May 2016 Winning TV Pilot
SMITHEREENS by Hershel D. Rephun
Genre: Comedy, Drama
The story of a man, in pieces: This one-hour episodic dramedy series chronicles the journey of a man fished out of Miami’s Biscayne Bay. He remembers only his first name (Harry) and his mother tongue (Cockney). Flashbacks paint a complicated picture of a man battling alcoholism and engaged in some dark pursuits.
Get to know writer Hershel D. Rephun:
1. What is your TV screenplay about?
SMITHEREENS is about freedom of choice and the fact that sometimes we have to reboot and consider another path. In the case of Harry Doe, the reboot comes in the form of amnesia. Faced with pieces of a troubling past, and an uncertain future, he gets to choose the kind of man he wants to be.
2. How should this Pilot be made into a TV show?
With so much content out there, even greater respect must be paid to the viewer in order to win their time and attention. SMITHEREENS is fresh, thoughtful, funny and poignant. It challenges the creators, performers and the viewers, which is the best way to start that relationship.
3. How would you describe this script in two words?
Distinctive and entertaining.
4. What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?
Mad Men. I’m on my third viewing of the complete series now. Even with so much stuff to watch, I always come back to quality and depth.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
In one form or another, I’ve been working on SMITHEREENS for three years at least. And the influences that have brought me to the project have been working on me since birth.
6. How many stories have you written?
I really don’t know. At least twenty screenplays, three of which have been produced as features. And I write stories every day in one form or another.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
I was moved to explore my own personality, and my ability to convincingly mimic virtually any person or dialect. I don’t just do impressions or voices, I create and inhabit characters. I wanted to figure out why I use that in real life and not just onstage. Is it an escape mechanism? Do I not like who I am? What’s the line between talent and self-deception and fantasy?
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
The challenge was to set up the story so that it could play out over several seasons. With a feature, you need three solid acts. A TV series needs much more.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
My children and fighting climate change, which are related issues.
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I loved the idea of the story being brought to life. I thought the feedback was wonderful. Very insightful and constructive!
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Finish what you start, even if it doesn’t meet your expectations. Writing fiction is not about setting and meeting goals, other than to start and finish a story. The story comes from your muse…and if you don’t respect it and follow through, the muse will move on to someone else.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson