Special Effects

March 26, 2015

There is a contest to design a TV show that will draw people to engineering the way that MacGyver did for so many of us. And they want a woman protagonist. You can see the contest rules and enter at TheNextMacGyver.com. This is one of my entries.

Title: Special Effects

Genre: Comedy, family drama

Logline (summary):

Running a live educational children’s program is not easy. The show must go on even when everything is broken: Micah had better start fixing this mess, right now.

Pilot synopsis:

On the stage of a live, educations children’s TV show, everything works perfectly. All of the puppets are in good repair, all of the robots work without error, each light is timed perfectly, and even the rails for the camera are working as planned. Every special effect works exactly as intended.

Micah receives congratulations from her coworkers on her fantastic engineering skills, becoming more deeply unhappy with each accolade. Her boss, knowing her well, says he’s certain she’ll come up with something better next time.

Micah is an artist and engineer. She likes to learn and try new things. She’s sick of everyone telling her how awesome her job is (she knows). She gets bored with doing the same thing the same way each time. This tendency to change things, even working things, often leads her into trouble.

Main Character Description:

In her mid-20 and pretty, Micah can weld, work in a shop, use a soldering iron, and program a computer. She has minions to help her but she does the bulk of engineering for the show. She knows how to make it all work; fixing anything that needs it, possibly a few things that don’t. (Mythbusters showed that awesome engineering skills are needed for special effects and stunts, she could have been Adam, if they’d only cast Mythbusters better.)

Three Sample Episode Storylines:

  1. One of the puppeteers gets sick, Micah has to fill in. The work is hot and sweaty so she builds robotics to replace herself. The creature stops moving on live TV and emits smoke. Tears (and hilarity) ensue.
  2. Micah talks her producer into letting her build a robot. Now she has to give it personality but the darn thing is just a lump of metal without personality (well, occasionally it is creepy but definitely not the R2D2 she’d dreamed up for herself).
  3. A favorite reading puppet is destroyed when a child vomits on it. Micah rebuilds the skeleton and skin before the next show.
  4. Micah gets a helper: a boy who uses his Make-A-Wish to see how the eyes glow in his favorite creature. In a quiet episode, she shows how accomplishes this effect in a way anyone can follow.