Nicholls Grad Uses Night Club Security Experience to Finish Second in Scriptapalooza
Former Nicholls graduate, Joseph “Nate” Welch, turns experience working in New Orleans night clubs into a second place finish in one of the nation’s biggest screen writing competitions.
Welch, who now works for NCIS: New Orleans, entered a pilot episode of his own show “SECURITY” into the Scriptapalooza TV writing completion, which had over 600 applicants. He and longtime friend Kamron Ghods tag teamed the writing for the show.
“I decided to enter the competition because I wanted to see how my skills and script measured up against the other aspiring screenwriters in the country, as well as get feedback from professionals in the industry, and I’m extremely excited with the results,” Welch said.
Scriptapalooza has been around for nearly two decades and has a long list of distinguished winners including Andrew Colville (Mad Men) and Aaron Blitzstein (Family Guy).
Welch heard about the competition after doing research on ways to get recognized. He had read in a book that script writers typically get noticed one of two ways…
- Have years of experience as a staff writer on TV shows in New York or Los Angeles and know the right people after working your way up the ladder.
- Enter you script into TV Pilot competitions and place or win to get exposure/recognition from the agents, managers, and producers who are looking for new TV shows to produce.
Welch said the idea for SECURITY has been in the works since his days as a Colonel where he studied Mass Communication Broadcast/Journalism. He was working at Last Call and that was where he started logging his experiences.
“In my time working in the nightclub, I realized the shit I would see and have to deal with on a nightly basis would be a hilarious setting for a TV show. So, every night after work I would write down a few notes recapping the events that occurred throughout the night; things that made me laugh, things that made me angry, and everything in between,” Welch said. “In the nightclub industry, you meet a wide range of characters, from various unique co-workers from all walks of life with their own goals to the customers that come in to party, and every night there is a new story to tell.
The show was inspired by my experiences working in the club for almost 10 years, the characters I’ve met, and all of the hilarious stories that have occurred along the way. Imagine if “The Office” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” had a baby in the nightclub in New Orleans with Kenny Powers from “Eastbound and Down” and you’ll have a pretty good picture of my vision for SECURITY.”
The show is a half-hour comedy where New Orleans night club security staff abuse their power to serve justice, build relationships and make money all for personal gain behind an eccentric boss’ back.
The pilot follows Nate, a bald-headed bouncer, who has to figure out ways to pay rent before being kicked out by his roommate. With the help of his sociopathic co-worker, Kam, they hustle up any money by any means necessary while trying to steer clear of the manager, Robbie.
Unfortunately, Nate is forced to train a new security member, Bert, who is an insecure cajun shrimper from the down the bayou. Nate introduces him to the New Orleans nightlife filled with drugs, sex and violence. It is Nate’s job to show Bert how to handle different situations that arise working security at a night club.
“One of the best parts of the pilot that people would love to see is the introduction to the world of the New Orleans nightclub through the perspective of the security, the various situations we get into, and especially the relationships between the characters,” Welch said.
Welch started at Last Call and eventually moved to New Orleans and worked at several popular venues like Republic, Metro and Barcadia. That wasn’t always his plan. It just sort of happened that way.
“When I graduated from Nicholls in May 2014, I moved to New Orleans with the hopes of getting a job at one of the local news stations talking about the Saints on TV. However, I couldn’t find a job in the media right away and had just moved to New Orleans, with a new apartment and needed a job to the pay the bills,” Welch said. “I knew one of the DJ’s at Republic NOLA, DJ Trip, from my time working in Thibodaux, and he said they were hiring security. At the time I was really conflicted because I thought to myself, ‘Damn Nate, you spent six years busting your ass in college for what? To move to New Orleans and do the same shit you were doing out there?’ However, instead of beating myself up about not being where I want to be or cleaning bathrooms with a college degree, I decided to do it with the mentality that I’m going to do this job to the best of my ability to pay the bills, while simultaneously doing research or investigative journalism in the trenches to get the real story/perspective of how the nightclub industry in New Orleans runs and experience first-hand all of the hilarious and asinine things that occur. And in doing so, I would have the real material necessary to write a TV show about it and really carve out a niche for myself to get into the TV industry.”
Because of his experience seeing people from all walks of life enter these clubs and bars, he feels SECURITY is a tv show that people would enjoy and could relate to.
“The question I asked myself a long time ago was, ‘Why do people go out to the nightclub? What motivates these people to come out and act like this?’ and the answer I came up with was something like, ‘It doesn’t if you’re 18 or 62, people go out to have a good time. They go out to release the stress from the week, socialize with friends and meet new people, to celebrate their victories and forget about their defeats, or simply to escape the monotony of daily routine or to search for something they’re missing in their lives,’ and I think that’s something a lot of people can relate to,” Welch said.
He also wants people to see that being a bouncer is not glamorous and it sometimes can be a pain in the ass.
“While everyone is out drinking and partying, (most) of the staff are sober, making sure they don’t fuck our shit up as they drunkenly attempt to fuck and fight each other, so we can make money to pay our bills like everyone else,” Welch said. “As bouncers, some people look at us as cops, but we’re not cops, we’re just dudes getting paid a shitty hourly wage to control the chaos within the club. The security does arguably the most work for the least amount of money, and sometimes abuse their power for personal gain, such as soliciting or accepting bribes for skipping the line, letting someone in without a ticket, or seeing someone break the rules and look the other way, which creates endless amounts of comedy material.”
Welch feels nightlife has not been explored in the TV industry as much as it could be and that is a major motivation for his show.
“The nightclub is a hilarious and interesting world that has not been explored much in the TV/Film industry besides “Roadhouse” and “A Night at the Roxbury,” and I thought that with nearly a decade of experience and unique perspective, who better to the story of the adventures in this world than me?” Welch said. “Also, sometimes we have to make decisions in the blink of an eye, and deciding what is “the right thing to do” according to the rules vs. your morals/principles isn’t always an easy choice.”
Nate said it was a process shooting and editing the pilot, but he was able to do so with the help of his friend Bert Adams, who graduated from LSU in film/acting. They shot the entire show with a professional grade Sony AS7ii camera which Nate said made the quality great.
Welch stressed he could not have done this alone and wanted to thank everyone for the help along the way.
“The only thing I’d like to add is a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me make it this far in the process, everyone I’ve worked with in the club, become friends in the club, and thrown out of the club. Thank you to the managers that have hired me, and to the ones that have fired me, you have all helped provide me with excellent comedy material,” Welch said. “I will be sure to keep everyone updated on the progress we make with getting the show picked up and I have no doubt in my mind y’all will be watching “SECURITY!” on TV very soon.”
I purposefully saved this quote for last, this is what Nate had to say about placing second in the competition. It is classic Nate.
When I found out I won second place out of nearly 600 participants in the Scriptapalooza TV Pilot competition, at first I was in disbelief. I thought it was one of my friends calling me from some fake phone number app trying to troll me. Once I realized it wasn’t a joke, I felt a rush of excitement, success, and happiness I hadn’t ever felt before.
I imagine that’s how Stone Cold Steve Austin felt when he won his first WWF Championship at Wrestlemania XIV. Overcoming years worth of conflicts, trials, and tribulations through hard work, dedication, and persistence. No matter how hard things got, I didn’t give up the dream or lose faith that I can do whatever the fuck I want to do, and to finally have all that pay off and be recognized by the pro’s in the industry was truly amazing.
This achievement marks the beginning of the next chapter in my journey to living the “Entourage” lifestyle with my friends and pursing my dream of having my own TV show on HBO. There is still plenty of work to do and many more obstacles to overcome, but I will continue to work my ass off until I get what I want and earn what I deserve.
And that’s the bottom line, cuz Nasty Nate said so!
Congrats Nate! Keep It Up My Man!
I have known Nate since the beginning of college. We had MACO 101 together at Nicholls. We had most of the same classes throughout our time there.
I just wanted to give a huge shout out to him because he is a great dude and I hope this is just the beginning for you bud.
As for that quote, it is classic Nate right there. We always talked about wrestling in class instead of paying too much attention…sorry Lance and Dr. Andy. It completely encapsulates what I love about this dude.
I always joke with Nate about is that he is a total meathead and douchebag and I say that in the most endearing way possible. Don’t ever change! Keep being you and I hope to see the name Nasty Nate on my TV screen one day. Keep it up brother!