’t already.

FRANCIS
Thank you, Father.

FRANCIS gets up from the chair, opens the door, and heads back out into the hallway.

THOMAS (quietly, to himself)
A new school year. Let the games begin.


CUT TO:


OPENING CREDITS


END OF TEASER

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