I've had enough. Ever since Fox first announced that Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett were teaming up to produce a reality show in which aspiring filmmakers competed against one another for $1 million and an "office" at Dreamworks, I was skeptical but interested. Burnett is one of the best in the business at what he does, and Spielberg is, well, Spielberg. Surely, combined, the two would shell out one of the most talked-about reality shows in history, right? Wrong. This thing is a disaster. They can't decide on a consistent format, the host is a babbling mess and we never actually get to watch these kids making films (which, in my opinion, is the most appealing part of the show). Nope, instead, they give us random celebrity judges (out promoting their new movie), half-assed short films (with no explanation as to when or how they were put together) and a slew of contestants who are forgettable five seconds after they walk off stage. How did this happen? How do they fix it? Here are seven suggestions that, if applied correctly, could save On the Lot from its imminent cancellation.
1) Screw the American Idol format and start giving these kids tasks
The show got off to a great start when they asked each kid to come up with an original pitch based on one of five different loglines. Not only did this allow the audience at home to brainstorm their own ideas on how they would pitch the concept, but it gave us something to anticipate. What they should've done from there is maintained this mini-task theme; throw the kids into groups and ask them to make a one-minute film without any dialogue. Have them come up with a two-minute short utilizing three random objects placed in a box that, somehow, would have to be incorporated into the story. Give them a writing challenge. Give them a blue screen challenge. Force them to choose three strangers off the street to use as actors in a completely improvised short. Make this show fun. Make it exciting to watch. While filmmaking is a creative medium, all On the Lot does is take a gigantic piss on creativity by blatantly ripping off other, more successful shows in an attempt to convince the viewer that what they're watching makes sense, when it doesn't.