"I read HOT GEEK and thought it was a really fun set-up with some terrific dialogue...it's a very strong piece and I'm not surprised by all the accolades you've already received for it. It's a really meaningful slice of life show." -Danielle Gelber (Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, Ally McBeal, The Sopranos)
HOT GEEK is a single camera, 30-minute scripted dramedy about an exceptional teenage girl who goes through a dramatic transformation and constantly finds herself stuck between two conflicting paths. In each episode, she must use her brain, her strange new body, some inspired tactics and a few brilliant gadgets to solve her predicament.
I’d like to stress how Hot Geek is positioned to capture the zeitgeist.
There are two dynamic movements gaining momentum in this country every day, and they are intersecting.
The first is S.T.E.M. (Science Technology, Engineering, Math). Teachers, professionals, bloggers, politicians and entertainers are working hard to bring the “geeks” out of the closet and into the mainstream. A response to the rising cost of education, poor test scores and the declining number of engineers in the United States, this push to popularize tech is seen as practical, realistic and patriotic.
The second is a huge push to bring S.T.E.M. to girls. There’s even a term for it: GSTEM. The goal is to empower girls and young women to look beyond fashion, Disney princesses, and the Kardashians and toward learning, careers and leadership. Examples of this include all of the moms who marched with their daughters on 01/21/17, Amy Poehler’s “Smart Girls” and GoldieBlox with their Super Bowl commercial:
For teens, there is the exploding sport of robotics, which attracts students from all over the world to conventions and competitions like the annual VEX show in Anaheim. VEX was recently broadcast on CBS.
You probably spotted a number of girls in that video, but it was easy to see that the boys outnumber the girls about twenty to one.
But that’s changing. Girls are not only banding together to out-engineer the boys, they are bringing their own sense of style to it.
These movements are thriving in schools and being chronicled on the Internet, but no mainstream television series has captured the zeitgeist of GSTEM. No teenage female heroine has emerged as a pop culture icon to wave the flag of GSTEM.
Enter Patti Dingham.
HOT GEEK: THE SERIES
PATTI DINGHAM, 15, was always known as “the fireplug,” because she was 4’10” and boxy. She was a huge nerd who excelled in school and at being invisible to the world. She was the only girl on her high school Robotics team and was always fighting for recognition. It wasn’t easy, but at least she knew her place.
BEFORE: A cruel drawing made of her by a boy…
But that all changes when she undergoes a massive, painful growth spurt over the summer and returns to school a leggy 5’10,” with no clue how to function in an unfamiliar body when suddenly everyone is noticing her, from jealous cheerleaders to the girl’s basketball coach to boys.
Patti must struggle every day to find her new, true self while stuck between her old geek friends and the chance at her first kiss with a good-looking jock.
HOT GEEK is the sweet and sour saga of an exceptional teenage girl who must navigate between the various sectors of her dramatic and quirky ecosystem during a pivotal transition in her young life. This is a show aimed primarily at females aged 12-34, but I feel it has strong crossover potential with a male audience. I’m a guy and I’ve written a show that I would watch. I compare this show tonally to shows like Jane the Virgin, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Awkward. Smart, but not afraid to fall down a staircase for a laugh. Patti is a high school Ally McBeal, but book-smarter.
HOT GEEK is about today’s modern American young person growing up in this new wave of feminism and geek culture — my dream is for the show to continue on for many seasons so the fans can follow Patti through college and into the work world. Above all, this series is written to have a ton of heart and energy, relentless in throwing obstacle after obstacle at a girl who must find the strength she never knew she had to stand tall.
Robotics will play a big part in Patti’s life and the show. She will always be building some kind of gadget and she will use her ‘bots to get herself out of, and into, scrapes. Sometimes they work brilliantly, and sometimes they crash and burn and the result is epic disaster. (By the way, the road to ruin is often kickstarted by Patti’s wily best friend DARCY, who has a talent for selling Patti on bad ideas.)
Patti’s ‘bots will be a big part of this show’s brand and her character arc. Her creations will be used to actively and visually express central themes and arcs over a season.
But this show is not just about fun technology.
Yes, HOT GEEK has a love story. There is a hunky jock boy who is the object of our heroine’s affections: LARS, 17. But here’s the difference with Lars, as Patti discovers in the final scene of the pilot: Lars is smart. Really smart. But…he’s too scared to let people know it. He’s in the brain closet, and Patti is the only one who can chip away at his well-crafted facade and give him the confidence to reveal his true self. It’s about time the cocky jock character showed some vulnerability, like a real teen, right?
There’s a lot more to the show that is showcased in the pilot script — there’s a fun ensemble of quirky characters and a touching balance of drama and comedy — and it has gained attention from a number of sources.
- Invited to apply to the inaugural Sundance Episodic Writer’s Lab by Franklin Leonard of “The Black List”
- Featured script in “The Black List” industry email
- Semi-Finals (Top 50) of Industry Insider Television Writing Contest
- Semi-Finals Pilot Launch Contest (Top 5% out of 500)
- 2nd Rounder (Top 10% out of 8,000) in Austin Screenwriting Conference
- Featured on The Unproduced Table Read on the Popcorn Talk network
Comment from an Austin judge: “The dialogue is the crowning jewel of this script. Smart, heartfelt, snappy and insecure, the characters had unique voices which rendered them an open book. Very nicely done.”
One more important element of my vision for this unique series.
It’s crucial that HOT GEEK the series is seen as authentic and real to its audience. Toward that end, I think the show needs two special components…
1) YouTube videos that profile the actual robots used on the show. The robots in the series will be REAL. They will WORK. You will watch the ‘Bot of the Week be built and demo’d on the Hot Geek YouTube channel.
2) Robotics Advisor. The Robotics Advisor must be a female engineer who has already achieved fame or is ready to explode. Heather Knight and Cynthia Brazeal come to mind.
Whether engineer, scientist, artist or thought-leader, this is the age of the machine. There is nothing more creative than getting to design them ourselves.
Heather Knight is the Rock Star of robotics. She is the founder of Marilyn Monrobot and the Robot Film Festival, has been published in The New York Times, profiled in Forbes, made the cover of Wired, worked on the famous OK GO Rube Goldberg Machine music video and given Ted Talks:
And, let’s be honest, Heather is “hot.” She is basically the real-life Patti Dingham. I have traded a few emails with Heather but I had no offer to make. I’d like to officially approach her when the show gets some traction.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It all begins with the script. To read it, please email dan at actfourscreenplays dot com.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
“HOT GEEK” copyright © Daniel Calvisi