Patrick Bailer received accolades for his comedic script, "Father Help Us," at the BEA Festival of Media Arts.
Patrick Bailer received accolades for his comedic script, "Father Help Us," at the BEA Festival of Media Arts.

EMST student wins national recognition

Patrick Bailer, a student in the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies, has earned national recognition for an original script that began as a class assignment.

Bailer’s script, “Father Help Us,” won second place in the Original Television Series Pilot Category for the annual Festival of Media Arts conducted by the Broadcast Education Association.

Students from 174 different colleges and universities throughout the country submitted entries to the competition. The award was announced Feb. 8, 2017.

“We know our students are good,” said James Hamilton, professor and head of the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies. “But to place so highly and against so many other entries from across the country is a testament to the caliber not only of our students, but of our faculty.”

“It was satisfying to finally write out everything into a succinct story with these personal experiences,” said Bailer. “I can’t believe I’m being recognized by BEA for it.”

The idea for the script came to Bailer about two years ago following a church service he attended in which, as he recalled later, “the priest was delivering his homily a bit like a stand-up comedian.”

After setting the idea aside for some time, Bailer returned to it while enrolled in Nate Kohn’s screenwriting course, in which the assignment was to write a script for a 25 to 30-minute comedy.

Bailer’s award-winning story centers on Father Richard Houlihan. He is “a priest reluctant to commit to his duties in his parish,” said Bailer, while at the same time “members from his past life in standup comedy recruit him to return to the stage for a reunion show.” Father Houlihan’s life had been derailed by the stand-up world, but, as Bailer explained, he “agrees to attempt a comeback, where he must discretely balance the comedy world while he escapes the impending responsibilities of becoming his parish’s new pastor.”

“Patrick pitched the idea with passion,” recalled Kohn. “By the end of the semester, we all knew that he’d written something special.”

Bailer credited for his success guidance from Kohn and the course’s graduate teaching assistant, Assatu Wisseh, along with more general guidance and encouragement in additional classes taught by EMST faculty James Biddle and Shira Chess.

Date: February 22, 2017

Contact:  James Hamilton,