February 19th, 2023
I’ve written several series for the web. We actually used to call them that: web series. I don’t really hear that term much anymore, except when used to describe sitcoms starring spiders.
Several web shows I created were never released. Some notable titles include: The Green House, about two immature men who find a baby and decide to take care of him; The Program, about a group of people who try to independently produce a local news show on public access television; and The Aquaman Chronicles, about, well, Aquaman.
All of them made it to the table read and filming stage; some to editing; The Aquaman Chronicles even got two trailers!
But my favorite unreleased show was a sci-fi comedy about a man who lost his girlfriend and uncovered a conspiracy in his small town, which was being controlled by a shadowy organization called the H.I.G.
“But,” some of you may be thinking, “you released Jargon. It was streamed thousands of times over several media sites. I’ve watched it. The photos on this post are images from the production.”
You’re right: Jargon does exist. It came out in August of 2010.
I’m talking about Jargon: Season 2.
I actually had a plan for several more seasons of the show; I created a series bible, which contained the answers to questions we were just starting to formulate in the four episodes that made up Season 1. As a fan of serialized storytelling (especially shows like Lost and The X-Files), I wanted to make sure I had an idea of what was going on, even if the characters we played didn’t.
And what characters they were. I was Jasper, the alcoholic encyclopedia salesman whose investigation of his missing girlfriend was the catalyst for the story. He was accompanied by loyal stoner Sunny, played by the incomparable Kody Kile. Their path crossed with bizarre conspiracy theorist Ace, who reveals to them the mystery behind their mystery. (All the characters were named after childhood pets of mine.)
At the end of the season, they met a vampire, too.
The plan was for the trio to meet a parade of horror clichés: in Season 2, a werewolf and a version of Frankenstein’s monster were two of the new characters. All of these creatures were to be products of the H.I.G., and a flashback episode was to reveal their origin story: who they were, why they created the group, and what the initials H.I.G. stood for.
As I continued pouring time into the world of Jargon, I started to get pulled in another direction: I wanted to make a movie.
I soon canceled all future production on Jargon, and went right to work on a new idea I had: you guessed it, a musical motion picture called The Visitor!
Yeah, another Unproduced Work, which I covered last week.
Completing the first, difficult season of Jargon gave me the confidence to think bigger. Every time I extend my reach creatively, I don’t just learn new things; I find out what I’m actually good at and I build upon those skills, too.
People might think it’s weird that I dedicated a part of this month to the things I worked on that failed. I don’t disagree that it’s weird (everything I write is weird, grow up), but I also feel it’s important.
We have to share not only when we fail, but what we learned when we did.
I found out several times over that there are some things I simply can’t do alone.
I also found, in myself, that I am a capable storyteller in every single way that I have tried to tell a story.
So I learned what I could do alone, I found friends for what I could not, and I built on what I knew I was good at.
I haven’t stopped telling stories since.