Better World Team story fragment, reflection or sketch...

Save The Birds, Save The Bees,
Save The Pilot Episode

Maya and Jessica sat on the couch sipping their coffees. "We should get going, " Maya sighed. "I guess we can continue this conversation on the way."

"Okay, sure" Jessica nodded as they grabbed their things.

"I mean, don't you think it's weird how Artie is somehow now a part of every aspect of my life?" Maya asked as she and Jessica walked into the Ladies Room, together.

"Well…" Jessica admitted as they examined themselves a moment in the mirror and then each headed for a stall. She wasn't sure exactly how to respond because she really didn't know Maya well enough yet to know what she wanted to hear. This was Jessica's first year teaching at the University and for some reason Maya, the long-time chair of the department, had taken her under her wing practically from day one, and she didn't want to say or do anything that might jeopardize their budding friendship.

"He's young and naïve and a hopeless dreamer … but somehow he seems to charm everyone …" Maya said from her stall.

"He is rather charming," Jessica said cautiously from hers.

"You should have seen the guest-lecture he gave my class on Tuesday on his 'In Search of Utopia' book … He completely captivated my students…"

Maya and Jessica emerged from their stalls at the same time and headed for the wash basin.

"Somehow now my kids are all on fire. He's got them all creating youtube videos to inspire a 'Better World Movement'…" Maya complained.

"That sounds like something you'd be all for…" Jessica pointed out, looking up encouragingly at her friend in the mirror.

"Yeah, but that's my job. I'm their professor and no one's ever gotten that excited about my lectures."

"I got a chance to speak to Artie for a little while at the faculty cocktail party last night…" Jessica began as they finished washing up and the attendant handed each of them a towel.

"Did you see how he was the light of the party…" Maya interjected as they walked past the stalls toward the locker room entrance. "In a room full of academics … he was the one everyone wanted to talk to… and he never even finished college…"

"He did seem to hold his own on practically any topic," Jessica admitted as they reached their lockers and began to change.

"And somehow bring every conversation around to engaging them in his 'Better World' mission…" Maya grumbled as they headed toward the racquetball court.

They didn't say much in between volleys. Jessica had intended to go easy on her new friend; she did have almost 30 years on her. But Maya had little trouble keeping up shot for shot, and when their court time was over, it was Jessica who was out of breath.

"So…" Jessica panted as they head for the sauna, "have you known him long?"

"That's the thing," Maya sighed as they relaxed in the steam. "He's living with me and I just met him on Monday!"

"Huh… you don't seem to be the May-September whirlwind romance type," Jessica said cautiously.

"Well," Maya began defensively, "having him move in with me seemed to make sense at the time…I wanted to keep seeing him, but he was kind of homeless…"

They sat in silence until they'd had enough heat and headed for a massage.

"He's just so much younger than me…" Maya sighed as the masseur eased away her tension.

"Hmm…" Jessica murmured as she blissfully enjoyed her own massage. "But he's not that young … I'm pretty sure he's like ten years older than me, right…?" she pointed out as the masseur was finishing up. "And he is gorgeous," she added as they reluctantly left the massage room and headed over for a facial.

"Yeah," Maya smiled, the oxytocin from the massage still coursing through her veins. "But what am I going to tell Troy?" she moaned, once their facials had been applied and they lay on lounge chairs besides each other with cucumbers over their eyes. "He may be older than my students, but he's younger than Troy!"

"Your son's not a child, Maya; he'll understand," Jessica pointed out. "You said Troy's got two kids of his own, and you've been divorced for 10 years … You have dated before, you know."

"Thanks, Jessica," Maya said after they'd showered and dressed. "You're right. It may be an unusual romance for me, but I'm just going to go with the flow and enjoy myself, for once," Maya declared as they emerged through the fitness center doors.

* * *

"So then the Professor says, 'I'm just going to go with the flow and enjoy myself, for once,'" Bob said to Artie as they headed into the Men's room together.

They glanced at the mirrors as they walked over to the urinals. "I don't know," Artie said noncommittally as they took care of business.

"You hated it," Bob sighed as they washed up and the attendant handed them a towel.

"No, no, not at all!" Artie insisted as they headed into the locker room and changed into their gym clothes.

"I mean, I like the whole 'Better World 101' angle as one of the continuing featured storylines for the Show," Artie continued as he slammed a ball against the wall on the racquetball court.

"But you're not sure how this twist fits in with my original idea … of The Professor… and the class of students … that are working to create a global movement of Better World Clubs ... in high schools … and on college campuses …" Bob panted as he slammed the ball back again and again and again.

"No, it's not that …" Artie groaned as he lunged for the ball. "It's a good alternative version…" he admitted after a few more volleys back and forth.

"Yeah, but?" Bob asked as they headed for the sauna, badly out of breath. Artie, twenty years younger, was hardly fazed.

"Well, you originally had the Better World 101 storyline told from a younger perspective," Artie diplomatically pointed out through the steam. "I think it works better than using Maya and me as the POV characters."

"An easier sell, you mean" Bob grumbled back. "A pretty young girl's face instead of a more mature female lead." They were both silent a while, soaking up the steam.

"I suppose Jessica would be really good as the lead," Bob admitted after their massages had begun and he felt the tension easing out of his muscles. "She could easily play a college student…"

"Yeah…" Artie sighed contentedly as his masseuse worked on a persistent knot.

"But I'm still not convinced," Bob sighed half-heartedly as they lay back in lounge chairs with cucumbers over their eyes after getting their facials. "I think I'm holding out for Maya over Jessica on this one."

"But that really wasn't my main objection," Artie said nonchalantly.

"What do you mean?" Bob asked, but with much less vigor than he had intended. He really wanted to push hard on this one but he was still feeling the oxytocin-high of the massage and couldn't muster up the adrenalin necessary to offer a real fight.

Artie was feeling the same way and didn't answer for quite a while. Bob forgot the question and enjoyed the bliss.

"It's just that I'm … just not sure the 101 storyline is the best one for the Pilot episode," Artie said when they'd hit the showers. Bob thought about it a while as the water sprayed his face.

"You're probably right," Bob conceded as they got dressed.

"Don't stress over it pal," Artie insisted as they emerged out through the Fitness Center doors and headed for home.

"If you don't like that storyline, I do have this binder full of other ideas," Bob insisted as, safely home, they plopped down on the couch and sipped their coffees.

* * *

"If you don't like that storyline," Bob sighed as he gazed intently into Maya's eyes, trying to read her reaction as they sat together on the couch, sipping their coffees, "I do have this binder full of other ideas…"

"No, no… it's not that I didn't like it…" Maya said cautiously, taking another long sip. But her coffee was lukewarm now and she couldn't stand coffee that wasn't piping hot; still, she forced down another swallow while she thought of the right way to put what she wanted to say.

"It has an interesting Wes Anderson meets Escher kind of feel," she said slowly.

"Good," Bob smiled. "I was hoping you'd get that."

"But, and I mean it's nice and all that you're giving a lead role to a middle-aged woman - that's a rarity in scripts these days… but she ends up with the handsome young guy?"

"Well," Bob sighed, "when I wrote that script, I was so much younger. I would have been in the Artie role, but now I'd be Bob."

"But what about Maya - she's my age?"

Bob smiled playfully, but half seriously as well. "I guess I was flash-forwarding to see you as you are now, as my muse back then …"

Maya did a double take trying to let that sink in. After thinking about it for a few moments she decided it was definitely a flirting compliment, but it still sounded too confusing to figure out how to reply.

"Well what about this …" she began, deciding to be bold and press on with her own ideas. "You have two separate damaged-but-not-yet-broken middle aged dreamers who've basically given up on the idea of finding true love, and are at the breaking point of giving up on their dreams …"

Bob's expression seemed receptive so she found the courage to continue on. "And then completely out of the blue, these star-crossed lovers find each other and discover they share the same dream, or a similar enough one …"

"And in an instant they've found love and a life of mission and purpose together," Bob offered.

Maya gazed into Bob's eyes, weighing the effect of their shared words. She would never have thought to sum up their new relationship in that way, but as she gazed at her new lover, she realized that this could indeed be their story. And she liked the idea; in the sparkle in Bob's eyes she saw that he wanted it to be their story, too, and that made her feel a little excited, and a little scared.

"Then they gather a Team of other dreamers and misfits together and create the Better World Show," she added quickly. "How about that?"

Bob's eyes were wide with excitement. Then he blinked. "Actually I do have something like that in here!" He flung open his binder and began searching through it.

"Great," Maya said, but she leaned over and closed the book. "But let's take a break for a bit. I'm sure we can think of something better to do for a while…"

"Indeed, Professor!" Bob said with a wry smile.

* * *

"I'm sure we can think of something better to do…" Jessica said mockingly from the kitchen where she was getting some snacks for the Team together.

"Indeed, Professor!" Artie chuckled as he adjusted the video camera facing the couch.

"Woo…woo…" Jessica chimed in, as she walked in from the kitchen with her tray.

Bob and Maya were clearly embarrassed as they squirmed uncomfortably on the couch.

"What are we fifth graders now?" Maya complained. Not that she thought Bob's multi-scene muli-layered pitch for the opening of the Pilot episode of The Better World Show was any less confusing than anyone else was thinking it was.

"I don't know about Fifth Graders," Melissa called out from behind a pile of blocks across the room. "I'm not even in kindergarten yet, but I thought it was kind of funny…"

Jessica looked up as she placed the tray of snacks on the coffee table. "Wait, who are you?"

"Oh…" Maya said, getting up and walking over towards the little girl. "This is my next-door neighbor's daughter, Melissa. I look after her a few days a week. I hope it's okay she sits in with the Team. I thought she might give us some … you know… fresh perspective."

Everyone thought it would be fine.

"So what do you think, kiddo," Bob asked the new five year old member of the Team from the couch. "We're trying to create a reality show together called The Better World Show, and we're trying to figure out the best way to start telling the story in the Pilot Episode…"

"We've been talking about it for days!" Artie added.

"And we just can't agree on anything…" Jessica sighed.

"What do you think we should do, honey…?" Maya asked.

All eyes turned towards the smallest member of the group. "Why don't you start the Show without any gimmicks ... just tell them how the Team actually got together," she said without looking up as she placed a spire on top of the castle tower she was building.

Everyone just stared in silence for a moment.

"That's actually a good idea," Artie said.

"Yeah," everyone agreed.

© 2015 Robert Alan Silverstein
from The Better World Factory

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The Better World Show
The Reality Show That Will Change Reality

For the past 11 years, I've been wanting to create The Better World Show, a reality show that would inspire action for a better world and provide a way for millions to participate in real-time.

"The Better World Show: The Reality Show That Will Change Reality" would be an SNL-like variety show/reality show that would highlight the many efforts for a better world that are going on, often unseen, all around us, and inspire and empower action through humor, music and cutting-edge and engaging features.

I have hundreds of pages of notes on skits, next steps, a calendar of action, numerous vehicles within the Show and tons of offshoot-ideas. So, in a last ditch effort to try to make this happen before another 11 years go by, I'm putting out this call to either find a team to launch this webseries, or someone who might be interested in writing a series of novels with me based on this concept.

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The Better World Show:
The Reality Show That Will Change Reality

An SNL-like variety show/ reality show, inspiring and empowering a global movement for change in real-time.


Better World Factory
The off-beat behind the scenes exploits of a Team of dreamers, activist-actors and misfits working on The Better World Show webseries' vignettes of humorous skits, inspirational features and original music.

Better World Roadtrip: In Search of Utopia
A roadtrip across America highlighting people, places, organizations and ideas that are helping to create a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Better World Inc
Misadventures of employees in an Office-type setting working for a Corporation without any products or services but whose sole purpose is to create a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Better World 101
Sociology professor teaching from The Better World Handbook, gives his students a semester-long assignment to create a network of Better World Clubs on college campuses around the world and a webseries to inspire and empower the network they've created.

Better World News
A humorously satirical but inspiring take on current events unseen in traditional media outlets.

Better World Band
Music videos and behind the scenes exploits of musicians on tour, performing social-issue based songs.

Better World Girl
Shy dreamer has an alter-ego in her graphic novels about her hipster glasses, beret and scarf-wearing-heroine, The Better World Girl.

The Better World Couple
BetterWorldGuy and BetterWorldGirl engage in a youtube video duel to inspire action for a beter world.

Better World Heroes
A team of dreaming misfit superhero-wannabes embark on a fantastical quest of epic proportions to save the world.


© 2004-2015 Robert Alan Silverstein

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Better World Team
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* Better World Team is Born
* 'Better World Girl' Contest

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Better World Couple
* Dueling Videos


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