I left a well-paying job in the corporate world by choice some time ago to follow my passion for storytelling. At that time, however, I watched a disturbing trend develop wherein very experienced, talented (and, I should add, highly compensated) individuals were being forced out to bring in younger, less experienced and less talented (and, I should add, less expensive) replacements.
Most of these freshly unemployed people were baby boomers at or near retirement age; but had no intention of retiring. Their work was their life. Yet, they suddenly found themselves unemployed and virtually unemployable due to their age.
As a screenwriter, this sad dynamic formed the genesis of BENNY BUCHENSTEIN, the protagonist in my screenplay, “Benny B”. A hall of fame baseball announcer, Benny gets tossed by new management for a younger, prettier face in the broadcast booth. He’s hurt. He’s lost his purpose. He’s lost himself. And the people around him take notice as bubbly Benny transitions into a cynical, curmudgeon.
He’s a perfect sympathetic character and his unexpected journey forward—with an equally sympathetic and unlikely 12-year-old sidekick, JACOB—gives him the opportunity to become a real hero and discover a new purpose to life.
I played baseball and even managed a men’s team in Denver, Colorado. I also admired Big League Chew shredded bubble gum in a pouch as a reasonable alternative to chewing tobacco; a product so many players somehow believed to be a necessary fixture in the game. At one point I reached out to Big League Chew’s creator, Rob Nelson, a former major league player. So, it was only natural that I would weave bubble gum into the narrative; without which, Benny could never achieve his goals.
The result is what I believe to be a fun, comedic sci-fi adventure that is relatable and enjoyable for audiences of all ages.