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Lee Roy Kunz
Young artists struggling to succeed in their careers and in love.
The Lonely Crowd is an hour-long Drama that revolves around a 16-year-old mixed-race girl from Detroit named Nola. As the story’s narrator, she falls in with Young Hollywood and gets a first-hand POV of the town's artists: actors, screenwriters, models, and photographers. Each episode will focus on one of our six central figures. Their problems are eternal: life, love, and poverty in a landscape vastly changed by social media. Wealth and fame might beckon at every turn for these young artists, but that’s all a radical illusion. It's really about finding love, friendships and the deep connections with the people who really matter.
The City of Angels is home to dozens of little towns, neighborhoods, and enclaves that have spread up and sprawled out. A transient city that forms not only the backdrop but is the beating heart of The Lonely Crowd.
Our characters are from all over the country: their families have conflicting ideologies, practices, and beliefs. They wear nice clothes. They eat good food. They are always invited to the best parties. They live in a bizarre, in-between world: they're constantly broke while simultaneously offered access to the world's most insane luxuries.
Our characters navigate the labyrinth of modern dating: juggling sex and desire with commitment and sacrifice in a cultural aquarium dominated by online validation. Of wanting and expecting it all.
"They are not weird. They are writers, musicians, artists, journalists, and filmmakers..."
Our narrator; we journey with her from Detroit to the City of Angels. She distrusts authority and people in general. An artless Trump supporter, she is street smart and will survive by any means necessary. In the pilot episode, she drops out of high school and moves to Los Angeles with plans to extort her famous photographer father, Colton Blackwood.
As Season One progresses, Nola will be the catalyst for Colton’s artistic resurrection and downfall. No matter how much she tries to run from it, Nola’s role will be to start fires and foster chaos, leaving behind a trail of wreckage wherever she goes.
Born in Detroit, Colton gained notoriety as a street photographer of violent life on the streets before finding fame and celebrity as an art and fashion photographer in Los Angeles. Jaded, by the fashion-focused work he now finds so meaningless. He seeks to return to his roots and create meaningful social and political work. He now walks the razor's edge between commercial and artistic success as he prepares for a make-or-break-it art show. With beautiful women at his beck and call and a huge studio where every photoshoot turns into an extravagant party, Colton appears to have it all.
Over the course of season one, it is revealed that Colton had no idea that he had a daughter and that Nola's mother, a closet racist, had lied to her all her life. He now takes on the new role of father with a reluctant uneasiness as his identity, as a womanizing lothario, is threatened after the horrible realization that his own daughter was caught up in the circle of exploitation he helps perpetuate.
A successful political cartoonist for a Vice-like online publication. The daughter of right-wing Cuban dissidents, Jess faces internal conflict from her Roman Catholic upbringing, set against the progressive values she picked up in college. She’s got major anxiety and depression stemming from a college rape that also ruined her romantic relationship with Liam. They are now best friends, due to their inability to have a physical relationship, albeit still secretly in love. As Jess struggles to keep her PTSD from dragging her down, she hides the secret that her attacker is still a member of their group.
Jess will continue to struggle with her intimacy issues until it becomes clear that she can’t keep running back to Liam every time things go wrong. After realizing that home is not always something you can go back to, Jess will have to figure out a way to face her fears, become strong again, and regain what was taken from her.
A writer and director who grew up poor on the streets of Venice until his dad hit it big in real estate and moved their family to the shining shores of Malibu. Liam never forgot his roots and despises the privilege of his younger siblings and the sociopathic behavior of his older brother.
A romantic at heart, in season one, Liam's failed relationships culminate into the rebirth of a film career he had long abandoned due to him putting his relationships and family over his work. As the seasons progress, he is conflicted between his art as a filmmaker and having a meaningful relationship - a juggling act which becomes increasingly complicated and difficult as he gains more and more success.
Not just spiritual, but actually religious, Joshua brings a sense of peace to the group. A talented bluegrass musician and singer. He struggles with being from two worlds. A good ole' southern boy from Arkansas living amongst LGBT bohemians. He’s in a long-term relationship with a woman who desperately wants to get married, but he does not believe he is financially ready. Joshua is guided by his beliefs and his loyalty to his friends. He’s always there with quick wit and good advice for anyone who needs it… and some who don’t. A hypochondriac with high anxiety, he often adds comedic relief with his honest and blunt nature.
During Season 1, Joshua finds himself sliding into turmoil when his most recent album is received with a tepid response and his band falls apart. Frustrated with not having achieved the professional success he believes is needed to get married and start a family, he ends his relationship to focus on his career--potentially losing the love of his life .
The bitter, ultra-liberal, intellectual artist, and surrealist painter. A lesbian, and sometimes bi-sexual, social activist, Alice is a walking contradiction. She is the angry ex-girlfriend of Joshua and the nihilistic best friend of Colton. Alice grew up dirt poor, in a small town in Oregon near an Indian reservation, with a single mother that never connected with her emotionally and faded away altogether when Alice’s sister killed herself. A beloved member of the group, Alice suffers from extreme depression and anxiety, which her alcoholism makes worse. Stuck living on the couches of her famous friends, and currently living with Colton, under his patronage, she is slowly becoming more and more angry at the world.
During season one, Alice oscillates between hope and bitterness regarding her desire to find real and lasting love in the internet age--when one can always keep swiping for something better. At the end of season one, Alice finds and loses love--sending her into her darkest depression yet.
And the Rest...
There are always friends and new love interests on the scene to fill out the crowd and keep things lively. This show will be bolstered by a broadly diverse and universally appealing cast of secondary characters.
"A cry for something beautiful"
Nola drops out of high school, and moves to L.A. to find her famous photographer father. That photographer is Colton, who is working on a Mapplethorpe-esque series with transgender models for an upcoming show. Nola shows up to extort Colton, with the goal of creating a glossy, fabulous life for herself, but she can't do it. She reluctantly accepts the lowly paid internship she initially signed up for, concealing her identity. Jess goes on a date with a nice guy, Sam, and her sole mission is to have meaningless sex with a safe guy she can trust. However, a panic attack mid-coitus nearly puts her in the hospital. Liam comes to her rescue and agrees to let Jess stay at his place for the night.
At Colton’s show, Liam confronts his brother, David, over family inheritance and has a disheartening run in with an ex-girlfriend; this leads to an awkward sexual encounter with Jess. The initial reviews of Colton’s show are bad. He burns the photos after the show and takes pictures of her doing so. She does this in the spirit of the Japanese art form of Kintsugi with Nola and girlfriend, Anne, who pose as nude models.
After a fiery sermon about celibacy, Joshua and his equally-Christian girlfriend, Alondra, decide to get closer to God by giving up sex until marriage. Hearing Josh talk about it at Colton's house, has a profound effect on the group: Liam meets a charming girl named Taylor, and in order to keep it special decides to keep sex out of it. Alice has regrettable sex and becomes depressed about it. And Jess returns to dating with the intention of keeping alcohol and sex out of it all together. After a couple of days, the experiment seems to be working for Liam and Jess. However the lack of sex starts to frustrate Joshua and he wants to end it. But his girlfriend now sees it as a powerful bargaining chip to finally get him to commit to marriage.
Episode 2: “The Kruetzer Sonata”
Episode 3: “No more Facebook for you”
Nola can’t stand living in poverty once she gets a look at how the rich in LA are living. After sleeping with a rich club promoter, she rifles through his wallet and steals a valuable watch. Tired of the failed dates, left-wing diatribes, and endless virtual drama, Liam locks Alice out of Facebook, and the two friends go to war over it. Taylor wants Liam to meet her famous parents, but he suspects Taylor is trying to use them as leverage, and Liam doesn't trust himself not be seduced. Joshua works desperately on an album he believes will change his life and provide him with a steady income. Meanwhile, when the man Nola robbed comes looking for her, she pulls a gun on him. The group realizes they have a loose cannon on their hands.
Episode #4: “Ivy was my Rosalind, Taylor is my Juliet”
Colton shows up at Nola's house unannounced and offers her a permanent job with slightly better pay. Nola reluctantly accepts the low-paying job, but things remain tense. Joshua struggles with his ongoing celibacy and is convinced that he is dying from an aggravated prostate because of it. This causes him to consider marriage for the first time. Colton goes to therapy and the sources of his problems become clear: Colton is in serious money trouble and has been suffering from a debilitating depresssion. After a disappointing fling with a guy who stops seeing her due to their lack of sex, tries to use Liam, yet again, to get over her sexual dysfunction. Liam gets angry that Jess is not taking his feelings for Taylor seriously, and the two stop speaking to each other.
Episode #5: “Lost Illusions”
Jess goes back to Miami for her cousin’s funeral. She stays with her racist grandmother who watches FOX News all day, every day. Liam begins pre-production on his horror film, Marionette, and continues to butt heads with David. Suspicious and jealous, Jess does some digging. She discovers that Taylor is seeing other guys behind Liam's back. She tries to tell Liam, but he refuses to listen--or even google her name. Nola goes to an acting class and meets a nice boy; he asks her on a date, and it ends disastrously. Nola successfully blackmails the older man she slept with for ten-thousand-dollars, which makes Nola finally feel adequately funded. Meanwhile, Liam goes to a warehouse party downtown with Taylor and her moody brother. He sees a troubling side of her that makes him question their relationship.
Our group continues into the holidays. One by one, the relationships fall apart due to neglect or self-destruction. Colton’s art show is a disaster, but a one-off nude photo of Anne and Nola becomes a political sensation. The national fame and artistic respect he had been waiting for comes knocking. Beneath the fame, however, a disaster waits. Liam falls deeply in love with Taylor only to find that she never took their relationship seriously: she was secretly seeing other men. Joshua loses the love of his life when he fails to commit to his girlfriend. A series of bad dates and financial woes leaves Alice more bitter than ever until serendipitous happiness finds her at her lowest. Jess continues to deny that she has a sexual dysfunction problem that she can't fix on her own, further alienating herself. In the end, our characters wind up mostly alone, with varying levels of financial and artistic success, swiping impotently at their dating apps, looking for instant and easy connections that do not exist. Our characters are lost, not hopeless. They are idealists hell-bent on achieving the life less realized: one of art and love, success and friendship, money and wealth, growth and purpose. To be or to become is the crux of their drive.
Future seasons of The Lonely Crowd will follow the characters as they continue toward spiritual growth and begin to find more meaningful and mature relationships. Colton and Nola reach an accord and eventual understanding of what it means to be a family under such impossible circumstances. Liam goes on a self-destructive rampage, after getting his heart broken by Taylor, only to pick himself up again and rededicate himself to finding real love, getting sober, and finishing his film. Alice falls in love and starts to change back into the mellow and lovable girl she truly is. Jess moves into Liam’s house, and the sexual tension between them grows. After Liam's brother, David, dies unexpectedly from heart failure, the truth of Jess’s attacker finally surfaces, but it’s far too late for Liam to do anything about it. Fame and fortune come and go for these characters. They all slowly begin to realize that if they want something real, they will have to abandon their illusions and engage with reality, lest they find themselves forever in the Lonely Crowd.