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University alum and students’ pilot episode takes off

Written By Madison Turiczek

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photo by Madison Turiczek
Lexx Truss and brothers Aaron and Neiman Outlen, all seniors, are working on a television series titled Schema. The show is set to be released this Spring. The trio are the spearheads of the project.

 

As Lexx Truss looked up, brothers Aaron and Neiman Outlen already knew exactly what he was thinking. They went on to produce a three minute scene of “Schema,” a story about the intertwined lives of a novelist and his two friends. 

They sat in the Point Café that day unaware of what was to come from their normal interactions. 

On a normal Monday in August of 2013, the trio was sitting in the café while Garrett Kennell recorded the events that took place. Truss was interested in a girl and Neiman and Aaron were playing both sides of the fence, which had become the usual path. While one twin was telling him to act and go for girl immediately, the other was telling him to take a second to think about it. Their dynamic was being set up for the show at that moment; they just didn’t know it yet. They have become so close that it has permanently changed the way they act and think. Truss weighed both opinions and then decided to act and run after the girl. 

Now this trio has recruited a slew of Point Park students and grads to build the single shot into a TV Pilot. After the pilot is finished, they plan to finish the season then enter it into festivals along with gaining the experience of producing and finishing an online TV series.

“There are three themes to the show: brotherhood, relationships and a consciousness of making decisions,” Truss said in an interview Friday afternoon.

Nine out the 11 cast and crew members are Point Park students or alumni. Truss, the creator and director of this project, is a senior cinema major. Neiman Outlen, a senior acting major, writes for the show while also playing the character Whitman. In the pilot, the character Eric is played by Aaron Outlen, who is a senior acting major who writes for the show. The character Satch, who is the young novelist of the show is played by Ben Edelman, a senior actor from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mark Gazica, a junior in the cinema program is the producer of the project. Working alongside him is Janelle Dechancie, the other producer who is also pursuing cinema. Phil Echelberry, the executive producer, is also senior in the cinema program. Alden Roth, a junior in the cinema program, is the editor. Two Point Park alumni are also working on the production—Peter Horn as a director of photography and Garrett Kennell as the other executive producer.

As their ideas went into progress, the crew started putting together an Indiegogo fund to raise money for the project. They will be using all of the $2,500 raised so far for equipment, transportation, location fees, Satch’s novels, and more. They aspire to create an 18 to 20 minute pilot that will be entered into festivals and screened for professionals in the industry in hopes that it might be picked up. With every 10 percent gained in the fund raising Truss would then post a video on social media dancing to a different song.

“It’s people interacting with each other and exploring their motivations behind why they pursue something. Its like an open conversation to listen to what people are thinking, because you don’t always get that,” Peter Horn said in an interview last Thursday at Uppercut Studios.

They started developing the show in the summer of 2014. Truss was in Los Angeles for a showcase where he met a Point Park alum who had wanted to see the short “Schema,” the next day he told him he wanted to see more and know more. This got Lexx thinking what else it could be. He called Neiman and Aaron and they started to develop the TV idea. 

The term “Schema” came from when he was in psychology class sophomore year. It’s basically a blueprint for how people think. After personal research he had realized that everyone has their own schema because everyone thinks their own way. They realized that you think a certain way because of your schema or that you are drawn to someone because of your schema. The word became part of their active vocabulary since then. 

“I told Lexx and Nieman about the word and we just started applying our own psychology to it,” Aaron Outlen said about “Schema.” 

“Just certain disconnections is something that I notice happens often. I’m using the character as a way to look at myself objectively and see what’s going on and explore those themes of what it’s like to have a disconnect to your partner. Just something that people can relate to because it happens,” Neiman Outlen said.

This became an integral part of their friendship. Reading each other and being able to have conversations without necessarily talking. Interests and how they impact each other in their lives are constant themes in the show. The show will have brotherhood with a mix of relationships and day-to-day lives with all of the consequences, bad or good. 

“Now I might be more open to trying new things or looking at things in a completely different way because we are friends,” Aaron Outlen said in an interview on Friday.

Through lots of promotion on multiple social media sites and word of mouth, in one month they raised their goal of $2,500 and covered all the costs they asked for. Now as pre-production starts, their time is going to be heavily involved in the project. Their goal is to have the pilot done by March so that they can submit it. It is a comedy drama TV show with realistic storylines, where the writers can create a semi-autobiographical world in which they created a fantasy of their own lives. As production is quickly coming, the “Schema” crew is still looking for any extras or actors that want to help with the show.

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