TV pilot meets with success

Published 10:40 pm Friday, June 29, 2012

Dexter D. Cohen Photo Drama: “The Feelers,” a teen drama-thriller created by Lakeland High graduate Le’Auntray Burch, has been picked up by CW-27 WGNT, provided sponsorship can be found. The five main cast members of the show are Ozella Harrison, Arie Robbins, Matthew Mesce, Haven Spirellis and Trey Harrison.

A Lakeland High School alumnus is searching for talented actors after his television pilot was well received by Hampton Roads station CW-27 WGNT.

The pilot for budding writer-executive producer Le’Auntray Burch’s teen drama-thriller “The Feelers” was mostly filmed at his old high school.

Burch shopped the pilot to several TV stations, and now that CW-27 has expressed interest, he’s preparing to film 12 complete episodes.

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“We still need to find sponsorship, as far as advertisers,” Burch said, saying businesses interested either in commercials or product placements were being sought.

The show, which Burch has described as a combination of “Saved By The Bell” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” centers on an attempted alien-teacher takeover of Lakeland High School, and efforts by a plucky group of students to repulse the invasion.

Burch commenced writing the script when he started working on his degree in entertainment business from Full Sail University, after graduating from Lakeland in 2009.

“It’s been a crazy ride,” he said. “This is the first professional show that I have worked with.”

Suffolk is actually the main star of the show, he said, with scenes filmed at various other locations around the city, including Amici’s Pizza Café on East Washington Street, the show’s local teen hangout.

The complete episodes Burch is working on will require many more characters than the pilot.

“We’re looking at a full cast of main characters and minor characters,” he said.

To recruit the extra talent, an open audition will be held at Applebee’s on College Drive on July 28, from 9 a.m.

“People interested, whether in main characters or minor characters, just show up, and if they happen to have a shot and resume, they are more than welcome to bring that along as well,” he said.

The show now has a new director, Nansemond River High School graduate Arthur Bradshaw.

“We’re still filming at Lakeland High School; Suffolk Public Schools has been amazing to work with,” Burch said.

Burch ultimately hopes to find a wider audience for “The Feelers,” though he’s pleased that locals should now get the opportunity to see his creation.

“We hope that it’s something that the people in Hampton Roads enjoy, and if it’s successful enough, we’re going to try to syndicate the show and take it out of Hampton Roads and get some more exposure,” he said.