S1E01

50 of the world’s most talented yet still undiscovered movie directors are taking the Universal backlot tour. These 50 aspiring movie makers beat out more than 12,000 hopefuls from 33 countries. Armed with little more than digital cameras and laptop computers and backyards for backdrops and family members for crews, they’ve shown what they can do with next to nothing but what can they do when they are given all the tools and resources that Hollywood has to offer? That’s what the next 13 weeks is going to prove. But only one of them will make it On The Lot.

Our host, Chelsea Handler, welcomes the directors to the backlot where all the magic happens. They will provide them with all the resources for them to become great so it will be up to them.

The next few days will put some challenges in front of them which will separate the good directors from the special ones. Each week they will produce movies and show them to the public. At the end, one will win a million dollar deal with Dreamworks.

The Biltmore Hotel is the location of their first stop. The Bilton was the birthplace of the Academy Awards. The all take a seat in the viewing room where Chelsea tells them that by the end of the summer, one of them will have keys to their own office at Dreamworks.

Carrie Fisher, Garry Marshall and Brett Radner arrive to offer some first tips and provide their first task which is to pitch a movie. There are five loglines which are:

#1 A slacker applies to the C.I.A as a joke and is accepted
#2 A man sees his face on the news described as missing or wanted
#3 A mouse is captured by a pharmaceutical company and must plan his escape
#4 A priest meets the woman of his dreams before he is to be ordained
#5 A crate bound for a secret military base is delivered to a suburban family

The directors are then asked to reach under their seats and pull out an envelope to tell them which story they got.

It’s going to be a long night. 14 will not go on to the next round. Some are struggling with their loglines and are trying to get inspiration from others with the same logline. However, some aren’t so willing to share in the case their idea gets stolen.

For Brett Radner, he’s interested in finding out which of them are story tellers.

Mark McLain is first up and has the mouse logline. Unfortunately he stumbles and can’t get his story out other than to tell us about his lead character who is a mobster who works for the FBI. One day he wakes up and is a mansized rat. It sounds rather lame and that he made it up as he went along.

Carrie says it’s going to be harder than picking lobsters at a restaurant for her.

The pitches go from bad to worse.

Garry is hoping someone can pitch lunch.

Andrew Hunt has the priest logline. Andrew’s pitch is brilliant. He is inspiring and confident.

Rahim Jamal had the military crate logline. He’s nervous and his pitch is kind of random. His first move is to make a disclaimer. Garry tells him that no one is going to take a risk on a nervous man when it’s going to cost $100,000 a day.

It’s been pretty hard and the directors are learning how hard it is to pitch a film.

Will Bigham is next with the mouse. He’s confident and well spoken and the judges are complimentary.

Jeremy Corray promises to give the most energetic presentation they’ve seen all day. He’s pretty over the top with his slacker and the C.I.A storyline. He was memorable but probably not in a good way.

Three from the first group go home of which Jeremy Corray is one of them.

Ramsey Mellette is the only person to be eliminatedp.

Mark McLain is going home but Will Bigham is through.

Rahim Jamal is going home from his group.

For the second task, they have to write, shoot and direct their own movies in 24 hours. The logline is “Out of time” and they’ll be working in groups of three.

Now, they have to write a two and a half minute short film and work with two others who you’ve never worked with before which is bound to cause some tension.

For the second day in a row, the directors are working on very little sleep. There are some difficulties between Marty Martin and Jeff Seibenick at the restaurant they’re filming at.

They’re all spread out across L.A.

Hillary Graham is directing in a street and is ordering Brent McCorkle to hold traffic.

Kenny Luby is directing at the Train Yard. He’s never been to film school and Hannah Sink is getting worried because the actors are getting frustrated with how Kenny is directing. To make matters worse, a second crew arrives. Gil Kruger, Mateen Kemet and Shira-Lee Shalit are at the same location at the same time.

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