The Pitch

JEWEL SHEPARD:

“If I’m So Famous, How Come Nobody’s Ever Heard Of Me?

This is the show that asks the musical question, “Can a girl from North Carolina come to Hollywood, become rich and famous and adored by all…and marry Clark Gable?

Jewel came to Hollywood to marry Clark Gable... Approximately 18 years too late.

Jewel came to Hollywood to marry Clark Gable… Approximately 18 years too late.

Obviously, the answer is no.  At least, today it is. Clark is, uh, shall we say, unavailable?

But the rest of it – the wealth, the stardom, the adoration – that’s all quite possible. Which is not to say it’s probable.

Nevertheless, every eleven seconds, somewhere, someone makes a decision to Go For It; to gamble both ego and bankroll on a career before the cameras.

If I’m So Famous, How Come Nobody’s Ever Heard of Me? is the hilarious (we hope) story of one Jewel Shepard – star of “Return of the Living Dead,” “Christina,” “Party Camp,” “Hollywood Hot Tubs” (I and II!) and countless other cinematic gems that clog up the cable, late at night. Jewel is the girl who came here from North Carolina, who now finds herself in this bizarre position…

To zillions of B-Movie Fans (mostly male), she is a certified, Grade-A M*O*V*I*E S*T*A*R, no less incandescent than Jane Hathaway or Drew Barrymore. But she sure doesn’t live like either of them. Or get paid like them. Or have Martin Scorsese begging her to star opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in  his next epic. There is a Jewel Shepard Website, MySpace, Facebook, Hi-5 but, still, casting directors peer at her, wondering who she is, while pondering what to make of a resume that includes some very odd films, indeed.

What happened to her before, during and after the time she found herself breaking into so-called B-Movies is the subject of our show – a series of vignettes, mostly comedic but with an occasional touch of Hard Reality in them. She is our autobiographical narrator and she “stars” as Herself…which doesn’t seem like a breakthrough role for an actress but it is when they usually make you play hookers, bimbos and convicts.

Women love hearing Jewel explode those exploitive cinematic female “roles” and they identify with what a lady has to go through to get anywhere in the world. Men love the “backstage peek” that Jewel affords into her movies and her mind.

Imagine…

  • ANGLE ON A TV SCREEN
  • Only we don't know yet it's a TV screen; all we see is a clip from "Hollywood Hot Tubs," featuring actress Jewel Shepard as a bouncy bimbo. As it progresses, we slowly PULL BACK to reveal its being watched on a TV somewhere and we HEAR the voices of two late-adolescent male fans...
  • FAN #1 (OVER:)
  • That's her. The one jiggling all the time. Jewel Shepard.
  • FAN #2 (OVER:)
  • Awesome. Wasn't she in "Party Camp" and -- oh, what was that film with the zombie dudes? -- Oh, "Return of the Living Dead?"
  • FAN #1 (OVER:)
  • Yeah. Only she didn't jiggle in that one. She kinda, you know, got nuked.
  • FAN #2 (OVER:)
  • Awesome. I wish I could get nuked.
  • FAN #1 (OVER:)
  • I wrote her, like, a letter to her fan club and she, y'know, wrote me back.
  • FAN #2 (OVER:)
  • Didn't.
  • FAN #1 (OVER:)
  • Did so. Hey, listen...
  • His hand brings the letter up into FRAME to read it.
  • FAN #1 (CONT'D)
  • See, I wrote to her and I asked, like, what's the hardest part of making those movies you do? That's not what I really wanted to know. I really wanted to know her bra size but I figured it's like, uncool to ask that on a first letter. So I asked her what's the hardest part of your career. And she answered me! She did! She said...
  • DISSOLVE TO:
  • THE SCENE - A DARK STAGE IN "LIMBO"
  • A single spotlight from above illumines the spot where Jewel wanders in, dressed like she just got off the bus from North Carolina (which she did), toting her battered Samsonite. She stops, sees "us" and decides to let us in on what's on her mind...
  • JEWEL
  • I used to say the hardest part of my career was the bus ride to Hollywood from North Carolina. Eighty-eight thousand continuous miles, sitting between a woman whose baby made Sam Kinison sound soft-spoken and an old drunk who hadn't bathed since the Truman Administration. Of course, I said that before I'd actually gotten a role in a B-Movie. How was I to know the bus ride would be luxury compared to four weeks getting whipped and losing my shirt in a Roger Corman epic?
  • As she strolls over, the spotlight illumines the ground, revealing stars like those on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She pauses on one heralding CLARK GABLE.
  • JEWEL (CONT'D)
  • I came here for two reasons. One was to become a star. Another was to marry Clark Gable. This was the 1978. It turned out Clark Gable died in 1960. Okay, so they don't get Variety in North Carolina. How was I to know? And it was sad, the way I found out. I came here to Vine Street, just South of Hollywood Boulevard and here I found his star. See? And I was standing right here, telling nobody in particular that I was going to marry Clark Gable when this wino passed by and said --
  • An old WINO wanders through and, without breaking stride:
  • WINO
  • Forget it. He's dead.
  • JEWEL
  • "Dead?"
  • The Wino is gone. Jewel is devastated by the news.
  • JEWEL (CONT'D)
  • Dead. Okay, so I was a little late. There went one of my two dreams and -- wouldn't you know it? -- it turned out to be the easier of the two.
  • Another light comes on, illuminating a mysterious figure in the upstage darkness. He white suit -- identical to one worn by Rhett Butler in "Gone With the Wind" -- makes him stand out, even if we can't see his face. And the voice is unmistakable:
  • CLARK
  • Things were different when I came to Hollywood. If Louis B. Mayer liked the way you looked -- bang! - he'd have in front of camera before you could say, "Lana Turner." Of course, if you were Lana Turner, he'd have you somewhere else, if you know what I mean.
  • JEWEL
  • Things haven't changed that much. Except now there's a lot more women who want to get into movies. And every guy with a digital and a sweater tied around his shoulders thinks he's Louis B. Mayer.
  • CLARK
  • That's the way it seems, I know. But you take it from me, kid. If you got the face and the talent -- and you're in the right place at the right time -- you'll go the distance.
  • The apparition starts to fade. Jewel chases after it.
  • JEWEL
  • But wait! What's the right time and where's the right place? You have to tell me! You're part of the reason I'm here. From the first time I saw "Gone With the Wind" and dreamed of being part of it all, I've wanted to come out here and be with you! You have to help me!
  • CLARK
  • Frankly, starlet...I don't give a damn.
  • And the ghostly figure exits into darkness. Jewel is alone again. After a moment, she gets her composure.
  • JEWEL
  • When the man's right, he's right. I was alone. But I wasn't discouraged. That came later. I knew...the first thing I had to do was to get myself an agent!
  • JEWEL turns and the lights come up around her. We are in a cramped, seedy, agent's office. She enters the scene and we see and hear a vignette of the tragi-comic ritual of trying to get an agent when you have no film on yourself...when, of course, the only way to get film is to get a job which, of course, means you need an agent...and so on...


 

Our tale progresses through a series of episodes like the Agent one, all linked by Jewel’s personal, autobiographical narration. She tells us horrendous/hilarious stories of…

THE FIRST AUDITION – That horrifying moment when the two people behind the desk ask, “Have you read the material?” And you have but you still don’t have a clue what they want. And, even more horrifying: Neither do they.

 

THE REAL JOB – Okay, so you pay first and last month’s rent until you get some parts in film. So you get a “real” job – in Jewel’s case, it was stripping. And then comes the day when you have a major interview with a producer tomorrow and he walks into the club tonight. How do you do your job and hide from the man, lest he find out what you do at nights?

 

GETTING YOUR S.A.G. CARD – Your first part in a movie and you finally get that elusive entrée into the union. But that one line (two seconds of screen time, tops) is such a letdown. And it gets cut out of the film, anyway…

 

THE PRODUCER – Then there’s the audition with the big-time producer whose films you watched when you were a kid and whose idea of exercise is chasing you around his office…the ones where the doors lock from the outside. Somehow, you’ll never watch his old movies again quite the same way again.

 

THE AGENT – The guy who tells you that you shouldn’t have run so fast when you were in the Producers’ office. Thanks a lot, fella.

 

PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSLY – Your friend got a part and not you: How to fake a smile and heartiest congratulations. Who says you can’t act?

 

THE ACTING CLASS – They make you sit on the floor, chant silly chants, try to imagine what it would feel like to be a bagel…and pay fifty bucks a week…for this?

 

MOM – This is the woman who raised you. This is also the person who believes you go to U.C.L.A. aiming for your law degree and that you work part-time in the student cafeteria. And, guess what: She’s coming to town, the same week your first film comes out and you don’t have your shirt on in it.

 

THE ENDLESS AUDITIONS – You sit there and you sit there and you sit there, surrounded by ten girls who look just like you, dress like you, talk like you…and who all have (it always seems) more credits and a better “in” with this director.

 

THE TAX AUDIT – Try explaining to the I.R.S. guy that a case of Revlon #9 Acne Cover is a business expense.

 

And there’s a lot more to it than that. Via a series of vignettes, Jewel “answers” her fan mail and gives us a funny, sexy tour of the Life and Times of a B-Movie Actress… Hollywood as seen from the bottom of the escalator. She wants us all to come along for the ride –

— and it wouldn’t be polite to say no.

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