Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On the Lot: Day 1

I have to admit I was curious how the show was gonna play out. I knew that they were going to be filming shorts to be viewed but it was interesting to start out with the pitch.

They had 3 judges (Carrie Fisher, Brett Ratner and Garry Marshall) to listen to the pitches and par out the ones who would be eliminated from the first round. Carrie Fisher is an interesting choice she has done acting (duh) but really now a days is known more for writing though she still does act having a few movies in the can. Brett Ratner wouldn't be a choice I'd make for a director judge (I'm still frustrated over his horrible take on X-Men 3) but Garry Marshall is a legend to me. He's old school and knows what he's talking about when he says to one knee shaking contestant "It costs 100,000 dollars a day on a film no company is going to risk that kind of money if you come across as nervous trying to sell a movie..." I may have paraphrased some but that was the gist of it.

The judges stated 5 different pitches--

  • A mouse is captured by a pharm company and must plan its escape.
  • A man who may be missing or wanted sees his face on TV.
  • A priest falls in love just before being ordained.
  • A secret gov't crate is delivered erroneously to a suburban family.
  • A slacker applies to the CIA and gets accepted.
I know I would be sweating bullets giving a pitch but some of those log lines had be thinking up images and ideas right from the get go. I liked the pitch for the secret gov't crate being erroneously sent to a suburban family. There are definitely several ways that could go anywhere from a family film to a twist on a James Bond type film.

I was amazed how some of these people just tanked when they had to do the pitch. I am far removed from what they had to endure for the pitch so I can't knock them too much. But, the majority of the contestants are people who have made films and work in the industry to some degree. I would hope they would have a better grasp of the concept.

For the pitch about a rat that is captured by a pharm company and has to plan its escape there was the first victim, er contestant from Dyer, IN who didn't bring in his notes (what!) He started out okay but after the first sentence or so just sank like the Titanic...he ended up finishing the pitch so give him credit for not running for the hills BUT the line "the strength and ability of a human but the power of a rat" huh?? Have I been underestimating the power of rats all along?

They showed just a few more pitches one notably from the midwest who the judges liked. And then the cuts came. It was fairly predictable for whom you saw doing the pitches who was going and for the ones they didn't show probably ran along the same line.

Round 2 came quick and fast right after the first batch of contestants were let go. The remaining contestants were to group up in threes and film a 2 and 1/2 page short with each contestant responsible for one scene. Now, I never went to film school and probably never will and I haven't directed anything but one scene from Crimes of the Heart from Beth Henley's play way back in my college days so I can't really state to much about the process these contestants go through but you can tell they were back in their element cause oh boy did the egos start flying.

I unfortunately missed the last 5 minutes of the show due to AI going over and my DVR screwed up. From reviewing other sites about the show I dont think I missed anything major but I'll get the recap when the second results show is on Thursday and then more heads will roll...
edit--I don't know why this damn post is single spaced... Blogger be damned

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