Welcome to Durango Falls Colorado, a quaint town where rival families microcosm the differences between two groups of people who have been at odds with each other since the beginning of America, and since the foundations of ancient civilizations:
People of the CITY vs. People of the LAND
At the heart of our story are the business minded, liberal DeMarcos & the conservative, rancher Parkers – rival families who have ruled Durango Falls ever since Colorado became a state - by manipulating local affairs using their influence over the town’s institutions & playing segments of the population against one another to maintain a delicate balance of power.
This balance of power begins to unravel with the new forces arriving with the advent of marijuana becoming legal in Colorado.
Supporters who have for generations been dependent on either side are now forced to follow their principles, switch allegiances, or join a new outside power moving in.
In the midst of this chaos is Chief, a Navajo medicine man who is in the background, but whose presence is everywhere, who does not understand the white man, but whose wisdom oftentimes offers the cure to the multitude of problems created by civilization.
If only civilization would listen.
Elements of a “Binge-worthy” Series
While binge watching appears to be the new normal in viewing habits, not all series are enjoyed the same way. Netflix examined global viewing of more than 100 serialized TV series across more than 190 countries and found the average time a viewer completed watching an entire season was one week.
This completion pattern fell into two distinct viewing behaviors:
1.) Shows that were SAVORED – viewed less than two hours a day
2.) Shows to DEVOURED - viewed more than two hours a day
Designs based on Data
As the screenplay writer of this series is also a PhD student in online instructional design and has access to research studies around the world on most any topic (besides private studies such as the one by Netflix mentioned earlier) the following model was created to illustrate the elements that made for what can be considered a “Binge-worthy Series”:
1.) Multi-layer complex storyline hooks
2.) Intriguing Characters
3.) Individual & Social Distresses
4.) Multi-layers in philosophical attributes of Storylines/Plots
5.) Extreme obsessions of Characters & their Desired Results
Durango Falls has all of these elements….and more. With a diverse cast in class & cultures, the plots & storylines manifest through a multitude of viewer demographics so as to have something for everyone, and something everyone can identify with.
Whether it’s a certain “clique” found in every high school, that individual who seems to belong in another time, or a situation we’ve all been in…and wished we could do over.
Format & Structure of Series
As a Michener novel, we follow a family feud over several generations, just not in sequential order. A unique aspect of telling this story is jumping between the years:
1876 1916 1956 Present Day
to show how people & events are different, yet how some things also stay the same.
As illustrated in the pilot, the format in these “time jumps” will have the Teaser & opening scene of each Act occur in a different historical time, while the rest of the show will take place in present day. These historical opening scenes will on average be 2 to 3 minutes long, allowing the audience to ‘step back’ for a moment in order to see – or imagine – a story within a story.
To keep continuity, as well as be a vehicle to reveal change, each actor will play themselves in each of the different times. For example, Sheriff Hernandez will be Sheriff Hernandez in each of the four historical periods played by the same actor.
However, in the case of only the Madison DeMarco & Blake Parker characters, while the actors will be the same in each time period, these two will instead have different names & personalities in these time periods to reveal the evolution of each character’s behavior. For example, Madison DeMarco in present day will be Lillian DeMarco in 1916, yet played by the same actress. This will allow for the actors to portray their characters with different personalities in each time period, while the other characters – the Sheriff, the Mayor, Cassie, etc. – play their roles using the same personality, but in a different context in relation to their time period (speech patterns, social etiquette, etc.).
This composite mix - characters that change vs. those who don’t - allows for a multitude of “stories inside of stories” as well as more puzzles for the audience to solve.
Chief – Mother Nature personified as well as the eyes & ears into the spiritual world. A Navajo medicine man from a long line of medicine men going back centuries, Chief’s philosophy is also a constant vehicle into unknown & metaphysical occurrences, offering logical & simple explanations to mystical & even biblical references.
Chief is constant through the ages, the only thing changing is his clothes.
Madison DeMarco – Present Day - Stern. Cold. Calculating. A Russian librarian. HIGHLY INTELLIGENT. A shrewd businesswoman who seductively plays chess with nearly every conversation, negotiation, & relationship. Owner of one of Durango Falls’ smoke shops, she is a millennium conservative in a traditional liberal family
Madison in 1876: Cora
Madison in 1916: Lillian
Madison in 1956: Judy
Blake Parker – Currently on his mission, he is also questioning his own identity having grown up in a conservative Mormon family. Born & bred for taking over the family ranch he is drawn to the city, and Madison (who in season one is avoiding him). They have a Romeo & Juliet attraction, the only problem being they are polar opposites.
Blake in 1876: Ira
Blake in 1916: Wilbur
Blake in 1956: Edward
Clarence DeMarco – Leader of the family & many local civic institutions, he is voice of reason in the DeMarco family, however enjoys the social aspects of business more than the nuts & bolts & strategy required to run their empire.
Marilyn DeMarco – Domineering social climber, the ruthless member of the family, she was already rich before getting married, good-looking and of exquisite manners. We don’t know in the first season if her evil is intentional or simply knows not what she does.
Adele Parker - Leader of the ranching interests developed from years of being a teacher & principal, now retired. Strict, bitter still from an issue in her youth, she “cares not to come up any higher but rather get you into the hole that he’s (she’s) in” – Bob Dylan.
Brett Parker – Your solid man of the earth. Understands people in the context of the animals on the ranch & farm he lives & loves. Ex-rodeo champion, he is disappointed son Blake has not followed in any of his, or any of his ancestor’s, footsteps.
Cassie – An employee of Madison at the Smoke Shop in present day, she has a Joan Rivers mouth that gets her into trouble in any age, with any group – except with the present day incarnation where her humor is appreciated…at least by Madison.
Marcos - Out of place no matter what time he’s in…loves classical music in modern times, science fiction minded in 1918, an emerging beatnik/hippie in 1956. Each time period offers a different approach on how to deal with ‘not fitting in’.
Sheriff Hernandez – The military minded force to be reckoned with in the area, impatient, unstoppable, and a bit too quick on the trigger at times. If you are in a fight, this is someone you want on your side, no matter what side of the law you’re on.
Deputy Hogan - Ahead of his time & never appreciated, he represents the intellectual civic recourse in fighting crime and the one who thinks outside the box in problem & crime solving, as opposed to the Sheriff’s approach of brute force.
Mayor/Minister Eli – A man of God who practices what he preachers and is the only one trusted by either family to be mayor of Durango Falls. He has a proven record to put spiritual principles above politics, however not all principles stand up to the test of time. One of the original Buffalo
Pilot Script available upon REQUEST