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Friday the 13th Series

When people hear Friday The 13 they immediately think 80’s slasher exploitation movies; a madman with a machete chasing girls in crop tops.

And that’s what we thought when we were approached about reimagining the series of movies into a televisions show.  

And yes, – we will have blood and violence and the occasional crop top, but what makes us passionate about writing this pilot is elevating F-13 into something people DON’T EXPECT.

A series with intelligence, humor, weird surprises, all within in a character-driven, horror/crime thriller series, grounded in an ongoing sophisticated mystery in the vain of True Detective (Season 1) mashed up with the odd, paranoid, who-can-you-trust vibe of a Twin Peaks-on-acid.

An expansion of the mythology designed to please diehard puritans and a blank canvas to appeal to a whole new generation of viewers to the story.

We’ll tell this tale through the eyes of an accessible hero who comes to a cursed city to find his missing brother and ends up uncovering a massive series of secrets in the bizarre place known as Crystal Lake.

In our vision of Friday the 13th, Crystal Lake has grown up and so has the franchise itself.  It’s time to probe the deep dark depths of the movie’s mythology and explore the mind-blowing secrets under the surface – secrets centering on three men whose lives have been on a collision course.

Our series is about the all the things you don’t know about Friday the 13th – Jason was a very important piece of the horrific events that have defined this community – but he was (and is) just the tip of the iceberg of madness hidden under the surface.

Over several seasons we’ll explore the hidden mystery of murder and madness, secrets and lies of Crystal Lake and its inhabitants.

The series will be built upon the emotional core of a new homicide detective, Ky Morgan, surrounding the search for his younger brother (also a detective), who vanished while digging into the mysteries surrounding the notorious killer Jason Voorhees.

A killer thought long dead or gone – until the murders begin again.

A stranger in an even stranger city, Ky quickly realizes his only course of action is to complete what his brother ,and find out the truth about Jason.

A bit about Crystal Lake in 2015…

In the movies, all we ever saw were a few broken down gas stations, a diner, and a laughable police department.

In F13 the series, it’s imperative to expand the world of the mid-sized city adjacent to the lake – expand out the people who live there.

On the surface, Crystal Lake is a bucolic blending of old and new; the people who’ve been there for generations, juxtaposed with the nouveau-riche tied to CL tech boom, living in their hillside mansions, looking down on the toiling population of small town folks, and the purveyors of higher learning at the local college whose lives they have transformed, like it or not.

While on the surface, this seemingly peaceful contradiction of a community goes about life in a carefree manner befitting its 21st Century reality of progress, there is something unsettling that bubbles underneath; something that reaches back into the last millennium, born out of terrible secrets that are still festering, growing and building to the day when these secrets erupt and changes the lives of all who’ve denied their very existence – secrets consuming a town that is a nexus between evil and good.

Crystal Lake has one black eye the city elders have been fighting to bury in the dustbin of history, one they don’t want to be known for…  the unsolved series of gruesome murders that happened there years ago.   All of which will be a big problem when Ky arrives and starts uncovering that nothing is really as it seems on the surface.

And that is really what the show is all about.  Jason is a monster who wears his mask openly.   The people of Crystal Lake all have monsters inside that they hide with masks of virtue.

Peeling away those masks, uncovering their secrets is the key for Ky to find his brother – and he will do that – or die trying.


We’ll have more updates along the way – including rumored ties between Crystal Lake and its inhabitants and characters that live in another city named after a body of water – a cove known for it blue waters in a place called Delaware.


Steve Mitchell                   Craig Van Sickle



Once a tiny bundle of joy, now a young lady, my niece is becoming an adult this weekend – no not like that – she’s on a spiritual retreat and I have been asked to send her a letter of encouragement as she matures.  Mine reveals one of the most important mysteries of life.



While spending time this week reflecting on the world you bring such a sparkle to, I pray you can be open to the following thoughts and advice about one of the most important stepping stones of growing up and life itself.   It’s about the moment you become an adult.

Let me step back to put this moment in proper perspective.

There are times in life where we make huge steps in our maturity, where we learn lessons that will form the foundations of how we will live life and choose our pathways.   They are known as passages. They are learning moments that start when we are too young to know they are happening at all- our first words, first laughs, first steps and stretch throughout our childhoods.

These passages are usually associated with the adults we know, love and respect the most: our parents, grandparents, and close friends of the family.   These are the people we look up to and trust and from whom we gain wisdom, as they have been and always will be there for us on life’s journey. They are the adults who are there to encourage us to have the self-confidence to take that first step, to jump off the high dive, in fact, to take the chances life itself is built upon.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn from these passages and to learn how your relationship to these special people determines whom you are and whom you will be, for it is within your relationship to these special adults that you will discover the biggest life passage of all.

This passage usually comes when you least expect it.  When things are normal and routine. When you are doing something with these adults you have done a hundred times before, but suddenly you see it all in a different way.

Often the passage takes place during a gathering.  You are in your home with a room full of the people you have always known and trusted and looked up to.  Ones who have always been there for you.  Loved you. Encouraged you.  The ones from whom you have gained wisdom.

It may be a holiday setting and those adults may be celebrating with a glass of good cheer, they may be laughing, singing or telling bad jokes.

The passage often becomes one of those ‘slow motion moments in life.’  You know the ones- those snapshots when everything that isn’t important in life fades into the background, the sound literally drops out, and all you are left with is the clarity of your father’s smile, the twinkle in your mother’s eyes when she laughs, the weird dance movements of their friends.

You look around at all these adults you love and respect, then ones who were there for you in good times and bad, who comforted you when you first fell, stayed up taking care of you when you were sick, who were there for you in the glow of your first kiss, or to wipe the tears away after your first broken heart.  And as you look at these people you will experience the revelation that will change your life forever.

In the clearest moment of epiphany you will ever have, it will suddenly dawn on you, and you will realize without in any doubt in your heart that these people who have been the solid foundation of your life, the ones you have always been there and will always be there for you no matter what, are all as crazy as bat shit!

That you are the smartest person in the room, and yet these clowns and all the others like them are in charge – not just of your life – but of the whole effing world!

This is not a subtle revelation – it’s like a gong ringing in your heart and mind. And it is in that instant you become an adult.

Trust me, it’s a scary moment.

Scary because you realize ‘this is it’ – and it doesn’t get any better.

My advice to you is to run as fast as you can away from these crazy ass adults – before you become one yourself.  Before you come to grips with the fact that your relationship with those crazy ass people is all there is to life.

That’s the next passage.  Then it’s your turn to keep the secret of being bat shit crazy from the next generation – at least until they are old and mature enough to deal with it.

You’re an adult now.

Enjoy life – it’s a gift – and all there is.

Love you,

Uncle Steve



People often ask how it is that we can come up with some many twist and turns, ups and downs, ins and outs when writing the Pretender.  Well, this is a subject that we have been reluctant to discuss for fear of our methods would be copied and duplicated by others.  However, since the demand to know is so high, we have decided to level with everyone. So this is confession time.   We have consultants.   Yes, it’s not us. We employ a team of two of our best most loyal friends, who are genius thinkers, wildly more talented than either of us.  They are the true brain trust behind all things Pretender. Hat in hand, often on our knees, we will crawl to them and – without making eye contact (they hate eye contact) – we tell them where we are failing and ask for any guidance they can provide. Though neither ever read our stories (and we are not sure either of them ever read at all), these little geniuses always seem to have just the perfect answer, just the right question to pose to the audience, the perfect twist with which to create an incredible chapter-ending cliffhanger that keeps you reading in the middle of the night. They are the brains behind the brains behind Jarod’s brains and Miss Parker’s clever quips. And while they are expensive, we believe it’s worth it. Yet… the oddest thing about these prodigies is that they don’t take money as pay.   That would be too easy.  With these story virtuosos, it is all about incentives, making them promises they can’t refuse.  Hell, sometimes we even are forced to bribe them with special edibles or agreeing to go on long walks while they mastermind the next story move. But we threw them for a major loop yesterday when we asked more than we ever have before.  Our issue wasn’t just about a small story point here, a character revelation there, we asked them the big question.  What they thought the 3rd Pretender Novel should be about. We are afraid that we stumped them. Below is a picture of them pondering all the possibilities. If you wish to incentivize them yourselves with special treats they will become your best friends too.





I’m not sure what it was, but something really weird happened to me last summer. It started like this: I’m taking a sip of coffee when the woman smiles at me, slightly tilts her head and answers my question by saying, “When I tell people what I do for a living they think I’m crazy and zone out.”

    “What is it that you do?”

    She said, “I teach classes about communicating with your higher energy entities.”

    Unable of coming up with an appropriate response I just raised a Spock eyebrow.

    She grinned, “I’m an Angel Whisperer.” Then her eyes twinkled.  Real twinkles. Just like in the movies.

    “You’re a what?” I asked, taking a sip.

    “An Angel Whisperer. I can communicate with the heavenly spirits.”

    Trying not to blow French roast out of my nose, I smiled back and said, “Why would they zone out when you say a bat-shit-crazy thing like that?”

    Now, I didn’t say that out loud.

    I said that in my head.

    Out loud I said, “How fascinating. What exactly does that mean?”

    She twinkled again, then rambled on about how she asks questions to angels, listens to their answers and then repeats them to those of us who can’t hear.

    While she was saying this I wasn’t hearing her, or angels; all I could hear was my voice in my head yelling at my wife for roping me into helping her teach a communications seminar for a women’s networking association on how to sell their businesses in 3 minutes or less. Essentially she’d conned me into using my 25 years of storytelling experience as a television writer and novelist to help these women narrow down what they do in a way to hook people so they will listen to their pitch. Sort of what the short scene at the top of your favorite TV show does to make you watch the episode.

    Little did I know I was the one about to be hooked.

    Anyhow, as Angel Lady meandered on about how what she did was based on energy vortexes, time continuums and other dynamic forces, it all turned into Charlie Brown adult wonka-wonk speak and I was no longer listening. I was thinking about how frustrated I’d been with my father and his declining health and that he hadn’t planned for anything and how we had just had to move him into a home that was costing a fortune.

    Still I did my best to plaster on a happy face. But the fake smile shattered when I suddenly zoned back in when I heard myself saying to Miss Whisperer, “Are you outta your effing mind?”

    Now, I think I also said that inside my head – but to this day I’m not positive, because she immediately commented. “I used to think I was out of my mind.”  As she said that I noticed the twinkle fading from her eyes. “Especially while I was growing up.”

    She then told me the following:

    “When I was sixteen I was driving through Laurel Canyon on a misty afternoon when I heard a male voice in the backseat say, “You should get in the right lane.” I looked around, even though I knew no one was there. I’d been hearing voices my whole life and people made fun of me, so I had told myself not to listen anymore. But a few seconds later I heard him again. “Get in the right lane!” I shook it off and kept driving, and then all of a sudden, he screamed: “GET IN THE RIGHT LANE!” I swerved right and the second I did, a dog ran into the street from my left, right in front of a truck in the opposing lane. He locked on his brakes. I slammed on mine. The road was slick and the truck spun 360 degrees into the left lane right where had I not swerved, we would have hit head on. Instead we came to a stop inches apart. Stunned, I looked up to see the dog touch its nose to my bumper.  As he wagged his tail and ran off, I again heard the voice.  He said, “You can drive in the left lane now.”

    “I knew he was an angel.” The whisperer finally looked at me. “Since that day I decided to ‘listen.’”

    It was suddenly very quiet in the room.

    And in my mind.

    I felt something – peculiar – in my chest.

    But this wasn’t the weird thing I was going to tell you about. In fact, this was only the tip of the weird iceberg that would float through my summer.  Anyhow, I stammered something about how when people ask what she does – tell them that story.

    They will want to know more.

    I know I did.

    So I decided to take her class.

    I should state right here I’ve never believed in psychics, or mediums or mysticism. So to justify doing this I told myself, “Hey – I’m in television. For years, along with my partner, Craig Van Sickle, I’ve written a show and now a series of novels about characters, some of which have an ‘inner-sense’ that guides them. Maybe there is something I can learn from her that can help me with that. Who knows, there might be a series in this Angel Whisperer stuff.  Yeah, that’s it.  That’s my reason for going.”

    A few weeks later I’m driving to the ‘seminar’ with two things on my mind.  One, how ridiculous this will probably be.  And two, the guilt I was feeling for hardly ever visiting my father in his care facility.  Maybe it wasn’t guilt, maybe it was frustration, but whatever it was it was eating at me.

    See, the truth is I never really knew my father as a father.  My folks got divorced when I was three and I have no nuclear family memories.  As a child he was a pleasant enough guy on the occasional weekend and summer vacation. And as a young adult, a fun person to go to football games with.  But he was never really a father.  Then one day, as a real adult with kids of my own, my father left his third wife in Texas and came to visit – and the irascible bastard never left.

    Now I was forced to take care of a man who’d never taken care of me.  I was lost deep in my head thinking about how bizarre that concept was when I pulled up in front of the little house in Burbank.

    I decided to put off thinking about dad until another time.

    I had some Angels to Whisper with.

    The class consisted of me and five middle-aged women. All of these ladies were very serious about the spiritual encounter we were about to have and clearly looking for some answers to fill emotional holes in their souls. Looking around this group of women you could easily find in any strip mall in the world, I suddenly found myself saying, “What the hell am I doing here?”

    I said that on the inside; on the outside I said, “Hi, my name is Steve.”  So, as is my nature when in semi-uncomfortable situations, I immediately found myself slipping into my typical class clown  persona, flirting with the ladies to get their minds and mine off the subject at hand.

    And I wasn’t even sure why I felt that way.

    I won’t go through the class beat for beat, but it started with a prayer about opening yourself up to your angels and their guiding voices.  After the first prayer, and my fourteenth joke, I felt myself feeling – well, scared.

    Then something weird began happening.

    It’s not the really weird thing this story is all about, but it’s part of it.

    I started hearing something from the voice in the back of my head. It started as a whisper, then full voice repeating the same word over and over and over again.

    The word was ‘listen.’

    I shook my head, chalked it up to psyching myself out and tried to tune it out and focus on what the other students were saying, but it kept echoing, until it drowned out even their voices.

    At that point my fear turned to a bit of dizziness.

    So I wrote the word ‘listen’ on a single piece of paper on my pad to make it stop ringing in my head.  About 20 minutes later the lady leading the group passed around a booklet for us all, in the order it came to them, to read a page from. When the book was placed in my hand, I turned the page to my reading – which was entitled – ‘listen’.

    No shit.

    Which of course completely freaked me out.  All of a sudden Mr. Jokester wasn’t so cynical.

    I showed the group of women my pad with the same word written on it so they too could share in my – ‘whatever the hell it was’ that had just happened.

    The ‘listen’ thing seemed to resonate particularly strong with the woman sitting next to me.  From the first instant I got along with Melissa as if we’d been old friends, which made me feel very comfortable with her.

    What happened next – not so much.

    We were instructed to ask our angels a question and then ‘listen’ and write down exactly what you heard their voices say.  I won’t go into great detail here except to say I sarcastically ‘asked my angels’ to clarify for me just how ridiculous this whole thing was. The voice I heard laughed and said it was some kind of ‘bullshit weird.’  Now, I assumed the voice wanted to say ‘weird bullshit’ – and had just transposed those words – yet following the instructions, I wrote it down exactly as I heard it.

    Asked for a volunteer to read aloud what we’d heard, the class clown raised his hand.  But while I read my cynical answer to my cynical question – complete with the words transposed, under her breath I heard Melissa say – “oh wow.”

    She’d said “oh wow’ for a reason – for when it was her turn she read what she’d heard ‘from the angels’ it came out she had written down the exact same sentence with the same words “bullshit weird” transposed.

    Melissa seemed to have a very strong spiritual connection to her inner-sense.  During the rest of the class, she repeatedly surprised the other ladies with what their angels were telling her. She had an uncanny knack to connect to what the specific holes in their souls were, especially about deceased loved ones. She spoke to them in freakish detail along with objects she saw around them – with a specificity that seemed to astonish everyone.

    Somewhere along the way it all caused me to feel nauseous.

    She hadn’t seen or heard anything associated with me, as far as I could tell, yet after the class I felt compelled to talk to her.  So we went and had coffee.

     While sipping a latte at a Starbucks in Burbank, (where angels are not commonly known to hang for an afternoon jolt of caffeine), she suddenly got this odd look on her face and then began relating things she said she was hearing regarding me.

    What she told me about myself was dead on. They were things I’d never told anyone.   She then told me two things I will never forget: that ‘forgiveness’ was something I had to get in touch with.

    And that I had to pay for the coffee.

    I sort of slept off the novelty of the day, and in the days that followed either let it go or buried it in my subconscious.  While the Angel Whisperer day had been unique, I’d convinced myself the strange things that occurred were merely coincidence and that there really wasn’t a TV show in it.  I went back to the typical day to day of real life. Writing the novels, trying to avoid my pain in the ass of a father who, the more his health deteriorated, the more I found myself more resentful towards, hoping not to be asked to help any more women learn to communicate their businesses and generally sliding back into the routine of life.

    But a few weeks after I’d left it all behind, Melissa emailed me.

    She said she’d been having recurring dreams about me and asked if we could meet for coffee again to discuss it.

    Before we met I found myself ‘hearing’ the word ‘listen’ again.

    It seemed to be in my consciousness no matter where I was. It was driving me crazy. And while I was still discounting everything – I also found myself compelled to delve into the forgiveness concept. I didn’t know what it was, so I Googled it and found myself staring at prayers on the subject on the Internet.

    That search occurred this past Sunday.

    On Monday I saw her again and she told me that for days and for nights, over and over, she’d ‘been told’ by the angels that she must reiterate to me the need for forgiveness in my life. She then pulled out something she’d brought me – they were forgiveness prayers for that purpose.

    These weren’t the same prayers I’d found on the Internet, but the idea of her bringing what I’d looked up just the previous day got me a little uneasy. All of a sudden I started to feel the same fear bubbling up as well as a bit of the nausea I’d experienced in the class.

    Then if that wasn’t enough – on Tuesday, my wife, out of the blue says to me, “You have a lot of unresolved anger toward your father and I think it’s really important that you forgive him.”

    Of course I come back with “Have you been talking to those ladies at the class I went to? Melissa and the other junior whisperers?”  My wife had no idea what I was talking about, but when I told her what had transpired she said – “Maybe you should ‘listen.’”

    Okay – two or three times is a coincidence – but this is like I was being shouted to from on high. “Okay,” I thought, “I’m listening, I’m listening.”

    The truth was I had a lot of unresolved animosity with my dad.  He was not the father I hoped he’d be as a child, nor as a young adult and now as a grown man. I had a particular and focused amount of anger that had been bubbling inside me toward him.

    So Wednesday morning I go up to my office and I decided to do the forgiveness prayer Melissa had given me for my father and for myself regarding my feelings toward him.

    As instructed, I spoke to my angels and then said the prayers three times with as much feeling and conviction as I could.

    And strangely enough afterwards I felt – calm. Like all of the anger I’d had about him not being the father I had always wished I’d had somehow lifted. Now I’m not saying I heard angels – but I felt like someone or something was looking down and smiling on me.

    Thirty minutes later I got a call to say my father had died.

    He’d passed twenty minutes earlier – peacefully in his sleep – literally within minutes of my prayer.

    That’s the really weird thing that happened.

    Regardless of your relationship, saying goodbye to a parent can never be easy – and yet I found myself strangely at peace about it.

    Maybe because I listened, maybe because I forgave him, maybe because I’d forgiven myself. Or maybe everything weird that happened to me that summer was a coincidence.

    I don’t really know what those inner voices are.

    But I’m going to continue to listen and I hope you also listen to yours as well.

You can follow Steve on twitter @pretendersteve

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