How ‘On The Lot’ Should Have Been


On The Lot LogoI meant to write about On The Lot when the show first started. For one reason or another, I never got around to it, but now that the show is over and nothing changed I’ll write about how I thought it should have been.

The only two good things about the show were Gary Marshall and the fact that the winner is a Film School graduate. Other than that it was like watching YouTube in high definition. I feel a show like this is the reason DVR was invented, so I can skip all the announcements, fake tension, and multiple voting options.

When I first heard about a filmmaking reality show produced by Mark Burnett and Steve Spielberg I was really excited. The Apprentice is one of the few reality shows I watch. I thought I might learn something from On The Lot, but after watching a few episodes I feel I learned more about filmmaking and team dynamics from The Apprentice. Using The Apprentice format and that of other reality shows, here’s how I thought On the Lot would be.

  • Filter out the pool of candidates to two teams. I know this is the classic formula most reality shows follow, but it works. Going on The Apprentice model, I thought it would be two teams that make a new film each week, with the Director (Project Manager) rotating each week and the rest of the team acting as crew. I know the show is looking for the next Director, and this keeps a lot of people in the background each week, but I feel some variation of this would be better then just watching the finished product and a mini-feature about the filmmaker. The majority of the show should be focusing on the making of the film, with some on-set drama and conflicts, followed by the screening and a review.
  • Two films a week. By following the above format, this would give each episode two short films, opening up more time for making-of segments and reviews and debates.
  • Don’t do the show live. I know they were trying to do the whole audience participation thing, but that severely hindered what they were able to do. The first episode was the best, with the pitches and making of the short films, because they had time to put it together and make it good.
  • Spielberg is Trump. They marketed the show as being produced by Spielberg, but you only saw him at the end. I thought he would be the Trump, and determine who stays and who goes. I know he’s busy, so leaving that decision to the panel of judges would work as well, thus allowing the show to not have to be live.

I know this isn’t the most polished alternative format, but I think it’s better than what was on. All we can do now is hope Bravo brings back Project Greenlight.


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