By Jill Urbach
I have devised a plan to get the San Juan Island School District out of the financial crisis it is in. Permanently.
Inspiration came while watching this year’s Ryan Smith Performing Arts Festival at the high school. The teens who performed were multi-talented writers, directors, musicians and actors whose skills could provide so much more than an enjoyable date night for locals. Their skills could be directed toward a forum that would give our island a national stage and make money at the same time.
A reality show.
Think of it. Our schools need money. Reality shows are currently the cheapest to produce and some of the highest-grossing shows on television. And what could be more intriguing to the American public than life on “The Rock?” Don’t you know people who simply can’t fathom life without McDonald’s or Target? Who laugh at the idea of no freeways or stoplights? Who can’t quite grasp the idea of taking a ferry?
Our little island is such a unique mix of small-town Americana, sophisticated urban escapees, country folk and “local characters” that a show about us couldn’t help but be entertaining.
The possibilities for episodes would be endless: The rivalries and antics of local politicians. Old islanders vs. those darned California newcomers. The deception people think they can get away with in a small town. And, of course, the county fair episode in which the excitement generated by the Zucchini 500 would fascinate viewers.
Our audience would be hooked and the money would come rolling in to our schools.
This is where the Ryan Smith kids come in. You students must get this off the ground. You have the talent and, more importantly, you’re the demographic we want to reach, from whom we can ensure ratings.
Theo Pratt and Wynn Barnard can share directing duties. Avery Adams and Christian Carter will write the show’s theme song. The other musicians from the festival can help provide the music for each episode. (Anna Gunnarson will simply have to remain in the States until we get this show off the ground.) Pratt and Clayton Banry will write scripts when necessary. (Surely you don’t think reality shows are completely unscripted, do you?)
You actors from the festival will not only play yourselves in our reality show, but you must use your skills to draw out your friends and relatives and manipulate the drama of the show. Oh, you may lose friends in the process, but buck up; it’s for a good cause. And your reward will be the episode where you each get to invent a character and prey on unsuspecting tourists.
I recognize that many of the Ryan Smith performers are seniors and have college plans. My message to you is this: College can wait. This is a legacy that you owe to the schools who helped you develop such talent. If you were worthless boobs, we wouldn’t be asking such a sacrifice from you. But talent has a price and I am asking you to pay it. Just for a year. While you get this show off the ground you will be training the underclassmen to take over the reins. With a mentoring system in place, our island show could run … indefinitely.
Don’t forget the merchandising opportunities a successful show can offer. Lunch boxes, action figures, purple and gold apparel and the show’s soundtrack can make additional millions.
Our school district will never lack for funds again.
— The Fred Yockers “actin’ figure” and Michael Soltman bobblehead will be in stores this fall.