In recent years, television networks have begun to push the boundaries of the medium, not only in the quality and depth of stories and characters, but also in the gritty and provocative presentation found in shows such as HBO’s “True Detective” or AMC’s “Breaking Bad.”
This is where NYU graduate and Turner-raised actor and filmmaker Nickolas John Hoover hopes to make his mark with a project titled “Freedom, Maine.” And he’s looking for a little assistance through a Kickstarter campaign to make this a reality.
Hoover’s story is centered around a school shooting in a rural Maine town, and follows the residents as they face the complex emotions in the wake of the tragedy. “The project started as a TV pilot for an hour-long dramatic series with no audience in mind. I had the story, the premise, the character names, and I knew I had to write it,” Hoover said in a recent phone interview. “And I knew this format was right for it.”
Hoover finished writing the pilot in 24 hours, something he had never done before. After completing it, he began to send the script around to industry professionals, and it was one of only a few projects to be invited to apply for the Sundance Episodic Labs held in the fall.
“The script started to get some interest, and the responses from it have been polarizing,” the NYU graduate said. While some who have read the script recognize it as solid, heavy-hitting writing, others find the material to be a little too taboo.
Though “Freedom, Maine” has garnered some attention, it has yet to be funded. That’s where Hoover’s Kickstarter campaign comes in. If he hits his goal of $5,000, the funds raised will go toward a 10-minute short film that stands on its own, but showcases the vision Hoover has for the series, and will be used as part of a package to pitch the series for development.
And, though the project is titled “Freedom, Maine,” the story bounces back and forth between New York City and the Pine Tree State, as one of the main characters is a New York transplant who grew up in Freedom. “I’d like for the short film to introduce both settings,” he said. “I could fake Maine in New York, and it would be easier and cheaper, but I don’t want to do that. Most of it, fingers crossed, will be shot in Maine.”