Dear Industry Professional,
Grifters is a dark half-hour comedy that started as a joke. A friend of mine found out his student loan autopay had been stopped without his knowledge because he was from Texas (he lives in LA) and Texas had just suffered a “major disruptive event” (Ted Cruz went to Cancun). This curtesy added $6k in accrued interest to his debt. When I asked why he wasn’t more upset he told me he’d already accepted he’d likely be paying these loans for the rest of his life or “until I fake my own death.” Thus Grifters was born.
Logline: Two co-dependent best friends drowning in student loan debt decide to fake their death after a freak accident leaves them presumed dead. When their story is picked up by the national news cycle, the growing pressure threatens to destroy their friendship and their chance at freedom.
Synopsis: Molly is the first in her family to go to college. She graduated with a sense of purpose and pursued her passion: teaching high school biology. She loves it, but a teacher’s salary hardly pays the bills, and she’s been forced to take on a second job. Alex entered college for the same reason most upper-middle class high school graduates do: her parents made her. By the time she decided college was one big scam, it was too late. So she put off graduating by entering any grad program that would take her since loans don’t kick in until you leave school. When the two are mistakenly presumed dead after a freak car accident, they impulsively decide to play along.
However, committing major fraud is no easy feat. Their death sets off a chain reaction when the local news story of Molly’s car crash gains national coverage. After their death is ruled a suicide, they are declared the face of the national student debt crises, becoming famous overnight. Not only that, but Molly’s parents file a claim on her life insurance policy resulting in insurance investigator Penny Jones being sent to question the police report declaring their death a suicide, or even a death. As if that weren’t enough, an entire network of true crime fans become obsessed with their disappearance and form an online community around investigating it with some convinced they aren’t even dead. So much for going gently into that good night.
By the end of season one, Molly and Alex’s friendship is fraying as the two panic about whether to forge ahead or come clean to the world and face the consequences. Before they can decide, Penny Jones, the insurance investigator who’s been looking into their case, discovers them, and they go from national martyrs to American villains faster than you can say, “Student debt relief has once again stalled in the Senate.”
Bio: Weslie Lechner is an award-seeking screenwriter whose credits include the sci-fi comedy short Eindis Ends It All (Taiwan Pitch), the musical satire Willy Wonka and the Weed Factory (Fremont Center Theatre), the web pilot Murder Roommates (WhoHaha, YouTube's Women in Comedy), and the fictional comedy podcast Private Detective Randy Randy (Stitcher Indie Pod Pick). She was a semifinalist in WeScreenplay's 2022 TV Contest, a quarterfinalist for the Script2Comic Contest on Coverfly, and University of Michigan's Blue List TV Comedy Pilot Winner for 2020.
Closing: Weslie Lechner can be email or through her website www.weslielechner.com which also includes links to her work.