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The Funeral Planner – Case Study :: Creating Content for Multi-Platforms
One Page Visual Representation: (show page)
First Book in Trilogy, The Funeral Planner — how and why I came to write it :: www.LightsOutEnterprises.com – Press Kit / TV Interview with Lynn Isenberg
Spin off into Grief Guidebooks. // Lights Out Enterprises — Amazon :: Grief Wellness
Write and register “reality TV” version “How Do You Want to be Remembered?” (currently having new life…)
Spin off into real life novel inspired business Lights Out Enterprises
Lifetime TV Network options the book for a one hour TV series. Negotiations take one year.
Produce Narrative Tribute Video via Lights Out Enterprises called “Jack the Mench” (show trailer on DVD)
Receive worldwide media attention. NYT, NPR, Business Week, Today Show, Early Show, Russia, S. Africa, etc. :: http://lynnisenberg.com/press/print
Show NYT Video
Write Pilot. Get showrunner who rewrites pilot. Takes another year. (Show script)
ACT I: From the Pilot Script for a one hour TV series
THE FUNERAL PLANNER – ACT I
PITCH BLACK. HEAVY BREATHING.
Why don’t caskets have lights… in case the dead are afraid of the dark?
The breathing intensifies. Louder, LOUDER, until…
INT. WALK-IN CLOSET – CONTINUOUS
A light CLICKS on illuminating MADISON (Maddy) BANKS, an attractive 30ish brunette, in a black skirt and white bra, holding the string to a bare light bulb inside a closet.
Oh God, Tara, how could you be dead? I will rise above this day. I will rise above this day. I will rise above this day. I can’t believe I’m going to your funeral.
She faces her skimpy wardrobe.
And have nothing to wear.
There’s a KNOCK. She snaps to.
MALE VOICE (O.S.)
She looks at her watch, grabs a pink blouse from a hanger, and pulls the string. CLICK. The light goes out.
INT. MADDY’S STUDIO APARTMENT – MORNING – CONTINUOUS
An Ikea furnished crowded space doubling as an office; fax, computer, scanner, printer. Cables and cords lie in jumbled heaps. Piled against walls – stacks of Wall Street Journals, Baron’s Financial News, biographies on Jack Welch, Bill Gates, a bulletin board stuffed with articles and post-its.
Maddy, buttoning her blouse, smiles at SETH WICKHAM (26), a gorgeous, scruffy-sexy cowboy.
I’m glad you’re here.
He sweetly reveals a rose, a chocolate bar, and magazine from behind his back. Maddy’s touched, until she sees the cover.
You brought me Singing Cowboy?
Oh. That’s for me.
You look hot.
He wraps his arms around her and begins kissing her cheek, neck, chest… Maddy briefly loses herself, then…
Seth… I can’t.
But we’re never more alive, more heightened by our sexuality, than when facing death.
Maddy looks at him oddly.
I heard it in a movie.
(beat; then, proudly)
But I remembered it.
Maddy smiles sweetly. He kisses her again. She reluctantly uses all her will to pull back.
We have to go.
Okay. About that.
He quietly places his finger to her lips and sings in a pleasant Country-Western voice.
It hurts to see my baby sad… Makes me feel so bad… She’s never demanding… And so understanding, When I get auditions To accomplish my missions… Like today at a quarter to twelve…
(smiles; then, realizing)
Bigger than my friend’s funeral?
Matthew McConaughey’s stuntman in a remake of THE MISFITS.
Okay, that’s big.
I’ve got a real shot at it. The money’s good and maybe I’ll get to write a song for the sound track.
Well… this greatly increases the asset valuation of your talent, so… I guess you’ve got to do it.
Really? Thanks, babe. Let me at least drive you there.
Maddy smiles and nods. She gets her purse. As they leave…
Why do people lie?
What? I’m not lying.
I mean McConaughey. On Letterman he swore he did his own stunts.
INT. SETH’S JEEP – DOWNTOWN AUSTIN – SHORT TIME LATER
Seth drives as Maddy sadly stares out the window.
Tara expected so much of me. I was supposed to be this huge success by now. I feel like I let her down.
It’s not like she knows.
(gives him a look; then)
Oh, God. Do you have any idea who I’ll run into? Everyone who voted me “Most Likely to Hit 30 by 30.”
(off Seth’s confusion)
30 million by 30… and I’m 31. I should have a thriving IPO by now and I don’t even have a company. It’s not all my fault they all failed. It was bad market timing or I was underfunded. But I am not a loser! Okay, a winner would have better shoes but I chose to pay back my investors instead. That says something doesn’t it?
I like your shoes.
She smiles. They share a quick glance. He grins, naughtily.
I know what you need.
Trust me, that is not what I need, especially, in a jeep wrangler. What I need, is to know what to say
when someone asks me how big my
portfolio is or what to do when
Sally Levin looks at my shoes and knows I’ve got no assets.
I meant… this.
Seth swerves into a high-speed 360 thrill ride. She slides across the seat, grabbing the Jesus grip. He fishtails back on course as she rocks about into place. He beams at her.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to live long enough to see at least one of my companies make it to adulthood… or at least puberty.
Do you ever stop thinking about business?
It’s that, or fall apart.
Seth pulls up in front of a church. Maddy sees mourners heading inside. She puts on a pair of large dark sunglasses. As she exits the jeep, she turns to him and musters bravado.
Good luck on your audition.
Thanks. Good luck on your… uh, you know.
EXT. CHURCH STEPS – CONTINUOUS
Maddy walks, head down, passing a stretch limo parked nearby. A CHAUFFEUR opens the passenger door as a FABULOUS PAIR OF PUMPS EXITS THE LIMO. PAN UP to SALLY LEVIN (31) in haute couture. She spots Maddy.
Wow. Maddy Banks.
It’s so tragic about Tara.
Maddy sadly nods, aware of Sally’s quick glance at her shoes.
A faulty inhaler? Really?
Maddy nods again.
That’s just so… random. Hell of a lawsuit though.
Sally smiles and waves at someone, then turns back to Maddy.
We must catch up. I’m dying to know what markets you’re into.
As Sally heads off, Maddy forlornly turns, bumping into DEREK ROGERS (32), handsome, impeccably dressed, with an intense, undeniable presence. Maddy’s eyes narrow with animosity.
What are you doing here? You weren’t Tara’s friend.
You never learn, do you? It’s about the dad, Mad.
He brushes past her. She stares at him astonished.
INT. CHURCH – A SHORT TIME LATER
Floral arrangements decorate the pulpit. Maddy is last in a procession behind an ELDERLY WOMAN, to view Tara, lying in a mahogany casket. She looks at Tara, who wears a black dress.
That’s not Tara.
Her hair is wrong. She had bangs. Not everyone can pull them off, you know. And she should be in pink. She said pink was… happy.
Maddy reaches inside the casket and moves Tara’s hair so her bangs cover her forehead. The elderly woman nervously moves off. Maddy whispers to Tara.
There. Better, right?
The MINISTER approaches the pulpit, sees Maddy, and exaggeratedly clears his throat. She looks up, then self-consciously slinks away, slipping into an aisle seat, as the minister opens his book, shuffles papers, and flares his robe. ON MADDY, who looks around. Her POV spots Sally, waving to someone; PANS to a teary-eyed, regal GRACE PINTOCK (63); a debonair, stone-faced ARTHUR PINTOCK (64); and… Derek Rogers, sitting beside Arthur, offering a consoling pat on the back. Maddy shakes her head in disgust. Her POV finds SIERRA D’ASANTI (30), a beautiful, exotic mixed-race woman, dabbing her eyes. Sierra catches Maddy’s glance and offers a small, shy wave. Maddy hesitantly waves back. We sense they have a past.
We gather here today because death comes to all.
Maddy turns her attention toward the minister.
But such an untimely death as this brings cause for redemption. For it is not only the memory of a soul in which we place our hope…
Maddy fidgets, becoming increasingly uncomfortable, under:
… but the power of grist in heaven and hell as a sacred religious symbol for all who knew, this young, precious soul!
(sotto to elderly woman)
Why not just say Insert Name here?
(bends her ear)
Maddy shakes her head, frustrated.
A life… cut short.
Let us now open our prayer books to Hymn 21 and pause to remember the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh… This death was a tragedy. But ours is not to reason why. Thus, we say good-bye to Tara Plintock.
Shocked mourners turn and stare. Maddy slowly raises a hand.
Excuse me, uh, Father… Could I just add a few words?
Some mourners exchange glances, and titter. The astonished minister looks at Mr. Pintock, who nods yes. Maddy walks down the aisle. She reaches the podium and gazes at the crowd. Some sniffle and cry. She clears her throat.
Tara wouldn’t want you to cry. She loved fun. Remember?
When we were down, she always made us laugh.
Maddy glances at the casket, and holds back her tears.
Yes, this is tragic, but Tara’s life was anything but that. She was not only loyal, trustworthy and fun-loving, she made everyday shine. And she had courage… the courage to leave Pintock International to pursue her dream of being a stand-up comic.
Mourners smile, remembering Tara’s humor. A beat.
And I believe given a little more time to execute her action plan her path to profitability and personal accomplishment would have exceeded even her own greatest expectations.
(off their blank stares)
Uh, remember how Tara loved silly songs? Like I am the Walrus? She would have loved to have heard it today. So come on everybody, sing with me… I am the eggman. They are the eggmen. I am the Walrus…
Realizing she’s singing alone, she manages a shaky, tiny…
Uh… Goo goo g’joob.
A silent beat. Sierra rises and strongly joins in.
SIERRA AND MADDY
(building in tempo)
I am he… as you are he… as you are me and we are all together, see how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly, I’m crying…
Come on, everybody!
SIERRA AND MADDY
I am the eggman…
Sierra yanks a MAN next to her to his feet.
I am the eggman…
Maddy gestures for the crowd to join in. Some rise and begin to sing, others mumble in monotone. She animatedly conducts them until all sing, smile and laugh, in spite of themselves.
MADDY AND THE MOURNERS
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.
Even Grace and Arthur Pintock manage to join in.
EXT. CHURCH – SHORT TIME LATER
People burst out of the chapel smiling and complimenting Maddy as Sierra approaches her.
That was really special, Maddy.
Only because you saved me up there.
I guess some things never change.
We made a good team back then, didn’t we? God, has it really been ten years?
You look good, Maddy.
You, too, Si.
An OLD COUPLE walks by chanting.
I am the Walrus, Goo’ goo’ g’joob..
Tara would have loved that.
So? How’s life on Wall Street?
Oh. It’s, uh, South Congress now.
You’re back in Austin? What happened?
Uh, ya know, things, well…
A beaming PROFESSOR OSAKA (46) interrupts to greet them.
Madison Banks and Sierra D’Asanti.
Maddy smiles, relieved and genuinely happy to see him.
Professor Osaka. Hi. So good to see you!
I’m sorry it’s here… But leave it to Madison to do the right thing. What you did reminded me of
what a natural leader you are. You’re perfect for my Mentoring Program. Students could use your kind of influence.
Me? A mentor? But, I don’t–
So how is my A student making her fortune these days?
Oh. Uh, now’s not really the time. But, about this Mentor thing–
What? No ring? A catch like you?
Oh. Risk management. You did teach us never to merge without the right value proposition.
Smart. My student will be calling.
Before Maddy can protest, he leaves. A MAN in a BMW honks and waves. Sierra smiles and motions for him to wait.
Elliot. My blind date.
You brought a blind date to a funeral?
Ah. So, you’re back to men?
An awkward beat before a GRANDMA-TYPE touches Maddy’s arm.
When it’s my turn I want Dixieland.
Maddy smiles, as an unconscious thought takes hold.
So, what are you up to?
Oh, uh… you first.
Video and graphics. Mostly corporate. But it pays the bills.
Arthur and a tearful Grace Pintock approach.
Madison. That meant so much. You made it, almost… a celebration.
Thank you, dear.
Maddy nods. Something clicks and we see her wheels start to turn. As Derek Rogers passes and leaves, he sneers…
Nice little stunt, Banks.
How does slime rise to the top?
A WOMAN approaches Maddy.
I wish I’d brought my boys to see that it doesn’t have to be so sad.
Yes. You’re right.
The woman leaves as Maddy’s wheels turn even faster.
So, what are you doing now?
Getting an idea… It’s a business!
It already is a business.
No. Bigger, better, personal.
You want to be a funeral director?
Eeuw. No. More like a funeral…
Off Sierra’s skeptical look, we:
FADE OUT. END OF ACT I
Write rough draft screenplay for feature film based on the novel.
Spin off into social media networking site — www.TheTributeNetwork.com
POSTERITY CHANNEL: “Feed Me Bubbie“ which becomes its own brand — website, Facebook, merchandise, etc.
She’s got a website (www.feedmebubbe.com), a frequently updated Facebook page (‘‘on the set right now working on the cholent episode’’), and an online store selling her T-shirts, aprons, even a ‘‘Feed Me Bubbe’’ ringtone (original klezmer music, composed by a fan). On Tuesday she’ll be featured on a PBS ‘‘Frontline’’ documentary, ‘‘Digital Nation,’’ which explores the impact of digital technology on people’s lives.
PET CHANNEL example: ROOKIE DANCES http://www.thetributenetwork.com/view_video.php?viewkey=f68f89b29639786cb62e
Develop marketing programs such as TFF similar to IFMF and AGT. Put together TRIBUTE VIDEO JURY: http://www.thetributenetwork.com/tribute-film-festival.php
Go to Funeral Conventions and generate in-house produced content: ETERNAL IMAGE at NFDA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvwtRP-uLRg
Publisher makes it a TRILOGY deal.
Write second novel in trilogy, The Funeral Planner Goes to Washington.
WGA goes on strike and CEO of Lifetime is replaced.
Launch Premiere Party with red carpet and a live webcast (via Event-By-Wire, a company that does live funeral webcasts–now recognized as a national trend on the front page of the NYT last month.
Go on media book tour again. This time limited.
Lifetime TV option lapses. All rights revert back to me.
Produce a Digital Series. Get Joss Stone to star based on Digital Web Series Script (see episode one below)
“THE FUNERAL PLANNER” BY LYNN ISENBERG – PILOT EP1
“LIGHTS OUT ENTERPRISES”
SCENE 1: EXT. PARKING LOT – CRACK OF DAWN – LA
A Toyota Prius drives onto an empty parking lot at the crack of dawn. MADDY BANKS (32) drives, checking the clock on the dashboard (5:25 am). She turns the wheel. We see a long shot of the car turning, soon revealing a “chair” attached to the back of it. She parks in front of a coffee house, and pulls the chair off the rack as if she’s done this a million times. She wheels the chair along the parking lot.
SCENE 2: FADE IN: EXT. GRATEFUL BREAD COFFEE SHOP – NIGHT
MADDY BANKS (32) opens the door and struggles to wheel her Mirra chair inside while impatiently checking her watch. EMPLOYEE JIM rushes over to help her, smiles crushlike, and takes the chair from her and wheels it to “her” table. She smiles sweetly back and feeling special follows him carrying her laptop bag. She sets up her virtual office in a corner; Bluetooth in one ear, Pink ‘branded’ Coffee Sleeve on table, hands on the keyboard.
TIGHT ON COMPUTER SCREEN
Maddy’s INBOX. Unread emails with identical subject lines of DEAR MADDY beg to be opened. She clicks the first in que.
Dear Maddy, What happens when grief becomes unbearable and overwhelming? How do you survive loss when loss itself becomes your own demise? Signed, The Depression Zone.
Scene 2A: Employee Jim appears with a small cup of coffee.
Here ya go, Maddy. Organic decaf latte…
(crushlike, to please her)
Just the way you like it. And an oven fresh bran muffin.
(looks, smiles, sugar sweet)
Hey Jim, thanks–you are sooo sweet!
(to the quick)
Make that a regular with two shots, no, three…
Scene 2B: She stares at her computer, thinking… then starts typing, trying to concentrate, shakes head… when fashionista EVE GARDNER (21) enters in perfectly-coiffed after-workout attire, with i-pod and earbuds on. Eve taps Maddy, excited, pumped up.
Maddy still typing, thinking, eyes trained on work. She resistively pulls away from her screen and refocuses on Eve as CYNTHIA GIBB enters. Eve does a doubletake, ecstatic. Oblivious, Eve excitedly shouts removing iPod ear buds.
Oh my God! That’s Cynthia Gibb! Remember her in FAME? You know! Where they live forever! Fame! I have the DVD collection.
How come you never sweat when you work out?
Who said I worked out? This is my after workout-wear.
Scene 2C: Jim arrives with Maddy’s coffee. Seeing she’s preoccupied, he quietly slips her pink sleeve over her cup and sets it down. We READ: “The Funeral Planner, Lights Out Enterprises”.
Lights Out Enterprises just got a client!
Really? That’s amazing!
Pre-need or time-of-need?
(watches Jim exit, wonders)
Do you tip him for that?
Specs? And no, I don’t have to.
Cuz he’s got a crush on you.
Maddy shoots her a look, back to business.
Female. 50. High powered entertainment attorney.
(sips Maddy’s coffee, bites muffin, and scowls)
Clients include Herbie Hancock, Lili Haydn, Giovanna Gattuso, etcetera, etcetera. Six months to live. They think. She wants to meet today.
(picking at bran muffin)
Bran is so bland. Why don’t you be radical and try Soy Joy?
Eve digs in her bag, pulls Soy Joys out and hands one to her.
Maddy stops writing. Off her expression. As Eve unwraps it.
We’re in LA.
That’s her primary residence. She wants to meet at her Brentwood home. ASAP.
Oh, my God! Lights Out Enterprises just went national!
(checks her watch)
I need to call Sierra.
Maddy stands up and starts packing her gear. Alas, we see her outfit; a mismatched mess. Eve, appalled, stops eating.
You need to change. I’ll call Sierra. Please refer to the Closet Guide I made for you. Outfit #12. Accessory B.
Cynthia Gibb passes by with her coffee and smiles at them.
And the outfit?
Uh, it’s a look.
END OF ACT I
SCENE 3: INT. BRENTWOOD, CA – DAY
Maddy, Eve, and the exotic multi-ethnic SIERRA D’ASANTI (30) stand inside a house with floor to ceiling windows of a $7M home. A breathtaking landscape surrounds them.
Sierra sets up a video cam and tripod. Eve pulls out a note-book. Maddy takes in the scene–modern furniture, artwork, sculptures and… a life size Whoopi Goldberg doll.
JORDAN LEVY (50) stands between them and the view, wearing an expensive pink cashmere bathrobe.
We’re really sorry to hear about what’s happened to you.
One minute your life is filled with song, the next, the music’s all gone…
Hey, that rhymes.
Maddy and Sierra quietly shake their heads.
Before I go, I need to hear the music play again.
And what music would that be?
Jordan looks at her. Sierra glances at Eve and whispers.
She means the music of life. It’s a metaphor.
(a little put off)
Oh. Well, why didn’t she say so.
Have you thought about what you want?
You’re the life celebration expert. You tell me. I tried to fill out that Life Bio Questionnaire but… I’m too depressed. I don’t have the energy.
Maddy thinks, motions for Jordan to sit, then sits by her.
That’s okay, Jordan. Tell me. What gives you energy? What gives you joy?
(shaking her head, low energy)
We’re ready to tape as soon as I mic her.
Maybe now’s not the time for that.
Well, when? It’s not like she’s got an infinity of it. By the way, what’s with the Whoopi doll?
She makes me laugh. Or used to.
They all stare at the Whoopi doll. A beat of silence.
There’s got to be something that makes you feel good.
How about putting some clothes and make-up on for starters.
Clothes. I love to shop. Or used to. My favorite stores are Really Great Things in New York and Mattias in Santa Monica.
Oh my God! I love those place! Can I see your closet?
(coming to life)
Maddy and Sierra, now out of the loop, exchange glances.
END OF ACT II
SCENE 4: EXT. MATTIAS – NIGHT
A SECURITY GUARD wearing a headset and holding a clipboard plays God to the crowd outside waiting to enter on his say-so, as he checks the list.
SCENE 5:INT. MATTIAS – NIGHT
Banner reads “Jordan’s Life Celebration!” VIDEO MONTAGE of Jordan’s life plays on a wall. The place is packed. People try on stylish outfits. Hors d’oeuvres float around. Jordan looks smashing as Eve fixes her make-up. Sierra films crowd. GUEST MUSICIAN wraps up a song on stage. We SEE/HEAR snippets of accolades from clients, friends, and family in a QUICK MONTAGE (TO THE BEST FRIEND & ATTORNEY ANY ARTIST COULD HAVE. LOVE THESE CLOTHES. YOU MADE MY CAREER. YOU MADE MY LIFE. CHECK OUT THESE INSTANT ARCHES. OOH!) In b.g., friends, family, and celebrities. One person says: “Did you hear, she went through a battery of tests and she’s going to be fine!”
GUEST MUSICIAN / CELEBRITY
Jordan’s done so much for us! It’s time for us to lift her spirits… and we all know there’s only one way to do that.
SCENE 6:EXT. MATTIAS – NIGHT
Maddy stands outside the door shivering in the night air.
Now how did you get me to do this again?
Um… I asked.
SCENE 7: INT. MATTIAS – NIGHT
Whoopi takes the stage. Jordan can’t believe it! Her joy is contagious. Everyone smiles. The camera is on a tripod.
SCENE 8: EXT. MATTIAS – NIGHT
Sierra slides up to Maddy as they watch Jordan in the window.
You know how to make a girl feel loved.
I really didn’t do anything.
Yes, you did, Ms. Modest. You’re really something, Maddy.
Sierra kisses Maddy on the lips. Maddy’s surprised, flattered, shy, longing–leans back, staring at her.
You’re hitting on me.
Who doesn’t hit on you? Besides, it worked in college.
That was then.
This is now. Ms. Life Celebration. When are you going to let someone in?
Not sure yet. But you’ll be the first to know.
They watch the event unfold. Sierra wraps an arm around Maddy and whispers in her ear.
In the meantime, let yourself celebrate.
Because it’s fleeting? Come on!
Sierra pulls Maddy back inside.
SCENE 9:INT. MATTIAS – NIGHT
Maddy mingles with celebrities and friends. Music, drinks, laughter, clothes and more clothes… Maddy holds up a glass and toasts with others in celebrating the life of Jordan Levy!
END OF ACT III
SCENE 10:INT. GRATEFUL BREAD – LA – CRACK OF DAWN
Maddy sits in her Mirra chair in her standard corner sipping a pink sleeved latte and typing on her laptop.
Dear Depression Zone, Sometimes we forget what gives us joy. It takes faith to remember that depression is like the ocean. Eventually the tide recedes and the shore returns… But sometimes, while we wait, it may just help to indulge ourselves in a little shopping and a night of comedy. To Life, Maddy
FADE OUT. THE END
Produce additional By-Product for Promo with The Whoopi Adventures – Part I
Hulu wants to distribute the series. Meet with sub-aggregators that goes nowhere. Four month waste of time.
Start writing third novel in Trilogy, The Funeral Planner Goes Global.
Create and syndicate Dear Maddy Grief Advice Column (see Eternal Image site example, plus funeral home websites, etc.) http://www.thetributenetwork.com/dear-maddy/
Partner with award winning director Donald Petrie and adapt material into scene-by-scene outline for film and pitch for TV. Takes one year. Go on pitch meetings.
Chick Lit implodes due to over-crowded market. Publisher folds imprint and all rights to all four novels revert back to me.
Focus Media Inc. publishes all four novels (first three are new editions and fourth one is new-new). POD, Digital (eReaders, Kindle, Scribd…)
Focus Media Inc. disrupts publishing model and sells ads in books with a dozen companies
Dear Maddy Inc. distributes the Digital Series on Amazon’s Video On Demand
July, 2010 – Current Day: Insurance industry courts me for “The Funeral Planner” media trilogy and grief guidebooks for inclusion of content in End of Life Planning Financial Product.
November, 2010: CitizenGlobal partners with Focus Media Inc. to create a new media technology based on The Funeral Planner specifically for the “horizontal vertical.”
February, 2011: The Funeral Planner Goes Global, third novel in the trilogy is released for POD.
(Time Permitting – show Hollywood Literary Retreat interview with Jay Roach, Chic Eglee… )