About this project
Welcome to Loch Hill School for the Arts. Major in your Dreams.
After a mental breakdown on the New York stage, struggling actress Jenny Bump relinquishes her life long goal of becoming a star and opts for a more peaceful life as a guidance counselor at Loch Hill, the fine arts boarding school she attended in her youth.
However, listening to the dreams of her students only stokes the dying embers of her own. Soon she is back to her old tricks, scheming for fame, and ruining lives (potentially her own included) in the process.
Jenny's alma mater, Loch Hill, is like Hogwarts - a magical hideaway where the students are encouraged to hone their special artistic skills. For star senior Porsche (pronounced like the car, not the de Rossi) Kincaid, it's also a chance to leave her poor, trailer park roots behind forever.
For Jenny Bump though, going back to the last place she felt celebrated isn't quite as magical. She thought returning to Loch Hill would turn her life around - but it's only a reminder that her life is going, and has gone, nowhere. She's not alone though, she's living back at home with her sister, Bethany, the executive assistant to the great Lillian Barnes, the same headmistress who acted as a mother figure to Jenny when she was a student. And two former classmates Jenny lost touch with, Julian "Pistol" Pilstl and Walker Pate, are also back on campus facing crisis of their own.
Walker, a down on his luck sitcom star, is slumming around the school, looking for a serious theater credential to boost him to the next level of his career. And Pistol, the idealistic, self-righteous head of the acting department, is struggling to get his experimental theater company - Great Neck Artistic Theater, or GNAT for short - off the ground. GNAT could be the answer to all of their problems - if they're willing to work together.
Jenny was a star at Loch Hill in her youth, singled out for her talent and beauty. She was bound for fame – expected it – and failed. Now that she’s back on campus, she’ll slowly realize that her life isn’t a star vehicle anymore - she’s part of an ensemble of people desperately trying to make their lives work, after they didn’t. On her own, she’s definitely misguided. Surrounded by people who actually care about her, she might be able to make something out of her life.
Created by Van Hansis and James Ryan Caldwell, Ms. Guidance is a dark satire about the entertainment industry's impossibly narrow definition of success and how it can influence and confuse the lives and choices of artists. It can make someone with the best intentions into a self-serving, self-obsessed sociopath, like our lovable anti-hero, Jenny Bump.
In creating Ms. Guidance, one thing that quickly came to the forefront was the creative team's deep love for the theater, the people who make it, and the people who teach it. No matter how maddening a career in the arts can sometimes be, for us, it's the most wonderful industry in the world. We love the highs enough to tolerate the lows. Our entire production team started off as 'Theater Kids'- attending arts focused high schools and majoring in theater in college. As we have grown and diversified in our careers - to writing, directing, producing and choreographing - at the heart of it, standing on a stage and saying the lines that somebody else wrote was our collected beginning.
Joining us in telling our story about those who create work for the stage are some amazing people who create work for the stage! Our incredible cast has a strong background in theater, including Tony Award Winner for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Doubt, 2005) Adriane Lenox, Broadway dance phenom Tyler Hanes, Amber Gray, the title role in Soho Rep's Obie Award winning production of An Octoroon (also, just an FYI - An Octoroon was one of the best, if not THE BEST plays this producing team has ever seen), Ian Unterman, CBS' The Good Wife and Associate Director of Broadway's Rocky, and Calli Alden from Bring It On the Musical on Broadway. Van Hansis (three time Emmy nominee for As The World Turns, Eastsiders) rounds out the cast alongside newcomer Elliotte Crowell as Jenny Bump. Ms. Guidance is shot by the amazing Daryl Pittman (White Reindeer, Vacation!) who brings the world of Loch Hill to life.
Ms. Guidance is a show about performers and the people who love them. It's a show that examines the varied ambitions and attitudes of actors at different stages in their careers. Featuring characters like Porsche, who is idealistic and just starting out on her journey, to Jenny, who has hit a Bump - ha ha ha! - in her career, to Pistol, who has found his passion as a director and is relentless in his pursuit of it, our team is uniquely suited to tell the story that unfolds on Loch Hill.
VAN HANSIS http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2082499/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1(Creator, Director, Producer): Van Hansis is a three time Daytime Emmy Nominee for his work on CBS' As The World Turns. Other television credits include Psych, The Mentalist, and Nikita. He has been seen onstage Off Broadway (Die Mommie Die!, Dance Dance Revolution) and at the Williamstown Theater Festival - where he first met Elliotte, Amber, and Ian, now all starring on Ms. Guidance. Film credits include Occupant, Devil May Call and the upcoming Kiss Me, Kill Me directed by Casper Andreas and Pharmacopeia, directed by Kit Williamson. Currently, he stars on Willamson's acclaimed series Eastsiders for LOGOTV.COM. Van is a proud graduate of Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and The Walnut Hill School, a performing arts boarding high school.
JAMES RYAN CALDWELL (Creator, Writer, Producer): James Ryan Caldwell is a playwright and actor based in New York City. He has performed in cities across the Eastern United States, and his plays have been developed in Aspen, CO and New York City. His plays include: The Bird Stories (Collective Unconscious), The Centaur Play (Theater Masters in Aspen, CO and Walkerspace, NYC), Babyfat; or, Skinnybaby (Dixon Place), Fantasy Artists (New York Fringe - New York Times Review), and The Unveiling (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Dixon Place). As an actor, James has performed at Playwrights Horizons, Classic Stage Company, The Ohio Theatre, P.S. 122, the New York Fringe, and the Public Theater. He holds an MFA in playwriting from Columbia University
MELODIE SISK http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1461281/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 (Director, Producer): After starring in Zach Clark's "Modern Love is Automatic", Melodie Sisk quickly found a love for producing. Since then she has produced Clark's follow-ups "Vacation!" and "White Reindeer", Onur Tukel’s "Summer of Blood" (which premiered at Tribeca 2014, and was released by MPI/Dark Sky), Jiyoung Lee’s "Female Pervert" (which premiered at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival), and most recently Tukel’s "Applesauce” (which just premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival), and Dusty Bias’ "The Great and the Small", starring Melanie Lynskey. Upcoming projects include Zach Clark’s IFP Emerging Storyteller’s 2013 selection “Little Sister”, Gregory Collin's new film "Command & Control", Kevin Barker's "People of Earth Such As They Are” and Kit Williamson’s “Pharmacopeia". Melodie can also be seen on screen in the horror-comedy "The Ladies of the House", and Drew Tobia’s award-winning "See You Next Tuesday". She is a proud graduate of UNCSA.
TYLER HANES http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2296801/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 (Producer, "Timothy Beavers") is an actor/ director/ choreographer best known for his work on the Broadway Stage. His Broadway/NYC credits include Larry in the Original Revival Company of A Chorus Line, Stephen Sondheim's A Bed and A Chair: A New York Love Affair, Link Larkin in Hairspray, Charlie in Sweet Charity, Johnny Boyle in Juno, The Frogs, The Boy From Oz, Urban Cowboy and Oklahoma! As a director/choreographer, his work includes ABC's Dancing With The Stars, Kristen Chenoweth's Some Lessons Learned World Tour, The American Country Awards, New York Fashion Week 2013, and El Chico De Oz in Lima, Peru. Tyler can next be seen opposite Channing Tatum in The Coen Brother's latest film Hail, Caesar! Tyler attended Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and Pebblebrook High School, the high school of performing arts in Mableton, GA.
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Risks and challenges
We privately funded and filmed the first three episodes of a planned six episode season and are now looking to the Kickstarter community to help us raise funds to finish our season. We are so proud of the episodes we already have and are committed to completing our vision for Ms. Guidance.
Ms. Guidance is a huge undertaking, as our cast and crew are artists at the top of their game and as each episode runs about twenty minutes, which for a web series is on the longer side. We cannot risk sacrificing the high quality of the first three episodes by cutting corners or having anything less than a professional set.
Shooting on location, hours away from most of our homes, is a big challenge as well. We shot the first three episodes almost exclusively at the Walnut Hill School, a functioning boarding school near Boston, with a beautiful campus that makes the world of Loch Hill come to life. Funds donated will go to travel, housing, paying and feeding the roughly twenty professional artists we bring to Boston to work with us for the duration of the show.
We have utmost faith in our show and in the story we are telling. While there are inherent challenges in any shoot, if what we accomplished in the first three episodes is any indication as to what we can create with your help, we know we can deliver a wonderful, hilarious and unique series.
There have been shows about comebacks and performing arts, but Ms. Guidance takes aim at the unexplored realm of resignation. To quote a poem inappropriately, as Jenny would, “What happens when my dream gets deferred?” To quote a bumper sticker as Bethany would, “Shit Happens…” and in Ms. Guidance – it does.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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