On The Lot (FOX Television)

At first I rolled my eyes when I saw that they were going to have a competition to become a film director into a reality based television show. Was this simply another attempt at Survivor or The Apprentice? Having accepted the fact that Treasure Hunters wasn’t coming back for a second season, I decided to check On The Lot out.

From thousands of short film submissions, fifty aspiring film directors were brought out to Universal Studios in California (as an aside, if you’ve never been there, it’s a really fun place for a visit). The goal is to have one emerge as the winner of a movie studio contract.

Judging the competition is legendary director Gary Marshall, almost has been Carrie Fisher, and Brett Ratner known for the X-Men series. In the end, we can hardly say that these three haven’t had enough experience to know what goes into directing a movie.

Their first task was to pitch a movie. They were randomly given one of five taglines, and literally overnight, had to come up with a sketch of a plot and characters to try to sell their movie to the judges who played the role normally occupied by Hollywood moguls. As Marshall points out, at over 100 G’s a day to shoot a film, these guys don’t want to take a chance on a project that the director is not sure of himself. In the end, the pitch is about selling oneself as much as selling the film itself.

After the pitch, we were down to thirty contestants. The next task is to work in groups of three to write and direct a 2.5 minute short film using three included locations. On this task, those that don’t work and play well with others are clearly at a disadvantage.

Based on the pilot, so far I’m hooked. I learned something about film making, and look forward to seeing how the competition progresses. On The Lot also looks like it will use the internet to interface with the audience to allow them to view the films that these young directors produce during the competition. Look for the show on Thursday on the FOX network at 9:30 PM, EST.

Overall Grade: B

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