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The Wonderful Counsellor — Original TV pilot by Peter Sagnia and Onicia Muller

After his wife requests a divorce, a moralistic psychologist with a struggling practice learns to let go of perfection and relearn the life coping lessons usually reserved for his patients.

Logline: After his wife requests a divorce, a moralistic psychologist with a struggling practice learns to let go of perfection and relearn the life coping lessons usually reserved for his patients.

‘The Wonderful Counsellor’ was created, directed, and produced by Peter Sagnia. The pilot was written by Onicia Muller. Subsequent episodes were written by Diane De La Haye.

Cast: Edsel Monzon, Jenise Diaz, Shama Flurton, Denicia Liverpool, Frankie Pena, Ayana Mossell, and Adelicia Mossell.

https://youtu.be/8aT-HVL2VQc

Pilot synopsis

ACT I

Dr. Michael Williams, a moralistic psychologist, wraps up a team meeting with his wife, Chloe Williams, and his assistant, Amanda Thompson. The business is struggling and needs more clients. Amanda suggests beefing up their social media. Chloe is a bit distant. She says she’s more worried about getting the cafe ready for the day.

Later that morning, Michael has a session with Diane and her overbearing mother Sarah. This is Sarah’s first time sitting in on a session and she wants to know if Michael is making progress with convincing Diane to become a doctor or lawyer.

Over at the cafe, Cloe’s friend Vanessa comes to gush about her fabulous birthday present. Her husband Kenneth is taking her on an Alaskan cruise. Chloe is jealous and realizes she can never have that with Michael.

Back at the office, Michael is wrapping up his session with Diane and Sarah. Sarah is upset to learn that Micheal and Diane have been spending the time talking about Sarah’s inappropriate dating life instead of school options. 

Amanada is attempting to film a YouTube video. She’s very stiff on camera and decides it’s better to just encourage Michael to take on the task.

As Sarah and Diane leave, Sarah tells Amanda that she’s canceling all future sessions with Michael because he seems unreliable. They are going to a therapist with a larger social media following. Sarah likes what that therapist promotes.  Amanda interprets that as a sign that vlogging is a way to be more relatable.

ACT II

Michael overhears Sarah’s ranting from his office. He calls Chloe to lament about yet another client leaving. Chloe laments that they both work too much, have very little, and she’s running out of time to have kids. As Michael offers an apology, Chloe cuts him off to say she wants a divorce.

Before Michael can respond, Amanda enters. Amanda pressures Michael to start vlogging ASAP. He needs to share his feelings and be relatable or else they will be out of business. Chloe hangs up.

Distraught, Michael finally records the vlog Amanda has been nagging him about. The vlog turns personal and he decides to delete it. 

However, he’s interrupted when Chloe shows up with divorce papers.  Michael takes Chloe somewhere private to talk.

Moments later, Amanda enters and finds the vlog. She uploads it to YouTube without watching the full video.

ACT III

Chloe is about to serve a customer who is watching a video. She recognizes Michael’s voice. The customer reacts loudly and says they are going to share the video with their friends. 

Amanda and Sarah speak on the phone. Because Diane refuses to talk to the new doctor, Sarah is forced to return to Dr. Michael. The women discuss scheduling a new appointment.

As Michael enters, Amanda thanks him for the vlog. It’s going viral. Micheal has no idea what she’s talking about. By the time Amanda can explain, Chloe shows up to chew both of them out. Chloe tells Michael to delete the video and sign the divorce papers immediately. 

Instead of deleting the vlog Michael decides to continue on this path of radical vulnerability. Michael is determined to woo her back with this new life perspective. Michael assures Amanda that her job is still assured and that they’ll keep vlogging.  

About the team

Peter Sagnia – Creator/Director/Producer

Peter Sagnia is a Caribbean filmmaker with over 20 years of experience. His commercial video production clients include NBC, Masterclass, ABC, Telem, Government of U.S Virgin Islands and many more. He’s worked in the United Kingdom, United States, Sint Maarten, U.S Virgin Islands. Other cinematic works by Peter includes ‘Meltdown,’ ‘Family,’ ‘Preciosa,’ ‘That Which is Needful,’ and ‘Consumed.’

Diane De La Haye

Diane is Canadian-Jamaican Screenwriter who left the corporate world after 15 years to pursue a career in Film. After earning a “Writing for Film and TV” Diploma from the  Vancouver Film School, she worked in Script Development at Goldrush Entertainment in Montreal, and was a Judge with both ACTRA Toronto’s “Women of Color Creators Short Film challenge” as well as NYC Midnight Short Film Screenplay Competition.

Diane has been commissioned to write screenplays and pitch bibles for leading Canadian and Jamaican film producers/production companies and her Sketch Comedy “Fab 4” was featured at the NaSkeWriMo in Chicago.

In between all this, Diane feeds herself by freelancing as a Film Festival Promotions and Operations Manager in Toronto, Jamaica and Barbados.

Onicia Muller - Chicago screenwriter - Counting on Kendra

Onicia Muller

@OniciaMuller

Onicia is a crime reporter turned comedic storyteller. She loves everything crimey, scammy, sleazy and scummy. Sign up for your free webinar PayPal Panhandle to learn how you can make 10 figures a month without ever leaving your home.

If you enjoyed our Caribbean drama, ‘The Wonderful Counsellor,’ email me at HeyOnicia[at]OniciaMuller.com with feedback, collaboration requests, and ice cream donations.

By Onicia Muller

Award-winning Caribbean comedian, Onicia Muller’s weekly humour column, Just Being Funny is chicken soup for the naive sceptic’s soul. You can hire her to write anything from blogs and newsletters to (bathroom poetry) funny greeting cards. Join her newsletter for funny stories and stand-up comedy. www.OniciaMuller.com