July 23, 2007
“On The Lot” and on the record
It’s American Idol for filmmakers—a highly competitive, strut-your-stuff television show that provides amateur filmmakers with the tools, toys and teachers that comprise a mini-film school. Okay, it’s better than American Idol, because there are a million greenbacks involved and no one cares what you’re wearing or what your eating habits are. What compels the “On The Lot” audience is whether or not these aspiring auteurs can entertain Hollywood-style.
The industry-heavy show debuted at a respectable 7.6 million viewers in May, but over the course of two months, the audience has dwindled to just under three million. However, with superstar producers Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett at the helm, the show is blessed with nine lives instead of one.
Just before showtime, regular judges Carrie Fisher (actress, “Star Wars”) and Garry Marshall (director, “Pretty Woman”), along with guest judge Antoine Fuqua (director, “Training Day”) stepped into the spotlight, but were quickly swarmed by makeup artists and soon upstaged by host Adrianna Costa, who traipsed about in 6-inch clunkers and a teeny-tiny disco dress that pushed out enough cleavage to boost saggy ratings. The scintillating get-up was almost enough to distract people from noticing she read verbatim from teleprompters and feigned flirtation with the all-male cast of contestants while urging “America” to call in their votes to the box office.
Five filmmakers, neatly dressed according to their personal style, sat to the side of the stage while screening their action flick and then went front and center to face the judges’ gavels. The audience booed Fisher’s harsh critiques and laughed aloud at Marshall’s kooky witticisms. Fuqua commended the filmmakers for focusing on wild chases, skateboard rides and running rampant instead of depending on violence to drive the narrative.