Full pilot and story bible available upon request
An ensemble of high-school aged students struggle to find their footing in the most competitive school district in the county, but one of them doesn't survive to see graduation.
I was raised in Los Altos, California, a small town neighboring Palo Alto in the Bay Area. My coming of age story took place in the Silicon Valley during the onset of our world’s biggest technological boom. I went from watching VHS tapes to being a part of the first generation brought up with social media. I observed social media’s detrimental effects on self-esteem and mental health first hand while my peers, and I, struggled to find our footing in this new world.
When I was twelve years old, in seventh grade, I recall overhearing the word “suicide” whispered around my school campus for the first time. One of my classmates had slit her wrists and wrote a letter in her own blood. Although the Bay Area has an illustrious reputation, navigating success can be difficult because of the unrealistic expectations this community puts on adolescents. My home town was deemed to have the highest suicide rate amongst youth in the country.
In Palo Alto, we open on a suicide right around graduation time. Although uncertain who the victim is, we know it is someone close to our protagonist, Sophie Pisani. We then rewind two years. The series investigates each individual’s personal challenges and leaves audiences determining: Who has it the worst? Who isn’t capable of keeping up with the social and academic pressures of living in the most competitive area in the county?
My hope in creating Palo Alto is to shed light on the complexities of living in such a seemingly pristine area. Not everyone is as happy or as fortunate as they seem. Whether you grew up in a household with a parent who has had a failed entrepreneurial venture, a scandalous divorce, or are secretly undocumented amongst the ICE raids, there are a lot of factors that make living in this area more difficult than it’s made out to be.
Palo Alto will acknowledge problems that all teenagers are facing across the country. We have characters struggling with body image issues, sexual identity, mental health, peer pressure, and social status. Additionally, the series addresses various marital and parenting concerns. My hope is for these stories to resonate with everyone, no matter who they are or what their background is.
After being pressured into attending the school’s auction, Frankie’s pettiness lands her an evening at Indiana’s finest Michelin-rated restaurant for an ungodly price. Mike and Frankie attempt to make the most of the situation, but they quickly realize that $1 pizza is where they are truly happiest. Brick burns a bridge when given an opportunity to make a friend, and Sue lands herself a starring role in a commercial, only to find out it’s actually an infomercial for fungal warts.