Two fully produced webisodes were screened and excerpts from eight original TV pilots were performed by professional actors to a sold-out crowd of students, faculty and industry professionals at the Asylum Theater on West 26th Street in New York City in a showcase hosted by the MFA Program in Television Writing.
The evening started with Mallory Baysek’s Rivets SHESPN which tells the story of a hot-blooded lesbian NFL analyst who loses her primetime gig after an argument at a bar went viral. She’s relegated to the network’s struggling women’s sports show, where she must team up with a crew of misfits to boost the show’s ratings before she — and her career — is finally benched.
Brittany Ramjattan’s moving comedy, Maya of Brooklyntells the story of a 1960s immigrant housewife who lies to take over Brooklyn’s only Hindu temple in order to marry off her kind but unassuming son.
Galen Foote is funny and touching life with anger examines what happens when a disrespectful rock star suffering from aphasia and unable to sing returns to the small town – and his neurotic son – he left twenty years earlier.
One of two webisodes that was shown was Lisa Davey’s growth with Broadway musical theater star Leslie Kritzer. This irreverent comedy tells the story of an insecure woman who suddenly becomes the confident, confident person she always wanted to be. When she learns that a brain tumor is causing the change, she must choose between reverting to her old self or leaving the tumor in place — and continuing to live her best life — even if it could kill her.
Alan Kingsberg, Founding Director of Stony Brooks MFA in Television Writing, welcomed everyone to the Asylum Theater by pointing out: “As television is a writer’s medium, it is fitting that for at least this one afternoon the writers should lead the Asylum. “
Kingsberg continued that the quality of all the pilots, many of which have won national awards, is comparable to shows that are aired and streamed. Projects for the showcase were supervised by Professors of Kingsberg and TV Writing, Scott Burkhardt and Jim Jennewein; Webisodes were supervised by Professor Kristin Lefcoe.
Other featured pilots were written by Laura Burns, Nelson Downend, Emma Gwynneth Gutt, Ada Lee Halofsky, Tamar Haviv, and Noelle P. Wilson.
Stony Brooks MFA in Television Writing, now in its fifth year, is the most comprehensive TV Writing MFA on the East Coast and is designed to enable writers to build portfolios that can launch their careers. If Sunday’s presentation is any indication of the talent of the program’s graduates, their work will soon be streamed straight into living rooms everywhere.