SNEAKING “ON THE LOT”: WEEK TWELVE

And then there were three. The penultimate episode of “On the Lot” is in the books, the directors have shown their final shorts. Who had the best one? What were they about? Am I happy to almost be free of the shackles of covering this show?

The Elimination…
Once again I predicted who would be going home, as Sam’s day finally came. This left Jason, Will and Adam to battle it out for the top prize. Three will enter, one will win!

The Judges…
Carrie Fisher and Garry Marshall are on the home-stretch, and they’re joined for the final shorts showcase by… nobody. As the only two judges who were around for the majority of the shorts (save that one week where Garry became Penny), it makes sense though this is obviously more about their thoughts on the filmmakers all-around then… well, keep reading…

The Shorts…
The wrinkle to the final vote is unbelievably lame, as the final three directors did not have to direct a new short, perhaps a longer form one, but instead choose two of the shorts they had already directed as the ones they felt best represented their skills. In other words, it’s a fucking final vote based on a re-cap episode, and a show that has been doing a bang-up job of making the wrong decision every time an important call needs to be made, blows it again. Therefore, instead of focusing on their shorts, I’m going to focus on the filmmakers overall, just like the judges, to decide who, for me, deserves the final prize.

Will Bigham
Out of the final three, the most consistent was Will Bigham. Each short delivered on the cute, and even when he ventured into allowing his characters to speak, the result was comfortably solid. Therefore, if we’re voting on being able to deliver on your skills again and again, the final win goes to Will. Plus, he’s got that whole “wife having a kid, life is almost over” sob story that, when faced with the final decision, may sway the few Americans still watching to give him a sympathy vote or three.

Adam Stein
Adam Stein is the filmmaker who got the magic seat left open when Zach Lipovsky faltered two weeks in a row. Out of the final three, he had the weakest overall material, but like Will was consistent with the level he found himself at (which was not a bad level, just not as solid as Will’s or as interesting as Jason’s). A good filmmaker that delivered, but not in the same class as Will or Jason.

Jason Epperson
Jason Epperson was, for my money, the one most able to adapt stylistically and grow. Whereas Will seems to have the go-to talent, Jason had the guts to try more challenging fare. Sometimes he succeeded, sometimes he didn’t, but he took criticism like a champ and learned from each and every mis-step or win. All-around the one most likely to develop as a promising filmmaker from here on out, and will have a more interesting career than the other two on his sheer audacity.

Final Thoughts…
Yup, comes down to Will and Jason for me. I think Jason will have the more interesting trajectory as a filmmaker, but I do think Will is someone who could step into a development deal and deliver on a few simple mainstream premises and make the studio some money. Will is the safe bet for Dreamworks, and he won’t disappoint. Jason is more of a wildcard, he could pay-off big or falter, but he will make everything exciting and really excel as his career continues (so why not give him the prize and let him start strong). If either one of these guys takes the top prize, I’ll be a happy man.

I have to predict a winner though, I can’t watch all these episodes and wimp out at the last minute. I think, at this time in his filmmaking career, Will Bigham is one most likely to truly be able to deliver on the grand prize, and is therefore most deserving of this particular opportunity. Jason will have a long career with many opportunities after this, so his time will come. This is, really, Will’s only real shot and he will make the most of it.

– Mark Bell, Editor-in-Relief, the show is almost DONE!

Got your own opinion about this week’s screening episode? Are you one of the filmmakers? Join in the conversation at the Official “On the Lot” Discussion Thread.




Posted on August 15, 2007 in Features by
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