Newport, RI: The Series is an idea, born from a gallery viewing of artist, William Heydt’s, “Newportant People”, watercolor series of paintings. The people who were in the paintings were there that night. Each painting became bolder and more vibrant as I spoke with the people and actually saw their personalities come to life in these colorful, detailed paintings. Later, as I reflected on the paintings, each character came to life – their story on canvas. What were they really like in person, where did they live, what were their family dynamics?
The following is a synopsis of this idea which took on a life of its own as it grew into a potential series for television – what if we took those stories, brought them to life – actually bring a piece of art to life, and then share it. Matching the paintings with fictional characters and stories allows us to drawn in an audience and keep them coming back. With over 150 paintings in this series, the story lines are an endless source of inspiration.
Tom C. Erb, Creator
Synopsis of characters, development of story and first episode conflict.
Newport, Rhode Island – known for the America’s Cup Sailing Challenges, Opulent Mansions and Gilded Age fantasy, spectacular landscape – and Art. Drawing visitors from the world, the culture of art, history and architecture keeps the streets full, and the economy strong. Behind the scenes, it is the local people who truly represent Newport. They are important to the fabric of the community – they are Newportant. Newport R.I.: The Series coming in 2012 will bring to life the paintings of world renowned, local artist William Heydt. Heydt has produced hundreds of watercolor paintings of the local people and landscapes of Newport over the past twelve years in his series “Newportant People.”
The new series Newport R.I. will take his paintings and have fictional scripts written for each image. In addition, many of his landscapes will be a part of every episode so that the story fades in and out of Heydt’s paintings. The pilot consists of six images that tell fully scripted episodes. Each episode will end with short interviews with the actual people in the painting with a discussion about their experience being immortalized in a Heydt painting. In addition the very talented and immense musical community of Newport will be composing original music.
The Story Line
Newport’s most renowned playboy/artist Richard Davenport born with a golden spoon in his mouth is from old Newport and has inherited much of what he has from his Grandfathers railroad fortune. He was educated at De LaSalle, Brown University and Harvard, he is an adventurer, loves polo, opera, sailing and art. Although he has an interesting collection of art, his biggest interest is painting. As a child he was sent to French arts schools for the summer to study with the most renowned European artist of the time. He wasn’t very keen on his studies then, but as he got older, his interest in vibrant watercolors was revitalized. He began sharpening his skills by painting unsuspecting people in the parks of Newport. Richard has never married, lives a very active life, and has lots of acquaintances, but not many close friends.
Richard’s hobby is to watch the people of Newport. Not the visitors and tourists but the people that live and make Newport their home. He watches them downtown, at cafes, on wharfs and at the beach. He also follows them in the local newspaper The Newport Gazette. His interest is in a column called Island Characters written by Tim Sullivan.
Tim Sullivan is a local man who attended Rogers High School and went to University of Rhode Island majoring in Journalism. He was hired by The Newport Gazette right out of college as a beat writer. He has had several stories that were picked up nationally and internationally, such as; “Losing the America’s Cup, “The Trial of Claus Von Bulow and “Stephen Spielberg films Amistad in Newport, RI” Tim has settled into writing about the people that make Newport their home.
These two men become acquainted though a chance meeting when Tim was writing a story about a local firefighter family at the Newport Fire Department, and Richard is staging a family portrait at the fire station. The meeting leads to a partnership that brings the people of Newport R.I. and their stories to the world.
The setting revolves around Tim Sullivan’s story depicting the firefighting Maguire family. On this day we learn that Davey Maguire, the youngest son of Deputy Chief John “Tug” Maguire, has been called up to serve his country. His National Guard unit was being deployed to Afghanistan. Davey is married to Shawna and they have a very young son named Ryan. Unfortunately while in Afghanistan Davey is killed. The family is obviously very distressed, but for brother “Tin”, this event brings up deep buried emotions that inflames and strains relationships with friends and family. Tin and Shawna had a high school romance. Tin was a senior star football player and Shawna was a new innocent freshman. Their relationship was serious and they were both very committed to each other. .
The following year Tin went off to the University of South Carolina on a full football scholarship. The relationship fizzled due to distance and lack of companionship. Neither really got over the other; they just moved on. Tin was focused on football and Shawna was still at home. Shawna turned to Davey to fill a void and after graduation they married. Tin never really forgave his brother or Shawna, but he buried his feelings and moved on with his life.
Davey’s death left Tin with a huge desire to first protect is brothers wife, but his inner feelings would just bring back the past. Over the next few months Tin and Shawna explored their feelings and the rest of the family is confused and torn apart. Tin’s older brother Lt. Steven “Hydrant” Maguire, the most disturbed by Tin and Shawna’s budding relationship, is infuriated and his emotions escalate to a volatile level.
This explosive situation comes to a peak at a six alarm fire. While fighting the fire Tin is trapped in the burning building and his brother Hydrant comes to his rescue and pulls him to safety. It is at that physically exhausting moment when the two brothers collapse and embrace, flooded with emotions from recent events and the realization that they came very close to losing each other.
The episode closes at a Firemen’s Benefit celebrating Davey and the Maguire Family commitment to their community and life of service with a memorial scholarship in Davey’s name. When the cover is pulled from the easel it is the Richard Davenport painting from the opening of the episode. Cut to the firehouse staging of the painting…fade into painting. The end.