WALPOLE, N.H. -- What Gail Golec initially intended for the silver screen has since been written for the tube.
The Walpole resident, who is an archaeologist by trade, has a passion for writing and her latest work, "Updated," serves as what she hopes will be the first episode of a television series about a New York City man who moves to a small New Hampshire town in hopes of turning his adopted home into an artist colony.
The pilot will begin at 7 p.m. at the Bellows Falls Opera House on Thursday. It is free and open to the public.
Golec said the main character, Harold Howard-Hartwell, comes from a long line of successful performers and directors but is "just not very good at it" himself and produces one flop after another. In fact, she said, the first sequence of the pilot episode is the main character getting thrown out of a theater because his work is so bad.
Howard-Hartwell must win over the townspeople by putting on a show -- and hijinks ensue. He had assumed country folk were boring people but soon learns they each have their own ideas and backstories. His rag-tag cast includes a strange emo kid, a former B-movie actress and a husband and wife whose therapist recommended a shared activity.
A trailer can be watched online at http://youtube/pUfvWjWY1sA.
Golec has been with the Walpole Players -- a local theater group -- for about 10 years and she described "Upstaged" as a sort of off-shoot of other projects she has done. She told the Reformer she has written some stage plays and enjoys writing scenes of things that just pop into her head. "Upstaged" was at first going to be a play but she decided to turn it into a TV pilot after talking with friend Jake Stradling, the executive director of FACT TV, who was looking for some original content.
"I gave him the idea and he said, ‘Let's try it,'" Golec recalled.
Stradling said he was the co-producer and cinematographer while his brother Alex served as an editor and script advisor. Jake Stradling said filming started a year ago and the pilot with be made up of two episodes packed together.
"I think it came out pretty good," he said. "It was a lot of fun."
Stradling said the crowd that shows up Thursday night will be a test audience. He said there is an idea to send the pilot off to some major studios.
Golec said she has never done anything like this before and all the actors worked for free.
"These people are wonderful and I can't even thank them enough for everything I asked and doing it with a smile. It was a really humbling thing to see it all come together," she said, adding that she learned a great deal about the physical aspects of production, as well as about logistics and props. Golec said all the filming was done locally, including spots such as Walpole Town Hall and the Acworth Village Store.
The local cast for the pilot consists of Mike Wright as Harold Howard-Hartwell, Sarah Manning as Angelic Jadkowski, Ray Boas as Ansel Glover, Fran Kemp as CrystalJo Twiss, Carolyn Norback as Maggie Glover, Tara Sad as Fairgate Fontaine, Jean Kobesk as Tammy, Kathy Reilly as Aggie, John Luther as Bucky White, Jim Baucom as Merill North, Tom Winmill as Daryl North, Peter Eisenstadter as Stamen, Jordan Mitchell-Love as Tim LaSalle, Seth Lauritsen as House Manager, Gwen Edson as Audrey Twiss and Gail Golec as Pip.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.