Knights of New Jersey: A Spec Comedy Series Pilot

Knights of New Jersey is a comedic, behind-the-scenes look at a troupe of Renaissance Faire actors and the passions, aspirations and petty humiliations that arise as they attempt to bring their vision to life.

Knights of New Jersey brings us into the unique, make-believe world of the Faire, where Game of Thrones cosplay fans, Steampunk divas and weekend Wizards mingle with Mundanes—aka normal people. Friendships are strained, love blossoms and politics trumps all.

Funny, cringe-inducing and yeah, occasionally heart-warming, Knights shows us the make-believe world of the Faire—perhaps one of the few places in New Jersey where virtues like courage, honor and leadership are real.

  • Michael Hadley
  • Michael Hadley
  • Deborah Villarreal
  • Kurt Benjamin Smith
    Key Cast
  • Benny Elledge
    Key Cast
  • Mackenzie Lansing
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Television, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Fantasy, Romance, Cringe Comedy
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 20, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Michael Hadley
Distribution Information
  • Michael Hadley
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Michael Hadley

For the past twenty years, Mike has worked as a writer and director in New York City’s thriving video production industry.
Television credits include All God’s Dangers for PBS and segments for Esquire: About Men for Women. Mike also had the privilege to direct a recent commercial campaign for the 9/11 Memorial, featuring Robert De Niro.
Promotional and marketing videos for clients including IBM, Bank of America, The North Face and MasterCard have taken Mike on shoots across 40 states and multiple locations in Europe, Asia and Africa.
For the past 15 years, Mike has called Montclair, NJ home, where he lives with wife, Executive Producer Deborah Villarreal, and their four kids. Yes, that means he slept with the Producer.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The crack of a wooden lance breaking against a shield. The colorful beauty of a maypole dance. The acrid smell of fried dough. These are what make a Renaissance Faire: the awe-inspiring and the insipid, nestled up right next to each other. My heart says “wow!” My head says: “ridiculous.” And that’s the contrast that I find so personally fascinating and lies at the heart of “Knights of New Jersey.”
People go to Faires to have a great a time—and we wanted the series to reflect that spirit. We also felt that there was great comedic potential in some of the situations that are par for the course at any Renaissance Faire—or any entertainment enterprise where you put on a costume and enter a heightened reality. In a strange way, once you put on a costume, you are actually more exposed than without it. Dressing in garb is really putting yourself out there—in a way, it’s risky. And that risk creates dramatic tension. And while we could have chosen to focus on the drama, our approach was more playful.

Putting on a costume and performing in public takes guts. It’s admirable, inspirational and seriously silly—all at the same time. That’s Knights in a nutshell.

We were fortunate to get folks from the NJ Renn Faire community involved in the production of the project—their support was critical, especially since the project was done for a dime. It’s early days, but so far the response to the finished episodes from both Rennies and Mundanes has been terrific. We’re especially happy that folks in the Renn Faire community have seemed to really enjoy it, get the inside jokes, appreciate the humor. That’s was a huge relief to us. At the same time, people who have never been to a Faire also seem to really like the characters and situations. Look, people are people. Everyone has goals, aspirations, jealousies, hot buttons—whether it’s the local PTA or a local Medieval combat group, there’s a lot going on underneath the surface. A lot to celebrate—and a lot to laugh about. As Rennies the world over say: Huzzah!