Now, I really detest reality shows - I've always found them fabricated and boring. But there's a new reality show competition on Star World called 'On the Lot' produced by Stephen Spielberg and Mark Burnett, that caught my attention. Various up and coming filmmakers compete against each other in a series of weekly elimination rounds to win the grand prize - a million $ development deal at Dreamworks!!
Apparently, the official On The Lot site gathered 12,000 submissions from all over the world and the submission deadline was February 16, 2007. These 12,000 submissions yielded 50 semi-finalists. The contest structure is similar to that of American Idol, with the initial episodes narrowing those semi-finalists down to 18 finalists. After the audition stage, the program will comprise of a 1-hour show where movies are screened ("Film Premiere") followed the next day by a half-hour results show ("Box Office"). Viewers can vote each week for their favourite directors, which will result in the elimination of the directors with the lowest vote totals.
In the episode Monami and I watched over the weekend, the directors were challenged to create 1-minute comedy short films.
There were many good entries and all of them were enjoyable. A few that stood our were an Australian director's amusing sex-comedy about a woman's daydreams as she goes through the elaborate security screening drill at the airport, and an American director's little piece about a not-so-lucky penny found on the road that passes hands.
But of all the films, I loved young Canadian director Zach Lipovsky's gem titled "The Danger Zone" about "SAFECo Labs - the safest place on earth". It took him over 46 attempts to get the whole single-shot domino sequence right, and the hard work shows.
Watch "Danger Zone - Directed by Zach Lipovsky"
Here's also a link to the video off their official site where you can also check out the other contestants entries.
I personally found the judges quite tiresome, except for Garry Marshall, who had some insightful comments, for instance about how the actors could have been used better, or roles could have been switched. I'm hoping the producers rethink how they want to use the judges a little bit since the show tends to drag on a bit.
However, I definitely think this show has potential, especially due to the rich variety of film entries, and I can right away imagine a Bollywood clone in the works with Mahesh Bhatt, and one of the Chopras as judges.