People Suck. I Hate Myself Today.

Regular readers of this space (all ten of you) know that I’ve had a rough time of it this year, to say the least.

Without going into detail (that’d just be too painful today) it’s safe to say 2017 has been one of the worst years of my life. Seriously, I was assaulted as a kid and even that year was more fun than this one. I literally cannot bring myself to talk about it, but today has been an excruciating day that has reinforced a truth I’ve been reluctant to accept for months now: I will never make it as a writer.

My book was a complete disaster.

I’ve spent the year waiting for 5×5 answers from dozens of subjects, from Murdoch Mysteries alums to adult film stars to news personalities, all of whom seem like otherwise decent, genuinely-nice people. Who apparently only consented to be interviewed by me in a moment of weakness.

Rockin’ Ronnie is dead. And I couldn’t save him.

People that have claimed to be my friends have made unsolicited promises to me that have never materialized. One such promise has broken me in two today. If I was a weaker man, without a family, I’d… well, it’s not important. What is important is that I’ve learned that dreams are as painful as they are hopeful.

But to the point of this post: I’m about to share a series of pitches I sent out this week to various parties. I am doing this so there is verifiable proof that these pitches came from my fractured, useless mind and nowhere else.

Enjoy.

 

The Bellman Chronicles is centered on the world’s most outspoken bellman and all the daily chaos in his orbit.

I’d like the title of the pilot to be: “Episode One, The Final Chapter.”, just to keep the audience on their toes.

It feels like there’s a million television networks and platforms these days so how does a show stand out and grab an audience’s attention?  Ideally, I’d like to see the pilot episode be a clip show.  We’d cut to events that the characters have already experienced, even though they’re actually playing out for the first time for the viewers. 

As far as actual episodes go, I’d like to see them range from outrageously funny to serious and thought-provoking.  I want to take people where they’ve never been before , behind those doors marked, “STAFF ONLY”.  Everyone says the same thing when they hear I’m a bellman, “Wow, I bet you have a million stories!”  To that point…

ONE)  An entire “Waiting for an elevator” episode.  Hospitality workers spend hours of their day standing around service areas breathlessly watching a tiny screen to see when their ride is going to arrive.  Time is literally money when you’re a bellman or room service staff, so you need to get to that room yesterday… but that rarely happens because you’re stuck in a little room that’s filled with everything from garbage bags to housekeeping supplies to odds and ends from guest rooms like prosthetic arms and soiled French maid costumes.

But it’s never boring or lonely; you have plenty of staff members, most of whom are as off-kilter as the guests, to keep you company.  Each one of these partners in hotel crime has a unique story about their day and every one of them becomes more frustrated the longer they wait.  An elevator will eventually show up, only for the staff to discover it’s already occupied.  By guests. In various states of undress.

And when the elevator finally arrives and is totally empty, everyone piles in… only to have it become overloaded and shut down after the doors close.

 

 

TWO)  They’ll be an episode where The Hook convinces his fellow staff members to help him produce a short filmed version of a series based on his blog. Of course everything goes wrong: the scripts aren’t delivered on time, the camera switches to “Lynchian Mode” and characters who look like they wandered out of Twin Peaks appear as a moody, distorted score plays in the background.

 

 

THREE)  I’d like to have a character based on a former colleague of mine named Rockin’ Ronnie.  This guy was a bass playing bellman who was fiercely  loyal, he came in first thing in the morning and began to take lunch orders, and he made Kramer look downright boring.  I want to have various characters have one-on-one scenes with Rockin’ throughout the series but eventually the audience will earn the truth: Ronnie’s health, both mental and physical, went downhill until he finally took his own life.

We’ll pepper clues throughout Ron’s scenes before we reveal his ultimate fate.  People won’t know if he was a figment of each character’s imagination or a ghost only they can see.  This reveal can also serve to highlight what I consider to be an important and fascinating truth.  Before we discovered my friend had taken his own life he was missing for a full week; the authorities in Niagara Falls always assume missing people have jumped into the Falls.  There’s a good reason for this: the week Ronnie went missing four bodies turned up in the water.  Someone jumps at the average of one a week but it’s kept quiet.  Suicide is bad for tourism.

But this is where we can balance the raw, improvised humor of Mrs. Brown’s Boys with the dark humor and realism of Shameless.

 

 

FOUR)  As a blogging bellman social media is a big part of my life and we can incorporate that into the series.  Narration for each episode will actually be The Hook blogging about his day.  We can feature tweets and Instagram pictures that are directly related to the events of each installment.  And we can even have people The Hook meets online track him down and show up at the hotel to meet him.  This will of course drive Management up the wall but that friction will just add to the show’s appeal.

 

FIVE)  We can follow misplaced luggage throughout the hotel as it darts in and out of guest rooms and service areas.  Along the way, we’ll get a glimpse of the anything-but-boring lives of guests and staff.  Anyone who’s ever had a bag go missing while traveling will be able to relate to this journey.

 

 

OTHER IDEAS FROM MY CONSCIOUSNESS:

ONE)  The world’s most powerful super villains are presented with an offer they can’t refuse by a mysterious woman who knows their every secret: They’ll be rewarded with the darkest desires their black hearts can produce, the goals they’ve tried to achieve their entire careers will be laid at their feet.

And all they have to do is save the world.

The Bad Guys with have to achieve what all the Good Guys in the world have never been able to.  The planet’s greatest heroes have been possessed by formless spirits from another world hellbent on bending mankind to their will through hero worship.  Now the villains have to do what has been impossible for them so far; defeat their greatest adversaries.

Along the way we’ll re-examine our perceptions of just what a villain really is. We’ll see why a person heads down a path they know will result in the world labeling them a villain.  And we’ll see if the only way to redeem one’s soul is to race right into the darkness and claw your way through to the light on the other side.

 

TWO)  In the 1950s an entire nation was captivated every week by the wacky misadventures of a plucky housewife, her movie star husband, their adorable little boy and their best friends, the couple next door.  “Oh, That Sunny!” is a monster hit and it’s stars are worshiped all over the world.

But when the cameras stop rolling, the real drama begins.  The star, Sunny Day, America’s favorite comedic actress, is so neurotic and controlling that she demands her female co-star’s contract includes clauses that she stay less attractive and heavier than the star.  Sunny’s husband, Rex Day, is a womanizing alcoholic who longs to get out from under his wife’s shadow and make movies.

The actors who play their irrepressible neighbors can’t stand each other and each of them has their own skeletons they fight to keep hidden from the world.  The entire set is a ticking time bomb that we get to see from the eyes of Sunny and Rex’s on-camera son.

 

And here is a possible opening for a television version of The Bellman Chronicles.

We open to a close-up of a bellman. He is standing and telling a story of the first time he danced close, extremely close with a girl at a school dance.  His boyhood self becomes extremely excited and despite his feeble attempts to stop it, eventfully “finishes” before his gorgeous female partner – and I don’t mean the song.

The sticky story ends, the camera pans back and we see for the first time that he has been telling the story to an elevator full of  gobsmacked hotel guests.

Roll opening credits and theme…

“This is The Hook’s show, he made it, won’t you stay?

It’s really good, it’ll make your day!

This show’s so good, it’ll make your dog’s tail wag

The Hook’s a bellman… if you don’t tip him, he’ll call you a douchebag

If you’re watching this, you’ve been hooked…

You’ve been hooked…

You’ve been hooked, mutha fucka…”

 

And that’s all I have for you today, friends. I honestly cannot say whether or not I’ll be posting again. I feel utterly and completely broken.

Have a great and safe Christmas and holiday season, my dear friends…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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45 Responses to People Suck. I Hate Myself Today.

  1. GG says:

    I’d love to watch The Bellman Chronicles. Sounds hysterical but also poignant.

    Hang in there. You won’t always feel the way you do now.

  2. I would watch your series! However, I don’t have any clout to make it happen. I am so sorry about your friend.

  3. H.E. ELLIS says:

    DO. NOT. GIVE. UP.

    This setback, whether you know it or not, is EXACTLY what you need to propel you further. The writing you do from this moment on will be more raw and alive than anything you’ve written before.

    You say 2017 has been one of the worst years of your life.
    WRITE. ABOUT. THAT.
    How does the Hook deal with the year from Hell?
    I am not placating you. I am not telling you what you want to hear to feel good about myself. If you give up now, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to know yourself through your craft. Maybe people will love what you write. Maybe they won’t. But you need to keep writing, now, just for you. Just to prove that 2017 and all its horrors couldn’t break you. It will be the very best thing you could do for your soul. I promise.

  4. Pingback: I Got Merch! | H.E. ELLIS

  5. I still think you have something and wish I could help. I’m hoping for a peaceful Christmas for you and yours.

  6. Oh my goodness Robert! I’m so sorry you are so down my friend. I’m sorry someone has betrayed your trust and that you lost your friend. I’m sure the writer’s block will lift at some point. Sometimes out of grief and pain the best work can occur. Stay safe and may love and peace overwhelm your senses and flood your family this holiday season. May 2018 be bright and successful for you!! Merriest of Christmases sweet man!! 😙💕

  7. Kay says:

    I would SO watch your bellman series. It sounds fantastic and I think you are a wonderful writer.

  8. Coop says:

    Hey Hook! I am sincerely sorry for the loss of your friend and co-worker Ronnie. I wish I could write more to ease the pain and sorrow that you feel from his absence. And the painful year that you have experienced, trust me I KNOW that pain! But I lack that talent. You, however, do not, keep up the writing. There are plenty of other folks that are in the same position as you and they keep at it and you should as well. If for nothing else, it is therapeutic. This is coming from one the people who actually paid money for your book and did not ask for a refund! And no, its not holding up the the coffee table either…

    Honestly, I frequent here often hoping find another post about the life of a Bellman. Your perspective and observations on the cross section of human existence has been spot on and humorous ! Especially when it comes to hockey families! Keep up the great work!

    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
    All the Best!
    Coop

  9. I am so sorry about your friend Robert. It must have been a shock.
    Don’t give up, this is just a hitch and things will improve. Sometimes setbacks are a blessing in disguise and bring out the best in us.
    As for your show, yeah, I’d watch it if we had TV.
    Enjoy the holidays with your family and hugs by proxy to Chelsea.

  10. First ….. get your head out of your ass and stop that silly talk. Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to quit writing? let me tell you….almost every week. I have 3 ….THREE books that I have started writing and then I get into my head and tell myself that they suck although others have said “can I have another chapter to read?”.

    Continue.

    Push on.

    Take a deep breath. Go downstairs and have a Long Island Ice Tea or maybe some spiked egg nog. Whatever suits your fancy.

    Just don’t give up. If you need some help message me. I’ve beta read for many authors and I also assisted someone in the film industry…..so I have a few helpful hints.

    Get out of your head. Tomorrow will be better. I promise.

  11. davidprosser says:

    Robert you’re a talented blogger with a great sense of humour. I’m sorry you’ve been disappointed today and I’m sorry for the pain you’re still feeling about Ronnie. As you can see, others still have faith in you. Maybe you could pitch the comedies and leave the dark material out until the series is optioned.
    Try and have a Good Christmas with the family and a more successful and much happier new year.
    Hugs

  12. Don’t give up!! If you believe in it, you can make it happen!! I wish I could do more than just be a cheerleader. xx

  13. Tara says:

    What ^ they all said. This hurts to hear, I so love your writing, your sense of humor, and your brainy brains. To everything there is a time and a season. This is another season coming to pass and if I may draw on religion every so briefly – when I was going through my darkest days I had the love of a man who never forgot me and I remembered some scripture about “walking through.” You’re standing at the end of a long and difficult road/tunnel/cave/bowel movement (sorry – I couldn’t help myself) and now you must WALK THROUGH. Sometimes the walking through is the most difficult, but better things await on the other side. Take all the time you need, we will all be here waiting. Just please don’t ghost us though – check in once in a while (at least Twitter).

  14. adamjasonp says:

    Every successful writer receives rejection before they reach their goal. Writing for an audience requires trial and error, and experimentation. In other words, failure is normal. It doesn’t mean you can’t write.

    It’s important to not dwell in negative feelings. Guilt tells us something, but beyond that bit of information, it’s useless. Similar with pain; it tells us there’s some resistance to change. All feelings pass.

    If you need rest, rest. But don’t give up on yourself. Don’t base your self-worth on what others think or do. You have value like everyone else. The story may not always resonate… but you’re not giving yourself away, you’re sharing. The life at home comes first.

    Anyway, I hope you feel better. Have a great and safe Christmas, yourself. 🙂

  15. adalamar says:

    Produce and put your own show on the air. Create your own production company. 🙂 . Many very successful people were turned down over and over, so they made their own way. You can too. Create your own Youtube channel and put your show on. I would watch too. You are good. Please don’t stop. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

  16. H.E. ELLIS says:

    Who does this sound like?

    Andy Weir began writing science fiction in his twenties and published work on his website for years. He also authored a humor web comic called Casey and Andy featuring fictionalized “mad scientist” versions of himself and his friends (such as writer Jennifer Brozek) from 2002 to 2008; he also briefly worked on another comic called Cheshire Crossing bridging Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz. The attention these gained him has been attributed as later helping launch his writing career, following the failure to publish his first novel attempt called Theft of Pride. His first work to gain significant attention was “The Egg”, a short story that has been adapted into a number of YouTube videos, a one-act play, and is the overarching concept of Everybody, the third album by American rapper Logic.

    Weir is best known for his first published novel, The Martian. He wrote the book to be as scientifically accurate as possible, and his writing included extensive research into orbital mechanics, conditions on the planet Mars, the history of manned spaceflight, and botany.

    Originally published as a free serial on his website, some readers requested he make it available on Amazon Kindle. First sold for 99 cents, the novel made it to the Kindle bestsellers list. Weir was then approached by a literary agent and sold the rights of the book to Crown Publishing Group. The print version (slightly edited from the original) of the novel debuted at #12 on The New York Times bestseller list.

    The Wall Street Journal called the novel, “the best pure sci-fi novel in years”.

    It was made into a film starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, which was released October 2, 2015.

    Keep at it!

  17. This sounds like an incredible series. I think you should stick with it and remember rejection is part of the process. What I see is you have a group of employees who hang out together and you could show how they each handle what they experience in their every day lives while working at the hotel. Hmmm….I think you should send this idea to they guys who produced “Sienfeld.”

  18. markbialczak says:

    Hey, Hook! You can do it! And I mean this in all senses. In this DIY world, grab a camera (phone, tablet) and shoot the damn episodes yourself for YouTube. Own it and the followers and advertisers shall come, with your wit and wisdom.

  19. Allie P. says:

    I would imagine that the executives you are pitching these to don’t know quite how to place the projects. They seem like comedies on the surface, but clearly, all are dealing with some much heavier fare. I suppose it worked for Orange is the New Black, but you may need to reconfigure your pitch as the mainstream film industry isn’t exactly known for taking on projects that they don’t know how to market.

    That being said, the year is coming to an end. There are no promises next year will be any better, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Don’t give up.

    • Allie P. says:

      Ugh – apologies for the typos… that is, I mean to say I wrote two when I used have used to in order to prove none of us are perfect because I am supportive like that.

  20. Austin says:

    I’m sorry you’ve had a rough year.

    Your ideas are awesome. You have to realize that failure and rejection is a huge part of the game. Just keep going. Keep writing. Keep pitching. You only lose if you give up on the dream…

  21. It’s good to know that this was not your last post. I would be a huge fan of your “Bellman Chronicles” and at least five of your episode ideas are really good ideas. If I was still in the industry I would be pulling every string I could for you. Hang in there, Hook. We love you.

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