While You Wait
A One Hour Episodic Dramedy about the challenges of everyday life and the journey towards the end…
Created & Written by Lindsay Duke & Matt Boda
Dying is only one thing to be sad over. Living unhappily is something else…”
- Morrie Schwartz
While You Wait is a one hour episodic tv show delivered in the form of a web series. Taking place in one location, While You Wait is structured the same way as the hit NBC TV series, Superstore, where every scene is in a different part of the same location (i.e. office, cafeteria, patient room, etc.) and can briefly be described as Grey’s Anatomy meets Six Feet Under.
While You Wait follows the lives of the staff, patients and their families at High Point Hospice Center as they tackle the humdrum of client needs, forbidden love affairs, heart wrenching end-of-life chats and secret internal schemes. Upbeat janitor and struggling pill addict, Omar, is just trying to make ends meet despite his duplicitous manager Paul, who’s plot to overthrow the current hierarchy puts the harmony of the well-kept center in danger of a reorganization. Rounding out the cast is Winnie, an 80 year old former jazz musician, altruist Dr. Anne, a selfless practitioner, clever ex-journalist, Michael, and too-young-to-die surfer, Tristan. From screaming elderlies to youthful neophytes, as people come and go, together, they’re all going to continue putting one foot in front of the other - a day at a time.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved…”
- Helen Keller
...has a lot on his plate. In addition to having dutifully taken on fatherly responsibilities for his insatiable girlfriend’s children, Omar also has to maneuver the treacherous throes of opiate addiction and keep his job, all while sniffing out the wolf in sheep’s clothing working amongst them. The burden he must bear would be enough to break any man.
Dr. Anne Freidman
...is the quintessential caretaker, with the attitude of an angel. Born to end the suffering of others, Dr. Anne is locked in a listless marriage to a nerdy scientist, getting all her social needs from her workplace. As a bubbling secret romance percolates with her subordinate Alex, Dr. Anne must control her emotions as well as her medicare accounts in order to save her pearly white reputation.
...was the jam in her day. Having made a career as a studio musician singing for jazz legends, Winnie hasn’t sung a note in years. After the trauma of being beaten within an inch of her life by a group of white supremacists when she was a teenager is triggered by a dying young surfer, the most unusual and flat out heartwarming friendship gives her new perspective, healing old wounds.
...just can’t stop taking care of other people, to a fault. Fighting an intense battle with bulimia, Mary struggles to navigate between trying to be a perfect employee, being a reliable surrogate mom to her kooky twin sisters and managing her manic depressive father, who’s online buy and sell business threatens to bankrupt her entire family. Hoping to one day find love, Mary might just have to wait until everyone else’s needs are met first - if ever.
...is a crook. When he’s not cooking the books, committing medicare fraud or trying to steal Dr. Anne away from Alex, Paul is busy weaving a spider’s web of extortion, catching anyone with dirt under their fingernails. As his schemes start to catch up with him, deciding who should take the fall feels like child’s play. But, having a good hearted janitor hot on his trail is harder to shake than he might think.
...is High Point’s head nurse. He takes great pride in managing his staff, although recently, his love for Dr. Anne has distracted him so much that he hasn’t noticed the eating disorder plaguing his most trusted RN, the missing patient pain medication or the Trojan horse hiding beneath his nose. Alex will either take the fall or rise to the occasion. Destiny will decide.
...loves a good story. As an investigative journalist working at a large newspaper for nearly four decades, getting the scoop was his job. It was only after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer that he quit smoking. Although his days are numbered, having come across some mysterious evidence left by the High Point Hospice janitor, it seems that Michael still has one last story to break.
...lived in the sunshine. So much so that he got melanoma in his lymph nodes. After a routine check up found a lump under his armpit, a failed attempt to lance the seemingly benign growth ended up ballooning into a grapefruit size malignant tumor. Being just 23 years old, Tristan tries to see the bright side as he works tirelessly to breathe life into the final days of an 80 year old African American singer.
There is a lot going on in the world of While You Wait. Each of these interesting stories are all weaved together, arriving, like a ballet, into a tear-jerking finale that ties up loose ends, but unravels others, ultimately leaving the viewer in suspense and wanting more…much, much more. Here is a glimpse of what we will witness in web season one…
Dr. Anne and Alex try to control their forbidden love for each other, but are ultimately unable to and end up sleeping together in her office before she loses her job and Alex is framed by Paul for medicare fraud.
Omar is hot on Paul’s trail, eventually figuring out that Paul has been buying supplies that never arrive for patients that don’t exist - having it all look like it was approved by Alex. But just as Omar stitches together the final piece of evidence, he finds out that his girlfriend has been cheating and takes one too many pills, hoping to kill the pain.
After Mary’s father comes stumbling into her work, off his meds and bleeding from a self inflicted wound, she has to summon all her strength to stop purging and start setting boundaries. After all, it’s not just her father that she has to take care of, her screwball tween twin sisters need all the help they can get as well, not to mention herself.
Having kept his terminal diagnosis a secret from his friends, Tristan doesn’t want to deal with the fact that he’s going to die. To take his mind off the sad truth, he puts all his energy into coaxing a very reluctant Winnie to sing for him by throwing her a holiday mash-up party. Sadly, Tristan never gets to hear her sweet voice.
Winnie has pushed down the trauma of being beaten in her teens for nearly 70 years. But after a visit to the hospice chapel and an eye opening chat with Dr. Anne, seeing the lengths that Tristan went to make her comfortable breaks her heart wide open and finally unlocks enough trust in humanity to sing one final song.
When Omar doesn’t show up to their never-ending chess match one day, Michael realizes that the documents and conspiracy theories Omar was sharing with him are real and sets out to write his final article in hopes of saving High Point Hospice Center.
By keeping the action of While You Wait in one location, we are able to keep the story perfectly interesting while keeping the cost of production low, all at the same time. Designed with the budget in mind, this show will use its limitations to breed creativity. Check out these reference photos to get an idea of all the possible sets that will be available to production…
"They say that love is more important than money, but have you ever tried to pay the bills with a hug?"
In the proof of concept version of this project, there are roughly ten, 6 minute webisodes that equate to the first “season” of the web series, which, if watched in its entirety, would compare to the pilot episode of a normal 60 minute long-form show. Shooting this show as a web series first is an affordable way to test the subject matter amongst an online audience thirsty for short-form content. Consider the following reference links for short-form concept testing platforms:
With a budget of just under 200K for the 60 minute proof of concept, not only will we be able to possibly build an online following, but after the studios see the pilot, we might be able to go straight to series.
“What an awfully big adventure it would be to die?”
- Peter Pan
This show has considerable adult content, some sexuality and adult language, but could easily be adjusted for cable television. Although, in the opinion of the creators, this show would be better served playing on any one of the popular streaming platforms such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO, etc. As While You Wait follows the lives of both the living and the dying, this show allows for intrigue, mystery, character study, and a reflection of life at its most delicate moments. While You Wait is about the time in between the bigger, life-defining shifts and changes…while you wait for test results, while you wait for more news, while you wait by the phone, while you wait for the other shoe to drop. Dying may be the end, but it’s also the joy of rebirth…
For more information and to request the pilot script, contact Matt Boda at:
11333 Moorpark St. #50
Studio City, CA 91602