By Katie Hartigan, Nick Hadlock, and Anderson Fan, VI Form
(In)Visible: The TV Pitch Project Winner
Unified in isolation, six strangers’ morality is put to the test when taking a pill makes them invisible to everyone but each other, but what they don’t know is that they are part of a social experiment and are constantly being watched.
(In)Visible is a two-season television show falling under the category of sci/fi, drama, and thriller. It is about six main characters that participate in a seemingly risk-free drug trial by Osiris Pharmaceutical that leaves them invisible to everyone except each other. They must cooperate in order to overcome the challenges presented to them and the mystery of what happened to them. Little do they know, they are being watched by six “monitors” behind the operation who are observing the behavior of people who think nobody is watching. Themes of cooperation, isolation, and leadership emerge as the characters find modes of survival and uncover the mystery. Season One ends with the six participants transitioning into monitors, and thus inheriting the responsibilities of monitors. New participants are introduced as the six monitors give them different moral tasks as part of the social study. Season Two ends with the new participants discovering how to escape the cycle: do the right thing.
(In)Visible is a sci/fi television series with dramatic and thrilling elements, that draws inspiration from the themes included in the hit ABC television show, Lost, yet (In)Visible is unique in its plot. It begins in Season One to follow six primary characters: Patrick, Lynn, Walter, Aileen, Jessie, and Robert, as they unknowingly volunteer to test what they believe is a migraine drug. In reality, it induces them into a state where they cannot be seen by anyone except for eachother, or so they think. While they are existing within the populated city of New York, they are isolated and confined in their interactions, making “union in isolation” a primary theme of the show.
The plot line follows relationships, as characters clash with each other over disagreements about how they should use their invisibility, what they should do to survive, their plans of action, etc. Themes of cooperation and leadership emerge, as the six participants figure out ways to work together for the benefit of their livelihood.
The driving force behind the show is a social experiment conducted by six “monitors” who orchestrate the drug trial and observe the six participants in order to explore one question: how do people act when they believe nobody else is watching? (In)visible explores how people’s morality can change when they believe there are no consequences to their actions.
Transition is also a prominent theme in the show, as Season One ends with the six participants transitioning their role from pawns to orchestrators of the experiment, as they become the monitors to the new participants. As monitors, they have the ability to stage certain situations to see how the six participants will act. Will they make the selfish choice and show humans to be naturally corrupt, or will they prove that there is hope for goodness in humanity?
This show will be two seasons with twelve episodes in each season. The season guide is as follows:
(In)Visible begins with a group of six individuals, all from different backgrounds, together in a conference room of a medical office building within New York City. These strangers, Patrick, Lynn, Walter, Aileen, Jessie, and Robert, are alone in the room together as a loudspeaker thanks them for their participation in Osiris Pharmaceuticals’s trial of florabenzatin- a new, highly anticipated drug that is supposed to relieve migraines. The six participants have been told that the drug has previously been tested for safety and they are needed as the participants for the final round of testing for the drug, and they are rewarded the compensation of $1,200 for their time. Each participant has their own reasoning for volunteering for the drug trial, as explained in the Character List of the Pitch Bible.
All six participants of the experiment leave the facility and go on with their daily lives as they typically would. After about an hour or so, each participant blacks out. An undetermined amount of time later, their eyes open and they’re alone in each of their respective homes, and everything seems to be normal, as if they could have simply fainted. As time goes on and characters interact with other people, whether it’s a family member walking into their house or them going out to buy coffee, each of the six participants realize that nobody is responding to them nor can they seem to see or hear them.
Note that the basics of their invisibility are:
- They cannot be seen by other human beings except for other participants, monitors and the administration of Osiris drug company itself
- While they cannot be seen, they cannot move anything while in the line of sight of another human (unless it is a monitor or other participant), but when nobody is around or backs are turned, they can steal/touch/move whatever they wish
- The participants do not need to be restrained by the laws
Patrick wakes up on the couch of his home, then walks into his kitchen to find his sister struggling with her math homework. He knows that something is wrong when she does not respond to him asking if she needs any help. Then a rewind effect occurs to hours or even a day prior, to show Patrick’s backstory and why he volunteered for the Osiris drug trial. Scenes could include shots of Patrick with his mother and sister, indicating his family structure, or imagery of him as the quiet yet very intelligent student in the classroom, to depict that although he rises as the leader of the six participants, he was not always a leader. A key scene could be Patrick coming home from working and setting a portion of his earnings into a “college fund” jar to show his yearning for a college education. There is then a fast forward to him quickly taking the pill, and then another fast forward to him returning to the building where he took the pill in search of some answers about why he is invisible, and this is where he reunites with the five other participants. For more information on Patrick, see “Character List” section.
Lynn wakes up very confused while she is lying in bed next to her husband, but when she tries to shake him and speak to him, he is unresponsive to her, but seems to wake up when he hears the phone ring soon after. The same rewind effect occurs, and scenes from Lynn’s past fill in the gaps of why she participated in the trial, such as her choosing her family over her education, but then having this constant feeling that something is missing in her life. The same fast forward effect to her quickly taking the pill occurs, and then another fast forward to her also returning to the Osiris Pharmaceutical building and reuniting with the other participants. For more information on Lynn, see “Character List” section..
Walter awakes on a subway bench, and when he asks a man sitting next to him for the time, the man does not respond. There is the rewind effect to Walter before the drug trial, telling the story of how he served in the US Army but ended up a homeless veteran, yet retained his good morals for all of his life. Then there is the fast forward effect to him taking the pill, and a fast forward to him reuniting with the other participants at the site they first met. For more information on Walter, see “Character List” section..
Jessie regains consciousness when she lifts her head from her crossed arms on the table of a coffee shop. Very confused, she stood up, walked up to the register, and tried to order a coffee. Jessie stepped forward when the barista yelled, “Next!”, but she continued to yell, “Next!”, even when Jessie was standing right in front of her. After realizing she’s invisible, the rewind effect occurs to show her privileged childhood, but her family’s recent decision to financially cut her off, along with other details about her past. The fast forward occurs again to show her taking the pill, and then reuniting with the other participants. For more information on Jessie,see “Character List” section..
Robert wakes up in his desk chair in his office, and when he buzzes his secretary to ask her a question, she does not respond. He walks out of his office to go speak with her, but she acts like he’s invisible. The rewind effect occurs to show scenes of Robert inheriting his father’s company, and how Robert turned to gambling as a release of his stress. The fast forward effect shows Robert taking the pill, and then coincidentally running into the other participants as they all look for answers at the Osiris Pharmaceutical building. For more information on Robert, see “Character List” section..
Aileen awakens on a moving bus, but when she asks the bus driver to let her off, he does not react. It is not until another passenger asks to be let off to bus that the doors open. Aileen’s life rewinds and scenes of her previous life are shown, such as her being arrested and then taken to prison for a robbery, and then time fasts forward to show her taking the pill and seeing the other participants. For more information on Aileen, see “Character List” section..
At this point, all the six participants have been reunited for the first time since taking the pill, and they have all realized that they’re invisible. This marks the end of the first episode of Season One.
Season One as a whole continues on as it introduces the characters and the universal conflict they face: that it seems that they cannot be seen by anyone other than each other. Each character has a different role in the group. While Patrick was quiet in his life as a student, he finds his voice of leadership and is able to be the voice of reason among the six, often being the mediator between conflicts and the one that people look to for decision making, likely due to his intelligence. Lynn becomes almost a maternal figure, as she is the oldest woman in the group. She is very cooperative and kind, and she rarely causes issues. Walter is similar in that he is very kind, but at times, he challenges Patrick as a leader because Walter is very morally against stealing food, but sometimes Patrick deems that that may be necessary for survival. Robert must overcome his reputation that the media portrayed him and prove to the remainder of the group that he is not greedy and selfish like people may assume. Jessie struggles to work with the other five participants, as she has rarely been in a situation where she must cooperate with others. She often can be unstable, as her fearfulness gets the best of her and she spends her time panicking rather than contributing to a solution. Aileen initially causes problems within the group, as she is unwilling to work with others and sees the invisibility as a free pass to cause trouble. She has a habit of separating from the others because she prepares to be alone. Eventually, the group finds a dynamic that works best for them, and they are able to cooperate with one another.
Within the six participants, conflicts arise between different individuals, as their ideologies and values clash. They are faced with dilemmas such as, should they steal food from a shop even if it means some employee will be punished for the loss of that food? Should they even care if someone does get punished, because it has no effect on them as they are invisible? Divides within the six emerge, as different characters take different stances. The six participants also put a few clues together throughout the season as they begin to notice strange people dressed in black observing them from afar (monitors).
The final episode of Season One includes the six participants noticing a faint mark appearing on the back of their left hand. As the episode progresses, the mark grows larger and darker to create a more full image, and Patrick begins to put pieces together and through a series of flashbacks, notices that he’s seen the mark before on strange men he’s seen, who often appear in black as if they are watching him and the other participants. This mark is the ankh, and it is the symbol that each monitor has on the back of their left hand, symbolizing their role as a monitor. The final episode ends with the ankh marking becoming complete, leaving it implied to the viewer that the six participants are about to transition to become the new monitors.
The participants realize that ankh-shaped tattoo appeared on the back of their hands, and they realize that they have turned into the monitors. In order to fulfill their responsibilities as monitors and continue the social experiment that they now realize they were once a part of, they create scenarios to test the new participant’s moral codes. The new participants include: David, Jay, Russell, Shannon, Willa, and Laurie, all of whom who hate being invisible and wish to return to their normal lives. While new participants are introduced and included in Season Two, these new characters do not hold as prominent of a role as the original six did, for Season Two focuses on the perspective of the six monitors rather than of the new six participants.
The morality of the new six participants is put to the final test during the finale of Season Two. Each participant receives a note from the monitors that gives then a unique and personal task and forces them to make a choice: they can complete the task and regain visibility, or ignore the task and live the remainder of their life invisible. For every new participant, their unique task includes them taking the life of someone they care deeply about. However, the monitors lied and in the end, those who choose the virtuous and morally right path are granted freedom from their invisibility, while those that complete the task for their own self benefit are doomed to a life of isolation as they remain invisible. Laurie, Shannon, Russell, Jay, and David end up choosing the virtuous path and are granted a return to their old lives, while Willa alone obeys the task and sacrifices her husband for her selfish reasons, and for this, she is bound within her invisibility for the rest of her life. However, the monitors observe that the other five participants choose the virtuous path, showing that there remains hope for humankind to make morally just decisions despite the belief that one’s actions are invisible.
The original six participants:
Lynn Barnes is a middle-aged woman from Boston. Lynn was smart and motivated when she was a young adult, having attended a suburban prep school and continuing on to attend Northeastern University. She had always planned on becoming a lawyer, but she began dating a man, Eric, who was a year older than her and focused on research. He got a job offer at the end of his senior year that he could not turn down, and which required a move to New York City. Lynn chose to go with Robert rather than staying in Boston to complete her education. Soon after the move, the couple got married and had children, and Lynn became a stay-at-home mom, so she abandoned her aspirations for the sake of her family. As time passed and Lynn got older, she got increasingly more tired of her everyday routine, so she started to mix in different activities that she wouldn’t typically do. She never did anything drastic, but she does do little things like try different fitness classes, go on small trips, etc. One day she heard saw an ad for the Osiris Pharmaceutical drug trial, and out of sheer boredom, she decided to participate. When interacting with the other participants, Lynn is very kind and cooperative, and willing to work with others to find a solution.
Walter Joyce is an elderly man who had lived his whole life in New Hampshire, until he decided to serve in the army. Upon his return, Walter had great difficulty finding work in his small, rural hometown, so he decided to move to New York in search of greater opportunity. However, as a man lacking a college education and any particular skills, Walter did not find much luck, and ended up a homeless veteran. Despite his misfortune, Walter was a very kind man with good morals, and he made his way by doing whatever he could to make some cash. Walter saw an ad for the Osiris Pharmaceutical drug trial, and was immediately convinced to participate, due to the $1,200 compensation. Despite being homeless for a good portion of his life, Walter retained his good morals and refuses to steal food or harm anyone for his own survival. This causes slight conflict when the six participants become invisible and are presented with the opportunity to steal without consequence. Otherwise, Walter gets along with the other five participants.
Patrick Kennedy is an 18 year old boy native to New York. He is a very intelligent and motivated kid, and would be on track to go to college, if only his family could afford it. Patrick’s father died when he was young, leaving only Patrick’s mother to care for him and his 10 year old sister, Lily. Patrick had worked at various fast food restaurants through his high school career, as well as doing jobs for neighbors and friends. Through this, he had been able to earn money to help his mom with expenses, along with saving some for his college education. Patrick participated in the drug trial, as he saw it as an excellent opportunity to make a significant amount of money that could contribute to his college fund. After Patrick is reunited with the other six participants, he naturally arises as the leader of the group. Because he worked so much and held so much responsibility in his family, Patrick tended to be shy in school and not as outspoken as some of his other classmates, but he finds that he is much more comfortable with the smaller group, allowing him to rise as leader due to his intelligence, logical thinking, and ability to take others into consideration when making decisions.
Jessie Silva is a 20 year old girl from a suburban town in Connecticut. She grew up privileged as the only child of two successful parents, and rarely did not get something she wanted. She was always placed in high-end schools, but never really applied herself because she was used to being handed everything in life. However, on her 20th birthday, her parents had had enough of her spoiled behavior, and decided to cut her off financially. Jessie moved to New York to temporarily stay with a friend, as her parents forced her to leave their house. Jessie had never worked a day in her life and was lost without her family’s support, and in search for an opportunity to earn money for herself, she found the Osiris Pharmaceutical drug trial, and volunteered immediately.
Robert Gibson was the 30 year old son of the deceased Lawrence Gibson, founder of Gibson & Company, a successful investment banking firm based out of New York. Lawrence had passed away a few months prior to the start of the show, and to the public, Robert was seen as Lawrence’s greedy son that inherited his father’s company and fortune without really working for it. The stress of his father’s death caused Robert to turn to gambling, and when he takes $1,000 that he’s not supposed to touch, he finds the drug trial as a way to earn back the stolen money. When interacting with the other five participants, Robert proves that he is not what his reputation says he is. While everyone expected him to be an entitled man that did not know how to work hard, he shows them that in reality, he is likable and considerate of others.
Aileen Samuels is a 30 year old woman who was born in California, but moved around from place to place throughout her youth, as she was in the foster care system. After being neglected by multiple foster parents, she fled the system and turned to thievery to support herself. Aileen got caught up in more serious crimes with groups, and when she and a few others attempted an armed robbery of a jewelry store, she was the only one to be caught, and she was sent to prison for 5 years in upstate New York. When she was released, she made her way to New York City and found the drug trial as an opportunity to make money for herself. Aileen causes conflict within the group. Because of the environment in which she grew up, she does not easily trust others or cooperate with groups, so she makes it a habit of running away from the others to live as a loner rather than collaborate with the group to figure out what happened to them.
The Monitors are a group of people behind the operation of turning the six participants invisible. They will not have a large physical presence in Season One, as they are only seen in the background watching the six participants from afar, and do not have any dialogue. However, while they may not have a physical presence, they are an essential component to the show, as they are the ones conducting the social experiment on how the six participants act when they think nobody is watching.
The new six participants:
David Gilbert used to be a band member. He was crazy about playing music, which is a field that he barely has any talents. David’s obsession for band music eventually jeopardized his future. He is currently living in his parent’s house, and the expenses of this entire family depend on his dad’s hourly wages as a cashier in a 7-11 store.
Jay Gatz is a 17 years old high school senior who was committed to Holy Cross Hockey team. Jay is 6 feet tall and constantly bullies other students from his high school for fun. Earlier this month, he had a huge fight with his parents due to the fact that his dad won’t allow him to purchase Range Rover for showing off in front his friends. The reason why he partakes in the drug trial is that he wanted to buy a Range Rover without any financial assistance from his parents.
Russell François is a hard-working, middle aged man originally from Quebec, Canada. Russ grew up being extremely bright and was able to work his way to the top of his class at McGill University. Studying Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, he later passed on his education by becoming a professor at Boston College. Repeating syllabus’ and no longer academically challenging himself, Russ quickly grew tired of his profession and started to drink aggressively. After struggling many years with alcoholism, Russ visited a rehabilitation center for six months and was able to point his life in the right direction again. Now, with a new positive outlook, he sets out daily to better the lives of those around him.
Shannon Brown is a 25 year old woman struggling to afford her expensive lifestyle in New York City. After a difficult separation from her longterm boyfriend, Jose, she was left with no place to go. Unable to complete high school or college, Shannon was unable to find a high enough paying job for an apartment. After a long, moral dilemma, Shannon made the decision to resort to prostitution. Sadly, this alone does not cover the bills.
Willa Hurston is a 45 year old woman who moved to New York because her husband contracted cystic fibrosis and was in vital need of professional care. New York Presbyterian Hospital had a renowned thoracic department, but the Hurston’s were struggling to pay the medical expenses, so Willa volunteered for the Osiris drug trial.
Laurie Watts is a 20 year old living in New York City with her boyfriend, Danny. Laurie specializes in painting, while Danny is a sculptor, and both moved to NYC hoping to take their art careers to the next level. However, they struggle to pay rent and cover the costs of art supplies, so they take up any extra opportunity to make money when it presents itself. Laurie found the Osiris drug trial and immediately signed up.
The Monitors switch between Season One and Season Two, as Lynn, Walter, Jessie, Aileen, Patrick, and Robert transition to become the monitors once the ankh appears on their hands. The monitors have a much larger physical role in Season Two, as Season Two focuses on the perspective of the monitors rather than of the six participants.
Isolation and union in isolation:
In our show, we plan to incorporate isolation as a prominent theme. This show draws inspiration from the ABC show, LOST, in which the cast is isolated on an island, bringing out themes of cooperation and leadership. Our show is similar, yet very different, as our six participants are isolated and invisible in that they can only be seen by one another, yet the pill that they take induces a state in which they exist in populated society, yet cannot be seen. This dynamic is further complicated because while these six individuals believe they cannot be seen by anyone other than each other, they are being watched by the monitors.
In numerology, each of the numbers has its own meaning behind the digits. In our show, we focus on the numbers six and twelve. Based on the numerology, “6 is the most harmonious number of all single-digit numbers; no groups or organizations can function without the power of the 6 to keep them together and safe.” However, flaws and upsets exist in the number six; it is filled with idealism, it is over-trusting, and it is easy to take advantage of. We determined that the participants in the drug trial should be comprised of six individuals, as they eventually form a unified group of six, while the Osiris Pharmaceutical Company takes advantage of them. The number twelve, however, indicates the necessity to be cautious under all the circumstances and being suspicious to those who offer wealth or status. Each season of our show, we have six participants and six monitors, so together there are twelve people involved. The number twelve also indicates a full cycle of experience, which is similar to the cycle of the characters first being members of the six participants, and then evolving to become the six monitors, creating a total of twelve roles.
Leadership is a characteristic capable of emerging in anyone. This naturally occurring theme arises often in our show as the diverse perspectives work to lead the group through this time of chaos and confusion. Though everyone is able to contribute, one character is implicitly elected to lead the group. This position becomes vital to the group’s progress as conflicts arise. Patrick, although he is the youngest of the group, naturally arises as the leader, although it would not be expected. It is revealed in the first episode through flashbacks that Patrick was a quiet student in his large class size in high school. However, Patrick discovers through his journey with the other five participants that he thrives as a leader in a smaller scale setting. His intelligence and level-headedness make him an ideal leader for the conflict that him and the other five participants face. Also included is challenges to leadership. There are times when Patrick’s decisions are challenged or when people may not necessarily agree with him, but also there are moments when all the participants look to Patrick for answers.
The Ankh cross represents life and death, and balance and cycle, which closely relates to our topic of transition and the changing of roles. In our show, the ankh-shaped marking is on the back of the monitors’ left hands. The six participants change roles from being the subjects of the experiment to the conductors of the experiment, and this occurs when the ankh marking appears on their hands.
Osiris is an egyptian god known to be the guard of the afterlife. As guardian of this gate, he is often depicted holding an ankh as it is the key to the afterlife. He is also the god of transition, dealing with resurrection and transitioning those who are ready to move on. The Pharmaceutical Company is named after this god because the two closely relates as they both guide the participants as they walk the line between our typical world and an alternate reality, the invisible. Imagery of Osiris is depicted within the logo of the Osiris Pharmaceutical Company as symbolism for what the company does.
Other elements explained:
Sci/fi with some thriller/dramatic elements
(In)Visible was chosen to be the title for this film series because we feel it encompasses the overall story of the show: six people who believe they are invisible, but are actually being watched, and therefore, are visible.