Up on High Ground (TV series)
|Up on High Ground|
|Created by||Bryan Kreutz|
|Written by||Bryan Kreutz|
|Directed by||Bryan Kreutz|
|Theme music composer||Matt Griffin|
|Composer(s)||Scott Paul Lewis|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||9|
|Running time||28:30 mins. (approx)|
|Production company(s)||Brayden Patterson Productions LLC, |
|Distributor||Pure Flix Entertainment|
|Original network||First-run syndication|
|Original release||25 October 2014 –|
October 26, 2015
Up on High Ground is a US half-hour drama, syndicated television series, directed by Tommy Callahan and Bryan Kreutz. It originally aired in syndication on television affiliates and Pure Flix from October 25, 2014, to October 26, 2015, and was distributed by Pure Flix with Brayden Patterson Productions LLC.
Set at the fictional East Valley Academy High School near the city and in suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, and Illinois, it follows the emotional travails of three roommates, two of them, Dillon and Landon, interning for college courses in psychology, studying student teacher interactions of several teenagers. 
Plot[edit | edit source]
Dillon, a fairly good guy who pictures himself a role model, a leader - being "Christ-like", must deal with his unemployed roommate crashing on the couch, and being more than just a neighborly influence to his neighbor Jaris, a widowed, pregnant, mother of three children. An ongoing high school feud of girl foes is at the top of Dillon and Landon’s psychology matters, as the two try to convert their principal leader from Buddhism to Christianity.
Cast list[edit | edit source]
- Dillon Magnum — Brayden Patterson
- Landon Lofton — Cody Jarvis
- Savannah Swanson — Rylee Cravens
- Bartholowmew Bogroe — Billy Patricks
- Erin O'Byrne — Erin Morris
- Sydney Ashdown — Sydney Thomas
- Griffin Sundin — Matthew Becker
- Hayley Sundin — Molly Cravens
- Thea Swanson — Jessica Jordan
- Neil Rowley — Neil McDonald
- Principal Guidry — Joe McGettigan
- Miri Cyanne — Malissa Williams
- Brody Vanderschmidt — Bryan Kreutz
- Londyn Downey — Brianna Langford
- Hialeah Oxendine — Sarah Cotton
- Jaris Sundin — Courtni Aries
- Veronika Earney — Emma Mitchell
- Kaidence Crews — Jamie Fritz
- Roxy Sundin — Aliyah Studt
- Khalil Burris — Lawson Burris
- Teagan Janney — Stephanie Swink
- Tessa Stockton — Taylor Vandelicht
- Ellie Cross — Tessa Drake
- Charissa Kirk — Grace Clark
- Ms. Fritz — Allison Shadwick
- Shane Sumner — Conner Lee
- Melody Hull — Ashley Pavlige
Production[edit | edit source]
The series was created by Bryan Kreutz and Brayden Patterson, and was produced by Brayden Patterson Productions. The crew includes Emmy Award-winning editor Dale Ward and Bryan Kreutz who has directed over 60 TV episodes, including two TV talk shows. During the production of the series, most settings were utilized at house in the Dutchtown, St. Louis neighborhood in the city of St. Louis, Missouri for the apartment settings and utilized classrooms in Arnold, Missouri as its primary settings for the program.
Casting[edit | edit source]
The lead character for young women in the series, Savannah Swanson, was cast by St. Louis based director Bryan Kreutz, who worked closely with actress Rylee Cravens in two previous films, "To Inflict" and "Hercules".
The character of Bogroe was not part of the original concept for the show from creators Kreutz and Brayden Patterson, Mr. Neil played by Neil McDonald plays the most senior teacher at the school (East Valley Academy).
Broadcast and home media[edit | edit source]
The first and only season consisted of nine episodes, the first eight episodes a half-hour long, and the ninth and final episode an hour long. The episodes which were released worldwide on Pure Flix Entertainment on October 25, 2014 had the first three episodes available on this date, then subsequent episodes available throughout its run.
- First-run syndication
The half hour episode series was released in the United States airing on affiliates of The CW in the midwest and East Coast of the United States. With other CW affiliates airing all 9 episodes, only 1 episode aired on the KPLR-TV CW affiliate in St. Louis, Missouri, where the entire series was taped, due to a new closed captioning rule. 
Episodes[edit | edit source]
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Production|
|1||"Superiority of the High and Mighty Kind-ness"||Bryan Kreutz||Joanna Ferbrache, Bryan Kreutz||October 25, 2014||00001|
|Two college psychology student roommates, taking college-prep classes at a St. Louis High school are introduced as counselors observing variability in teacher-student interactions. Dillon, with the aid of longtime tenured teacher Neil Rowley, observes differences in clashing personalities between students Erin, the drama department class president, and Savannah the most popular student. A former high school roommate of the two college students crashes on their couch as freeloader. When Landon reluctantly challenges Bogroe to prove he is more responsible than in the past while they were in school, Bogroe takes exception and makes his couch proclamation.|
|2||"Friends, Family, and Freeloaders"||Tommy Callahan, Bryan Kreutz||Joanna Ferbrache, Bryan Kreutz||November 1, 2014||00002|
|Widow neighbor and mother Jaris receives a call that Dillon is driving her son Griffin home instead of letting him ride the bus due to his sickness, Dillon takes it a step further to invite the family, not just Griffin over to watch old pro basketball videos of Griffin's deceased father and Jaris' husband. Savannah and Shane as a couple have high points and a rather questionable two- timing moment when Shane is seen with his Ex, Londyn, on what appears to be a date.|
|3||"Friends, Family, and Freeloaders, Part 2"||Tommy Callahan||Bryan Kreutz||November 8, 2014||00003|
|Upon overhearing a music class side conversation about a new show choir, Miri, Erin’s best friend, tracks down Savannah to get the details for her and Erin to gain an edge on an early scoop about the audition. Nervous butterflies and insults ensue as many of the girls wait for their turn to go on the audition stage while guys and teachers look on with an official state judge. A multi-talented group of students audition for the new East Valley Academy show-choir where the results are left as a cliffhanger. Finding it difficult to deal with family tragedies, Khalil, slits his writs in front of the class and passes out.|
|4||"Fued of Friends and Foes"||Tommy Callahan||Tommy Callahan, Bryan Kreutz||November 15, 2014||00004|
Singled out by Mrs. Hialeah and standing front and center in class as do not do examples, the school's most popular girl Savannah, and smartest girl Erin, have gone too far in their obvious hate for each other. Mrs. Hialeah's philosophy of student discipline goes too far in they eyes of Avril, Erin's mom, as she makes an in school visit to confront the teacher and Principal Guidry.Meanwhile Savanna's best friend Sydney and Ellise (Ellie) meet on her behalf with Londyn to discuss who the highly sought after guy Shane considers his girlfriend. Meanwhile Bogroe successfully sets up Landon on a blind date to entice him to leave his current girlfriend Tara so he can have her. Unbeknownst to Landon this blind date, Vanessa, Bogroe's former high school Ex, is in on the fun with Bogroe. Tara questions Landon's unusual behavior when she suspects something is going on.
|5||"The Quintessence of a Situation"||Bryan Kreutz||Bryan Kreutz, Emma Jane Mitchell, Lec Zorn||November 22, 2014||00005|
|Landon cracks down on Bogroe's laziness. Erin gets accepted to a prestigious acting school in Ireland, to the dismay of Savannah, who's already devastated from being cheated on by Shane. Kaidence reaches out to comfort Savannah, one on one, as well as Khalil, who is bummed about the results of the show choir. The teens involved in the schools madrigal show choir, ie. Savannah, begin to encounter moral and ethical dilemmas in the high school setting. Confident and armed with sheet music, Savannah in a change of heart, in what seems to be a good gesture, tells the show choir teacher, Fritz, she wants to sing a solo lead. Particularly boasting of her vocal talents, she takes Hialeah's advice giving the solo to her best friend Sydney in the first show choir performance.|
|6||"Underlying agreements"||Bryan Kreutz||Bryan Kreutz, Lec Zorn||March 14, 2015||00006|
|Kaidence meets Jaris at home for the first time and the two quickly become friends. Erin and Griffin quickly become a couple of forevers. Bogroe is caught by the nosy neighbors on his way out to a money making side gig. Catcalls and bribery from Hayley force his hand to the coercion of cash to keep his secret gig an unknown to Dillon and Landon. A show-choir competition before the state finals reveals Ellie is giving Ms.Fritz pointers from her previous championship year before transferring. The group show-choir competition between East Valley Academy and Mount Vernon High-school appear flawlessly performed with the cliffhanger results left to be read by Principal Guidry.|
|7||"In the Middle of It All"||Bryan Kreutz||Bryan Kreutz, Lec Zorn||April 11, 2015||00007|
|East Valley's Show Choir competes on the road in the state competition at the St.Louis city-line high-school stage. Bogroe officially introduces his girlfriend Gemma, who cooks a masterpiece of food and charm. With Borgoe gone more, Dillon and Landon begin to wonder about a possible money making mystery when Bogroe is smiling, mocking, and sure of himself when asked about applying to the 10 jobs a week. Bogroe applies for jobs under Landon's ultimatum. However, Landon and Dillon are even more suspicious when they ask neighbor Brody if he knows something they don't about Bogroe latest act. Savannah and Erin endure their required school project together. Mr. Neil's covering for Mr. Stu's accused class wrongdoings are brought to the forefront by Hialeah who believes he's interfering with an upcoming school board hearing about his best friends recent dismissal from teaching duties. Jaris, surrounded by family and friends goes into what seems to be a complicated and painful labor early while at home.|
|8||"Gone, But Not Forgotten"||Bryan Kreutz||Bryan Kreutz, Lec Zorn||October 19, 2015||00008|
|When the results at the hospital appear seemingly glum, Jaris trusts in her faith and believes its a blessing in disguise. Recent family tragedies trigger traumatic experiences and even some confusing dreams of past memories for Hayley. With Mr.Neil close enough to vouch for its accuracy, Erin tries her own in class societal social structure comparison of her situation with Savannah and Sydney to make a point. Jake makes a heartfelt move to solidify his relationship with Sydney not knowing she had plans to break up with him. Griffin proclaims his love for Erin, knowing she is leaving for acting school in Ireland for the upcoming summer. Suspicion of Borgoe's secret side life become more evident when Landon texts Brody to come over and discuss posted pictures among other knowledge about their freeloading roommate.|
|9||"All Good Things Must Come to an End"||Bryan Kreutz||Bryan Kreutz, Lec Zorn||October 26, 2015||00009|
Savannah and Erin's cooperative class project for Mrs. Hialeah becomes the talk of the school and even has the Principal discussing and Mr. Neil watching from afar.Sydney surprised as ever to see her best friend Savannah finally make peace with her class rival in the auditorium, is moved by the moment, and takes a risk herself with Landon. With the ongoing feud now mutually over between Erin and Savannah, Thea tries to overshadow it by bringing Erin in on what she thinks is inside info on Sydney and Landon's age difference relationship. Erin has clearly grown beyond the underclassmen style of gossip and walks out on Thea with her older sister by her side. Bogroe is busted by blabbing neighbors revealing the truth of his money making and is literally foot chased by his roommates.
Characters[edit | edit source]
Main characters[edit | edit source]
- Dillon Magnum. Played by Brayden Patterson.
- Straightforward, Early 20's. He shares the rent with Landon. His other roommate, a friend from high school named Bogroe, stays with him as a freeloader. Dillon takes responsibility and stands up for him knowing his old friend has fallen on hard times. A student of Saint Louis university, majoring in psychology along with Landon they are finishing up taking College Prep classes at a local high school, East Valley Academy. Landon regularly uses his opportunities to do the right thing (or not) following Christian principles, such as "Love thy neighbour as thyself." The Dillon character develops a friendship with the Sundin family as he goes out of his way to assist the mother, A widow with three kids.
- Landon Lofton. Played by Cody Jarvis.
- The original of the two roommates with Dillon, and, as a Christian, is really intent, with the help of Dillon, to convert their down and out roommate Bogroe from being a walking advertisement for welfare into a straightforward, taxpaying good man, and Christ believer.
Landon often shows a heightened animosity towards Bogroe and his laziness of hogging the couch and by forcing him to apply for 10 jobs a week with e-mail confirmations sent. Often a fun guy to watch an anime or a play a basketball game 1-on-1, he helps coach his high-school freshman neighbor Griffin on the courts, and afterwards for talks on strategy.
- Savannah Swanson. Played by Rylee Cravens.
- She is the most popular girl at the high school East Valley Academy. A blonde, High School Sophomore, and a riled up gossip girl.
Savannah lives the luxury life in the Upper East Side of the burbs with her dad and freshman sister Thea. When with her friends, notably Sydney or Teagan, she points out others downfalls or creates rumor starting stories to their achievements to make them appear as superficial achievements. Typically her arguments, rumors, or frustration is toward student rivals Erin, Miri, or less popular girls who have gained a certain importance she feels is infringing on her as the main focal point of attention. Treating Savannah as her teachers pet, we first see this example when Ms. Fritz meets her in the teachers lounge giving requirements on what judges will be looking for to make the madrigal show choir squad.
- Bartholomew Bogroe Played by Billy Patricks.
- Couch crashing older freeloader, living as the third wheel roommate with Dillon and Landon for no payment and, as such, is really cashing in on a side gig as a Dj.
Dillon and Landon question Brody about Bogroe's unusual behavior and coy smiles when Landon continues to see online Job applications filtering to his inbox. Bogroe has an ongoing feud of words with sassy neighbor Hayley who follows him to discover he has been storing music equipment for Dj gigs. Brody, who knows more than Bogroe's roommates about his side gig, ultimately is one of the two neighbors who divulge Bogro's secret life much to his demise of his hopes to live at the apartment for free.
- Erin O'Byrne. Played by Erin Morris.
- High School Sophomore, and a integral part of the state finalist show choir team. Erin is an introverted, super smart redhead, and much to the chagrin of her class rival Savannah, she is the president of the school's drama department. Revealing she was accepted into the prestigious Abbey School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland to friends, a confrontation of sorts ensues about her gifts from God when Savannah throws her out of her house when the two are finishing their required joint school cooperative project together. Erin mentions to her best friend Miri that her in-school restraining order with rival Savannah shouldn’t restrict her from participating in a new school show choir. She is seen hanging around Griffin Sundin playing basketball and quickly gets swept away by his charm, shortly thereafter the two become a couple of forever's.
- Griffin Sundin. Played by Matthew Becker.
- Griffin Sundin is a show choir singer, talented dancer, and basketball player who gets private lessons from East Valley High varsity coach Landon Lofton during his high school freshmen year. Griffin lives in an apartment across from Landon and Dillon with his Mother Jaris and sisters Hayley and Roxy. Griffin is best friends with Khalil, a classmate in a higher grade level at the local high school. His girlfriend Erin, is one year ahead of him in school although they are about the same age, boldly he is found making out with his new girlfriend while in detention by Principal Guidry and plays it cool when caught.
In the next to last episode, Griffin proclaims his love for Erin, knowing she is leaving for acting school in Ireland for the upcoming summer break.
- Sydney Ashdown. Played by Sydney Thomas .
- A "solo-pianist-singer”, a bit of a bad, rich, high school girl, prone to sarcastic remarks. She comes prepared to talk to her best friend Savannah Swanson during class even while teachers are giving a lesson. Sydney is seen talking through the entire class on the phone and face to face with friends, even telling the teacher "why are you teaching during my conversation" when confronted by Mrs. Hialeah. Sydney, is instrumental, literally, in the first year school madrigal show choir making it to finals as a pianist and vocalist. Jake, Sydney's current boyfriend, indicates the two have been going out for a while, reminding her its been 8 months when she mistakenly said it was 6 months late in season 1. Sydney mentions Jake's parents offered her a job as a solo-artist singer under a small record label in Seattle upon graduation. Jake makes a heartfelt move to solidify his relationship with Sydney by surprising her with a promise ring. Sydney is very happy by the sweet gesture and accepts the ring with a kiss for Jake. Later, when talking with Savannah, she reveals that she is torn between having feelings for Jake and Landon.
- Hayley Sundin. Played by Molly Cravens.
- 15-year-old "verbally-vivacious" Freshman girl at East Valley Academy high school. She has a twin brother, Griffin Sundin whom she often places blame for everything towards. Her infamous catchphrase is a very sarcastic and distinctive phrase ("Do we have to start like this") that she normally says after a rude or snide comment. Her father, a Swedish professional basketball player died at a young age and she relies upon her single mother and neighbor Dillon for parental influences. Among three children of a widowed mom, she appears to be affected the most in grieving for her deceased father when dreaming of past memories that have a profound outcome.
She is in the East Valley Academy show choir after a strong solo singing performance for the try out auditions, but is noticeably gone when a Laryngitis epidemic forces several students to miss the State finals competition.
Supporting characters[edit | edit source]
- Neil Rowley. Played by Neil McDonald.
- Mr. Neil Rowley, who goes by Mr. Neil, is a science teacher and newly appointed school board member.
By default, not by choice, Mr. Neil has been volunteered to work double tasks at East Valley Academy School by new Principal Guidry due to budget cuts. He is mentioned as being the most senior teacher at East Valley Academy school when his close friend and teacher Mr. Stu Charles is dismissed from school for a scandal. His son, Mac, who was the first ever valedictorian at East Valley academy, speaks positively of his father as he addresses the current graduating class during the final scene of the series.
- Thea Swanson. Played by Jessica Jordan.
- Thea is a freshman at East Valley Academy School and close with her sophomore sister Savannah and friend Sydney.
Her best friend is Hayley Sundin, with whom she is seen with often at the Sundin apartment preparing to play some video games or snooping around. Although she is popular and well liked she has a quiet side and, uncharacteristically for a popular girl, she likes Star Trek. She often wears a Star Trek pendant and is seen wearing a themed T-shirt when getting ready before school. She sings a solo during the state show choir competition and is only one of six remaining East Valley students left after a laryngitis outbreak shorthands the choir squad.
- Miri Cyanne. Played by Malissa Williams.
- Miri is the freckle-faced girl next door, Although she often covers them with makeup. She portrays herself as a cool geek. A Sophomore, she is an extrovert but in her own eloquently straightforward way. She's a member of the new show choir team. Her best friend is Erin O'Byrne, whom she is seen with or talking about in nearly every scene she is present in.
Her dad often sends her YouTube videos as she goes about her day, though she is interested in them she appears annoyed the first time she mentions it to Savannah. Very confident in herself, Miri states to Savannah when asking about a possible tryout for show choir "if you want something you have to go for it".
- Principal Guidry. Played by Joe McGettigan.
- Principal at East Valley Academy High School and openly a practicing Buddhist.
A new principal taking over for a formerly failing regime on the school board, Guidry added his own group of teachers to act as the new council members. He makes it a point to use other resources for alternative funding like “Box tops for education clippings” brought in by all teachers and faculty. Not by his choice and under protest teacher Mr. Rowley has been volunteered by Guidry, to work as a council member in an early episode. During Melody Hull's valedictorian speech, she extends Principal Guidry an open invitation to come to her Christian Church.
- Jaris Sundin. Played by Courtni Aries.
- An overworked 32-year-old widowed supermom, and neighbor to Dillon and his roommates, Jaris is the mother of three children. Jaris is noticeably pregnant with a fourth child on the way in the first few episodes of the series. Her husband Johan died recently, and she seeks support from her new friend Kaidence, a school counselor at East Valley Academy. Upon Khalil’s loss of his last immediate family member in the pilot episode, Jaris specifically conveys her support and understanding of family loss with Khalil, a classmate of Hayley and Griffin’s. Shortly after Khalil’s attempted suicide, Jaris and her daughter Hayley, offer support by cooking and providing extra blankets to Khalil knowing Dillon has essentially become a foster family to Khalil.
- Brody Vanderschmidt. Played by Bryan Kreutz.
- Brody is Dillon and Landon's nosy neighbor and expert video gamer. He is present with Dillon, Landon, or the Sundin twins playing video games, talking about video games, or dabbling into matters that concern his surrounding neighbors more than they should him. He gets a job as a Taxidermist after dressing up in a tacky suit for the interview. Brody who knows about ways to get hockey tickets online for cheap refers Bogore to stub-hub while helping him store his equipment in the Horseshoe apartment storage area. While helping Bogroe store his bulky Dj equipment it is apparent he knows more when Bogroe's roommates and Brody get into a conversation about his appearance. Brody is involved in an ongoing cover up of Bogroe's gig Deejaying and is one of two neighbors revealing the truth to Dillon and Landon.
- Veronika Earney. Played by Emma Mitchell.
- Veronika is Dillon's on again and off again girlfriend. She is the daughter of a former alternative rock group producer who turned to Catholicism with a final album recently produced. She is pushed too far to join in on going to Dillon's Church to change her life. She initially tries to maintain her relationship with alcohol after a less than responsible upbringing by her father, but validates her childhood and goodness by her actively catholic mother primarily raising her. In the Pilot episode Veronika implores Dillon to move in with her, even though they are not married, he gives a dissertation on waiting that pushes her away enough to return to drinking and eavesdropping in distrust of his motives.
Her bestie Juliana, questions Dillon on pushing Veronika too far and he eventually apologizes to her getting her back as a girlfriend.
- Mrs. Hialeah. Played by Sarah Cotton.
- Psychology teacher at East Valley Academy High School and openly into the psychological and emotional state of her students. In one of the first scenes of the pilot episode Hialeah is shown speaking in front of her class with an emotionally driven statement to her students. "I want to be that teacher that crosses the line. The one you remember... a teacher whose passion for students inspires them to go that extra step". Hialeah sticks alongside her friend Mr. Neil, when his best friend, and teacher, Mr. Stu is under a scandal at the school. She singles out two students on the spot making them stand front and center in class as do not do examples. Hialeah's discipline is to have the school's most popular girl Savannah, and smartest girl Erin, endure an ongoing cooperative project together after school. Mrs. Hialeah's philosophy of student discipline goes too far in they eyes of Avril, Erin's mom, as she makes an in school visit confrontation.
Marketing and budget[edit | edit source]
Generally, the marketing of independent television series is characterized by limited release, but can also have major marketing campaigns. Up on High Ground had a wide release and heavy presence in the U.S. Central and East regions via Television syndication, additionally its North American presence being available online via Pureflix. In the summer of 2015, when Up on High Ground's distribution platform “I Am Flix” announced it was being acquired by Pure Flix, the launch of their newly re-branded SVOD (subscription video on demand) service made the program available on moble devices, Roku, as well as the IOS or Android apps for increased viewership. Moreover, the program was now available through on-demand and video streaming for viewership to an even wider audience demographic. Using a multitude of different taping locations and unlike most major productions, where insurance is typically procured to protect against accidents, Executive Producer Bryan Kreutz found ways around using any insurance budget where location management requirements would hinder the effectiveness of the episode budget to agree and purchase insurance. This very strict budget allocation strengthened each production into making the series and in house production company stronger.
References[edit | edit source]
- Slick, Matt (29 June 2017). "CARM Newsletter 4-22-2015". carm.org.
- "Lights Camera and Action, On the set with the producers of Up on High Ground". Play Channel Magazine.
- "TV pilot has familiar metro-east faces".
- blandow (3 January 2016). "Local Spotlight: Up on High Ground - insidestl.com". Inside STL.
- "Crew-Dale-Ward, 4 time Emmy Award winner)".
- "St.Louis area Producers Short film".
- Robertson, By Kim. "Men from Imperial and Festus work together to chase the (acting) dream".
- "CARM Newsletter 4-22-2015,'Christian TV'". carm.org. April 22, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
- "New Networks Offer Family and Faith Fare".
[edit | edit source]
- Official website
- Up on High Ground on IMDb
- Up on High Ground at TV.comLua error in Module:WikidataCheck at line 23: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
- Up on High Ground at TV Guide
Category:First-run syndicated television programs in the United States Category:2010s American drama television series Category:2014 American television series debuts Category:Television shows set in St. Louis Category:American high school television series Category:American teen drama television series Category:American drama television series Category:English-language television programs
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