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 graduate
d 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 monk
s 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.
. MARCUS BELLOW’S DORM ROOM
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.
He grabs MARCUS’s hand and pumps it up and down vigorously.
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.
This is a bit disappointing. So much sacred and so little profane.
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.
You should get that fixed.
ALEX appears in the doorway.
Out on a meet-and-greet Finchworth?
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.
Thank you, Willy Wonka
Not at all.
JOEL (to MARCUS)
In case you were wondering, we fancy ourselves the Hawkeye
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
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.
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.
I believe that went well.
Quite. Oh, by the by, thank you for the comparison to Oscar Wilde.
Don’t mention it. I thought that was one of our better baffle-and-befog sessions. You play the straight man
That’s an interesting way of putting it.
INT. STAIRWELL. DAY.
You know what I mean.
Of course I do. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t tease you about it when given the opportunity.
EXT. CAMPUS SIDEWALK. DAY.
Shall we to the Student Union?
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?
The usual business of parish work and social play.
Having now reached LOUIS, JOEL and ALEX stop to chat.
Good to hear. (to ALEX) And how about you? Any excitement in the life of our favorite little queen?
Louis, I hail from a town with a population of 200 – tell me how much excitement I could possibly have had over the summer.
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
, old chum.
Impressive: two Kander and Ebb
quotes from two different Kander and Ebb musicals. Not bad for a breeder.
Not all devotees of musical theatre are drama queens
Granted. Have you caught up with Father Anthony yet?
I was just out looking for him now. Have either of you seen him?
Negative. We’ve been out on a meet-and-greet.
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.
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 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?
You got it, Joel.
Well good luck, my friend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mr. Martin. Come in. Close the door.
FRANCIS does so. He takes a seat in front of the desk.
How was your summer, Francis?
It was good, Father. Kept busy.
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?
Just thank you for letting me return. I hope I won’t disappoint you this year.
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.
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.
END OF TEASER