A TV Pilot About a College Newspaper

The TV pilot I’m trying to make has two days left to get funded on Kickstarter. You can help make it a reality by pledging to the campaign – there are script snippets posted so you can get an idea of the plot development.

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The show is called COPY, and it’s about the controversies covered – and provoked – by the student newspaper at a Christian college. I wrote the pilot script with friend and screenwriter Jeremiah Lewis. It made the semifinals of the Scriptapalooza competition last year – the top 15 scripts out of nearly 400. Here’s our video explanation of the show.

COPY is partly based on my adventures as a student reporter at Seattle Pacific University, an evangelical school that’s a rising star in the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Its longtime president Philip Eaton coined the motto “Engaging the Culture, Changing the World,” and wrote a whole book on it.

You can also get a sense of our plot development by reading the mock newspaper site we devised for The Crusader – it includes actual storylines from the show. We even recorded a rap song based on Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” to promote COPY, called “95 Theses (Benedict Ain’t One)” – another storyline in the pilot. Unfortunately, the sudden ascension of Pope Francis made that song a bit dated by the time we released it.

The Crusader site

From the Kickstarter page:

COPY is a TV show about the student media at an evangelical Christian college: An editor trying to whip his staff into shape, a blogger more TMZ than T.S. Eliot, and a university president obsessed with being “culturally relevant” – negative press be damned. How far will editor-in-chief Meshach Kilbourne and his staff go to secure the paper’s independence – and glory – against the machinations of President Constantine Ward? …

Christians and journalists, who normally hate each other, both believe the truth will set you free. They’re not so quick to admit temptation by another creed: The ends justify the means.

COPY takes a wry and comical look at the modern-day Christian university: proclaiming its “witness” to the world, while chasing conventional greatness through more programs, more prestige, more accommodation to the secular culture. But it’s also a tale of the media’s identity crisis – the aspirations and temptations of The Crusader’s editors and reporters, competing for scoops and eyeballs against competitors who don’t have a finger-wagging journalism adviser.

We like to think of COPY as “Big Love” meets “Gossip Girl,” not a preachy depiction of crusading journalists (“The Newsroom”) or a Christian caricature (“Glee”). Like the bestselling memoir “Blue Like Jazz,” COPY aims to show Christians in all their diversity and attitudes toward “the world. Our writing nods frequently to our television forebears — “Arrested Development,” “30 Rock,” and “Saved By the Bell.”

If you like the concept, please pledge promptly and tell your friends about the show. You can follow our progress on Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to ask me questions personally as well.

         

Author: GREG PIPER

I'm a tech journalist who's making a TV show about a college newspaper.

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