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Presenting one writer/producer's ideas on using the Internet (& his own projects) to
help bolster regional filmmaking. 


Original In-House Content 


The show's focus is 24 year-old Albert McNeil as he starts his first job as a flight instructor at the small airport where he first took flight lessons with his mentor/boss Lyle Jansen. Though Albert can seem emotionally withdrawn, he's surrounded by friends and colleagues that range in eccentricity - from Lyle, the jovial yet devious father figure, to James and Walter, Albert's best friends from high school. The plot has Albert convincing his co-workers to help him find out if their older instructor's recent plane crash, albeit minor, could be a sign that their workplace is under attack. The series quickly becomes a tale about the nuances of friendship, particularly between men. It's also about an older generation of characters trying to atone for their past mistakes while the younger generation sees the consequences and tries not to repeat them under eerily similar circumstances. 



As a series with a youthful cast, a primary setting rarely seen on scripted television, and a sometimes surreal narrative that balances the powerfully dramatic with the droll and comedic, PILOTS' LOUNGE could be the best material with which to introduce the brand. Projected to consist of between 10 and 13 episodes, each roughly a half-hour in length, it will be short enough to hold an Internet audience's interest, yet long enough to engage in the sort of character and story development generally relegated to longer seasons of hour-long shows. The Internet isn't television, though, so it won't necessarily be marketed as a TV show online. It can just be what it is, with half-hour segments uploaded every week that hopefully leave audiences wanting more. 

(Short or Feature Film Adaptation of Short Script &/or Novella)

It was two years between the time I first heard about these people and events and when I wrote the first of two drafts of the short film screenplay VONCOSEL Y. HOYOS: ETERNAL OBSESSION, for which I won third place in national competition. It is based on a bizarre, but true story that has inspired a number of things across various mediums, but has never been the subject of a scripted movie or television series. It's about a German inventor and electrician that falls in love with tuberculosis patient Elena Hoyos while working in radiology at the Marine Hospital where they meet in Key West, circa 1930 or 1931. To reveal more would be to give too much away, but the facts - which weren't known to the public at large until 1940 - are easily found online... though I advise caution for the squeamish.  
What makes it a challenging story to tell may partly explain why this has never been formally adapted to the screen beyond short, sequential reenactments on documentary programs. The reason anyone still knows about either VonCosel or Elena Hoyos is a single set of already shocking and gruesome events made all the more so by the realization that it actually happened. Almost nothing is known about Elena that doesn't appear in court transcripts or in VonCosel's own famous... or infamous... recounting of events written for a magazine in 1947. Beyond what would be the temporary shock value, the facts offer little upon which to base a well-structured and engaging story that doesn't devolve into a repititious, one-man show.

This is why the winning draft of my short script invents a fictitious character who visits VonCosel and gets him to provide an abridged, first-person account, which then comprises most of the script until it returns to the new character's perspective at the end. Thankfully, there isn't much out there about this that isn't chronicled in newspaper articles from the time, essentially making it public domain since any family that might be affected is long dead. As a project, this benefits from being a fundamentally true story and, for promotional purposes, from having it already available in the form of a novella at Any feature-length adaptation would start with the novella, which uses this fictional character's interest in VonCosel's version of events to, among other things, examine the general public's surprisingly sympathetic reaction to what is essentially the story of a mad scientist at a time when many probably still thought that Boris Karloff's Frankenstein monster was genuinely frightening as opposed to being an iconic amusment.


NOVELLA (Paperback or Kindle)


(Feature Film or Mini-Series)

Set in a future in which certain cops attain almost rock star celebrity status through their success and association with certain cases, THE HOUR TRAP is about a very proud example in Sergeant Brad Price when he is attacked and held prisoner in his own new, hi-tech home by four alleged time travelers from the future. With his own security system turned against him and nothing to leverage that his enemies are not already likely to be in a position to simply take, Brad decides he must use all of his skills as a cop and investigator to learn and exploit the home invaders' true motives and identities so he might turn three of the four against each other and their masked and nameless leader. Even as his close-knit team of cops is forced to carry out a dangerous drug raid without their leader - a raid that Brad is forced to watch via real time access to the city's many security cameras - the stakes go even higher when the patiently enigmatic gang leader forces Brad to use her concern about his wellbeing to lure his beautiful fiancee Rayna into the same situation.
Despite the many scripts over the years and the almost disparate stylistic influences ranging from Clint Eastwood's MAGNUM FORCE and John McTiernan's DIE HARD to Zemeckis' BACK TO THE FUTURE and Michael Mann's COLLATERAL, the core storytelling goals have remained the same. In a nutshell, those goals are to use a common setting to tell a suspenseful time travel story without such stories' most common, yet often distractingly unbelievable element... the time machine! With most of THE HOUR TRAP taking place in Brad's home, the movie would present some very unique and uniquely feasible opportunities. Its limited number of settings and set pieces puts more focus on the characters while also making it a conceivably quicker and less expensive production. Money not spent on excess overhead from a large cast and many more location setups can instead be spent making the relatively few key action and special effects sequences that much better and memorable.

The most interesting and unique thing about the story may be that in the end, it neither shows actual time travel nor necessarily require audiences to believe that Brad's attackers are REAL time travlers at all! Without the inevitability of a sequel, the truth about time travel can be whatever the audience wants because the point of the movie is the way in which this traumatic experience impacts and perhaps changes the lives of Brad Price and those closest to him. 


ZEUS - An Hourlong TV Drama (Pilot)

As it stands right now, with only a first draft pilot script written and in need of at least another one or two drafts, ZEUS is unlikely to be immediately suitable for Woodlane Intertainment, itself. Each episode would be the standard length of an "hour-long" program on network television, which is a long time for casual browsers to be watching a single program online - especially since Woodlane would probably not be in the position to give it the cast and production value it deserved and would probably need to be effective. However, its potential sale to a network or bigger production company could make for some great publicity and even more legitimization.

​Creatively, ZEUS offers a potentially fascinating and arguably educational blend of ensemble character drama and the sort of high concept heroe's journey of redemption that is so common in popular science fiction and fantasy. Pop culture tends to favor broader depictions of ancient Greek and Roman gods and
goddesses that usually lean on them having cool visuals and superhuman powers, but like the real people of ancient Greece and Rome, the show would take these gods and goddesses seriously as people with real and very human flaws. It's even a somewhat plausible premise for those that believe in the existence of aliens that may have visited Earth during humanity's prehistory. Plus, as a show based somewhat on existing eligious myth, it could draw attention to the fact that the ancients did not worship their gods and goddesses with the reverance and awe of today's Western or Judeo Christian faiths, for example, but with the fear that if they did not offer up sacrifices and engage in ritualistic activities, everything from their crops to their social societal stability could be at risk. 


Before jumping to any conclusions, rest assured that I will never, as an individual or through Woodlane and its brand, be in the business of violating copyright or any other law. This topic/issue is being addressed, however,  because the same accessible and cost-effective resources and outlets online that make the creation of Woodlane Intertainment feasible and possible has also empowered the more creative fans of certain intellectual properties (IP's), making the fan-created works and quality thereof look and feel more competitive while making it harder for the rightful owners and/or managers of those IP's (i.e., major studios and publishers, etc.) to prevent or remove fan films, in particular, before too many see it. There is a section of my personal webpage called MY FAN-ATTIC that goes into more detail on my viewpoints and why they've changed. There is even some info on my own fan-scripts, which I don't plan on even trying to produce, but are nevertheless working on because with so many successful screenwriters always working on adaptations, sequels, prequels, or reinventions of other people's works, I now see it as potentially valuable practice so long as there are ways of getting it privately critiqued. 

As you'll see, the issue of fan-made film and video projects was brought into sharp relief in 2016 when, after a decade or more of widely seen fan-made content getting little, if any studio resistance, Paramount Pictures and CBS sued the producer(s) behind a then-developing feature-length STAR TREK fan-film. As some of you surely know already, an extremely well-made short film from 2014 or 2015 helped them raise at least $1 million online. Therefore, the overall scope and ambitions of the project put it and its producers on the studio's and network's radars because it showcased special effects and a general production quality almost indistinguishable from the STAR TREK film and television releases already in the works or ready for release. Though nobody was making a profit, it was still in violation of the law because the fact that it was so similar to "official" STAR TREK shows and movies, yet free to watch, meant that it could conceivably and unfairly lure business away from the people that had roomfuls of producers and shareholders to answer to when it came to the obligation to turn a profit. 

Yet, even though I fully understand the logic behind the aforementioned lawsuit, I still hope that fan fiction and especially fan films will one day be more widely tolerated and embraced in ways that don't violate anyone's creative and proprietary rights. I believe that while the lesser productions pose little or no risk to anyone, the more professionally produced fan films could be part of an arrangement that works to everyone's benefit. The studios and publishers could use the work(s) for promotional purposes while the presumably obscure or "unknown" cast and crew can potentially get the sort of valuable, career-building attention that most find is nearly impossible to garner with more original works that lack the built-in audience and commercial appeal. 

JD Moores                                     
Woodlane Founder