Growing up, several Crystal Lake friends declared they’d work for television one day.
And now they’re each living in Los Angeles and writing for three popular television shows.
“They’re really out there doing it,” said Kim Sade, whose son, Keith Foglesong, a 1999 Crystal Lake Central graduate, writes for the Fox series “Bones.” “We’re just so proud.”
She remembers the day when Foglesong and his friend, Tom Mularz, a 1998 Crystal Lake South graduate, told her of their plans. They were about 5 years old, and snacking on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, go eat your sandwiches,’” she recalled.
Mularz writes for CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Another childhood friend, Cole Maliska, a 1998 Crystal Lake Central graduate, writes for the new Fox series “Almost Human.”
All three still stay in touch, having grown up together in Crystal Lake. And while starting out in Los Angeles, they helped each other out.
Maliska said he crashed on Mularz’ floor when he first to moved to California.
Mularz helped both Maliska and Foglesong get jobs through advice and recommendations. Mularz started as a writer’s assistant eight years ago and started writing for “CSI” about five years ago, having worked his way up from a job in a mailroom.
He’s written 15 episodes of “CSI” so far.
“What’s fun is that every episode, for the most part, is its own story,” Mularz said. “It’s like making a movie every week. We get to do some crazy things.”
One of his favorite episodes he’s written involved the death of a victim from the fall of a life-size animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex. In another, he wrote about a high school reunion for a class of 1998, his graduating year. The colors of the school used for the set were green and gold, just as they were when he was in high school.
In that episode, Mularz used the high school yearbook photo of his father, also Tom, in a scene involving a character flipping through a yearbook.
“They find the creepy killer. The person next to the picture was my dad,” he said.
His father’s favorite episode written by his son is “Better Off Dead,” about a character in a gun shop miraculously surviving a shoot-out. The story’s twists and turns lead to an unexpected sort of “love story,” he said.
“I get a kick out of sometimes giving Tommy unsolicited ideas for the show,” his father said.
Tom Mularz, along with the other writers, sometimes throw in hometown references that their family and friends pick up on when they watch the shows. And they enjoy bouncing ideas off one another.
“Keith always had a very vivid imagination,” Mularz said of his friend, Foglesong. “I definitely remember, like any kid does, you go to see ‘Goonies’ at the movie theater and you come home and want to live in that world.
“You don’t realize as your kids that’s essentially the same thing as writing, trying to create something that doesn’t exist and telling a lot of make believe, the way kids play with action figures, making up stories. ... As you get older, writing sort of becomes an odd pursuit to follow. To pursue it on your own, it can be kind of a lonely endeavor. Whey you have friends who are also interested in it makes it a lot easier.”
Mularz’ most recent episode, “Helpless,” aired last week, and another is expected to air in February.
He writes constantly, even while on vacation, his mother, Beth, said. He’ll go upstairs for a few hours simply to write, she said. A mom of five, she credits his teachers growing up for encouraging his imagination and his writing talent.
“Every time it comes on we always clap,” she said of the television show. “It’s just a dream come true for all of us. Even now, I’ve become a big fan of the credits of shows and movies. Every time the credits roll, I think, ‘That’s somebody’s kid.’”
Maliska said he followed a similar path as Mularz, first working at an agency and then as a writer’s assistant. An episode he wrote of “Almost Human,” titled “Blood Brothers,” is expected to air in the next couple weeks.
He said he couldn’t reveal much about it, but said, “It’s one of these episodes that it’s really a fun action-packed episode.” He praised the special effects of the team for “Almost Human,” which takes place in a not-so-distant future when human cops and androids pair up to protect and serve.
Foglesong began as a writer’s assistant for “Bones” during the series’ third season. At the end of season six, he became a writer. The show is in its ninth season. One of the episodes he’s written is being filmed now and is expected to air Jan. 17, and is based on the 2012 documentary “Searching for Sugar Man.”
“It’s really a sweet episode with a lot of heart,” Foglesong said.
“We can do episodes with a lot of heart and a lot of comedy and a lot of disgustingness. It’s a rare thing to be able to get away with being disgusting and make jokes over dead bodies on the show, but we’re able to do that. I’m proud of that.”
And, he said, the episode should have a “couple of Crystal Lake Easter eggs in there,” such as names of friends and family or places.
He remembers playing cops and robbers or G.I. Joes with Mularz growing up, always being creative.
After high school, Foglesong worked his way through community college and then Columbia College Chicago. “He was always really determined to do what he wanted to do and get what he wanted,” Sade remembered. “Out there, you really have to have perseverance, have some luck and be talented.
“It’s so cool to see his name when we watch the show. It’s so surreal.”