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August 30, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Local woman forges ahead with TV pilot about Las Vegas

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Joe Schoenmann

Sara Gabriella

Getting your idea on television isn’t as easy as those reality and funny-video shows make it seem.

So there’s no guarantee Sara Gabriella will get her weekly show on the tube.

That isn’t stopping her or Fremont East Studios, the Downtown Project-funded production studio, from forging ahead in creating the pilot episode of a show about Las Vegas featuring something adventurous, something arts/entertainment and something community-minded.

As the show’s host, Gabriella will be interviewer and sometimes participant, as in the first episode when she does some work on a flying trapeze.

A Las Vegas resident for nearly four years, after moving here to help out her grandparents, Gabriella is one of the hundreds who are trying to carve out their niche downtown. That doesn’t mean the show, which she conceived, is going to be downtown-focused.

“It’s conceptual, not geographical,” she said, adding that she wanted to film and do stories wherever interesting things happen throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

Raised in Northern California, the UCLA grad has a history of trying to break into the TV industry.

She did scripting, she said, for a reality TV show. She was an extra in a variety of shows. She modeled. She wrote a treatment that hasn’t been picked up yet. She’s done stage acting (“Laramie Project” and “Vagina Monologues”). She’s even worked spoken-word poetry in there.

Then she got into writing content for websites, which led to co-founding a marketing business.

During a weeklong hack-a-thon called Vegas Give Camp (computer code for charity) in late June, she met people from Fremont East Studios and gave them a quick rundown of her TV show idea. They liked it so much, it’s already being produced.

“I could easily fill season after season, there’s so much going on here,” Gabriella said.

She expects the pilot to be finished and shopped around to various cable networks before the end of this year.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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