TOWNSEND — Around this time last year, Townsend native Rachael Paradis, now 25, packed everything she owned into her car and drove across the country, relocating to Los Angeles armed with little more than a film degree from Fitchburg State University, experience as a reporter and a radio personality, and hope.
“When I moved to L.A., I didn’t own a bed or have a job. I literally moved here on the whim that maybe, just maybe, I could live my dreams,” said Paradis.
Luck was on her side; within four months, after working as a dental assistant (for which she is also trained), Paradis scored a job that a friend told her about as a writer’s production assistant on the television show “Psych.”
“You can apply to all the jobs you want, but you won’t get it unless you know somebody,” she said.
Paradis’ boyfriend, Brian Way, also a Fitchburg State film program graduate, made the transition with Paradis and got a job as a production assistant with TVLand.
Now, only one short year later, the ambitious couple has begun developing and producing their own television show pilot with creator and co-producer Dave Love. The documentary series, called “Two Wheelin’ America,” focuses on two avid motorcyclists, Steve Gleit and Andy Jowsey, riding throughout small-town America and promoting its unexplored history. Paradis is the show’s writer and co-producer and Way is director of photography and co-producer. Love, who works at TVLand with Way, came up with the idea and approached the couple about participating.
“Dave has this whole thought about all these hidden stories — if your hometown could tell you stories, what would they tell you?” said Paradis. “It’s really amazing what you can find, these stories that nobody has ever heard of.”
The pilot episode was filmed in Lake Hughes, Calif. Among other locations, the episode features a lake that is, according to urban lore, haunted by the devil. The pilot also takes viewers to the St. Francis Dam, which broke in 1928, releasing over 12 billion gallons of water and killings hundreds of people.
“You’d drive by these places and never know that had happened, so we want to bring these stories to life to tell America’s history that nobody has heard of,” said Paradis.
Pre-production began in June and shooting started at the end of September, lasting three days. Now, in post-production, the duo are editing and raising money to help pay for the project through KickStarter, an online fundraising platform.
“We put a pitch out there and strangers or people we know donate money,” said Paradis. So far, the group has raised around $2,000 from donations through friends as well as several strangers.
They hope to be done with post-production by the end of December. After the show is fully produced, they plan to pitch it to a series of networks, including the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and TLC. If the show is picked up, they will then have to edit the pilot according to the network’s notes.
“Maybe they want a different location, maybe they want to edit it differently,” said Paradis. “It’s just a matter of tweaking to that particular show’s audience.”
Way said he hopes the show will appeal to a broad audience.
“It depends on the person; some people may be into the bikes, others may love our host’s personalities, others may not be interested in motorcycles but love to travel or history. If we hit one or all of the above then we have reached our audience,” he said.
The producers hope to see their show air within six to seven months, said Paradis, with the goal being a full-fledged series. Ultimately, said Rachael, her long-term goal is to have her voice heard.
“If I had to live my dream right now, I want to be someone who creates something and has an important say in it,” she said.
Paradis’ parents still live in Townsend. Her sister, Michelle Lique, has since moved away but said the whole family is elated at what her sister has accomplished.
“I’m amazed at 25 at what’s she accomplished. It takes a lot to move to a different state. She moved across the U.S. Just to be there for only a year and to accomplish working on a major premiere show, I’m just so amazed,” said Lique. “The sky is the limit for her.”
See a short video about the project by visiting kickstarter.com/projects/1174993319/two-wheelin-america-tv-series?ref=live or visit the official website at twowheelinamerica.com.