TV Series pilot ‘In The Name Of Jamie Wakefield,’ based on book, A Face From Uranus: Correspondence Between Tedd Burr and Henry Bellamann 1943 -1945 on YouTube
JOHNSTOWN, PA, UNITED STATES, October 30, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — When Screenwriter Actor Lenny Pinna was forced to move back to his hometown, Johnstown, PA in 2001 upon the death of close family members, little did he know that there would be a silver lining in that he had the time and resources that could enable him to complete his twenty three year project involving the publishing of a book and the producing of a pilot of a TV series based on the book.
The TV series pilot ‘In The Name Of Jamie Wakefield,’ was shot in the corner of Pinna’s living room using a borrowed iMac with props and fabrics that were sourced from his childhood home attic and costumes obtained from GoodWill. He started the project on September 4th, 2023 with one intentional backdrop — a quilt top designed from leftover fabric from an award winning quilt (Jazz City Rhapsody); which took the 2013 S.F. Quilt show’s top honor—the Viewers Choice Award. The 4′ by 6′ space in Pinna’s living room was transformed into many different set locations using creative and cleaver up-cycled objects. With no storyboards or preproduction design Pinna created all additional sets in motion as suggested by the script. Alone in his house he took on the roles of all production staff. While Pinna was in Johnstown, PA shooting the creative content, his editor, Bonnie Diczhazy (Queen of the Girl Geeks) in Cleveland, OH was receiving Pinna’s daily footage to organize. Their daily calls consisted of reviewing footage and refining scenes. The entire series was shot in a little over 4 weeks with a one week break due to Pinna’s bout of laryngitis. During his break he was able to film promotional videos on TikTok for his recently published book of source material. While shooting mostly progressed smoothly there were challenges to filming in a 24 square foot area. For example, Pinna’s 100+ year-old home had a mid-century style thermostat on the wall where filming took place, the creative challenge of disguising the device turned into unique creative set dressing –including a mailbox, planter, YMCA towel rack and more!
The source book A Face From Uranus: Correspondence Between Tedd Burr and Henry Bellamann 1943 – 1945 was the outgrowth of an earlier film that Pinna had made about the 75 year old Tedd Burr in the docudrama, Letters to Uranus; The hidden life of Tedd Burr in 2000. It was during that film that Pinna discovered the existence of a complete correspondence between 19 year old gender confused Tedd Burr and Henry Bellamann, the famous author of the best-selling novel Kings Row (which incidentally was made into a Warner Brothers film starring a young Ronald Reagan.) When Pinna had the opportunity to read their original letters, he immediately sensed that a much larger and long range project was about to begin–a compelling story about gender and sexuality intertwined with psychological intrigue and classical artistic expertise. He knew that the story he had discovered was definitely too controversial in 2000. He expressed his interest to the elder Tedd Burr about one day telling the story of Burr’s younger life. Burr gave him permission and bequeathed him the original letters in 2003. Pinna felt that he had plenty of time to develop the material into a film or TV series before it would become culturally accessible.
When Burr died in 2012, Pinna, who had begun to form ideas and outlines knew that this was the time that he would more intensely focus on shaping the work. Serendipitously, when researching the life of Henry Bellamann, he immediately found Professor Harry Bayne in South Carolina, who had done his dissertation on the life and works of Henry Bellamann. With even more provocative information that Bayne provided about Henry Bellamann, his wife, Katherine, and Henry’s childhood friend Albert Berghauser, Pinna’s vision of the story exploded from the confines of the letters into a far more comprehensive and imaginatively structured dramatic narrative.
Pinna’s layered dramatic narrative has now become the basis for his current six-part Limited TV series, In The Name of Jamie Wakefield; The series pilot for In The Name of Jamie Wakefield was just been produced by his company Ecclesia Arts and can now be seen on YouTube. He with collaborator Bonnie Diczhazy have synergistically created an expansive scope for the pilot while adhering to a minimalist creative aesthetic. Together they have shot and edited a 90 minute series pilot that features approximately 80 scenes with a few dozen locations. Pinna, himself, plays all of the 25+ characters, keeping a focus on his vision of the story while inviting the imagination of the viewers (and hopefully producers) to envision a bigger budgeted, more fully realized production of this unique historical period drama.
What started in the small confines on Pinna’s home is now emerging to a wider audience via an unconventional venue for a TV series pilot.
In The Name Of Jamie Wakefield, TV Series Pilot “Tedd and Henry, Albert and Jamie”