Glory Days, Well They’ll Make You Write

Bruce Springsteen, life, college, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt’s important that we learn from our mistakes, Modern Philosophers.

What I’ve learned from mine is that they can be quite entertaining if I write about them properly.  Almost everything I write has some basis in real life events.

The Retirement Party was about one of my  breakups, and has characters based on me and my friends.  This blog is a twisted diary of my life.  Even when I’m writing about bank heists and time travel gone awry, there are some elements of my life in the story.

I recently watched an excellent documentary about the making of Freaks & Geeks.

Please tell me you used to watch the show.  It only survived one season on NBC, but it was epic and lives on in a DVD box set and the miracle of the internet.

If you’ve never seen it, you should put off reading the rest of this post, and at least check out a clip on YouTube.  You’ll thank me.

During that documentary, Paul Feig and Judd Apatow explained that everything that happened on the show was based on the real life experiences of the writers.

Freaks & Geeks, classic TV, humor, writing, Modern PhilosopherI was lucky.  I went to a Jesuit High School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and didn’t have to deal with the crazy, traumatic high school experiences that befell the show’s writers, and by extension, the characters.

However, later that night, after the documentary had ended, an old idea dusted itself off, rolled out of a dark corner of my brain, and demanded that I give it immediate attention.

Shortly after graduating from college, I dabbled with writing a TV show based on my experiences at NYU.  So many amazing things happened to me in those four years, I met some very interesting people, and my life definitely changed forever.

I pictured it as a half hour sitcom, and even wrote a few episodes to show to my friends.  They loved it, but nothing ever came of the project.

Washington Square Park, NYU, NYC, humor, Modern PhilosopherAfter watching that Freaks & Geeks doc, though, I found myself inspired to revisit the good old days at Washington Square Park.  Of course, twenty years later, the concept would be much different.

Television has changed a great deal over the past two decades, and so have I.  As have the friends who inspired my original idea.

I’ve had much more time to reflect upon my college experience, and how it has affected me, and made me the man I am today.

Now, my idea is for an hour show with both humor and drama.  Because older and more mature Austin realizes that life isn’t always about the laughs.  Unfortunately, it sometimes kicks you in the balls and crushes your heart.

The ideas have been spilling out of my brain for the past several days.  Luckily, I had Thursday and Friday off, so I was able to corral those thoughts and shepherd them from my head and onto the page.

Things have gone so well, that I’ve managed to outline the entire Pilot script.  I have a message out to Matthias to see if he is still interested in producing a series, even with the impending work we have ahead of us filming The Blind Date.

NYU, inspiration, writing a TV Pilot, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe ideas won’t stop flowing, so I’m going to have to write the Pilot just to free up some space in my brain for new stories to form.

I know The Boss told us that the Glory Days will pass us by in the blink of a young girl’s eye, but sometimes, they stick with us so long that they make a lasting impression we can write about two decades later.

I’m not sure if anything will come of this project, but it’s been quite a rush to relive so many awesome memories, and remember how important those four years were.

I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, please go watch Freaks & Geeks!

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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3 Responses to Glory Days, Well They’ll Make You Write

  1. markbialczak says:

    You are torrid with writing ideas these days, Austin. The more good stuff out there, the better chance of success, I think.
    Yes, for sure, Freaks and Geeks was one of those shows that built in cult following after NBC swung the premature blade. Thanks for the photo reminding me that How I Met Your Mother got one of its funny guys from that start.
    Your tale of reliving the thrill of NYU years reminds me that my best U of Maryland friend and I had the fleeting thought back then of penning a TV sitcom based around the antics of a college newspaper mate of ours who was quite a memorable character. He went on to become somewhat famous first as a newspaper columnist and now as a ESPN personality, so our young inkling wasn’t far off.

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