Valium Vickie

Monday, March 28, 2016

Jesus vs. The Easter Bunny: A One-Act Play

Jesus of Nazareth, permanently 33, is holding up an unopened bottle of Aquafina and speaking to a group of mesmerized children.
How many of you little children of God would like to see me turn this overpriced, environmentally harmful water into the magic grape juice most of your mommies drink to deal with unfulfilling marriages to your daddies?

Group of children
(In unison)

Well, I'm going to need to a volunteer ...

In the middle of Jesus' presentation, one of the children spots a clearly intoxicated individual in an Easter Bunny costume stumbling toward Victoria's Secret.
(Pointing and screaming)

Suddenly, all of the children begin running toward the inebriated bunny who hears the commotion, turns to see his fans coming and quickly takes cover behind a rack of on-sale thongs. Jesus is left awkwardly holding the Aquafina bottle.
(Drops the bottle and stares at the scars on the center of his palms)
Why do I even try?


Tuesday, March 01, 2016

My Failed Kickstarter Project: "Pals"

A few years ago, I had a once-in-a-lifetime idea for a completely original sitcom that was guaranteed to be a smash hit on prime time television. When the idea first came to me, I vividly remember thinking, "Jared, this is going to change your entire life, but don't ever forget the people who loved you when you were a nobody." The universal appeal of my story was flat-out undeniable. But in order to get one of the major networks to take a chance on an unknown creator, I'd have to make a Pilot that was so strong ABC, NBC and CBS would be fighting each other for it. Problem was, I didn't have the funds needed. That's why I enlisted the help of Kickstarter. Here's the exact pitch I used to introduce my life-changing project to the crowdsourcing juggernaut:


Dear Kickstarter:

What do young people living in Manhattan do when the real world just seems too much to take any longer? They turn to their "Pals" for companionship, comfort and support, that's what.
"Pals" is the story of six young friends living in Manhattan and struggling to find happiness and success in the Big City. But things just never seem to work out as planned for these six.

There's Bross, a sweet, harmless anthropologist with a knack for science but a heart for love, despite plenty of failures in the latter category. At this point in his life, Bross is looking to settle down, and the lass he's got his sights set on is none other than Grachel, a girl for whom he's always had strong feelings. In a former life Grachel was first the popular schoolgirl, then the spoiled rich girl who leached off of her father's sizable bank account. Now, however, she's determined to make it on her own (even if she has to waitress to do it) -- a statement she made in dramatic fashion when she ran from her own wedding. Yowsers! Grachel is living with Honica, Bross's compulsive, controlling and formerly-fat older sister. Scarred from years of ridicule at the hands of her classmates because of her weight, Honica used food to her advantage by becoming a chef. Now she's getting the last laugh because not only is she a top chef in a city where people are willing to pay top dollar for a good meal, she's lost a ton of weight to boot. But despite all of her success, all that Honica really wants is to find the right guys and start a family. Who knows ... he may be closer than she thinks!

Every group has an eccentric and for these "Pals," that gal is Beebie. Ditzy, whimsical and impossible not to love, Beebie is a masseuse by day -- with aspirations to make it big as a songwriter who sings about everyday things, like a cat with a foul odor. "Beebs" as her "Pals" often call her often plays her original tunes at "Central Twerk," a coffee house the group regularly frequents. Then there's Shandler Zing, who does something with data. He's successful, although none of his "Pals" know just what it is that he does, which makes for some hilarious dialogue. Shandler's a wimpy guy who relies on his razor-sharp -- and prime-time television appropriate -- wit to mask his many insecurities and shortcomings, such as the fact that he hasn't been in a serious committed relationship since ... like ... ever. With an endless arsenal of witty one-liners that will no doubt be repeated ad nauseam by office workers everywhere (if you accept my project that is), it's literally impossible not to find yourself cracking up at what comes out of Mr. Shandler Zing's mouth.

Rounding out the group is Toey Jibiani. If you love big, dumb stereotypical Italian hunks (and who doesn't, right?), then you'll absolutely adore Toey. A small-time actor with big-time dreams, Toey is the determined to make it big in show biz. And if Toey had even the a quarter of the luck with acting as he does with the ladies, he'd be a household name. Sure, Toey's not the sharpest tool in the shed, but based on the revolving cast of buxom beauties that frequent his bedroom, it's clear there's something very special about Mr. Jibiani's tool -- if you know what I mean!

In addition to the main six, there's Pingo Gomez, a peripheral character with a critical role. Pingo Gomez is a Portuguese laborer who always seems to be lurking around in the background of each scene. Whenever one of the "Pals'" problems seem too heavy for a sitcom, Pingo steps out of the shadows and says something like, "You people's petty problems disgust me," which never fails to send the group off on fit of laughter. Who is this mysterious Pingo character and why is he always around? You'll have to pick-up my project to find out!

The Response

Not long after I made the pitch -- via email -- I received a response from George, who was obviously a high-level decision-maker at Kickstarter. George stated:

Kickstarter <>
to me

Hello Jared --

Thanks for writing in! Your project sounds interesting, but let me give you a quick word of advice. A series of creative and engaging backer rewards is essential. Your rewards should reflect the personality of both you and your project -- and they should offer something tangible to your supporters.

Having a few reasonably priced rewards will help incorporate everybody who is interested in what you are doing, even those only able to contribute $5-$20. Every buck counts! Check out our Kickstarter School entry on creating rewards:

Remember to check our guidelines ( ), and please note that discounts, gift certificates, returns on investments, raffles and coupons are prohibited as rewards.


George and I then exchanged a few more messages on the specifics of the project:

Jared Bilski <>
to No

By George, George, that's great news. So all I have to do is add a few rewards and "Pals" will be able to have a Kickstarter!? That's such great news!!! You made my year!

Jared "Pals" Bilski

Kickstarter <>
to me

Hi Jared --

Yes. Please take the time to make some additions to your rewards section. In my experience, projects with 3 or more rewards tend to have a higher success rate than those with fewer.

Further, is there any chance you'd consider adding a video? Videos often make projects more engaging and get people excited about the personality behind what you're doing. Just something to consider, totally up to you.

Once you've had a chance to update your page let me know and I'll take another look.


The letdown

Then, right before I was set to begin my campaign to raise the $250,000 I needed to make the pilot from friends, family and venture capitalist, something terrible happened. A friend of my mine let me know the similarities between my project, 'Pals' and the popular nineties situation comedy 'Friends' were too great to merely be a coincidence. The only differences between the two, my friend surmised cruelly, were the names of the main characters and that strange peripheral character Pingo. And even the weren't that different, my friend added for good measure. After all, he said thrusting the knife deeper into my heart, only one letter separates Ross and Bross.

And that's how the Kickerstarter campaign for my passion project "Pals" died before it ever had a chance at life (i.e., $250,000).