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Kickstarter Spotlight: Up the Hill

April 10, 2011

One of my goals for the blog this year, is to showcase Kickstarter projects from other aspiring sitcom writers. Advances in technology have made it easier for writers to produce their own work, so I think it’s important to highlight the fact that, in order to really stand out, we have to be more than just writers nowadays.  Also, it’s always interesting to read/listen to interviews online with professional writers after they’ve already broken into the industry, but I also think it’s fascinating to hear stories of writers who aren’t waiting for someone to notice them; they have an idea, so they just go for it.

Project: Up the Hill

Writer: Crystal Hubbard

Logline: A United States Senatorial candidate tries to balance his position of (almost) power, with the desires of the high society meddlers who run his campaign and inform his worldview.

Kickstarter Page:

Twitter: @UptheHillPilot


I “met” the writer of Up the Hill, Crystal Hubbard, through a script swap a few months back. She sent me a Parks and Recreation spec script to read and although there were parts of the script that needed work, I was impressed by the quality of the writing and the thoughtfulness of the jokes. It was one of those scripts where you read it and think, “this writer is definitely going to make it.”

After swapping the first time, we kept in touch and she ended up sending me a short scene (the first incarnation of Up the Hill), which was a conversation between a somewhat clueless senatorial candidate named Willoughby and his advisor, Conrad. Despite the brevity of the scene, I could clearly see the comedic potential of the characters and situations:

(reading from a list of prep questions)
“As a candidate for the United States Senate, do you plan to use your powers for good or evil?”

If I used them for good, I’d get a cape, right?

It would be weird if you didn’t.

But if I used them for evil, I’d get, oh, what’s big in evil circles these days? I suppose a biological weapon or something.
I’m inclined to go with evil. But I think I’d have to ease into it. And I really wouldn’t want to give up the cape. So let’s go with good. For now.

The exchange above captures the tone of the rest of the scene and I wanted to see more of these characters.  The short scene eventually turned into a full-length sitcom pilot script, Up the Hill.

Crystal decided to produce Up the Hill after a friend of hers pointed out that readers have piles and piles of scripts to read every week and they rarely look forward to dive into a new pile. However, whenever a DVD comes in, the DVD gets an automatic bump up to the front of the line since it takes less effort to watch an example of someone’s work, rather than read it.

The first act has already been shot, but in order to finish the rest she needs to raise $5,000 before April 24. Through friends and contacts, she has been able to utilize professional actors and equipment, but in order to finalize the project and maintain the professionalism, it’s going to be expensive. At this point, she’s already raised more than half her goal, but per Kickstarter rules, if she comes even one dollar short of $5,000, she’ll end up with nothing. So, if you can, throw in a couple bucks to help make Up the Hill.

May 2011 Update:  I have good news!  Crystal’s project was fully funded and will hopefully begin shooting in May.  I plan to have a follow-up interview with her after the pilot it finished, so she can confirm that everything went exactly as planned…

Still want to know more about Crystal and Up the Hill? Then check out the audio from my interview with her (below). I’ve broken the audio into three parts, as the conversation ended up lasting longer than either one of us expected. It was a lot of fun and it was nice to geek-out with another sitcom writer, so I hope you’ll enjoy it as much I did!

Part 1 – Who is Crystal Hubbard? The first part covers Crystal’s journey from Onstead, MI to Los Angeles. We talked about growing up in a small town, her work in politics, and everything else that led to her deciding to become a sitcom writer.

Part 2 – Up the Hill Project In this second part, Crystal talks about how the idea for Up the Hill came about and the production process from script to Kickstarter.

Part 3 – General Writing Talk In the final part, we discussed Crystal’s writing habits, the importance of improv comedy, and the impact that technology has had on aspiring writers.

Writer Profile:  Crystal Hubbard

Ms. Hubbard enjoying her native habitat (having recently evaded Sarah Palin's crossbows).

Ms. Hubbard after she devoured one of the best cheeseburgers of her life.(Rosebud Steakhouse on E. Walton in Chicago. Go.)

Hometown: Onsted, MI

Current City: Los Angeles, CA

Favorite Food: Cheeseburgers

Favorite Sitcom (of all time): Arrested Development

Favorite Sitcom (currently on the air): 30 Rock

Day Job(s): Freelance work for a marketing / research firm that conducts test screenings for films; and freelance work for an independent documentary filmmaker

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2011 8:59 pm

    Oh that Crystal…she is such a funny lady.


  1. Press! « upthehill: a television pilot

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